John Kosovich Wines: A Swan Valley original

By Halliday Promotion

1 Oct, 2023

Get to know the award-winning winery behind Wine Companion’s 2024 Other Whites and Blends of the Year.

John Kosovich Wines is a family business through and through. The 100-year-old Swan Valley winery has been under the watch of founder Ivan Kosovich’s son, John Kosovich, for some 70 vintages. 

John made his first wines long before he was legally allowed to consume them, leaving school at 15 to help in the family’s Swan Valley vineyard. When John married Mary in 1961, she embraced the business – you’ll still find her working in the cellar door today. Their sons Anthony (Arch) and Ray are senior winemaker and viticulturist, respectively. Daughter Joanne is also actively involved part time.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded ‘Other Whites and Blends of the Year’ at the 2024 Halliday Wine Awards for our 2018 Bottle Aged Chenin Blanc. In such a strong line up, we are immensely proud and humbled to have achieved this honour,” Arch says. “This wine is a culmination of years of hard work.”

John, Ray and AnthonyRay Kosovich, John Kosovich (OAM), and Anthony 'Arch' Kosovich.

In 1962, John was one of the first small scale winemakers in the region to plant chenin blanc. “I realised that table wines were the future, rather than sweet and fortified styles.” In 1995 John became a member of the Order of Australia for his long contribution to the wine industry.

2018 was a great year in the Swan Valley, great enough to warrant five years of patient waiting for the wine to develop the toasty lime and honeysuckle characters chenin blanc is renowned for. “It’s in a brilliant place, vivid for the variety and maturing graciously,” wrote Mike Bennie of the 98-point, award-winning wine. 

John is now 85 years old – young by Swan Valley standards. The region is Australia’s second oldest, with the first vines planted in 1829. “Many of the vineyards and wineries have been run for generations by the same family. It is exciting to be part of such a long history and to continue this legacy for years to come,” John says.

2018 Bottle Aged Reserve Chenin Blanc

2018 Bottle Aged Reserve Chenin Blanc

Sourced from 1962-planted vines on the original Swan Valley vineyard. Fruit was hand harvested and bunch sorted before a light pressing then cool fermentation. The wine was left on fine lees for six months prior to bottling, followed by five years bottle maturation.

H. What do you love about this wine?
JKW. This is a lovely expression of chenin showing slight apple crunch and subtle spicy tones, complex flavours and great texture. A tight green apple acid structure adds balance and ensures fantastic cellaring potential. Give it another 10+ years to develop toasty, lemony bottle aged characters that this variety is renowned for. Great to pair with cheeses, seafoods or roast chicken.

RRP $54 | Find out more

John Kosovich Cabernet Malbec

2018 Cabernet Malbec Reserve

Pemberton-sourced fruit from low-yielding cabernet sauvignon vines with a small percentage of malbec grapes, all hand harvested. After open-top fermentation, the wine was aged in French oak for 10 months before bottling.

H. What do you love about this wine?
JKW. This wine shows such intensity of fruit and colour, with fresh red berry fruit with characters of spice, violets and cassis. It’s a full-flavoured wine with tightly grained oak integration and a fine tannin structure., the rich mid-palate brimming with fleshy fruit characters leading to a long, cool finish. It’s elegant, refined and can cellar up to 15 years.

RRP $48 | Find out more

John Kosovich Mara Chenin Blanc

2021 Mara Chenin Blanc

Sourced from 1962-planted vines on the original Swan Valley vineyard. Fruit was hand harvested and bunch sorted before a gentle pressing. A fine, tightly structured wine showing floral spicy notes and lovely fresh vibrant fruit with length and purity, with the potential for many more years in the cellar.

H. What do you love about this wine?
JKW. We named this wine for Mary Kosovich, whose name was anglicised at birth from the Croatian Mara. Mary has been omni-present at John Kosovich wines for six decades, running the cellar door, the books and of course, the family!

RRP $45 | Find out more

2021 Malbec Petit Verdot

2021 Malbec Petit Verdot

The 2021 vintage was one of excellent quality in the Swan region, with a cool start and an even ripening period over the warmer months. Fruit (60/40% malbec/petit verdot) was handpicked three weeks apart, aged in French oak then blended just prior to bottling.

H. What do you love about this wine?
JKW. Malbec and petit verdot perform so well in the Swan Valley’s Mediterranean climate. Putting them together really captures the essence of the region, creating a Tuscan-style wine from two Bordeaux varieties. It has red cherry, spice, violet and dark fruit notes, some nice earthy complexity and great cellaring potential. A perfect accompaniment to wood-fired pizzas, roasts and rustic fare.

RRP $32 | Find out more

Rare muscat

NV Rare Muscat

Muscat grapes from the original Swan Valley vineyard are hand-harvest at full ripeness, bordering on raisined, for flavour intensity. The wine is a blend of vintages with an average of 20 years, some dating back to the 1970s, with portions from the early 2000s for perfume and lift.

H. What do you love about this wine?
JKW. This is such an iconic cellar wine for us, with intense characters of raisins, toffee, candy, coffee and spice. Many years of storage in oak adds incredible concentration and layers of flavour. It’s luscious, but not cloying, with amazing length, wonderful freshness and balance. 

RRP $98 | Find out more

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