Wine Lists

Coonawarra wines to try

By Halliday Promotion

Coonawarra is famed for its terra rossa soil and cool-climate wines. Home to robust reds, here are five wines to try.

Coonawarra is located in the south east corner of South Australia (which is also known as the Limestone Coast). Known for its terra rossa soils, the flat region is only 60 kilometres from the ocean and is therefore influenced by a maritime climate.

With more than 5750 hectares of vineyards, Coonawarra produces key varietals including cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot and chardonnay. Here are five cool-climate red wines to try.

2020 Hollick Coonawarra Shiraz

2020 Hollick Coonawarra Shiraz

A spicy and plush little number displaying distinct cool climate Coonawarra characteristics. Bright crimson in colour, with aromas of spice and white pepper. Twelve months of oak maturation in 15 per cent new French oak gives this wine a well-balanced structure and strength.

Winemaker Trent Nankivell says: This is the first release of a Coonawarra shiraz in this range. It's a small batch wine fermented in an open top fermenter. It's gently pumped over twice a day for 10 days, before being pressed into French oak to evolve over the next 10 months.

Food pairing suggestion: Enjoy with the best of company paired with hard cheese and smoked meats.

RRP $27 | Drink to 2030 |

2019 Parker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa Shiraz

2019 Parker Coonawarra Estate Terra Rossa Shiraz 

Vibrant purple hues with a deep, dense core. Dark brooding fruits on the nose with lifted aromatics of perfume. Mulberry, spice and white pepper with a hint of mint flavours. A rich palate of ripe plums, dark chocolate and hints of spice and mocha. Fine oak notes with supportive tannins, medium to full bodied with a long lingering finish.

Winemaker Andrew Hardy says: Although Coonawarra is (rightfully!) famous for cabernet sauvignon, the region is also the perfect place for growing unique styles of other red varieties and producing white wines. Cool-climate shiraz balances the power of the variety with an elegant and nuanced style. Spice, white pepper and mint are key varietal characteristics, yet they're often squashed in warmer regions.

Food pairing suggestion: Slow braised lamb with dumplings followed by a rib-sticking bread and butter pudding (an epic combination). Or for a vegetarian option, a white bean (not quite) cassoulet with loads of herbs, fresh winter veggies and a side of mash.

RRP $34 | Drink to 2032 | 

2016 Patrick of Coonawarra Home Block Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Patrick of Coonawarra Home Block Cabernet Sauvignon

Rich blackberry fruit is balanced with subtle spice and cedar aromas. The palate is bold and complex with fine, elegant tannins leading to the long and balanced finish. The warmer vintage has allowed great varietal expression, rich fruit and a bold yet expressive cabernet.

Winemaker Luke Tocaciu says: This is the best fruit from our 60-year-old vineyard surrounding the family home. It's where I grew up and I know the vineyard very well. A single site wine is the ultimate expression of where the grapes are grown and the season that they were grown in. My job as a winemaker is to enhance what the season brings and adapt the winemaking to balance the final wine. It’s a great expression of our region and a well-aged cabernet sauvignon.

Food pairing suggestion: Let the wine breathe for an hour or decant before drinking. Ideally matched with roast lamb on a cool winter night. Or serve it with roasted beetroot with lentils.

RRP $50 | Drink to 2030 |

2018 Rymill Coonawarra Classic Release Cabernet Sauvignon

2018 Rymill Coonawarra Classic Release Cabernet Sauvignon

Intense crimson red in colour. Notes of lifted oak on the nose, with toasted spices and tobacco leaf melded seamlessly with blood plums and fire-roasted pimentos. The palate is beautifully textured with tannins and lovely fine length, and an abundance of dark fruits with spice.

Winemaker Lewis White says: The Classic Release Cabernet Sauvignon has been produced at Rymill in much the same way since the founding of the brand. It best represents the vintage conditions, the Rymill style and the personality of the winemaker. For winemakers at Rymill this wine is our yardstick.

Food pairing suggestion: A perfectly cooked marbled scotch fillet steak with garlic butter and red wine jus, or a wonderfully simple dish of grilled pine mushrooms seasoned with herbs atop crusty bread and butter.

RRP $32 | Drink to 2028 |

2019 Wynns Old Vines Black Label Shiraz

2019 Wynns Old Vines Black Label Shiraz

Wynns Old Vines Black Label Shiraz is a superb example of Coonawarra’s cool climate style. Pristine berry fruits dominate the nose and it has a classic, medium-bodied shiraz palate of crunchy dark berries with black pepper and some sweeter cinnamon notes. The 2019 has a lovely texture – fine tannins with lively acidity. 

Winemaker Sarah Pidgeon says: Shiraz is an important part of Coonawarra’s history. The acknowledged reputation of Coonawarra for age-worthy wines has largely centered on cabernet sauvignon and cabernet shiraz blends. However, the very early history (in the 1890s) focused on other varieties – particularly shiraz. Today Wynns is privileged to grow shiraz on many prime locations within Coonawarra. These vineyards have stories to tell, and a history of quality. We select the Black Label Shiraz from the oldest vineyards, including the Undoolya vineyard which was planted in 1894.

Food pairing suggestion: Try it with a silken tofu, coconut and vegetable laksa. A rich, fragrant and complex soup pairs beautifully with our similarly described shiraz. Both soup and wine finish cleanly on the palate.

RRP $44.99 | Drink to 2035 |

Learn more about Coonawarra in our essential guide.
This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with the featured wineries.
Top image credit: Wynns Coonawarra.