August Imported Wine: The Gatekeeper Shiraz, McLaren Vale, AUSTRALIA

Simon Hackett, the man behind this wine, grew up in an atmosphere steeped in wine, spending his boyhood in the Barossa Valley alongside his father, who was General Manager and a Director of the giant Barossa Valley Distillery. The family home was situated next to the sprawling Saltram Winery outside Angaston. Given this environment, it was not surprising that Simon, at the age of eighteen, elected to follow a career in winemaking and joined the team at the neighboring Saltram Winery. In 1984, Simon decided to concentrate fully on establishing his own boutique winery situated in McLaren Vale.

History of Shiraz and its Relation to The Gatekeeper: McLaren Vale is a wine region approximately 35 km south of Adelaide in South Australia. Grapes were first planted in the region in 1838 and some vines more than 100 years old are still producing. Today there are more than 88 cellar doors in McLaren Vale, including The Gatekeeper. The majority are small family-run operations and boutique wineries. McLaren Vale has a Mediterranean climate with four clear seasons. With a dry warm summer, the area has dry weather from December through to March or April, giving an easy change between summer and winter. It is gentle with long warm days and short cool nights. Winter rains of 580-700 mm per annum flow into a fresh spring. The region rarely experiences frost or drought due to its close proximity to the sea. The McLaren district has many different soil types and this contributes to the wines from the area having different terroir. The vineyards are planted on soils including fertile red-brown earths, terra rossa, rendzina, soft sands and dark cracking clays.

Varietals: 100% Shiraz

Alcohol: 14.0% by volume

Tasting Notes: Balanced and bursting with lush fruit, this is a thoroughly delicious Shiraz. The grapes were sourced from the McLaren Vale and the Riverlands and then carefully aged in oak for 6 months — breaking the over-oaked Australian mold a bit… in a very, very good way.

Food Pairings: Barbecued foods with a smoky char pair nicely with Shiraz, as do lamb, venison and game birds. Enjoy before the summer ends!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Loaded with layers of concentrated fruit, cherries, cassis, blackberry, and blueberry. Red and black fruits intermingle in this glass. A great combination with BBQ!”-JL