Halliday Wine Companion magazine: SubRosa profile

We’re very excited to be featured in the 50th edition of Halliday Wine Companion magazine (Feb/Mar 2020).

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WORDS NATASHA MIROSCH + PHOTOGRAPHY WINE AUSTRALIA

After a career spent making wine in various regions here and overseas, Adam Louder has returned home to Victoria’s Grampians, establishing SubRosa with partner Nancy Panter.

ADAM LOUDER is a quintessential Aussie winemaker. He’s got the drawl and the bone-dry sense of humour, and he’s got the yarns. These include tales about his time in Bordeaux, where top chefs were flown in to create extravagant 12-course dinners, and how he picked up the nickname, Monseigneur.

These days, Adam is chief winemaker at Mount Langi Ghiran in Victoria’s Grampians and also has his own label, SubRosa, with partner Nancy Panter. Adam knows these mountain ranges and escarpments well – he enjoyed a barefoot childhood in the region, which is home to some of Australia’s oldest wine grape vines. Nancy grew up in more humid climes, within a cooee of the Gold Coast’s beaches, but in 2011, a chance meeting brought them together in the US, where Nancy was working in corporate communications and Adam was winemaker at cult Napa Valley winery Araujo Estate, which was later bought by France’s Chateau Latour.

Adam admits that he originally fell into winemaking. “I grew up around the corner from Mount Langi and would go there on weekends to shoot birds during the growing season when I was 12 or so,” he says. “I also did holiday work at Best’s Great Western, where my uncle worked.”

In 1998, at the age of 18, Adam was employed by the late Trevor Mast – considered one of Australia’s pioneers of cool- climate shiraz – to work in the cellar and vineyards at his winery, Mount Langi Ghiran.

For the next eight years, Trevor was Adam’s mentor, encouraging him to follow his instincts and believe in his abilities. He helped Adam to develop his sensory evaluation skills by tasting and discussing wines with him from Australia and across the Old World. Adam also gained from his other experiences in cellar operations, harvest and winery management.

With Trevor’s encouragement, Adam, while still a fresh-faced 20-year-old, embarked on his first overseas vintage – a four-month stint at Napa Valley’s Chimney Rock. This experience not only confirmed that he wanted to make wine, but also that he wanted to work with small wineries and vineyards that grow exceptional fruit. The experience highlighted the fundamental differences between winemaking styles in Australia and the US.

SubRosa wine Halliday Wine Companion magazine profile

“Napa has the best of everything to work with, including equipment and a much cheaper labour force, which means they can hand-pick and hand-sort everything,” Adam says. “In the early 2000s, we were machine-picking everything in Australia. And the work wasn’t as physical in America because they had automated pumpovers with irrigators.” He also found Australian winemakers had a more relaxed approach.

Back in Australia, Adam returned to Mount Langi and worked with Trevor for another five years before the Rathbone Wine Group bought the winery, appointing Dan Buckle to the winemaking helm. By this time, Adam had worked with Dan for several years, learning to innovate and push boundaries. Dan then organised the first of Adam’s five harvests in France in 2005, at Bordeaux’s Chateau Carsin, where he gained that nickname – and five or six kilos, he says.

“I rocked up at harvest and the owner tried to make a big deal of my arrival, so of course the full-time staff took the piss out of me, calling me ‘Monseigneur’,” he laughs.

Chateau Carsin is owned by Juha Berglund, the son of Finnish violinist and conductor Paavo Berglund. Juha was also a well- connected bon vivant and publisher of Viini, a prestigious wine magazine. “He would fly in different Michelin-starred chefs each week to prepare meals every evening – French, English, German, Finnish. It could be five- to 12-course degustation dinners, with some pretty first-grade Bordeaux, of course,” Adam says. “One time it was a bottle of 1959 Chateau Palmer – Juha’s birth year.” Inevitably, Adam became enamoured with the lifestyle. “I loved everything about Bordeaux – the weather, food, lifestyle and access to great wines,” he says. When he wasn’t eating and drinking, Adam spent time polishing his French and Finnish, and making a lot of botrytis whites.

The inconsistent weather during these French vintages taught him to deal with disease and remain agile – skills he could transfer to Napa’s Araujo Estate, when it rained during his time there in the 2011 harvest. Adam also proved his worth at Araujo when one of their cabernets received a coveted 100 points from US wine critic Robert Parker.

In 2013, Adam decided to head home to the familiar landscapes of the Grampians, inspired to make his own wines. By then, he had an impressive 33 vintage stints under his belt from five wine regions, including time spent at Western Australia’s Xanadu and Pierro.

“It was a lifestyle choice,” Adam says of his return home. “There’s a more relaxed approach here. Although you can take it as seriously as you like, there isn’t the pressure there was in Napa and you can make the wines you want to make.”

And I love Grampians shiraz – I love the flavour profile, the pepper and the minerality. You can make an elegant style of wine here, and if I could only make one wine, it would be Grampians shiraz.

Adam first made his own Grampians wines in 2013, bottling 400 cases of chardonnay, nebbiolo and shiraz, the fruit gently coaxed along with minimal intervention. In 2015, he released the wines under the label SubRosa – the name chosen by Nancy, meaning “under the rose” in Latin. “In ancient times, a rose was hung over the table as a sign of secrecy, meaning that what happens at the table, stays at the table,” Nancy says. “We thought it was a great analogy, given we want people to share good food and good company with our wine.”

With so much experience in both the Old and New Worlds, Adam aims to make wines that bridge the two. So, how does he sum up his range? “Food friendly, approachable wines, but with complexity and ageability,” he says.

It wasn’t long after those early releases that accolades came in. Winefront’s Mike Bennie said SubRosa was“one to watch, with wines that were striking for their regional verity, [affordable] price points and deliciousness.” Adam has since added a viognier and a rosé to the range, with an inaugural cabernet about to roll out.

“Honestly, I think we as winemakers are all aiming to do the same thing – to make the best, site-specific wines from fruit picked at the right time. As long as you get good fruit into the winery, most of your work’s done. It kind of takes care of itself. What we aim to do is get the fruit off at the right time and nurse it through.”

SubRosa wine Halliday Wine Companion magazine profile In the 2019 Halliday Wine Companion, James Halliday rated SubRosa exceptional and named them one of the best new wineries, scoring each of their wines between 92 and 96 points. In the 2020 guide, SubRosa again retained their five-star winery rating. As for the future, in addition to raising their two young children Toby and Charlie, and continuing Trevor Mast’s legacy at Mount Langi, Adam and Nancy will soon have a small vineyard of nebbiolo and shiraz of their own. Adam is also particularly excited about the release of their new cabernet sauvignon. “I think Grampians cabernet is an overlooked variety,” he says.

Our Monseigneur Cabernet is from old vines in Great Western – fruit I was excited to get my hands on. I look forward to pulling this one out of the cellar in years to come.

3 TO TRY
2017 SubRosa Monseigneur Grampians Cabernet Sauvignon $45
2017 SubRosa Nebbiolo $45
2016 SubRosa Grampians Shiraz $30

In the 2019 Halliday Wine Companion, James Halliday rated SubRosa exceptional and named them one of the year’s best new wineries, scoring each of their wines between 92 and 96 points.

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SubRosa features in Wine Australia’s “Made our Way” campaign

In April this year (only five weeks after Charlie was born), Wine Australia visited SubRosa in the Grampians wine region to photograph and film for their marketing campaign Australian Wine Made our Way.

The new campaign is capturing Australian’s working in wine and sharing their stories across the globe.

The first image of SubRosa’s Nancy Panter has been used on their social media channels accompanied by the caption…

I love the idea of having a great wine, great food and great company. And everyone enjoying a time where they don’t worry about what they say or what they do but just enjoy the experience. That’s what SubRosa is all about.” – Nancy Panter, SubRosa Wine

Stay tuned for more to come.

 

Winter news: Rave reviews, guilty pleasures + changing nappies

Winter in the Grampians. Green grass, cool sunny days and wood fires. Hearty beef stew, lamb shanks and ragu…all with a glass of award-winning SubRosa shiraz.

Sounds relaxing, but there’s no time to hibernate at SubRosa HQ this winter – we’re busy bottling, exporting, hosting tastings, oh, and changing nappies. More about our bundle of joy later…

We’re also celebrating! It’s official, James Halliday loves our wines. We’ve got great big silly grins plastered all over our shiraz stained faces because James Halliday awarded our wines fantastic scores in his 2020 Wine Companion. You can buy all the wines featured in our online store or search for stockists here.

This is a big deal for our small winery, but wait, there’s more: we’re also thrilled to be named in The Real Review’s Top Wineries of Australia 2019 list; and have our humble 2016 SubRosa Nebbiolo declared by one industry expert as his “guilty pleasure wine”.

Winemaker Adam is out and about with tasting events in Sydney and Melbourne but before he heads off, it’s time to throw another log on the fire and pour ourselves a nice glass of shiraz while we have a quiet moment. Join us? Order our 2016 SubRosa Malakoff Estate Shiraz now!

Stay warm x

Nancy and Adam

Read the latest enews from SubRosa here.

SubRosa wine – now available in Japan

Konnichiwa (hello) Japan!

We’re really excited that SubRosa wines are now available in Japan thanks to our partner Down Under Inc in Osaka.

Eight members of the Down Under Inc and G’day Wine restaurant team visited us in the Grampians in January for a tasting. Six months later…we now export wine to Japan – just in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan and the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020!

Wines available in Japan include:  2017 SubRosa Grampians Viognier, 2018 SubRosa Grampians Rosé, 2016 SubRosa Nebbiolo and the 2016 SubRosa Grampians Pyrenees Shiraz Viognier.

We look forward to visiting Japan soon!

Heading to Japan? Check out G’day Wine restaurant in Osaka.

Want our wines in Japan? Contact Cosy at Down Under Inc.

Down Under Inc
+81 6-6123-7768
cosy@down-under.co.jp
www.down-under.co.jp
www.facebook.com/GdayWine
2-3-14 Aoyamadai, Suita-City, Osaka, Japan

Where should we export to next?

New release: 2017 SubRosa Grampians Viognier scores 94 points

2017 Settler and Sons_Credit_@sophie_iam_ViognierOur first Grampians Viognier, released in November 2018, is delicious. Adam sourced Viognier grapes from the Grampians region in 2017 and has crafted a “complex, highly drinkable” wine according to Winefront’s Mike Bennie.

Viognier is an aromatic white wine that has plenty of texture, acidity and flavour and pairs well with almost anything! It’s a very versatile variety for sharing with friends and family. Try pairing it with seafood, spicy Asian dishes, pork, chicken or even lamb.

Red wine drinkers often enjoy SubRosa Viognier as it is a fuller-bodied white wine, has plenty of texture and has had some time in French oak. Viognier is sometimes used to blend with Shiraz to provide additional aroma, texture and complexity.

“Viognier is similar to Chardonnay, but more exotic,” says Adam. “Our 2017 Grampians Viognier has flavours of ripe stone fruit, spicy notes and a touch of citrus.”

Order today to have a bottle on hand for your next gathering.

Top Tips:

  1. For greatest flavour, make sure to take your Viognier out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before your first glass as it should be served at 11-13C.
  2. If you have the willpower, try cellaring a few bottles and observing how the wine evolves over the next five – six years.
  3. Viognier is known as one of the most versatile food pairing varietals as its acidity can complement a wide variety of foods – especially those with a high fat content. Surprise your guests by pairing it with your next lamb roast.

Mike Bennie – Winefront 94 points
Slick texture but keeps things fresh and the finish is surprisingly tight, saline and peppery, at once. Has plenty of pear and apricot going on, but never teeters into nectar or overt, instead, tight and heightened with light nutty-woody spice. It’s awesome. Complex, highly drinkable, should also cellar well.

Points : 94 points
Tasted : NOV 18
Alcohol : 13.5%
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 – 2022

Why temperature matters

All whites go in the fridge right? Well, not exactly.

Before you fill the bathtub with ice, or buy a second drinks fridge for your next party consider these temperature tips.

SubRosa Viognier ice bucket

According to Adam, Viognier is like Chardonnay, but more exotic. Like Chardonnay, Viognier is best served at just below room temperature (11-13C). If it’s too cold, the texture, flavour, acid balance and aromas will be masked. If room temperature in your neck of the woods is more than 15C, pop your Viognier in the fridge to chill it slightly, but make sure to get it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you plan on serving it.

Like a good Brie or Camembert cheese, straight out of the fridge aromatic whites like Viognier are palatable, but not delicious. If you have patience and time to let it come to room temperature you’ll be rewarded with flavour and aroma.

Try it for yourself, pop a bottle of SubRosa Viognier in the fridge and pour a glass. Take a sip immediately after it comes out of the fridge and then try it again after 10-15 minutes, and again after about 30 minutes. What do you think?

2017-Settler-and-Sons_Rosé_Credit_@sophie_iam

Rosé on a sunny day? Yes please! Adam suggests serving Rosé chilled, but not straight out of the fridge. Give it at least 10-15 minutes to come closer to room temperature so you can enjoy its aroma, flavour and texture. It’s amazing the difference 10-15 minutes makes! Ideal serving temperature for Rosé is 10-12C.

Nebbiolo, like Pinot Noir, should be served at room temperature which is widely considered to be about 14-16C, while Shiraz and Cabernet thrive at a slightly warmer temperatures of 17-19C. On summer days when you are serving Shiraz, don’t let it get too hot or it will lose its complexity for which SubRosa is known.

Top tips:

  1. Take your favourite white or Rosé out of the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving.
  2. Store your wine in a cool dark place, not on top of the fridge which is likely to be warmer than many other places in your home.
  3. Keep wine out of the sun when entertaining outside.