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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Turning wine into water and food for our wildlife

It has been a devastating start to the year for much of Australia. We are proud to support our friends at Six Parallels South raise money for WIRES Wildlife Rescue.

@Six_Parallels_South: “Turning wine into water…and food for our wildlife. Our native wildlife has been hit hard by these bushfires and we need to help our friends that have had their natural habitat destroyed. We have joined forces with Caledonia Australis, @wheeler.wine@cultivarvinos@dirtyblackdenim_winemakers and @subrosawine to create 24 mixed six-packs of wine to raise funds to quickly get food supplies to our wildlife. The RRP for these packs is $230 but we are selling them for $120. The pack includes (in respective order as stated above) Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Umbra Methode Ancestral 2015, Vina Dona Luisa Ladron de Uvas (Pais from Chile), Carmenere 2018, Pyrenees Shiraz 2015 and our Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2017. All proceeds will go directly to WIRES Wildlife Rescue. Please email me at mark@6psouth.com for all orders. Thanks in advance for your help!”

SubRosa season’s greetings and summer news

It’s summer…and about to get HOT here in Victoria.

We’ve had a mild spring, with average rainfall which is great for our vines. They’re healthy and growing well.

2019 has been a big year for us as we welcomed our son Charlie, received critical acclaim from James Halliday, Huon Hooke and Mike Bennie, started exporting to Japan and featured in the latest Wine Australia marketing campaign.

On our website, you’ll find our new release Viognier, Rosé, Nebbiolo, Shiraz and our inaugural Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our 2017 SubRosa Monseigneur Grampians Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty special. You can read all about it and how Adam got his “Monseigneur” nickname in the next issue of Halliday Wine Companion magazine on sale 16 January, 2020.

Want to know all our news? Read our Summer 2019 newsletter here.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season.

Cheers,
Nancy and Adam

 

Photo credit: Wine Australia

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.

2020 Halliday Wine Companion scores released!

The eagerly awaited James Halliday Wine Companion 2020 scores are out and we’re pretty happy.

2017 SubRosa Grampians Viognier – 95 points

Hand-picked bunches held in the press for 2 hours for phenolic extraction, cool, wild ferment in barrel, 9 months on gross lees with stirring, 80 dozen made. Great label design. A remarkable achievement: full flavour on a medium to full-bodied palate without any oily phenolics. Buy here

2016 SubRosa Nebbiolo – 94 points

Light, clear colour; perfumed violets and spices, all is calm on the tannin front, a lingering assembly of scents, silky texture. Buy here

2016 SubRosa Grampians Pyrenees Shiraz Viognier – 95 points

A 70/30% regional blend matured for 10 months in French oak, 240 dozen made. The Grampians gives the wine more stiffening – not of tannins or extract, but of fruit flavour, black cherry and blackberry acting in concert. The label design and printing is worth extra points, as is the splash of viognier. Terrific value. Buy here

2016 SubRosa Malakoff Estate Shiraz – 95 points

Hand-picked, matured for 16 months in French oak, only 80 dozen made. The colour is much lighter than expected, and it’s on the lighter side of medium-bodied – but it’s well balanced, expressing its variety and region, its fruit spicy and juicy. And yes, it’s a great drink. Buy here

These excellent scores mean we retain our five star rating.

It’s not easy making amazing wine in small batches. Well done Adam.

Spotlight on Nebbiolo Panel Tasting

The team at Young Gun of Wine recently brought together a panel of experts for a blind Australian Nebbiolo tasting and every panelist rated our 2016 SubRosa Nebbiolo in their top six wines!

Here’s an except from the Young Gun of Wine Spotlight on Nebbiolo Panel Tasting.

Nebbiolo. It’s one of those revered words. The lights dim. Eyes widen. The chatter quietens to a murmur. Well, metaphorically at least. For those held in its thrall, nebbiolo holds a grip like no other grape.

Nebbiolo is a paradox, a combination of elements that shouldn’t make sense. But they do. It tends to higher alcohol, but rarely becomes rich and sweet fruited in doing so. Even at high ripeness, it maintains nervy acidity, set against profound tannins. It can be fragrantly pretty and floral, as well as ruggedly mineral and dry toned – and often simultaneously so. It conveys nuance of site like few varieties, and it can produce staggeringly long-lived wines. It is like no other grape…

Our panel was made up of: Jane Lopes, Beverage Director at Attica; Leanne Altmann, Beverage Director for Andrew McConnell’s restaurants; winemaker Ben Haines of Ben Haines Wine; Kayleen Reynolds, manager of the City Wine Shop; Gavin Cremming, Group Sommelier for the Van Haandel Group; and Christian Canala, director of Vinify wine Co. All wines were tasted blind…

2016 SubRosa Pyrenees Nebbiolo

Canala called this his “guilty pleasure wine,” remarking on the “sweetly fruited core, and a tight packaging of the tannin, just a pleasure.” Cremming enjoyed the depth and commented on the “Well-layered red cherry and wild red fruit, classic dried herb,” while Canala saw “wizz fizz, cherry ripe and some baking spice.” “Tannins are present as expected, but a vibrant acidity gives freshness to the wine,” concluded Cremming.

You can read the entire article here.

Buy SubRosa Nebbiolo

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?

SubRosa named in The Real Review’s Top Wineries of Australia 2019 list

We’re excited to be one of Australia’s top wineries according to Huon Hooke and his team at the Real Review.

With four wines reviewed, we feature at position #194 and were awarded a Certificate of Excellence.

According to The Real Review, who review 10,000 wines each year, The Real Review Certificate of Excellence is awarded to a select group of wineries that consistently produce excellent wine. The Top Wineries list is a national benchmark.

Find out more here.

12 days of Christmas

Christmas is a time for sharing food, wine and plenty of laughs with family and friends.

Whether you are at the beach or in the bush this Christmas we hope you enjoy this special time.

SubRosa 12 days of Christmas

To celebrate Christmas, we are sharing our SubRosa Summer Wine Club dozen with you at our Wine Club price until Dec 12 including free shipping.

Our 12 days of Christmas dozen includes limited edition Rosé (we only made 40 cases!!), Viognier, Nebbiolo and Shiraz.

Valued at $390, you pay $300.

Order here.

Thanks for the write-up The Weekly Times!

Benchmark of success: Grampians couple Nancy Panter and Adam Louder, with son Toby, say their listing in the latest Halliday guide is the reward for years of hard work. Picture: Yuri KouzminBenchmark of success: Grampians couple Nancy Panter and Adam Louder, with son Toby, say their listing in the latest Halliday guide is the reward for years of hard work. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin

SubRosa wine listed on James Halliday’s wine guide

IAN GILBERT, The Weekly Times
August 8, 2018 12:00am

FOR winemakers, this time of year brings a mixture of trepidation and excitement.

It’s got little to do with the weather; bud burst is still a few weeks away.

No, the midwinter jitters are brought on by the release of the annual Halliday Wine Companion — the holy grail of wine reviews.

An entry in this wine-lovers’ bible can elevate a small independent winery on to a bigger stage, or a decent score out of 100 from author James Halliday can steer an already-established label towards greater things.

For Grampians couple Nancy Panter and Adam Louder, seeing their SubRosa brand listed in the new edition of Halliday, released last week, is the reward for the hard work involved in running a family wine business.

“It’s a benchmark, and it’s the most respected benchmark in Australia,” says Nancy.

“You can use that review as a talking point with wine shops, restaurants and consumers.”

Nancy and Adam’s story starts in the US — fittingly, as Adam was a “flying winemaker” for several years.

At 37, he has completed 32 harvests in some of the world’s finest wine-producing regions, including Margaret River, Bordeaux and the Napa Valley — plus, of course, the Grampians.

He was making wine in the Napa and Nancy was working in global brand and marketing PR for Visa on projects such as the Olympics when they met in 2011.

After they returned to Australia, SubRosa started to take shape.

The Grampians — specifically Eversley, east of Ararat — is now home for the couple and their son Toby, 2.

For Adam, making his own wine in the region is a real homecoming; he cut his teeth under visionary Australian winemaker the late Trevor Mast at Mount Langi Ghiran in 1998.

Adam’s attachment to the winery has turned full-circle with his recent appointment as head winemaker at Mount Langi Ghiran — the “day job” that underwrites his own venture.

As for their own label, Nancy says: “Adam has worked for 20 years making wine for other people and he wanted to use the experience he has and make wine like he wanted to make wine.

“We only make a small amount — we make as much as we can with the funds we have available.”

James Halliday calls SubRosa “one of the best new wineries in the 2019 Companion”, enthusing about the Pyrenees shiraz, which warrants 96 points out of 100, with 95 apiece for the Grampians shiraz and Pyrenees nebbiolo.

(Incidentally, the winery’s name comes from the Latin phrase sub rosa, which means “under the rose” and denotes a custom of secrecy or confidentiality.)

While consumers see only the glamorous end of the business — a beautiful glass of wine and an evocative review — it belies the hard slog required to promote small wine labels such as SubRosa.

“You talk to anyone who works in wine marketing and they’ll say it’s easy to make the wine but hard to sell it,” Nancy says.

It’s hard to overstate, therefore, what a glowing review in Halliday’s guide can mean for a smaller winery without the big marketing dollars to plug its wares.

In 2015, Yarra Valley winery Serrat scooped the Wine of the Year accolade for its shiraz-viognier, a bottle costing about $40 that outpointed the likes of Penfolds Grange (costing in the region of $750).

Serrat sold out of stock the morning the book was released — 4000 email orders were received by noon — and even then buyers were limited to six bottles a person.

A bottle reputedly sold at a charity auction shortly afterwards for $2000; while that was the exception, bottles were selling through wine merchants for a not-inconsiderable $400.

Now, even with that giddy pedigree, Serrat’s wines have risen by barely a tenth in price, proving that James Halliday has an eye for the good guy as well as the good wine.

If the latest edition has anything like the same effect for SubRosa, it will benefit not just their business but Grampians wine tourism as a whole, suggests Nancy.

“Australia produces extraordinary wine and the more that Australia can embrace supporting the local winemaking industry, the more that wineries will be more profitable and be able to make better wine tourism experiences — there’s a flow-on effect,” she says.

For Nancy Panter and Adam Louder, it seems, everything’s coming up roses.