Meet the small players with seriously big wines

SOMETIMES the Australian wine scene seems dominated by the larger companies with incredible winery tank “farms”.

At the other end of the spectrum you have the smaller players, partner teams who live and work side-by-side, more often for the love of wine (and each other).

Often you’ll find them in the smaller regions and in this case, the Limestone Coast region of south-east South Australia.

Mount Benson hugs the coastline and is home to multi award-winning Cape Jaffa Wines, run by Anna and Derek Hooper.

Wrattonbully (a little further inland and just above Coonawarra) is where you’ll find Colleen Miller and her partner Mike at Ruckus Estate, with their plantings of shiraz, malbec and their obsession: merlot.

Cape Jaffa, Anna’s Blend

Limestone Coast, 2015: Sweet rosewater scent from Gewurztraminer tempered by leafy, grassy sauvignon blanc. Tight lemon-lime citrus prickles the nose too, along with a soft, green almond hull note. The Gewurztraminer gives pleasing weight and spice, while the sauvignon blanc tropical fruits conga line in and out before semillon acidity slices them clean. Refreshingly different. Rating: 8/10

RRP: $25

Alc: 13%

Cape Jaffa, En Soleil Pinot Gris

Wrattonbully, 2015: Pear fuzz, bruising pear juice, honey and cinnamon spice. Textural, yet restrained. Winemaking has kept this ridiculously clean and the fruit is quite plush and pure: ripe pears and little soaps. Finishing tense, taut with puckering acidity. Makes you rethink pinot gris.

Rating: 9/10

RRP: $27

Alc: 12.5%

Christy Radford

Ruckus Estate, Shiraz/Malbec

Wrattonbully, 2014: Single vineyard, made with vines planted in 2006 from malbec clones from Argentina (new to Australia). Heady spices, mocha oak, pepperberry, cherries. Creamy-sweet-savoury palate, almost salted caramel ice cream-like, and balanced with bittersweet coffee and licorice. It takes a unique left hand, spice turn.

Rating: 8.5/10

RRP: $28

Alc: 14.3%

Wine available from major retailers and online: and

Topics:  regan drew weekend magazine wine wine words

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Rhonda McLucas going coast to coast across the UK for a cure

ROCKY ROAD: Gatton Real Estate principal Rhonda McLucas undertook the West Highland Way walk in 2017.

Rhonda McLucas is taking on the Coast to Coast Walk for a cause.

Awarded for passion

DEDICATION RECOGNISED: Lockyer District State High teacher Belinda Try, centre, holds her Certificate of Commendation that she was presented at a ceremony in Brisbane.

Teacher's passion and leadership recognised

Fifth-generation Brimblecombe takes over the family farm

RUNNING THE SHOW: Forest Hill farmer Mitch Brimblecombe inspects a newly planted crop.

Forest Hill farmer Mitch Brimblecombe is running the family farm.

Local Partners