Spotlight On: Peter Lehmann

By Kori ~ December 22nd, 2008.

20081221_peterlehmann1Peter Lehmann Wines, founded in 1979 by Peter Lehmann, is located in the Barossa Valley of Australia. Tanunda, South Australia, about 70km north of Adelaide, is home to the winery and cellar door (aka tasting room).

Peter Lehmann has become affectionately known as the “Baron of the Barossa.” Prior to founding Peter Lehmann Wines, he was winemaker and manager for another winery. With an overproduction of grapes in the late 1970s, the winery he worked for asked him to go back on his word to some of the local growers from whom he had promised to purchase grapes. A man of integrity, Peter Lehmann would not do it. Instead, he put together some financial partners and purchased the grapes himself. His actions saved many of the grape growers from financial ruin and earned Peter Lehmann tremendous respect in the community. Ultimately, he went completely out on his own and found investment partners to form Peter Lehmann Wines. While it was initially founded to produce wine from purchased grapes, today Peter Lehmann Wines owns some of its own vineyards as well as continues to support numerous local growers.

“It is not often that a person becomes a legend in his own lifetime.” –Wine writer, James Halliday, wrote of Peter Lehmann

20081221_peterlehmann2We had the pleasure of visiting Australian wine country in 2005 and were especially taken by the Barossa Valley. One of our most exciting discoveries was Peter Lehmann Wines. We visited the cellar door, tasted some outstanding wines, and then enjoyed a platter lunch out on the patio. Their 2002 Peter Lehmann Shiraz was my favorite and continues to be excellent today. Their Clancy’s red blend and Cabernet Sauvignon are also very good. Thankfully, Peter Lehmann Wines are widely available in the United States, reasonably priced, and consistent from vintage to vintage.

When most people think of Australian wine, they think of Shiraz. And while they do make excellent Shiraz, they are not one-trick ponies. The Barossa Valley, in particular, is also known for its Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Semillon, to name a few.

As Peter Lehmann, himself, was quoted as saying in The Barossa: Australian Wine Regions:

“Why do we make so many different types of wine? Because we can. How boring it would be to wake up each day and just be able to make Chateau Lafite.”

20081221_peterlehmann3If you see a bottle of Peter Lehmann Shiraz on the shelf at your local wine retailer, pick it up. It is sure to be of high quality and give you the most bang for your buck. The currently available vintage of Peter Lehmann Shiraz is 2005, and it is excellent [Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5), QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5), Price: around $14]. And if you ever have the pleasure of visiting the Barossa Valley, be sure to stop by Peter Lehmann’s cellar door. It will be an experience you won’t forget.

Filed under: Australian Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Spotlight On

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