The Red Wines of Grant Burge

It was in 2015 that Grant and Helen Burge sold their historic Barossa winery and brand to Accolade Wines, one of the big player of Australia who own numerous vineyards, wineries and brands. Grant Burge the man can trace his family’s winemaking history back through the generations to Meshach Burge, who installed the first fermentation tanks on his farm in 1865. The Burge family today is still a very significant vineyard proprietor in the Barossa, supplying fruit to Accolade wines among others. It’s not surprising, therefore, that while Grant Burge is no longer connected to the brand that bears his name, it didn’t take him long to get back into the wine business, establishing Corryton Burge in 2020 and buying Krondorf Winery in 2022.

This story, however, is about my tasting of Grant Burge wines under it’s new ownership. The winemaking team is led by South Australian native Craig Stansborough, who has been with Grant Burge since 1993 when it was still in family hands. Becoming Assistant Winemaker in 1994, he quickly rose to take over the senior role in 1997.

More than 30 different wines appear under the Grant Burge brand today, and they have moved beyond the original family vineyards in the Barossa. Though Barossa is still their spiritual home, there are also bottlings from the Adelaide Hills to Margaret River, literally spanning Australia.


I guess the question one asks is whether selling a family company to a large, corporate business will affect quality or dilute the brand. Well, the Barossa wines continue to receive five-star ratings in Australia’s most influential guide, yet at the same time a range of ‘Proseccos’ was added to the portfolio in 2021, surely a wine and style that would never have featured from a winery that built its reputation on quality red wines?

This tasting focused on the ultra-premium wines from the Barossa, and on Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhône varieties in particular. It included a trio of wines from the Icon range, the Nebu Cabernet Sauvignon, Balthasar Shiraz, and Abednego S-G-M Rhône blend, the others from the ‘Wines of Distinction’ range.

The Wines

(2023) The 2019 vintage was one of the Eden Valley's driest in recent years, resulting in rich and concentrated wines. This is bold, fresh and aromatic, with blueberry and damson plum, some florality too. Mouth-filling fruit, dense black fruits with a sandy tannin quality that coats the mouth, very sweet fruit touching onto cocoa, and good balancing acidity.
(2023) A GSM blend from the Barossa, which enjoyed similar hot and dry conditions to the Eden Valley. A little more earthy and subdued than the Balthasar aromatically, but there is a jammy ripeness of fruit and a balancing touch of leather in there. Bold and savoury, there's plenty of juicy acidity and nicely plummy, roughening tannins, that give an edge to the sweet and plump fruit that build on the mid-palate.
(2023) Sourced from near century old vines, this is black as pitch and offers creamy but dense aromatics, a bit of charry oak character here, chocolate and a hint of mint too, in a plush style. The palate is broad and generous, brimming with juicy but plump fruit, plum flesh and the tannic bite of the skins, plenty of juicy and ripe acidity too in an expressive, intense wine.
(2023) Sourced predominantly from the Corryton Park vineyard, a Cabernet that opens with herbaceous, olive and eucalypt notes, a hint of stalkiness to the savoury black fruit. On the palate the sweetness and plump, juicy ripeness of the black fruit does come through, as well as creamy and chocolaty tannins and pert acidity. But the balance with those greener aspects is not quite there in the end. Price and stockist quoted at time of review are for a previous vintage.
(2023) Rainy months leading up to vintage were fortunate as it was a very dry harvest period, producing "fruit with exceptional character and flavour." Dark and vibrant but dense in colour, there's a refined nose here, with graphite and a certain sense of coolness, the sold black fruit just touched with a pleasing, tiny edge of herbaceousness. The palate is delicious, the dry blackcurrant fruitiness has plenty of juicy bite, with tart plum and blackcurrant skins, coffee, and fine-grained tannins. The oak is supportive and the acid has a generous nature which supports too, but doesn't cut into the plush picture too much. No UK retail stockist listed at time of review.
(2023) Another GSM, this time from the Barossa. Quite meaty and leathery, lots of meat-stock character and dark, brooding fruit. Warm and generous on the palate, a weight of savoury dark fruit, spices and a touch of sizzling bacon fat. So much sweetness of ripe fruit here, flooding the palate with flavour and texture. Big, chunky and chocolaty tannins and juicy cherry acids in a large-scaled and relatively forward style, giving lots of hedonistic pleasure. Price and stockist quoted are for the previous vintage at time of review.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *