Winestate Magazine is Australasia’s leading independent wine magazine tasting over 10,000 wines a year since 1978. We’re chuffed that the July-August 2016 edition features Ekhidna Wines and in-depth analysis of the winemaking philosophy of our own Matt Rechner.
Winestate subscribers can access the full article by Dan Traucki here. For the rest of you, here are some highlights:
UNLIKE our spiky/prickly native echidna marsupial, McLaren Vale’s Ekhidna (which stands for She Viper) Wines, are smooth and rich. While svelte and elegant, these wines are certainly no wimps; being big and bold, but unlike a lot of other uber big wines, they do not have tannins and acid jutting out to attack the palate. They are well-integrated, smooth, rich and a real labour of love by owners Matt and Katy Rechner.
Ekhidna is a “small” operation in that it crushes around 300 tonnes of specially selected grapes each year. Most of the grapes come from its own 20ha vineyard and this is supplemented by carefully chosen fruit from around 30 to 40 growers in the Vale and Adelaide Hills. The winemaking philosophy is that of minimal intervention, as Matt believes that most of the work happens out in the vineyard and that the winemaker’s role is to steer quality grapes into the end product – wines that are as natural as possible.
Whatever you’re doing Matt, keep doing it.
The Ekhidna experience starts with its three sparkling wines – a traditional sparkling chardonnay/ pinot noir, a divine sparkling shiraz (which is currently into its fifth vintage) and a sweet sparkling (which makes a stunning accompaniment for fresh apricots and peaches – divine).
The white wine range currently consists of a chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and an Adelaide Hills fiano, with an arneis to come soon. They are all flavoursome, consumer friendly wines which avoid the searing acidity that is usually found in young white wines. The sauvignon blanc is very classy and much more in a Sancerre style than that of a pungent New Zealand sauvignon blanc. The style of red wines made at Ekhidna is big, but balanced and well rounded. One could quite easily say that the eight-wine red portfolio is shiraz-centric, with the only red that does not contain some shiraz being the Ekhidna Cabernet Sauvignon. There are five straight shiraz wines, starting with the delicious rosé, it is unlike many other rosé, which are sweet or sweetish, whereas this one is crisp and refreshing. Each of the other four straight shiraz wines builds on the intensity and depth of flavour of its predecessor so that when you reach the Rarefied Air Shiraz you are into uber serious shiraz territory. The massively coloured, complex nosed, gorgeously rich 2012 vintage of the Rarefied Air Shiraz makes a brilliant accompaniment for a good, hearty meat dish – a real winter warmer.
Having outgrown the current location, Ekhidna is looking for new, bigger premises, which it is planned will incorporate accommodation, so as to complete the total lifestyle offering to its customers. Due to the currently challenging retail environment, caused by the dominance of the major liquor retailers, Ekhidna is looking to focus its efforts more on the lifestyle aspects of wine, including social functions and accommodation.
Stay tuned for details 🙂
Ekhidna Wines is a showcase of what McLaren Vale and its exciting winemakers can produce.
We’ll drink to that!