Mudgee has a new flagship red wine with the latest release from Robert Stein Winery – 2014 Robert Stein Kinnear ($80). Only 1838 bottles have been produced.
The Kinnear was a 370 tonne, three-mast barque that transported Johann Stein, his wife and five other German families to Australia in 1838. The Kinnear six had been handpicked by Major Edward Macarthur from the Rheingau region in Hesse to cultivate the grapevines on the family property at Camden Park in NSW.
This voyage also brought the first riesling cuttings into Australia. The German vinedressers set sail from The Downs, England, having made their way down the Rhine to Antwerp, then across the North Sea to England. Their journey was perilous and three weeks in, storms lashed their ship.
“Our whole ship was rolling continuously,” wrote Erbach-born Johann. “One sailor who had too much brandy the day before, was punished by the captain and was tied up to the steering wheel. When the steering wheel turned he was thrown on to the other side and washed away by the enormous waves. There was no rescue possible.”
“The Kinnear ship is a family icon, making it a natural name for our new flagship red wine,” says Jacob Stein. “It represents the hardship, struggle and opportunities of the past that allowed our family to be where we are now.”
The 2014 Robert Stein Kinnear is a blend of shiraz (97 percent) and cabernet sauvignon (three percent). The grapes are the finest of the winery’s 40-year-old vines; the best fruit from the best rows, from the best block. The grapes were wild-fermented in small open fermenters and hand plunged several times a day. The wine was then matured in a combination of new (50 percent) and one-year-old French hogsheads, with only the top barrels chosen for the final blend.
“The Kinnear has been a long-term project for us,” says Jacob. “There is an assumption that this wine will have a full-bodied structure and heavy tannins, but this isn’t the case. This is a modern Mudgee wine, with medium-bodied fleshy tannins. It’s about the fruit and complexity.
“Since I returned to the winery in 2009 I wanted to make a wine that showed just how well Mudgee can make shiraz. It has been a work of love and a wine that I believe Grandpa would be really pleased with; hopefully a reflection of the work that not only he and Dad put in, but all of the generations back to Johann.
“We will only release The Kinnear in the best of vintages and currently have 2015, 2016 and 2017 in bottle. We are confident that there will also be a 2018 vintage released in the future.”