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Top Rated Gems From An Australian Sensation: Powell & Son - 03/13/2017 - Australia

One of the most exciting wineries to emerge in recent years is Powell & Son located in Australia’s Barossa Valley. Run by one of region’s most revered winemakers, David Powell (of Torbreck fame), the wines of this estate are nothing short of transcendent. Filled with intensity, power, and verve they truly stand in the pantheon of the greats of the wine world. This is all the more remarkable considering Powell & Son came into existence only three short years ago. We knew of course that someone of Powell’s standing would deliver a superior product, but as the wines highlighted below will illustrate, he has outdone even the best examples of his work at Torbreck. Of particular note are the single site bottlings which garnered full-throated praised from the critics including 97, 98, and 99 points scores. The whole portfolio from top to bottom is worth serious consideration as rarely does one find wines so meticulously crafted. Biodynamically produced and from some of the best old vine vineyards in all of Australia, Powell & Son take winemaking to an entirely new level. We cannot emphasize it enough - these are wines not to be missed.

Ryan Woodhouse, our Australian wine buyer, negotiated a direct import relationship which means we can offer these wines at a substantial savings. Quantities are highly limited on many of these selections, so don’t hesitate. For more information on Powell & Son, check out our recent On The Trail post.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2015 Powell & Son Riesling Eden Valley South Australia 92 $19.99 View
2014 Powell & Son Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia 91 $24.99 View
2014 Powell & Son G-S-M Barossa Valley South Australia 93 $39.99 View
2014 Powell & Son "Loechel" Shiraz Eden Valley South Australia 97 $69.99 View
2015 Powell & Son Roussanne-Marsanne Barossa Valley South Australia 92 $39.99 View
2015 Powell & Son Shiraz Barossa & Eden Valleys South Australia 95 $39.99 View
2015 Powell & Son G-S-M Barossa Valley South Australia 94 $39.99 View
2015 Powell & Son "Loechel" Shiraz Eden Valley South Australia 97 $69.99 View
2015 Powell & Son "Brennecker" Grenache Barossa Valley South Australia 98 $199.99 View
2015 Powell & Son "Steinert" Shiraz Barossa South Australia 97 $499.99 View
2015 Powell & Son "Kraehe" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia 99 $499.99 View

2015 Powell & Son Riesling Eden Valley South Australia

2015 Powell & Son Riesling Eden Valley South Australia ($19.99)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "92+ points. The 2015 Riesling is a step-up from the previous vintage, offering gorgeous floral, jasmine and lemon drops notes with hints of crushed stones, beeswax and yuzu. The palate is intense, zesty and very tightly knit with tons of freshness and an appealing steeliness carrying the taut flavors to a long finish. 600 cases produced. (LPB)" (10/2015)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "The Powell & Son Eden Valley Riesling emanates from a single site in the high Flaxman’s Valley, 460 metres above sea level. The five acre vineyard showcases dry grown, rod and spur pruned Riesling vines now over eighty years old. Grapes are hand-picked, whole bunch pressed, cold settled and fermented dry prior to cold stabilisation and bottling. This approach ensures a clear expression of the great vineyard from which the wine originates." 92 points Wine Front: "Pure, crisp, refreshing. Delicate and driving. Has bright fruit, fine lacy acidity, really tangy but succulent and energetic. Fragrant of florals, citrus, wet pebbles and just-ripe green apple. Really good drinking."Ive always loved Eden Valley riesling, always wanted to work with it. The vineyard needed a fair bit of work so we really worked the site, it needed some help, but it’s a beauty of a site; the vines are 85 years old", offers winemaker Dave Powell. New beginnings. Fruit is from the Steinert vineyard, which also forms the Shiraz wine that sits at the top of the Powell & Son releases at $600."

Sharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

This is wonderfully aromatic with plenty of white flowers and fresh lemon in the nose. It's a dry, lean style that has abundant lime zest, lemon, crushed stone and zingy acidity however it's more round than taut across the mid palate. The result is a deliciously fresh and easy, perfect for day drinking wine. Didn't know such gems could be found in Australia? Now you do.

2014 Powell & Son Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia

2014 Powell & Son Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia ($24.99)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Barossa Valley Shiraz opens with rubber and tar notes giving way to a core of blackberries and black cherries plus underbrush, anise and pepper hints. Medium to full-bodied, it delivers a lot of expressive flavor in the mouth backed by ripe, grainy tannins and lively acid, finishing long and earthy. (LPB)" (06/2016)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "The Barossa Valley Shiraz is sourced from mature Barossa Valley vineyards with the majority located along the region’s North-Western ridge in Marananga and Seppeltsfield as well as Lyndoch Valley in the Southern Barossa. Grape parcels are vinified separately in concrete vats, before being basket pressed and assembled into large format 4,500 litre French oak foudres for 15 months maturation." 92 points Wine Front: "This wine, the entry level shiraz, is Barossa Valley in its essence. Shiraz from oldish vines, sent to bottle unfined and filtered, poured in glass with heartiness of place. Made by Powell & Son. It’s a great drink, black in colour, scents of briary berries, violets, roast meat and earth. In the palate it sloshes around with red fruits, meaty notes, black olive tapenade savouriness offering creamy texture and a fleshy finish. It feels unadorned, vibrant, even with its dense, mouth-filling ways. It’s tattooed with Powell and Barossa. A legion will love this."

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 10, 2017

The magic of David Powell's wines is quite hard for me to put my finger on. Sure they're powerful, rich, highly concentrated wines with explosive aromas and flavors...but then many wines deliver that type of experience. I recently tasted his "entry level" Barossa Shiraz here alongside another very highly regarded Barossa shiraz producers comparable wine. Both delivered real quality and the type of fruit weight and purity I would expect but this Powell & Son wine just had something extra. A sense of place, another dimension of savory, soil driven quality underpinning all that decadence. Callum (the "& Son" part) is starting to make his mark on the wines too. After an extended vintage working with the legendary Jean Louis Chave, Callum has implemented the use of more large format oak instead of barriques and seeks more finesse in the wines. There's a bright energy to the wines lifting all that density and keeping it long and vibrant. Seriously good...and what a value given the quality and pedigree.

Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

Barossa Shiraz is something that has to be tip toed around sometimes. There can be too much baggage for some people, understandable. This is a wine that is boisterous and exuberant but it is not over the top. It is that last part which has been the problem. Most people really like rich dark fruits. Most people like spice. Some people even like a little tapenade in their wine. This wine has plenty of the former and a respectable amount of the later two. Medium tannins and the secret ingredient, enough acidity to tie everything back together. This is the wine to reacquaint you with Australian Shiraz.

Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

Powell & Son has become a standout in Barossa for its classic Shiraz style with an elegant and refined twist. While there is the beautiful fruit quality the sunny climate of Barossa is known for in this wine, it is in no way overly rich or ripe due to the structure and restrained winemaking style of this family winery. The excellent farming techniques ensure this Shiraz is picked early enough to retain acidity to balance out the succulent fruit. One of my favorite examples of Shiraz from this area, it has become the new standard for Barossa.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

As an advocate for all alcoholic specialties, I'm a big believer in understanding the essence of any particular style before criticizing it. I have to admit that I thought I understood the nature of all Barossa Valley shiraz years ago after getting hit over the head with high alcohol, big jammy fruit, and loads of sweetness. "This wine just isn't for me," I remember thinking. My colleague Ryan Woodhouse, our buyer for Australia, has enlightened me over the last few years however and forced me to rethink some of my former prejudices. The Powell & Son Barossa shiraz is definitely big and powerful, but at no point is it out of balance of heavy-handed. In fact, it's deeply-concentrated, explosive, and lush on the palate with gorgeous aromatics and plenty of meaty undertones. "This is what REAL Barossa shiraz should taste like," Ryan would go on to say. Now I've changed my tune completely. The Powell & Son wines offer bold flavors and incredible complexity to any wine drinker. Fans of zinfandel or smoky syrahs will want to grab a few of these. They're at the apex of the category in my humble opinion.

2014 Powell & Son G-S-M Barossa Valley South Australia

2014 Powell & Son G-S-M Barossa Valley South Australia ($39.99)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Blended of 70% Grenache, 25% Shiraz and 5% Mataro. Medium garnet in color, the 2014 Grenache Shiraz Mataro has a pleasant earthy / meaty character over the core of dried mulberries, kirsch and spice box plus a waft of potpourri. Full-bodied in the mouth, it offers seductive spice cake and berry preserves flavors with velvety tannins and just enough lift from the freshness, finishing with great persistence. (LPB)" (06/2016)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "The Barossa Valley Grenache Shiraz Mataro combines all three of the great Rhone red varieties, harmonising the unique attributes of each variety into a complete wine. The blend is 70% Grenache from mature Grenache bush vines, with 25% Shiraz and 5% Mataro making up the balance. The parcels are matured for 15 months in 4,500 litre and 2,400 litre French oak foudres prior to blending and bottling. As the dominant component, Grenache offers powerful aromas of red fruits, kirsch and black cherries, complemented by mincemeat, leather, game and heavy spices." 93 points Wine Front: "Bold wine of concentration, meatiness and spice. Reeks of roast meats, mocha, maraschino cherry, briar and clove-like spice. In the palate, more of that slick, rich texture you’d expect from a Powell wine, imbued with more roast meat, smooth dusty tannins, liquid spice, orangey acidity and a firm, puckering finish. It’s serious and yet shows drinkability in youth. That said, give it a year or so before approach. Good, hearty wine. Winemaker Dave Powell is typically casual in his description of this wine, 'Mataro is out at Koonunga Hill, Grenache comes from a few sites, some older stuff, Shiraz from usual places. You know, it’s made to be serious, a step up, but also a good drink. And its got the varieties that go well here.' Powell and his son Callum are using a lot of large format oak barrels, foudres typically, and opting for wood that has been previously used."

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 01, 2017

Speaking with Dave he mentioned the some of the fruit sources for this wine had gone into MUCH more expensive wines at his former home (that shall not be named here...but you'll figure it out). I think the wine is a beautiful example of how this centuries old blend still delivers today and that the old vines of the Barossa can stand toe-to-toe with anything from the southern Rhone. Exotic spice notes, dark, saturated fruits, scorched earth, bramble, savory spices, gamey tones and leather. The tannins are ripe but have enough grip to give adequate form and structure. Again Powell & Son delivers power and decadence without losing poise and balance.

Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

This wine forced me to reevaluate my take on this blend from Australia. I have always enjoyed the wines but more often than not they are good reds with some complexity and while I enjoyed them rarely have I found myself thinking about how all the varietal work together. This wine had me jumping from layers of fruit and left me asking, Syrah? Mataro? Is that spice Grenache? What starts the flavor party? I love that you can taste and perceive the transitions. Delicious and intriguing one of my favorite wines of the year so far.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

This is another dynamo from our newly acquired Powell & Sons portfolio. The GSM is like a symphony of roasted meats, dark concentrated berry fruit, and peppery spice with rich and silky mouthfeel accented by dusty tannins and hints of earth on the finish. I can't say enough good things about all the Powell wines, but this one is the most seductive on the nose and palate. There's a lot going on and by the time I've satiated my thirst for more I'm finding the bottle is close to empty. A gangbuster of a GSM blend, pure and simple.

2014 Powell & Son

2014 Powell & Son "Loechel" Shiraz Eden Valley South Australia ($69.99)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Loechel Shiraz reveals notes of crushed black berries, black cherries and mulberries with hints of sage, lavender, dark chocolate and loam. The medium to full-bodied plate is youthfully taut and firm with finely grained tannins and lovely harmony finishing long, earthy and multilayered. (LPB)" (06/2016)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "The Loechel Eden Valley Shiraz is sourced from a single vineyard at the Southern tip of the Eden Valley township. It was planted half a century ago by the Loechel family to sandy loam and areas of quartz and gravel, over weathered mica-schist and at 400 metres altitude. The vineyard is planted on a steep Easterly aspect with high drainage and low yields, resulting in concentrated fruit and rich, complex wines. The vineyard is picked in three seperate components which are kept seperate throughout vinification. One third of the vineyard’s fruit is retained to produce the Loechel Shiraz which is determined at blending prior to bottling." 94+ points Wine Front: "It’s a wine that shows impact and concentration but never feels dense and heavy. The bouquet is attractive in currants, figs, faint sage notes and a clove-like oak character. The lush, controlled flow of fruit sit high in the palate on crushed rock tannins and pomegranate acidity, though there’s plenty of slippery-slidey dark berries, warm roast meatiness, sweet spice and lightly herbal accents. Impressive wine; weight and poise married. Good mouthful of complex red wine. One for the cellar too. The Loechel vineyard is an exceptional site, according to Dave Powell. It’s about 50 years old and not far out of Eden Valley township. It needed to be sung from the rooftops, he says."

Sharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 27, 2017

Do not assume that this old vine, single vineyard Shiraz is your typical bruiser from Australia. Yes, it is full-bodied but definitely not heavy. It packs a solid punch in the flavor department, with plenty of dark fruits like plum and blueberry, and lovely notes of sweet spices and dark chocolate. There's complexity, vibrancy, fine tannins and solid acidity that supports. This is a decadent wine that showcases what good fruit and solid winemaking can produce.

Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

This is a show stopper. A head turner. "what was I just say....?" This wine will go toe to toe with the best Shiraz/Syrah in the store. Dark, rich, complex, fantastically textured and a long, long finish.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 24, 2017

I'll admit that I'm a little late to the Aussie renaissance, but now that I'm here at the party I'm going to talk loudly. If you're not looking at the Southern Hemisphere for wine value right now, you're definitely missing the boat, especially with our direct import pricing on wines like Powell & Son. The "Loechel Vineyard" shiraz stands toe-to-toe with stalwarts like Yarra Yering and Rockford Basket Press as one of the best and most complex expressions of Aussie syrah I've ever tasted. It's a whirlwind of dark fruit, exotic spice, minerals, and cocoa, but it's never too much or over the top. Dave Powell became a legend during his stint at Torbreck. This wine will only elevate his status as a top winemaker in the world.

2015 Powell & Son Roussanne-Marsanne Barossa Valley South Australia ($39.99)

92 points Wine Spectator: "Rich, with smooth and creamy peach, apricot and Asian pear flavors, accented by spicy toast and a whiff of roasted fennel. The supple texture and detailed finish go on and on. Drink now through 2027. 150 cases made."

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Our Roussanne Marsanne is based on the style of the great Hermitage Blancs of the Northern Rhone Valley. We aim for richness, minerality and hedonism in this, our most premium white wine. The style is typically lower in acid and high in phenolic content, which provides richness on the palate and requisite phenolics to age. While floral, bright in fruit and pretty in youth this wine should age to become savoury, complex and decadent in years to come. Our Roussanne is fermented and aged in stainless steel to maintain acidity and fruit florals. The Marsanne component is barrel fermented in half new French oak. It is lees stirred and undergoes malolactic fermentation and matured in French oak. Aside from a minor bentonite fining, no fining or filtration is done to maintain the phenolic richness of the two varieties. They are blended together prior to bottling: the Roussanne providing the aromatic fruit profile and acid balance and the Marsanne adding palate structure and richness. The Roussanne Marsanne shows notes of butterscotch, honeyed citrus, stone fruit, white florals and apricot kernel. The palate is shows creamy phenolic texture, though not in the slightest part oily. Flavours of stone fruit and honey abound with light lemony acid to maintain the long finish. The wine finishes with white peach and subtle savoury ham hock, with persistent phenolics driving to the end of the palate."

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 10, 2017

A wine inspired by Callum's time working with Rhone icon Jean Louis Chave in Hermitage. This is an homage to Chave's legendary white Rhones. A rich wine with texture and weight but adequate acidity to keep it balanced and long on the palate. A tiny production wine, part fermented in stainless and part in new French oak. Only very minimal fining and no filtration to retain as much richness as possible. A wine that uses phenolics for structure and longevity. I'll be super intrigued to see how this ages...I suspect very well.

2015 Powell & Son Shiraz Barossa & Eden Valleys South Australia ($39.99)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Barossa & Eden Valleys Shiraz delivers expressive red currant, black cherry and crushed blackberry notes over hints of baking spices, garrigue, black pepper and lavender. Medium to full-bodied and very finely textured with silken, fine-grained tannins and plenty of freshness, it has wonderful length and depth. (LPB)" (03/2017)

93 points Wine Spectator: "Black walnut, dried porcino and nutmeg flavors are rich and compelling, set against a backdrop of plum and blackberry. Dark chocolate notes linger in the background on the long, firming finish. Drink now through 2030. (MW)" (03/2017)

2015 Powell & Son G-S-M Barossa Valley South Australia ($39.99)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Blended of 60% Grenache, 20% Shiraz and 20% Mataro, the 2015 Grenache Shiraz Mataro displays a medium garnet-purple color and nose of baked cherries, raspberry preserves and warm plums with a smoky/chargrill undercurrent and savory touch of yeast extract. Full-bodied with concentrated flavors in the mouth, it has a solid backbone of firm, ripe tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and savory. (LPB)" (03/2017)

2015 Powell & Son "Loechel" Shiraz Eden Valley South Australia ($69.99)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from the western section of a single vineyard in Eden Valley, the 2015 Loechel Shiraz from Eden Valley has a deep garnet-purple color and a gorgeous floral nose of roses and violets, with a whole array of baking spice-laced red and black fruit preserves emerging, plus some hints of cedar and chocolate box. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is youthfully taut, firm and muscular, possessing a solid structure of grainy tannins and lively acidity, finishing with those glorious baking spice layers coming through. (LPB)" (03/2017)

95 points Wine Spectator: "Decadent, with date nut bread, dark chocolate and espresso flavors that are accented with sandalwood and mahogany aromas. The creamy and plush cherry and plum flavors are extremely generous and expressive on the epic finish. Drink now through 2030. (MW)" (03/2017)

2015 Powell & Son "Brennecker" Grenache Barossa Valley South Australia - 0 available ($199.99)

98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from Torbrecks former Les Amis vineyard in Seppeltsfield (planted in 1901 and dry grown), the 2015 Brennecker Grenache sports a medium ruby-purple color and exotic spice notes over baked raspberries, cherry cordial and dried herbs with suggestions of anise, roses and tar. Full-bodied, rich and opulent in the mouth, the palate is silken-textured with seductive flavor layers and wonderful poise, finishing long and spicy. (LPB)" (03/2017)

2015 Powell & Son "Steinert" Shiraz Barossa South Australia - 0 available ($499.99)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "97+ points. Coming from a small (two-hectare) single vineyard with more than 120-year-old vines in the Flaxman Valley area of Barossas cooler Eden Valley, the 2015 Steinert Shiraz offers a deep garnet-purple color and very pretty red currants, black cherries and black raspberries notes, with touches of pepper and spice box plus fleeting wafts of roses. The medium to full-bodied palate is seriously intense, delivering ripe red berry and spice layers with a very long, perfumed finish. 200 cases were made. (LPB)" (03/2017)

94 points Wine Spectator: "Rich and expressive, with a wild, fresh-turned earth aroma, mingling with smoke and sandalwood details and blackberry and white pepper flavors. Presents dense and fleshy tannins. The espresso-laced finish makes for a complex finale. Drink now through 2030. (MW)" (03/2017)

2015 Powell & Son "Kraehe" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia - 0 available ($499.99)

99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From a tiny, one hectare, 110-year-old vineyard in Barossa Valleys Marananga subregion, the 2015 Kraehe Shiraz (pronounced kray) has a deep garnet-purple color and profoundly scented nose of blackberry and blueberry preserves, dried plums and mulberries with salami and fertile earth undertones, plus hints of marmite toast, asphalt and licorice. The full-bodied palate packs in the flavor layers with the voluptuous fruit superbly framed by firm, rounded tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with epic length. Give this sexy Shiraz another 2-3 years in bottle and drink it over the next 25+ years. 155 cases were made. (LPB)" (03/2017)

96 points Wine Spectator: "A lush, intriguing mix of wilted rose petal, gingerbread, dark chocolate and toasted caraway seed notes. Polished and velvety, with a core of black cherry and kirsch flavors, persisting on the long and complex finish. Drink now through 2030. (MW)" (03/2017)