Museum Wines: A Taste of Barossa History

Dig into Ron’s cellar of museum wines. Discover vintage finds from his last 25 years of winemaking. There are all kinds of red styles to suit different tastes and budgets. Who remembers Liebich Tempt Tempranillo blend or Thumb-press Cab Merlot (labelled Crackerjack for the first few vintages)? Are there any Potter’s Merlot out there? These are medium-bodied reds that are now super smooth. We’ve dusted off Liebichwein flagship reds The Darkie Shiraz and The Lofty Cabernet if you prefer rich, fuller-bodied reds.
Special museum stock of back vintage bottles are currently available, but in strictly limited quantities. There are select vintages in 750mL and 1.5L magnum sizes. Some vintages were bottled under both cork and screwcap closures since vintage 2002 as that season was such good quality, Ron wanted to preserve the concentrated fruit intensity for decades to come. Various back vintages under cork and screwcap have been opened in recent months and they are all still drinking well.
Do you need a unique gift for a special birthday? For a 30th we can offer 1993 vintage Shiraz or Rare Tawny 30 years old. For a 21st birthday, we have Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz from vintage 2002 which was an excellent season. We have magnums and bottles to suit anniversaries, end-of-year get togethers and Christmas celebrations.
Winemaking: All Liebich red are made using traditional techniques of hand plunging, basket-pressing with no fining or filtration for fuller flavour. Since vintage 2002, Ron decided to start using a mix of cork and screwcap closures on Liebichwein reds to preserve their concentrated flavour intensity and fruitiness even longer. There are some vintages where we offer a 2-bottle pack for you to do your own sensory comparison of cork vs screwcap. To learn more about how red wine develops as it ages, read our blog post.

 

Vintage comments, wine style and some history: 

  • 1998 – Cooler season, yet drier than normal year. Complex wines with good fruit weight and tannin structure to last the distance. Adelaide Crows win second AFL Premiership, The Wiggles first TV series
  • 1999 – Cooler season after a hot, dry summer. Complex reds with good fruit weight and tannin structure to last the distance. Y2K hysteria, Euro is first introduced, Referendum for an Australian Republic is voted down
  • 2000 – Wet spring with hotter and drier season. Concentrated reds from lower yields, medium-bodied wines. Sydney Summer Olympics, GST introduced, Mobile phone growth worldwide
  • 2001 – High winter rainfall, cool and even ripening in autumn. Exceptional vintage! Rich and complex reds, fuller bodied with magnificent mouthfeel. Apple releases iTunes, Sir Donald Bradman died, Movies – Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings
  • 2002 – High winter rainfall, cool and evening ripening in autumn. Another exceptional vintage! Rich and complex reds, fuller bodied with magnificent mouthfeel. Huge drought, Water restrictions, Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre opens
  • 2003 – Warm season, crops are lower than average. Wines with rich and ripe fruits, fuller bodied with firm tannins. Australia hosts Rugby World Cup, Brisbane Lions win third consecutive AFL Premiership
  • 2004 – Perfect slow and even ripening conditions. Best vintage this decade! Deliciously complex reds, excellent fruit weight, velvety tannins to age well. Facebook is founded, The Ghan’s first train trip from Adelaide to Darwin, Jetstar launches
  • 2005 – Mild, dry vintage with a hot spell in late summer causing compressed harvesting. Wines with rich and ripe fruits, fuller bodied with powerful tannins at bottling. ABC2 Digital channel launched, Australia loses The Ashes
  • 2006 –  Mild summer with cool autumn, even ripening. Elegant wines, great fruit weight and powerful tannins. Smoking banned in enclosed public places, TV in Australia turns 50
  • 2007 – No reds bottled. Kevin Rudd defeated John Howard to become Prime Minister after Howard’s 11 year stint
  • 2008 – Dry mild summer with a late autumn hot spell. Wines with rich and ripe fruits, fuller bodied with powerful tannins at bottling. Barack Obama became President of USA, Global Financial Crisis, iPhone 3G launch
  • 2009 – Cooler season after a hot, dry summer causing low yields. Elegant wines, more red fruits, savoury notes and medium-bodied than typical vintages. Black Saturday fires Victoria, Queensland floods, First MasterChef, Michael Jackson died
  • 2010 – Best Barossa rainfall in 5 years, moderate season. An outstanding vintage! Complex wines, excellent fruit weight and acidity with tight tannins to last the distance. Julia Gillard becomes Prime Minister, AFL Grand Final draw, iPad launch
  • 2011 – Cooler and wetter year, particularly in other wine regions. Elegant wines, more red fruits and savoury notes and medium-bodied than typical vintages. England wins The Ashes, Cadel Evans wins Tour De France
  • 2012 – Cool start to season, even ripening great for flavour development. Excellent vintage! Complex wines, excellent fruit weight and acidity with tight tannins to last the distance. William & Kate’s first newborn, Gangnam Style released by Psy
  • 2013 – No reds bottled. Tony Abbott became Prime Minister
  • 2014 – Challenging vintage, good spring rains, wet and cool February delayed harvest. Elegant wines, more red fruits and medium-bodied than typical vintages. Australia wins The Ashes, Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ released

Tasting notes from selected wines opened in Oct/Nov 2023:

  • Leveret Vintage 2002 (cork) – Cool start to season, even ripening great for flavour development. Excellent vintage! Complex wines, excellent fruit weight and acidity with tight tannins to last the distance.
  • Potter’s Merlot 2002 (screwcap) – Ripe dark cherries, tobacco, cedar, licorice, refreshing acidity with firm tannins still present
  • Potter’s Merlot 2003 (cork) – Stewed cherries and plums, silky
  • The Lofty Cabernet 1999 (cork) – Complex, ripe blackberries, cranberry, herbal, rich and fruity, soft acid and tannins, drinks younger than it is
  • The Lofty Cabernet 2001 (cork) – Complex nose, stewed rhubarb, dark cherries, sweet spice, silky with a really clean finish
  • The Lofty Cabernet 2004 (cork) – Complex nose, blackcurrant, perfume, licorice, tobacco, soft acid and tannins, still so much fruit
  • The Darkie 2003 (screwcap) – Complex, dark cherries, lifted spices, anise, balanced acidity, some firm tannins still present
  • The Darkie 2004 (screwcap) – Complex, concentrated dark fruits, sweet spice, integrated oak, tannins and fruit, still plenty of life left

Museum Wines Pricelist and Order Form  – download here.

All these rare museum wines will disappear fast. Wooden boxes and gift packaging with personalised notes are available for your special occasion wine on request. Gift boxes are sold separately.

Surprise your tastebuds with a hand curated Premium Museum Red 6 Pack.

The Lofty Cabernet Sauvignon – Museum Release

The Lofty Cabernet Sauvignon square

Liebich Lofty Cabernet Sauvignon is wine of great quality and character dedicated to Ron’s father, “Lofty” (Lesley Alwyn) Liebich (1916-1953) who was a man with high ideals. Produced in special vintages since 1992 when the cellar door was established.

Single vineyard wine sourced from the old 40 acre block, planted by Clarence Walter “Darkie” Liebich in 1969. Dead arm affliction reduces yield but enhances flavour as does the use of hand-pruning and minimal irrigation. The vines grow on heavy black biscay soil at Rowland Flat on the eastern foothills of the Barossa.

Special museum stock is released as it becomes available. The last vintage 2006 bottled under The Lofty label was a very good growing season resulting in an extremely low yield of 1 tonne per acre. Traditional techniques of hand plunging, basket-pressing with no fining or filtration were employed for fuller flavour.

A typical Liebichwein Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and enticing wine exhibiting violet and spiced blackberry fruit nuances perfectly balanced with the subtle oak after maturation for over five years in various aged French oak barrels. Super concentrated flavours and ultra silky tannins. This style of Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon will always be good drinking and will reward patience with bottle maturation for at least 15-20 years.

Liebich The Lofty Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintages released: 2006, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1995, 1992

Purchase special museum release Vintage 2004 here.

Thumb Press Cabernet Merlot

We are proud to present the 2012 Thumb Press Cabernet Merlot. Lovers of a good classic red blend won’t be disappointed. We named this wine in honour of Master Potter Hoffmann who settled on the Liebich property in the 1850s and left his thumb print on each of his creations. These perfectly paired varieties were grown on the Liebich property in the eastern foothills of Rowland Flat where heavier red brown black soils predominate.

Winemaking: This wine was hand plunged and basket-pressed, then spent 24 months in mainly seasoned French oak before being bottled without fining or filtration, to help preserve optimal fruit flavours. The 17% Merlot component delivers black cherry and mulberry blending seamlessly with the perfumed violet characters of the 83% Cabernet Sauvignon from low-yielding vines.

Taste Notes: Medium body, crimson brick red colour with brick red hue. Full ripe mulberries and cherries with a hint of floral violet entwined with soft spicy oak and a refreshing acid linger on the finish. A rich and rewarding mouthful! Alc. Vol. 14.5%

A wine of complete elegance and beauty from the excellent 2012 vintage. This wine was bottled under screw cap to immortalise the magnificent flavours beyond the life span of cork. Enjoy now and for at least 15 years, particularly with lamb and duck dishes.

All Vintages Produced: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012

Note that early vintages were labelled ‘Crackerjack’ instead of ‘Thumb-press’. The very first version was made using 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Subsequent vintages were roughly 80:20 Cabernet: Merlot blend.

Recipe: Caramelised Onion, Fig, Rosemary and Wine Sauce

 

 

 

 

Caramelised Onion, Fig, Rosemary and Wine Sauce

This quick and versatile sauce is more like a savoury compote. Excellent condiment for using figs, especially when you have had enough of sweet fig-based desserts. Serve as a sauce with roast lamb, baked fish, on pizza bases or like a relish. It’s just as good made with a full-bodied red wine or Port style wine.

Prep 10 mins  Cook 25 mins

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

500g brown onions, sliced thinly

1 cup fresh figs or 1 cup dried figs

1/4 cup wine (Liebichwein red wine or Tawny Port)

1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 tbsp Liebichwein Muscat Vinegar (balsamic vinegar can be substituted)

1 tbsp chopped rosemary or thyme (fresh or dried)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Prepare sliced onions and cut figs into quarters if using fresh figs.

Heat olive oil in large frying pan. Add onions and sprinkle some salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 20 minutes.

Stir in figs, wine, stock, vinegar and herbs. Increase heat to high and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

Add salt and pepper taste.

Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. Alternatively, freeze in small portions until ready to use.

Enjoy!

Liebich Museum Red Wine Tasting

 

We hosted some very special tastings at cellar door during the 2017 Barossa Vintage Festival in April.

Over our 25 years of business, Ron has been carefully stashing away a few cases of each vintage ever produced of our premium red wine range. What a treat it was for us to taste our museum stocks to see how they were travelling. Overall, they are all aging well and the following vintages were selected based on their greater intensity and developed varietal characters.

Winemaker Ron Liebich’s Comments:

The Darkie Shiraz

Vintage 1999 – A relatively cooler year produced a wine with everything you’d expect for Barossa Shiraz. This wine still show great depth of colour, fruit intensity and complexity. Developed fruitcake spice, smoky oak and lovely pepper hints carry through to smooth long palate.

Vintage 2001 – A great quality season helped the wines make themselves in the vineyard. A concentrated and full bodied Shiraz with magnificent mouth feel. Tight tannins still grip a little, but are nicely balanced with subtle woody notes and cherry jam sweetness. Beautiful development under cork. 2001 is holding up better than the 2000?s. Still has a few years to live.

The Lofty Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage 1998 – A superb quality season. This Cab still shows great depth of colour, fruit intensity and complexity. Palate is spot on with acidity and drying tannins contributing to a tightly structured, persistent palate. Drinking well now.

Vintage 2001 – A concentrated Cabernet with super fine tannins and a lack of any aggressive oak characters. The trademark style of Liebichwein Cabernet still comes through with ripe blackberries and intense floral violet notes. Palate is still fresh and amazingly long. Still has a few years to live.