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.

Tempranillo & Petit Verdot | Barossa Valley

TEMPT is a red blend that was released a few times in the history of Liebichwein when the fruit was available. The wine is a unique blend of Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Tempranillo and Petit Verdot grapes have been planted on the Liebich property since 2000. The fruit grows in heavy red/black soils on the southern foothills of the Barossa Ranges. The Petit Verdot and Tempranillo vines are some of the oldest in the Barossa Valley region. Merlot came from mature vines over 20 years old.

Traditional techniques of hand plunging, basket-pressing and bottling without fining or filtration, all help to preserve the essence of fruit. All Liebich reds are vegan-friendly due to no fining. Older vintages are very low in sulfites as any initial sulfur dioxide has been used up over an extended time in bottle.

These wines were bottled under screwcap to immortalise the magnificent flavours beyond the life span of cork. Only small batches were made from select vintages over the years. Less than 2 dozen of each vintage remain from a stash of bottles that have been stored in cellar conditions.

All Vintages Produced: 2004, 2014

TEMPT Vintage 2004 – 73% Tempranillo, 15% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, Oak maturation of 8 months in French and Hungarian oak.

Deep, dark red with a brick red tinge. A wholly tempting fruit-driven style with pronounced raspberry and mulberry aromas. Berry, oak and mushroom flavours entwine with the soft fine tannins. A well balanced wine with great length. 13.7 % alc/vol

TEMPT Vintage 2014 – 44% Petit Verdot, 38% Merlot, 18% Tempranillo, Oak maturation for 18 months in seasoned French oak

Deep, dark red with a brick red tinge. A wholly tempting blend. Petit Verdot provides attractive berry fruits, Merlot rounds out the smooth body and a splash of Tempranillo adds depth and lengthens the palate. 14.5 % alc/vol

The Potter’s Merlot Story

The Potter's Merlot close up label Liebich

Potter Hoffman pottery colander

The Potter’s Merlot story is one about Potter Samuel Hoffmann, a master potter and craftsman who was the first settler on the Liebichwein property in 1848. Remains of his activities can be found today as shards in areas of the farm in Rowland Flat, but alas, very few whole pots still exist. You might be lucky to see some of Samuel Hoffmann’s pots on display in the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Varietal: 100% Merlot

Region: Rowland Flat, Barossa Valley

Vineyard and Vinification: Merlot vines were planted in 1989 and trained on 5 foot high single wire trellis system to maximise ripening the fruit. Vines are grafted onto two varieties of rootstocks and yield between 3 to 5 tonnes per acre depending on the season. Merlot fruit always shows opulent ripe mulberry and cherry flavours. Traditional winemaking techniques and subsequent maturation in various aged French Vosques and Nevers oak barrels result in Merlot wines of weight and complexity.

Vintages: Produced between 1998-2003 as a 100% varietal then the Thumb-press Cabernet Merlot was introduced into the range. The next 100% Merlot single vineyard wines produced were in 2008, 2010 and 2012 vintages.

Tasting Notes: Deep crimson in colour. A robust full bodied Merlot. The seductive nose of ripe mulberry and pomegranate aromas integrated draw you into the ripe fruit and spicy flavours. Fine-grain tannins, smooth viscosity and a long, rounded finish feature in this wine.

All vintages produced: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2012

Note: since 2002, both cork and screwcaps have been used to bottle these wines. A few select vintages are available as museum release 750ml and 1.5L magnum bottles.

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.

The Whole Shebang Red Blend

This red blend brings “The Whole Shebang” to the table from the Liebich vineyard.?The first release was so popular that Ron had no choice but to get back to the blending bench.

Ron has spent many hours perfecting this blend of younger and older wines from five varieties all grown on the Liebich property including Merlot, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir. All blending wines were basket-pressed and unfiltered to retain concentrated flavours.

A sensational value non-vintage red blend that won’t last long in anyone’s cellar.

 

Taste Notes: The nose is full of dark berries with well balanced spicy oak from older blend components. The palate is elegantly smooth and easy drinking with some refreshing sour cherry flavours.

 

RRP: $15 per bottle

Special price is $150 for 12 bottles.

Available for tasting at Cellar Door.

 

whole shebang crop 1