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.

How Does Red Wine Age in Bottle? Cork vs Screwcap

Liebichwein red Darkie Shiraz cork screwcap

What happens as red wine ages in the bottle? The ageing of red wine in bottle can be affected by many factors including the type of seal used. At Liebichwein we have chosen to use both screwcap and cork for our reds and often do comparative tastings with fascinating outcomes.

Here are a few ways in which cork and screwcaps differ for wine:

  • Oxygen exposure – The key difference between screwcaps and corks is the amount of oxygen exposure that the wine receives during ageing. Cork seals allow a little bit of oxygen into the bottle over time, while screwcaps are a much more airtight seal. So wines under cork with slightly more oxygen ingress will tend to age faster. Tannins become softer, acidity mellows, and flavour complexity develops faster for reds under cork.
  • Consistency – It’s true that screwcaps are so popular now as they are more consistent than cork, which can vary in quality and consistency. Wines with screwcap are less likely to be affected by issues such as cork taint or oxidation, which can affect the wine’s flavour and aroma.
  • Ageability – The long-term ageability of wine with screwcap vs cork seals is still widely debated among wine experts. While some believe that screwcap-sealed wines may not age as well as cork-sealed wines, others argue that screwcaps can provide a more consistent ageing environment, which can lead to more predictable aging patterns.
  • Flavour preservation – Screwcap seals are perfect for preserving fresh fruit flavours of young red wines and wines to be consumed in their youth. Research has shown that cork seals may allow more rapid development of tertiary aromas and flavours such as dried/cooked fruits, leather and earthy notes.

In a nutshell, the development of bottled red wine will depend on a range of factors, including the wine style, grape variety, storage conditions, cellaring time, and personal preference. While screwcap seals are commonplace in recent years due to their consistency and effectiveness at preserving fruit flavours, many wine enthusiasts (and winemakers like Ron Liebich) still prefer the traditional cork seal for its perceived ability to enhance ageing potential and develop complex flavour profiles.

From time to time, we offer museum tastings where we can compare the same vintage sealed with cork and screwcap. Get in touch if you’d like to try this for yourself and we’ll dig out some bottles from the Liebichwein cellar.

Read more about our flagship museum red The Darkie Shiraz and purchase a vertical pack of three different vintages here.

Barossa Wine Show Trophy Win

We’re absolutely thrilled with results from the Barossa Wine Show 2018. Ron has outdone himself picking up a Trophy for Museum Fortified for the second year in a row. Rare Tawny was crowned Best Museum Red Fortified. Last year saw Rare Semillon get a similar honour in the Best Museum White Fortified Class.

All entries from around the Barossa region were such high calibre, we’re proud to be among the same company. Congratulations to all other medal and trophy winners.

Other Liebichwein medal winners:

  • Rare Frontignac = SILVER (yet to be released)
  • 2018 Vintage Fortified Petit Verdot (baby VP – yet to be released) = BRONZE
  • Classic Muscat = BRONZE
  • Lovely Sparkling Pinot Noir NV = BRONZE

 

 

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.