Cause » Wine » Australian Wine » Eden Valley

Suffield Wines – Eden Valley

On our recent trip to McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, Barossa Valley and Clare Valley we had the pleasure of stumbling across the cellar door of Suffield Wines. Getting there wasn’t by design, it was a matter of taking a wrong turn down a road and pulling into the first winery we saw.

The story of Suffield Wines is much the same story as how we stumbled upon it. With no experience of winemaking or vineyards, Nick and Lyne bought the vineyard in 1998. At the time they were living in the US managing their businesses and bought the cute little farmhouse and vineyard with the goal of taking things easy. That never happened, but spending a short amount of time with Nick, that’s no surprise – he has an insatiable passion for everything and anything he mentions.

The house was run down, with dirt floors, no bathroom and in desparate need of attention. The vines too were in a similar state, left to their own devices for god knows how long. The house was run-down and the state of the vineyards were no better. The exact years of planting aren’t really available, but they estimate that the Shiraz and Riesling are around 80 years old. Neither of these have ever seen much irrigation, so they have deep root structures and a consistent harvest. Turns out the age and establishment of the vines were their saving grace, and with a bit of well placed pruning, some active maintenance and a lot of hard work they are seeing better days.

At the time the Suffield’s bought the vineyard, most of the fruit was sold by contract to Henschke. Since then, the have continued the contract selling but have started making an increasing amount of their own wines. Using a combination of minimal intervention in the wine making, the help of a contract wine maker, and great fruit the wines Suffield is producing are not only sensational but also great value.

The earlier vintages of Shiraz were heavy-handed and off balance, but age has treated them well and they are well priced. The newer vintages have been made with a far subtler hand and will mature into some crackers. The older Rieslings have the roundness which I love in older Riesling and the later vintages have fantastic acidity, almost to a fault. The 2010 vintage was bone dry, all citrus and acid and lacking in complexity – this Jim told us is the style that all Eden Valley Riesling are moving towards. Personally, I like a touch of residual sugar, it plays well with the acidity and lifts it.