Feature Coverage

Grant Burge Launches Nebuchadnezzar Shiraz-Cabernet Blend


Contact: Lisa Mattson, Wilson Daniels Ltd.

(707) 967-1827 or lmattson@wilsondaniels.com


It is not surprising that Grant Burge chose the name of the greatest of all Babylonian kings, Nebuchadnezzar, to grace his new Shiraz-Cabernet.

After mastering the art of fine Barossa Shiraz, he is now turning his attention to making a monarch out of this classic Australian blend.

“Shiraz has become the prince of Australia’s red wines over the last decade due to its easy drinkability and consistency,” Grant said. “The wonderful thing about Shiraz is its broad consumer appeal – what you see is what you get.

“However, I think that popularity has taken the focus away from the regal attributes of Cabernet, the way it evolves and grows and develops as it ages.”

Using the memorable biblical name of King Nebuchadnezzar fits with the rest of the Burge stable – Meshach and Shadrach, for example, were two of the nobles cast into the fiery furnace by the Babylonian despot, because they wouldn’t bow down to his image.

But Nebuchadnezzar the wine has much more earthly aspirations.

“The Shiraz Cabernet blend is distinctively Australian,” Grant said. “We are the only place in the world which has maintained this style, since Bordeaux discontinued the practice as a result of their classification in 1855.

“I think it is a great expression of the two varieties, where the sum is greater than the individual parts, but there are not as many super-premium examples being produced anymore.

“In our rush to embrace new varietal blends we have overlooked our traditions.”

Grant said he had been planning to add an icon Shiraz-Cabernet to the Burge stable for a long time, but it had only been in the last few years that he had access to the right fruit from his new Corryton Park Vineyard in Eden Valley.

“Our Barossa floor Cabernet is very distinctive – big, rich and chocolatey – but in a blend with Shiraz, I think you need Cabernet which shows more intense varietal character, in the blackcurrant/berry fruit spectrum.

“We produced several trial blends, using wine set aside for Meshach Shiraz and Shadrach Cabernet, with different French and American oak treatments and while they were big and complex, I didn’t think it created the style I wanted.

“Nebuchadnezzar is a totally new blend combining the richness of Barossa floor Shiraz with the elegance of cool climate Cabernet.”

Grant said that since he and Helen purchased historic Corryton Park in the early 1990s, they had been waiting for the new vineyard plantings to mature.

“Corryton Park grew wine grapes as far back as the 1870s, and the wines were medal-winners in the United Kingdom,” Grant said.

“However, it was too cool to grow the ripe fruit needed for fortifieds, so for more than a century the property went back to sheep grazing.

“I knew it would be a great site for Bordeaux varieties, and I’m very excited about this first wine with a Corryton Park influence.

“We are very lucky having a chance to work with fruit from the cool climate Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley. It gives us a lot of flexibility and means that we are less likely to have spasmodic fluctuations in style and quality.”

Grant said Nebuchadnezzar is a blend of 55% Shiraz and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. The cool climate Corryton Park fruit was left on skins for 30 days longer than normal to provide optimum fruit flavour and intensity. It was then matured in fine grained new, second use and third use French oak hogsheads for 18 months.

“It is quite a dry, austere wine at the moment, tight and concentrated. It has a fantastic, deep red crimson colour and complex nose of stewed fruit, prunes, spices and ripe raspberries.

“I’m particularly pleased with the fruit and oak integration giving intensity to the palate and a long finish with fine tannins.

“It should grow and develop in the bottle for a decade and a

September 1, 2005
Grant Burge Launches Nebuchadnezzar Shiraz-Cabernet Blend