Recently, I was fortunate to receive an e-mail where there were several Peter Lehmann wines at ridiculously low prices, so I decided to stock up. All were 2008’s, mature by retail standards, and thus needed to be consumed. I was certainly willing to help.
I first learned of Peter Lehmann when I read a review and purchased a bottle of “Clancy,” to-date one of the best wines I have ever tasted. It was so good I went 50/50 with a friend on a case.
For me the most notable attribute of a Lehmann wine is the nose. The term bouquet is appropriate here, because the aromas are just as beautiful as that of a floral arrangement. With Layers’, I got the aroma of plum. The time I invested with my nose in the bowl of the glass was time well spent. The color is a dark cherry, very pleasing to the eye, and demonstrated that nothing got past the vintner on this wine.
The wine itself is a Mediterranean blend of 40% Shiraz, 20% Mourvedre, 15% Grenache , 17% Tempranillo and 2% Carignane. They must have used a shoehorn to get all that into the bottle, but it’s when you taste the blend that you understand the name Layers. You literally experience each Layer; Shiraz delivers big fruit flavor and the plum aromas, Grenache gives the wine it hint of spiciness, the Mourvedre gives the wine it’s earthy flavors and the Tempranillo and Carignane deliver the taste of black cherry blends while mellowing everything into a wonderful harmony of a well-balanced, multidimensional wine.
Peter Lehmann, the “Baron of Barossa,” passed away on June 28th, 2013, at the age of 82. He was a member of a very select fraternity of wine-makers that really opened the world to wines from California and Australia. When talent finds terroir, magic can happen. Peter started working in vineyards when he was 17 at Yalumba Winery, which, by the way, is another outstanding vineyard. He was chief wine-maker at Saltram in 1960 before beginning his own shop, originally called Masterson, in 1979. His primary motivation for opening his own vineyard was to give local grape growers a place to sell their fruit. The 70’s were a hard decade in Barossa, and Peter lead the charge for the area’s rebound as a wine-growing capital. In 1982, the vineyard changed its name to Peter Lehmann Wines. Peter retired as chief wine-maker in 2002, and in 2003, sold the vineyard to the Hess Family of Switzerland. In his 66 years of producing wine, Peter had 50 wines rated 90 or better by Wine Spectator. The 2008 Layers scored a 91!
So look for Peter Lahmann wines. Bring home a Clancy, Layers, Chardonnay, or Shiraz and I promise you will enjoy whatever you buy. And when you do, lift a toast to Peter. And tell him Griffy says thanks!