The present-day Australian wine industry is the result of a Game of Thrones saga that began in 1961, initiated by international buyers with no knowledge of wine. One minnow was Baileys of Glenrowan, which after 102 years of family ownership was sold to Davis Consolidated in 1972. History repeated itself with Baileys passing between Rothbury Estate, Beringer Blass, Foster’s, Treasury Wine Estates and (in December 2017) Casella Family Brands.

Paul (Bear) Dahlenburg has seen it all since 1995. He was, and continues to be, a loyal employee of Baileys, ever affable and with a wide circle of friends. He is a lover of old vines, viz Baileys with blocks of 1904 and the 1920s shiraz. In the mid-1990s he came across the remnants of Dulcie’s Vineyard planted (mainly) to shiraz in 1890. Through persistence, a handshake lease in 2009 saw him begin the painstaking vine-by-vine rejuvenation of those still alive.

In 2010 he and partner Laurie established Eldorado Road and began planting 2.5ha of nero d’Avola and 1.5ha of durif on their 30ha farm. They hit the ground running by purchasing small quantities of those varieties, and sourcing shiraz and chardonnay from Beechworth where the cellar door is run by family members. Their son Ben, with a degree in Environmental Science and a Master’s of Oenology and Viticulture, returned to the business in 2006, while sisters Jessee and Darcee, with a graphic design background, join Laurie at the cellar door and running the highly successful Inner Sanctum Members Club.

In best Dahlenburg fashion, on a visit to the Ciavarella family’s vineyard, Ben learnt that they had closed the estate winery, selling their remaining stock of bottled wines. What use was being made of the winery? The answer was nothing, and yes, they would be very happy to lease it to the Dahlenburgs.

2018 Eldorado Road Quasimodo Nero d’Avola Shiraz Durif

Super-bright colour; an unusual blend that immediately announces it’s fresh and fragrant on the bouquet, and dances on the medium-bodied palate with spicy red and purple fruits, the flavours lingering for minutes, yet the tannins are largely sidelined – remarkably so. 13.6% alc, screwcap 96 points, drink to 2038, $29

2019 Eldorado Road Comrade Nero d’Avola

The light, bright red hue commands attention from the word go. It’s only medium-bodied – just as Nero should be – and presents a juicy and fresh blend of cherry, plum and supple tannins. Its freshness is the gift of the modest alcohol and a light hand in the winery. 13.1% alc, screwcap 96 points, drink to 2038, $37

2018 Eldorado Road Onyx Durif

Dense opaque colour; a powerful wine that immediately puts a stake in the ground. It is not the least bit extractive, and its massive black fruits aren’t about to forfeit their varietal inheritance of luscious, velvety mouthfeel and warm finish. 14.5% alc, screwcap 95 points, drink to 2050, $37



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