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Issue 146 - When grain and grape meet

Whisky Magazine Issue 146
September 2017


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When grain and grape meet

Something is stirring at McLaren Vale

For a young distillery, McLaren Vale has some very impressive tricks up its sleeve, particularly when it comes to casks.

You see, the fact that the Australian wine industry never suffered at the hands of the Phylloxera bug means that the nation has some of the oldest, continuously used vineyards in the world. This has meant that the country's burgeoning whisky industry has access to some seriously old casks, and by this I mean some are nearly a century old.

The $2.5 million distillery in the McLaren Vale wine region – best known for its bold shiraz – is on the brink of launching its first whiskies.

Founder and general manager John Rochfort moved back to South Australia after several years honing his craft in Tasmania, one of the premier whisky producing regions in the southern hemisphere, under the tutelage of Australian whisky legend Bill Lark.

The distilling team at McLaren Vale has embarked on an impressive programme of bottlings to show off the depth and history coming from this wine drenched region.

The Bloodstone Collection, a limited series of 20 collaborations between McLaren Vale Distillery and South Australian winemakers, aims to explore the flavours and impact of these high quality barrels.

The casks have to meet quite a strict criteria to be included in the series, which when you have something like a 90-year-old Muscat cask that continually held Muscat for the entire period of time, adds to the kudos of what Rochfort is trying to achieve.

He explains, ...

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