It was an honour to sit with Eric Semmler on this podcast and craft these 2014 919 Wines Durif tasting notes for The Adelaide Show 180.

Eric was named Winestate Magazine’s Australian Winemaker Of The Year in 2013 and in the podcast he recounts the fateful afternoon when he got the phone call about his win.

Needless to say, Eric is very proud of the work his team does at 919 Wines in crafting wine from interesting varieties and, at the same time, lifting the benchmark for what wine from the Riverland stands for.

For a long time, the Riverland has been known for cheap, bulk wine, but Eric explains how his use of varieties more suited to the climate, like Durif, and an deliberate move to have low-yielding vineyards, is setting up the Riverland as an important wine region to watch.

2014 919 Wines Durif tasting notes

Firstly, wow.

This wine knocked our socks off.

Durif is a big wine (known as Petit Syrah in the USA) and it delivers a beautiful punch to the palate in this 919 Wines example.

Steve began his notes by asking us to imagine a thick blob made of black cherry, it comes out of nowhere and sinks into the palate, without being spongy. He said there is a lovely tautness from the tannic base, which also keeps it moving along the palate.

He said it is like a Christmas pageant with all the darkest fruits triumphantly parading straight through the palate.

Later he added that a haunting, lingering scent of savoury, red licorice appeared and Eric concurred, noting that aniseed is often noted in Durif tastings.

Here the whole interview and tasting notes from about three minutes in, here: