The Oxenberry Range
Oxenberry wines represent the combined experience of over 120 years in viticulture, winemaking and geographical knowledge of the Scarpantoni family. With our premium Oxenberry range, the red wines in particular highlight the strengths of certain varieties in differing McLaren Vale geographical locations, and careful consideration has been made to make the best suited varieties of the region into their optimum style of wines rather than trying to make popular varieties into popular styles. To this end the wines will often be mixed varieties and will always be very limited in production.
Sermon Tree Chardonnay
Jack Of All Trades Tempranillo
Charles Hewett, the original owner of the Oxenberry Farm site, was a highly religious man. In the years before a church was constructed in McLaren Vale in 1844 (built by Hewett incidentally), he often held sermons for the local community on the Oxenberry property under a huge old hollow gum tree that once stood on the site around 100 metres or so along Kangarilla Road from the Oxenberry Farm cellar door. It is said the ancient hollow tree also provided shelter from the elements for the Hewett family before their house was built.
Chardonnay is still a relatively new variety in McLaren Vale,
with our first planting in 1982 being one of the earliest in the
region. Originally, we made the wine into a traditional
'Burgundian' style, complete with maturation in oak barrels.
After several years of production we realised that the natural
citrus/melon aromatics and crisp peach palate were being
smothered by the oak maturation; which detracted rather than
enhanced the wines. A decision was made back in 1992 to
produce a pure, natural style with very little or no oak
maturation and this is the style we’ve continued with ever
Our McLaren Vale Chardonnay is a very easy-going style of
wine, full of classic ripe Chardonnay aromas and flavours of
peaches, melons and lychee, with hints of grapefruit and citrus.
The wine has a full, yet lively palate, with 10% new French oak
giving the wine some nutty and toasty almond characters. This
adds length and structure to the wine. The finish is crisp and
clean, making it an excellent food wine and it matches well
with just about any foods you might typically match a dry
white wine to. Our favourite pairings tend to involve chicken or
fresh white seafood dishes (especially white fish, squid, prawn
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The Bullocks Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
Charles Hewett and William Colton, the original owners of the adjoining Oxenberry Farm sites noted in a letter dating from 1840 to the House of Commons in Adelaide the challenges they faced in settling the area. They mentioned the need for them to be ‘Jacks of all trades’ to get tasks done in building their homes and farms, as tradesmen and the like were very few and far between in Adelaide, and charged accordingly for their services.
A refreshingly different style of wine to those currently available in Australia; much more so European in its orientation, sitting somewhere between a Rose and a dry red, making it similar to a Chianti or Beaujolais, but still different, especially with the touch of Chardonnay added (5%) to the Tempranillo to create the appropriate balance.
The colour of the 'Jack' is a a vibrant purple red with bright highlights. Aromas of fresh cherries, raspberries and floral Turkish delight dominate and the palate offers more of the vibrant fresh cherry & raspberry fruits. The Chardonnay fills out the palate a little, adds a hint of stone fruit flavours to the cherries and berries of the Tempranillo.
Fine grained chalky tannins give structure, adding to the food friendly nature of the wine, making it a great match with an antipasto platter of cured Mediterranean hams, well-made pizzas, tomato-based pasta dishes and paellas.
With only 12% alcohol it’s lighter than many other reds and takes well to being chilled in a bucket of ice on warmer days.
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Two Tribes Shiraz Grenache
Early settlers of McLaren Vale such as Colton and Hewett from Oxenberry Farm
often needed the assistance of bullocks to move heavy loads when building
their farms and harvesting their crops. On one occasion bullocks were being
used to tow a cart carrying the coffin of a deceased man who had been buried
in McLaren Vale, but whose family had moved to Adelaide and wanting him to
be re-buried closer to them. The cart lost control when traversing a steep
hill on the way back to Adelaide and the coffin slid off the cart, killing
the driver in the process, becoming one of the extremely rare situations of
a dead man killing the living...!
The Bullocks is a classic interpretation of the quintessential red blend of
Australia. The McLaren Vale region has a long history of growing Shiraz and
Cabernet Sauvignon, and blends of the two varieties have made some of the
very best red wines in Australia's winemaking history.
The colour is a vivid deep purple with striking bright highlights on the
rim. The two grape varieties are clearly evident; the Shiraz (60%) offers
blackberry and plums and fills out the palate, the Cabernet (40%) gives
lifted dark berries, minty chocolate and an elegant tannin structure which
acts as a perfect foil to the fullness of the Shiraz. Raspberry fruit
lingers through the velvety and full bodied palate, ably complemented by
smoky vanilla oak.
A classic rich eggplant parmigiana would be an ideal match to this wine,
though it really is suited to a wide spectrum of foods including roast lamb,
beef or pork with plenty of roasted vegetables, or simply some good sausages
and better cuts of beef on the BBQ.
"The Cabernet Sauvignon in this wine has helped to give it a dry, robust character, which, coupled with the juicy power of the Shiraz, makes for a winning combination."
88/100 points, 4 stars for value - Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh
The Big Red Wine Book 2009/10
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Star Of Greece McLaren Vale Shiraz
Oxenberry Farm is the site of a freshwater spring which had long-been the
source of water for the local Aboriginal population and was named
Blackfellows Well by the early British settlers. It still exists on the site
not far from the cellar door is located and some large willow trees mark the
spot where it lies. Due to being the only constant drinkable freshwater
source for many miles, it was a regular meeting place for the 'two tribes',
British settlers and Aboriginals alike, and supplied water for the growing
community of McLaren Vale for many years.
A classic interpretation of a blend of grapes so ideally suited to the
McLaren Vale region. The Shiraz makes up 75% of the blend and has
predominantly been sourced from mature vineyards in McLaren Flat, offering
rich dark berry fruits and spice, which combined with the characters given
by oak maturation, also shows lovely dark chocolate aromas and flavours.
The Grenache component offers liqueur cherries, raspberries and contributes
heavily to the velvety soft tannin structure of the wine. The two varieties
working in harmony give the wine excellent balance, and the wine drinks very
well already but could certainly be cellared for another 5 - 8 years.
Very enjoyable by itself in a decent sized red wine glass, it would also be
an excellent match with roasted duck, pork or slow cooked beef and lamb
dishes. Try it with racks of lamb or beef roasted in a smoky kettle BBQ.
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The Trailblazers Cabernet Sauvignon
The Star of Greece was a part of a British-run fleet of ships transporting goods to and from South Australia during the formative years of the 1800’s. She ran aground in 1888 at Port Willunga during a storm so fierce it was described as a ‘one in one hundred years’, with only 11 of the 28 men onboard surviving.
The Star of Greece Shiraz has been carefully created from four separate low yielding vineyards in the McLaren Vale region, with the majority of fruit being sourced from two vineyards located on the coastal edge of McLaren Vale (near the wreck of the Star of Greece), and two very mature vineyards in McLaren Flat at the opposite end of the region. The coastal sites have given the wine perfumed cherry fruit and peppery characters with firm tannin structure due to the high limestone content in the soils. The more centrally located vineyards sites have contributed cinnamon spice, liquorice and blackcurrant/blackberry fruit flavours, with greater intensity and power than the coastal fruit.
The Star of Greece demonstrates the decades of regional viticultural knowledge of the winemaking team in the harmonious blending of the different vineyard sites, giving the wine distinct structure and balance and a great combination of flavours.
90 points - James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2010
8.6/10 - Max Crus, Grape Expectations, The Daily Examiner, June 2009
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The Right Nut 20 Year Old Liqueur Muscat
Named in honour of the pioneering settlers of Oxenberry Farm, the Hewett and
Colton families, who sailed from England to Adelaide in 1839 and then on to
neighbouring plots on land in the Southern Vales in 1840. In doing so, they
became the very first residents of what was to become McLaren Vale.
The Trailblazers Cabernet Sauvignon has been crafted from three distinctly
different vineyards spanning the McLaren Vale region. Our vineyard at
Maslin Beach features limestone soils with poor fertility, causing the vines
to crop at very low levels and give the wine intensity of flavour along with
assertive tannins on the palate. Our vineyard at McLaren Flat provides
depth and roundness and plenty of ripe dark berry fruits and cassis, and a
vineyard at the more elevated Blewett Springs subregion gives lifted
In effect, you feel the fruit from Maslin Beach, taste the fruit from
McLaren Flat and smell the fruit from Blewett Springs - demonstrating the
decades of regional viticultural knowledge of the winemaking team in the
harmonious blending of the different vineyard sites.
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The Duchess Late Harvest White
Early settlers of McLaren Vale were quick to identify the region’s Mediterranean climate as being perfect for grapegrowing and the production of high quality nuts. Almonds were soon found to be ideally suited and become ‘the right nut’ for the region. To this day, the annual Almond Blossom Festival is celebrated in the region every August.
This old Muscat has been carefully blended from wines sourced from a number of dusty old barrels tucked away in a quiet corner of the winery for 20 years or more. It’s the culmination of many years patient winemaking efforts, resulting in a deliciously rich and smooth wine with aromas and flavours of raisins, toffee, honey, roasted nuts and subtle hints of coffee, and makes a fine partner to high quality chocolates, various desserts, and nuts...
"This truly is a great find from the team at Scarpantoni (& Oxenberry). They discovered a few barrels that had been sitting at the back of their winery for 20 years, blended the best of them and came up with a gloriously smooth dessert wine with beautifully integrated spirit."
Tony Love - Taste, The Advertiser newspaper 27th Feb 2010
5 Stars - Winestate Magazine 2010 Annual (Best of SA)
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The Farmgate Range
The Farmgate range are what we consider to be our Oxenberry ‘house’ wines.
The first settlers of the McLaren Vale region, William Colton & Charles Hewett, left London in August 1839 having chartered The Duchess of Northumberland to sail across the globe and relocate themselves, their families and their staff to the Great Southern Land. They landed in Adelaide on the 19th of December and soon after arrived at what became their new homes at Oxenberry Farm.
Some of the world’s greatest white wines are made from Chardonnay and each year it produces reliably great wines in South Australia, providing an excellent basis for the ‘The Duchess’. This particular wine has been created as a sweeter version than typical, with aromas and flavours of honeysuckle, pears, apples and peaches. It has been made for those who like their whites a little sweeter, or simply when the time is right for something refreshingly sweet, such as when dining alfresco with friends and family on warm nights. Try it with fresh fruit salads, soft cheeses, or maybe with figs wrapped in prosciutto topped with a dollop of goats cheese.
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We intend the Farmgate wines to be enjoyed for exactly what they are: a Sparkling white, dry White, Moscato, Rose, a dry Red and a Sparkling Red, and therefore we have deliberately left the vintages and varieties off the labels. The wines have been created from classic McLaren Vale varieties including Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, with certain wines having percentages of other varieties to ensure the wines are easy to drink and true to style.
These are not wines to put away in the cellar, more so we have created the Farmgate range as great drinking, excellent value wines to be enjoyed anytime without fuss or guilt factor at home when friends drop by, or simply for having a glass or two with dinner each night.
The Farmgate Sparkling has been created from Chardonnay grapes grown in McLaren Flat, and the wine shows plenty of fresh white peach/stone fruit aromas and a subtle, creamy biscuity character which carries on to the full, soft, refreshing palate. It goes with just about anything, but best perhaps with creamy seafood dishes and crisp green salads, and is especially great when chilled in a bucket of ice and enjoyed simply by itself on warmer days: it’s the ultimate guilt-free bottle of bubbles.
The Farmgate White has been created in the classic dry white style and is bursting with fresh fruit aromas of passionfruit, honeydew melon and a limey citrus edge, with a medium-full bodied palate showing more of the same vibrant fruit characters. Best with a wide variety of seafood dishes and crisp green salads, and especially great when chilled in a bucket of ice and enjoyed simply by itself on warmer days.
The Farmgate Moscato is a vibrant white with lovely floral Muscat aromas, along with honeysuckle and gently spicy stewed fruit adding to the interest. The palate is vibrant, full and fruity with a lingering sweetness, and a gentle spritz keeps the wine lively and fresh. Best when chilled in a bucket of ice under the verandah in the great outdoors with fun, informal company.
This vibrant Rosé has been made in the classic Aussie style, and is a beautiful bright pink colour and is bursting with aromas and flavours of toffee apple, strawberries, cherries and good ol’ English boiled lollies, and leads to you think the wine is very sweet on the palate, yet it tends to show a little more restraint than might be first expected. The vibrant sweet berry fruit carries through to the palate, with a lick of sherbety acidity keeping it fresh and in balance. Chill it well and try it with Asian dishes, especially Chinese, but it really is great anytime.
The Farmgate Red has been created by blending of some of the traditionally best performing McLaren Vale red varieties to create an easy drinking, food-friendly style of dry red. Cherry Ripe aromas and flavours dominate the wine (cherries, coconut and dark chocolate), with subtle hints of pepper and dry spices adding to the mixture, and wine is very easy on the palate, making it an ideal red to have any time.
Farmgate Sparkling Red
The Farmgate Sparkling Red is a Shiraz dominant blend with a smaller percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon to add depth and structure, created mostly from premium fruit similar to what we would typically allocate to our higher priced premium reds. The wine has plenty of lively rich plum and blackberry characters and finishes as little drier than many other sparkling reds at the same price.
It was the highest point scoring sparkling wine at the 2010 McLaren Vale Wine Show just weeks after we first released it, and has been our most popular Farmgate wine since we released it in October 2010.
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