Peter Lehmann Senior Winemaker Ian Hongell

Around 30 of Toronto’s top sommeliers, restaurateurs, and other wine industry leaders gathered Tuesday evening at Edulis restaurant – formerly Niagara Street Café – for a rather special invitation-ony Peter Lehmann Trade Tasting. Hosted by Jamie Drummond and senior winemaker Ian Hongell of Peter Lehmann, the tasting focused on the age ability of the entry level Barossa Shiraz. A total of four Shiraz vintages starting from 1998 were presented.

The tasting got off to a start with two whites: The 2006 Wigan Eden Valley Riesling and the 2006 Margaret Barossa Semillon. Both wines were held back five years with the intention that they would be released in an optimum drinking window, which proved quite prudent in the end. With its combination of mature 80 to 90 year old vines and a superb white vintage, the Semillon came out on top, as the winner of all wines. As for the Riesling, it’s classic Eden Valley lime juice and a hint of buttered toast finished dry.

Moving onto the 1998 Barossa Shiraz, the hot growing season means this wine is still drinking quite well. With notes of Christmas pudding and stewed fruits – made in a reserved style – the 1998 growing season stands as one of the greatest Barossa vintages of the decade. The wine is drinking at its peak, making it very interesting to see the development of a 20 dollar aged Shiraz.

The 2002 and 2008 from cooler vintages both exhibit fresher fruit with mint and eucalyptus on the nose, although the 2002 displays a softer, milky Barossa chocolate.

The 2009 comes off of a hotter growing season, which resulted in more concentrated fruit, excellent structure and a hint of oak. At a glance, the four Shiraz wines are well crafted, which not only eradicates the myth of the jammy, alcoholic Aussie Shiraz, but also further emphasizes Australia’s role as a producer of wines with depth and character.

Although wine was the talk of the evening, the setting was an equal conversation starter. The staff at Edulis were in fine form, serving a beautiful tapas selection along with five other Peter Lehmann wines. Of the delicacies served, the duck terrine, savory, spiced nuts and an abundant cheese spread were most notable, contributing to the cozy and inviting ambience – a promising venue for future gatherings.

Glassware for the event was kindly provided by Schott Zwiesel/Fortessa Canada.


Derek Hersey is a longtime wine enthusiast and recent sales representative at BND, a fine wine and spirits agency based out of Toronto, Canada