Australia has always been a frontrunner when it comes to New World winemaking. However, more than just the usual Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon that we know and love, there’s more to what the South Australia wine region has to offer — natural wines. Made with organically or biodynamically farmed grapes that are grown with little to no intervention, natural wines are produced with the simplest, most stripped-down method there is to winemaking.
Believing in the philosophy of making wine that reflect their place in the world, brothers Damon and Jono Koerner started Koerner and LEKO Wines. They thought that truly understanding terroir and variety would allow the best of their grapes to shine through – and in doing so, they got to showcase Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills as areas with unique climates that lend themselves to distinct wines.
With a long family history of living and owning vineyards in the Northern Hills area, the Koerner brothers grew to love wine and the process of making them. Taking advantage of the Clare Valley climate and its multiple wine sub-regions, they produce natural wines that are highly influenced by the area's soils and geography. Clare Valley enjoys a warm and moderate continental climate, with hot days are balanced by cool afternoons and nighttime breezes. This helps to keep the average temperature low, allowing grapevines to rest after the heat of the day, slowly ripening and adding character and complexity to the grapes.
Koerner Wine was established in 2014 with the intent to make unique wines from the Clare Valley, mainly produced from the Koerner family vineyard Gullyview. Additionally, they also sourced fruit from neighboring vineyards, Parish and Vivian – all fruits are grown within a 750m radius from Gullyview. With a focus on fruit quality and transparent winemaking, Koerner Wines are textural and approachable: light, fresh, and, easy to drink natural wine.
This Riesling is pale straw in color, with a racy acidity that makes it a very good food wine. It has medium-to-high fullness and longevity on the tongue, allowing its notes of honey, petrol, lemon drop candy, white flowers, and nutmeg to linger. Pair it with Thai Beef Salad, Seared Tuna with Sesame Seeds, or a Poke Bowl.
This skin-contact Vermetino is rich and round on the mouth. It is pale gold in color, with moderate acidity, body, and length. It has aromas and flavors of canned peaches, blood oranges, tea, cinnamon, and jasmine. Pair with Mexican Street Corn, Dan-Dan Noodles, or Orange Peel Shrimp.
This Grenache is pale ruby in color. It is dry with light tannins and has consistently moderate levels of acidity, body, and length. It has aromas and flavors of red cherry, pepper, and Chinese herbs and spices. Pair with Mapo Tofu, Chinese Short Ribs, or Fermented Soybeans.
This red wine blend is a deep ruby in color in the glass. It is dry with medium acidity, with firm tannins and medium-to-high body and notes of blackcurrants, blackberries, plums, violets, and pepper. Pair with Christmas Ham, Lasagna, or a Cheese Board.
LEKO Wine is the Adelaide Hills sister brand of Koerner Wine representing ‘Lenswood Koerner. In 2017, Damon bought property in Lenswood, which now houses the LEKO winery. The focus of LEKO is working with select vineyards primarily in Piccadilly, Balhannah, and Lenswood, and using varieties suited to the cooler climate.
This Merlot Chardonnay Rose is medium salmon in color, with medium acidity and light tannin. It has moderate levels of body and length, as well as aromas and flavors of orange peel, strawberries, nutmeg, and star anise. Pair with Eggs Benedict with Salmon, Polish Hashbrowns, or Uni Carbonara.
This Pinot Noir is pale ruby in color, with consistent moderate levels of acidity, tannin, body, and length. On the nose and mouth it has hints of ripe cherries, cherry cola, and a tinge of volatile acidity. Pair with Chinese Roast Pork, Duck L’Orange, or Jellyfish Salad with Century Egg.
With such a rich and diverse selection, LEKO and Koerner Wines are definitely worth the try for those who are curious or are looking to start their journey with Natural Wines. Shop the collection at the Winery.ph website!