Tasting notes: Elderton (SA)

From South Australia's Barossa Valley

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Elderton Wines 2008 Elderton Command Shiraz

Elderton Wines 2008 Elderton Command Shiraz [©Elderton Wines]

Elderton Wines 2014 Elderton Ode to Lorraine
Cellar door at Elderton Wines in the Barossa Valley
Elderton Wines 2010 Command Shiraz


Elderton in the Barossa Valley creates balanced wines from vineyards in Nuriootpa, Greenock and the Eden Valley. These are wines that can be enjoyed in their youth or cellared for a more developed elegant flavour. They are also celebrated for being traditional examples of the best of the Barossa.

Lorraine and Neil Ashmead took over the property in 1979 when buying the rambling old homestead for their familiy. The surrounding 72 acres of vines were in a derelict state when they were "thrown in for free" with the house.

In took a few years and a tireless effort to restore the vines and in 1982 the first wine was made under the Elderton label.  In 1993 Elderton won the coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy and national and international success soon flowed.

Today the second generation of Ashmeads continues the tradition of producing fine Barossa wines, rich and and generous in style and taking the family business to another level with the opening of a new, homestead-style cellar door.

Here are tasting notes for some of Elderton's outstanding wines:


Elderton Command Shiraz

History: the Elderton Command Shiraz has established an enviable reputation since the first vintage in 1984. It is truly one of Australia’s best and most highly regarded Icon wines.

Accolades have come from the world over for vintages such as the 1992, which was chosen by the influential wine critic Robert Parker in his U.S. magazine the Wine Advocate as one of the world’s Top 80 wines.

The 1995 Command was awarded 95 points by Wine Spectator and placed in their Top 100 wines; the 2000 was awarded 97 points by the same magazine and placed 27 in their Top 100. The 1996 Command won the trophy for the best Shiraz in the world at the London International Wine and Spirit Competition.

The second generation of Ashmeads and Elderton Co-Managing Directors, Allister and Cameron, as the current custodians of a rare piece of Barossa Valley viticultural heritage, continue their parents' aspirations and expectations to produce a great wine of the world.

The Command is truly an expression of place, and one which the family intends to preserve for generations to come

Single vineyard information: 100% shiraz  on vines planted circa 1894, classed as centenarian by the Barossa Old Vine Chapter . Soil is deep allluvial silt over red and brown earths and limestone. 


2008 Command Shiraz (museum release)

Winemakers' comments: 2008 was a hot summer and one of the earliest vintages on record. The 2008 Command shows exceptional fruit weight more time in French oak than in the past. It will be a long-lived wine!

Tasting: blackberry, aniseed and spice aromas carry through to the palate which is rich, warm and generous.

Accolades: 94 points – James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2012, and 93+ points – Parker’s Wine Advocate #199, February 2012

Alc/vol: 14.5%

Cellaring:drink now or cellar until 2025+

RRP: A$110 per bottle direct from winery


2010 Command Shiraz (museum release)

Winemakers' comments: 2010 was mild year with a few hot weeks but harvest close to normal. The fruit was harvested by hand, with five small parcels harvested over four weeks to attain complex nuances.

Fermented in open top concrete fermenters with chilled ferments, hand pump-overs and cap submerging with oak header boards for eight days; the process finished with barrel ferment and malolactic fermentation in new French and American puncheons.

Tasting: just like the 2008 vintage, blackberry, aniseed and spice aromas carry through to the palate which is rich, warm and generous.

Accolades: Top 100 Australian Wines 2014, Matthew Jukes and Barossa Trust Mark for Command Shiraz

Alc/vol: 14.8%

Cellaring: drink now or cellar until 2025+

RRP: A$110 per bottle direct from winery


2014 Ode to Lorraine

History: a Cabernet/Shiraz/Merlot blend was added to the portfolio from the 1992 vintage. It was a belief that through blending only the best parcels of fruit from the Elderton vineyard, a truly wondrous and complete wine could be made that showed the highlights of the three grape varieties.

The decision was made from the 2002 vintage onwards for it to be renamed (from CSM) in honour of the co-founder of Elderton, Lorraine Ashmead. The winemaking team at Elderton believe this is truly the hidden gem in the Elderton portfolio of premium reds.

Vineyard information: estate grown on the Nuriootpa vineyard, with deep alluvial silt over red and brown earths and limestone. The fruit is sourced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot blocks planted between 1914 and 1985.

Winemakers' comments: Ode to Lorraine is a blend of the finest barrels of each of the Elderton Nuriootpa vineyard varietals. Each year, through meticulous work on the tasting bench, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and merlot is selected which best reflects the nuances of each variety.

The 2014 vintage is a blend of parcels, fermented in concrete open fermenters, with selected barrel ferments and press cuts, giving warm and generous fruit characters, spiciness and generous length, whilst still being a cabernet sauvignon dominant blend

Tasting: aromas of plum, dark fruits of the foret and chocolate come from this dark, ruby coloured wine. On the palate taste warm and generous fruit characters, spiciness and generous length in a rich and sophisticated wine.

Alc/vol: 14.0%

Cellaring:drink now or cellar until 2029

RRP: A$50 per bottle direct from winery


  • Barossa Valley (SA)

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February 20th, 2018
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