Just before Christmas I bought a few “cheap” half cases from Tesco to bulk up my wine supply. One was a Peter Lehmann Barossa selection. I quite like their “Clancy” blend so I was interested to try this out.
The Peter Lehmann website is excellent with lots of information about his wines plus an explanation about his “Queen of Clubs” labels.
According to renowned Barossan artist, Rod Schubert, the Queen of Clubs is “the gambler’s card”. Indeed it was a great gamble that Peter Lehmann took when founding the company during the turbulent, uncertain times of the late 1970s and early 1980s as the Australian wine industry was faced with international competition and a grape surplus.
Peter Lehmann is a great fan of American author, Damon Runyon, who created memorable characters modelled on the colourful characters on New York’s fringes.
At this tumultuous time and inspired by one of Runyon’s more engaging characters, the gambler, Sky Masterson, Peter Lehmann said “If anything’s a gamble, this is, so we’ll call the company ‘Masterson’ – ‘Masterson Barossa Vignerons’”.
Although trading as Masterson Barossa Vignerons until 1982, Peter Lehmann’s name was always on the label, with the Queen of Clubs proudly featuring as the logo.
In 1982 the company name was changed to Peter Lehmann Wines. In 1996 the Queen of Clubs took on a new, exciting personality for each of the wines, reflecting their individual style and character.
I quite like the style myself, mixed with interesting bottle shapes. Is the wine any good though?
The website tell us…
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, two of the world’s great red wine varieties, flourish in the Barossa.
As single varietals they have made their mark, but blended in carefully selected proportions, each brings to the other an added dimension to give a red wine of classical breeding and distinction.
2004 was an exceptional red wine vintage in the Barossa, giving wines with superb fruit definition, structure and finesse. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, this wine is deep black garnet in colour with a bouquet of soft chocolate, dark plum and violets.
I was looking forward to trying this. You all know my love of Merlot so the blend of that and the “king” of grapes, cab sav, was an interesting prospect. I drank this both with and without food but the food wasn’t strong and hearty so the 70% cab sav came through a bit harsh. My wine notes say…
Hmmm, okay I suppose, the cab sav overpowers the merlot a little too much. Strong and a bit overpowering, wrong food?
Even given the wrong food choice I still reckon this wine lacked a little… class? It seems a bit too much “in you face” without having the subtle plummy undertones you’d expect with a wine containing Merlot. I’d have it again but this will have to be ranked as a 3 star, average wine.
Peter Lehmann Barossa Cabernet Merlot