Geoff weaves magic in Adelaide Hills

Geoff Weaver (tastings) gives the impression of being a happy man, who enjoys working his vineyard at Lenswood in the cool, higher altitudes of the Adelaide Hills.

“Being your own boss is the greatest luxury in the world,”

he beams as we bounce around his vineyard on an open-top, two-seater farm vehicle.

“You don’t feel guilty about the time.”

He points out where the cabernet sauvignon vines were grafted over to sauvignon blanc, a pragmatic step, and joyfully boasts that he hasn’t irrigated his vineyard for about 15 years.

“I love unirrigated fruit,” he enthuses. “Vines don’t like being turned on and off.”

There is a big dam in the middle of the vineyard, which he proudly tells me is 515 metres, the top of the vineyard being 550.

“It’s a warm site in a cool region.”

Later, tasting a range of his wines in the little cabin, which is his second home among the vines, we look out on a vista that he would never tire of – across the vines and eastwards through the hills.

Weaver bought his block, which has 27 hectares of land, in 1982. He worked for Hardy’s for 24 years before leaving in 1992 and focusing on his own wines. He’s never owned a winery: he made his wines at Shaw + Smith (tastings) for many years, then the last two vintages at Tapanappa (tastings). He sells some of his grapes to the Croser family. The friendship is a long and strong one: Brian Croser, Weaver (and coincidentally Philip Shaw) were in the same boarding house at Scotch College, Adelaide, and he and Croser shared house later when they studied agricultural science at Adelaide University together. Their careers continued to track each other as they both started out working for Hardy’s (tastings). Later, both bought land and planted vines in high parts of the Adelaide Hills, Weaver at Lenswood just a few years after Croser in the Piccadilly Valley.

All the latest Geoff Weaver wines are excellent, even the pinot noir which is probably the most challenging variety, as it is everywhere.

We try some older vintages which testify that Weaver wines age well. The 2005 chardonnay is a ripper. His current vintage for chardonnay and pinot noir is 2012.

The unwooded sauvignon blanc is fine and aromatic, but as good as this is, I prefer the Ferus, which is his wild and barrel fermented sauvignon blanc. The 2014 is gorgeous: an object lesson for other winemakers in how to add complexity, depth and texture to this variety without swamping it with oak flavour. Ten years further down the track, the 2004 Ferus is still lovely: deep yellow, buttery, hazelnutty, full and soft and rich in the mouth.

And the rieslings… ah, the rieslings. I suspect riesling has always been Weaver’s favourite grape, and the 2013 and 2015 are both right on song.

“Riesling in the Hills is an extension of the natural austerity of Eden Valley,” he says, “we are to Eden Valley what Polish Hill River is to Clare.”

Weaver doesn’t make much noise, preferring to fly under the radar, but his wines are outstanding. My tasting notes have been posted on the app.

One thought on “Geoff weaves magic in Adelaide Hills”

  1. Chuck Hayward says:

    I have to say that his 1998 pinot was one of the more successful examples I had seen from the Hills and confirmed to me that pinots from Australia, and the Hills had plenty of potential over here in the States.

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