Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards

The Kay Brothers Amery estate has a long history having been established by Herbert and Frederick Kay in McClaren Vale, South Australia, in 1891. The first grape harvest took place in 1895 and it is now the oldest winery in the region still being run by descendants of the original founders. The family run estate produces benchmark Shiraz wines, for which it is most famous, as well as smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Mourvedre (Mataro) and Muscat Blanc. The philosophy of winemaker Colin Kay is dedicated to making rich, full-bodied and fruit-driven wines that are made using the original open fermentation tanks and basket press with the maturation of the wines taking place in small oak casks, or barriques as they are known in France, with a mixture of French, American and Bulgarian oak being used. Kay Brothers Amery wines have a long award-winning history which frequently score in the mid to high nineties as judged by the world's top wine critics.


Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards

The Kay Brothers Amery vineyards comprise 22 hectares of vines many of which are looked down upon from the stunning hill-top winery location which is situated about 3 miles from the small town of McClaren Vale. This winery's famous "Cellar Door" is renowned throughout the wine world for the friendliness of its welcome and its vinous hospitality. It is a listed Australian Heritage Site, closed only on Christmas Day and Good Friday, at which visitors are invited to sample the premium wines produced by the estate and also inspect the meticulously compiled diaries which document each day of the winery and vineyard's history since 1891.

The vineyards consist predominantly of ironstone gravel mixed with some loam, quartz and clays and are nestled between the foothills of the Mount Lofty mountain range and the coast. The climate is best characterised as a warm temperate one where the winters are cool and moist but frost-free and the summers are dry and warm - ideal for grape cultivation. Approximately 12,000 cases of wine are produced by the estate each year.


Kay Brothers Amery Wines

block 6 grapes The grapes for Kay Brothers Amery wines are all hand-picked and represent the finest quality at each price-point. The top wine is undoubtedly the Block 6 Shiraz which is still made from the fewer than 2 remaining hectares of the original vines planted in July, 1892. Today the quantity of grapes produced by these vines is very small but the quality is equally high. The winemaker himself describes Block 6 Shiraz as being "...a wine of great strength, deep complexity and amazing beauty." Tasting notes make reference to black fruits, fruit cake, bitumen, liquorice and black olives. Block 6 Shiraz can age gracefully for many years with foremost Australian wine commentator James Halliday noting that the drinking window of the 2010 will be open for 40 years. Wine writer Matthew Jukes wrote "..Block 6 is one of the legendary vineyards of Australia and the fact that this wine can be bought for a two figure sum is, frankly, baffling." This is certainly a wine to lay down for very special occasions.

The Hillside Shiraz is another big, full-flavoured red wine. Its east-facing vineyard looks down on that of the Block 6 and in 1992 replanting began with cuttings taken from the century old Block 6 vines. With a similar geology to its more famous relative the Hillside Shiraz delivers the big, powerful palate of the best McClaren Vale reds with particular mention made of ripe dark berries, bitter chocolate, mocha and roasted nuts - especially chestnut. The nose displays some oak together with the dark fruits already mentioned. This is a well-structured wine with ripe, rounded tannins that will keep well for ten years or even longer.

basket pressThe Basket Pressed Shiraz is, just like its more illustrious stable-mates, produced from grapes sourced solely from the Amery vineyards, fermented in open tanks and then subjected to gentle basket pressing before maturing for a minimum of 20 months in a mixture of French, American and Bulgarian oak. This red wine offers a taste of the quality of the Kay Brothers Shiraz wines but at a more affordable price point. The 2011 release had aromas of black cherry, mint, pepper and caraway seed while the palate revealed ripe black and red fruits with a pronounced streak of acidity and soft, well integrated tannins

The Cuthbert Cabernet is the premium Cabernet Sauvignon wine launched to honour the memory of Cuthbert Kay (1914 - 2001) who, apart from service in World War 2, spent his whole life at the Amery homestead and was responsible for the expansion in plantings of Cabernet vines. The Cuthbert Cabernet is only made in the best vintages and to date there have been just five deemed worthy of bearing the name. Tasting notes for the 2010 mention "intense mulberry and blackcurrant fruit" with mint, liquorice and cigar box notes. Together with sweet toasty Bulgarian oak, spicy cinnamon and crunchy acidity this is a classic Australian Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

The Cardinal's Cellar is in the fortunate position of being able to offer a selection of Kay Brothers Amery wines and vintages from this archetypal McClaren Vale winery. The traditional methods employed help to express the fruit character of the grapes which is always the prime goal of this producer. As the prices of the top wines from many classic wine producing areas reach stratospheric heights thanks, in part, to avid interest from the Far East, this is a winery that is producing affordable top quality wines even at the very top of its range.


Kay Brothers Cellar Door - Basket Press Shiraz & Liqueur Muscat



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