First Growth is only produced when the growing season produces exceptional fruit quality, and when a particular vintage is deemed to have ageing potential beyond 15 years.
Traditionally, First Growth is predominantly made using Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from our Abbey vineyard, with some vintages containing a small portion of Merlot and/or Petit Verdot. It is a wine that proudly reflects the sub-region it is grown in, and is humbled by critical reviews including Langton's 'Excellent' Classification V, a 5-star winery rating from James Halliday and unfailing benchmark scores from international wine critics.
94% Cabernet Sauvignon / 5% Merlot / 1% Petit Verdot
Since the release of the inaugural 1988 vintage, First Growth has set a benchmark for superior wine quality in the Coonawarra region. It is a wine made without compromise, using only the very best viticulture and winemaking practices, and is only produced when a particular vintage shows exceptional fruit quality and is deemed to have ageing potential for a minimum of fifteen years. As a result it has garnered a reputation for outstanding cellaring ability and is one of the few wines to have featured in every Langton’s classification.
An optimal 2014 growing season in Coonawarra produced highly coloured, concentrated and varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Veraison occured in February with most of the fruit coming off in early April.
First Growth is made exclusively from Reynell selection Cabernet Sauvignon (cuttings from pre-phylloxera Bordeaux) grown in the very best sub-sections of Parker Coonawarra Estate’s Abbey vineyard. We have also included a small portion of Petit Verdot from the "95 Block' in this vintage.
Fermentation and extended skin maceration took a total of thirty-six days, before pressing to a selection of 100% new Barriques, sourced from renowned Bordeaux cooperages Sequin Moreau and Taransaud. Regular racking and further élevage in oak for twenty months has made a complex and tightly structured wine, with great potential to reward cellaring for more than twenty years.
This wine has rested in bottle under strict temperature controlled conditions before release.
Each vintage, small parcels of unusually intense, high quality fruit are produced from some sub-sections of our Estate vineyard. These special components are vinified separately with great care, before becoming integral parts of the final blend of Parker Estate's First Growth - our flagship wine. From only the best vintages, certain parcels with exceptional character are presented separately as a limited release, to intrigue and delight under this simple label.
74.4% Cabernet Sauvignon / 25.6% Petit Verdot
The 95 Block sub-section of our Estate vineyard is located west of the cellars and is planted with Reynell Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. These vines (planted in 1995) are original cuttings from Bordeaux, brought to Coonawarra before they were lost to France during the Phylloxera epidemic in the late 1800's.
The 95 Block also has four rows of Petit Verdot, which was harvested and co-fermented with the Cabernet Sauvignon following the exceptional 2016 vintage. Maturation took place in the finest French oak barriques for seventeen months before bottling in December 2017.
The Scarlett Block, situated on our estate 'Abbey' vineyard, is made up of 50 rows of Reynell Selection Cabernet Sauvignon planted in the early 2000s. These vines are original cuttings from Bordeaux, brought to Coonawarra before they were lost to France during the Phylloxera epidemic in the late 1800's.
The fruit from this block is of a consistent high-quality and as a result is generally earmarked for our flagship First Growth blend. Following the superb 2018 vintage the parcel from Scarlett Block stood out during the winemaking process and our winemakers subsequently decided to keep a portion separate to be bottled under its own label. As with it's 95 Block partner, the Scarlett Block Cabernet will only be made in particularly strong and vibrant vintages, where the conditions demand the block be handled separately.
'Small Batch Wine #2'
60% Ebenezer Sangiovese / 40% Coonawarra Cabernet
Each vintage our winemakers have the privilege of working with an incredible array of fruit from several premier regions across South Australia. While the majority of these parcels make their way into our range of wines, there are a few special barrels that are kept seperate, allowing them to experiement with various varietal, vineyard and regional combinations. These unique blends have come to be bottled under this simple label to be enjoyed exclusively by members of the Parker Coonawarra Estate cellar door.
S.B.W. #2 - Super Luigi - is made up of 60% Ebenezer Sangiovese and 40% Coonawarra Cabernet; an affectionate play on the 'Super Tuscan' wines of Italy which see non-indigenous grapes - often Bordeaux varieties - included in their blends.
The marriage of Coonawarra's Terra Rossa over limestone soils, with Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, has produced some of Australia's greatest and longest living wines. Wines released under the 'Terra Rossa' classification are made exclusively from fruit grown on the rich red soils of this infamous strip.
The invaluable elements of these soils crossed with the cooler-climate of the region combine to produce a range of wines showing wonderful fruit expression, complexity, elegance in structure and excellent cellaring potential.
Terra Rossa Merlot
Planted in 1985, the 1.5-hectare ‘Terry’ sub-section of Parker Coonawarra Estate’s Abbey vineyard has again grown fruit that showcases the potential of Coonawarra Merlot. These thirty-four year old vines are consistently low yielding, producing fruit with piercing flavours and considerable depth.
The Merlot was held on skins for nine days for fermentation, prior to pressing and filling to fine-grained French oak barriques, (20% new, 80% third-fill), for a total of eighteen months barrel maturation.
Terra Rossa Shiraz
Terra Rossa Shiraz is sourced from old-vine material grown on the Kidman family property down the northern end of Coonawarra. This area of the region produces Shiraz with plenty of cool climate spice and red fruit nuances due to the slightly warmer temperatues.
To enhance integration, ageing potential and overall aromatics the blend was open top fermented. Majority of the blend also completed malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks - to promote colour and vibrancy - before being transferred to barrel. Élevage was carried out in majority third-fill (75%) French oak Barriques and Hogsheads for twelve months.
This wine is a classic example of cool-climate Shiraz, highlighting the elegant fruit notes alongside gentle supportive, fine-grained tannins and a smooth lingering finish.
Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon
Our Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a total of seven separate and unique Cabernet Sauvignon blocks on our Parker Estate ‘Abbey’ vineyard in Coonawarra. We have also included some old-vine material from the Wetherall and Kidman family blocks along the terra rossa strip.
Following harvest in late April, the parcels were fermented in a combination of open and closed fermenters to control aromatics. Whilst most of the fruit underwent a 10-day-ferment, there was a small portion which stayed on skins for almost 30 days to extract extra colour and tannin for ageing potential.
Maturation took place in majority third-fill (80%) French oak Barriques and Hogsheads for fourteen months, before final blending and bottling. The result is another classic Cabernet from the rich red soils of Coonawarra.
The Coonawarra Series represents a logical extension to the long established Terra Rossa and First Growth labels. The Shiraz is made from fruit grown at the northern end of Coonawarra’s famous cigar strip of Terra Rossa soil. Whilst the Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced predominantly from the Williams vineyard in Southern Coonawarra, only a short five minute tractor ride from the Parker Estate Abbey vineyard. The Coonawarra Series wines have a generous and approachable flavour profile in their youth, yet like all Parker wines, retain the ability to age with careful cellaring.
Coonawarra Series Shiraz
This is the seventh vintage of our Coonawarra Series Shiraz, and unlike its Cabernet Sauvignon sibling, this wine is sourced from fruit grown on the red soils in the earlier-ripening northern part of Coonawarra. Following harvest, in March 2018, the grapes were fermented in closed static fermenters, with fruit remaining on skins for 8 - 10 days to increase flavour, tannin and colour extraction.
Maturation took place in second-fill French oak Barriques and Hogsheads for eight months maturation before bottling.
The Coonawarra Series Shiraz is made in a ripe and generous style with elegance and spicy varietal characteristics, typical of this cool climate region.
Coonawarra Series Cabernet
The 2018 Coonawarra Series Cabernet Sauvignon is made from fruit sourced from three vineyards throughout Coonawarra. Majority comes from southern Coonawarra, including parcels form our estate ‘Abbey’ vineyard and also our viticulturist Brett Williams’ vineyard. Completing the blend is fruit from Tim Kidman’s property in northern Coonawarra.
Above average winter and spring rains led to good soil moisture, setting up the vineyards for a strong vintage. Late spring was warmer than average and January and February were dry which resulted in low disease pressure. A cool March allowed for extended ripening, leading to high quality grapes
When John Parker came to Coonawarra in 1985 from his home in New South Wales, be brought an uncompromising approach to Cabernet Sauvignon that set a new quality benchmark in the region.
The Malbec component of this wine is sourced from outside the region and interlopes to similar effect. It's thick skins produce almost translucent magenta colours and incredibly bright fruit flavours, making it an ideal blending partner for the more structured Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon
Interloper Cabernet Malbec
The Cabernet portion of Interloper is sourced from Coonawarra, specifically our viticulturalist Brett Williams vineyard located directly behind the Parker Estate 'Abbey' vineyard. Whlie the Malbec interlopes from the Lienert family vineyard in the Barossa Valley.
Following open-top fermentation the 85% Cabernet and 15% Malbec blend was transferred to second-fill French oak Barriques for 22 months maturation.
The resulting Interloper Cabernet Malbec is a fresh and juicy style of wine, showing a well-balanced palate of vibrant acidity, lush red fruits and a bramble savouriness that aptly reflects the region.
While the Terra Rossa soils of Coonawarra are renowned for full bodied red wines, the cooler climate of the region lends itself well to lighter aromatic styles. Fruit with high natural acidity and vibrancy of flavour results in fresh, lively and crisp wines.
Our 2019 Rose is made from fruit grown on a small vineyard upon the terra rossa strip, just north of the Parker Estate Cellars.
The grapes were picked in early March, then pressed after 6 hours on skins. A whole-solids ferment at low temperatures was carried out in stainless steel. The free run juice was fermented separately to light pressings before a portion being blended back prior to bottling.
The result is a fresh and bright Rose which shows considerable fruit notes yet delivers a steely dry finish.
Fruit for the 2016 Coonawarra Chardonnay is predominately from the Williams Vineyard located approximately 5 minutes, by tractor, north of Parker Coonawarra Estate's Abbey vineyard, with the balance sourced from a single vineyard on V&A Lane.
A dry winter and warm spring in 2015 led to an early '16 vintage in Coonawarra with all fruit being crushed by March 31st. Following harvest the fruit was pressed off skins straight away before a third of the blend was transferred to new French oak Barriques. 33% of these barrels went through malolactic fermentation before the alcohol ferment to tighten the structure of the wine and add complexity.
The remainder of the blend was fermented in stainless steel tanks to enhance freshness and vibrancy, before being blended with the oak portion to create the 2016 Coonawarra Chardonnay.
Early Release Shiraz
Fruit for the 2018 Early Release Shiraz was sourced from Tim Kidman's north-eastern Coonawarra vineyard, located just south of Comaum Forest (also known as Wombat Country)
The grapes were selectively harvested in the vineyard and put to 10T open stainless steel fermenters in very cold temperatures. This gives the fruit a semi-cold-soak to draw out more colour without heavy tannin extraction. The wine was then inoculated with Melody yeast which mimic’s a natural wild ferment but with a little more precision to promote delicate flavours, savouriness and floral aromatics. The Shiraz stayed on skins for 6 days and before fermentation was finished it was pressed off skins to avoid excessive tannin and phenolic extraction. Fermentations was finished off in stainless steel, with zero oak influence.
The Parker Early Release Shiraz is a spicy and vibrant cool climate Shiraz that is perfect to drink now.