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.
92% Cabernet Sauvignon / 8% Merlot
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 2013 growing season in Coonawarra produced highly coloured, concentrated and varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Veraison occured in late January with most of the fruit coming off in early March.
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 some Merlot from the "Terry' block in this vintage.
Fermentation and extended skin maceration took a total of thirty-two days, before pressing to a selection of 100% new chateau Barriques, sourced from renowned Bordeaux cooperages Sequin Moreau and Taransaud. Regular racking and further élevage in oak for twenty-three 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 for two years 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.
93% Cabernet Sauvignon / 7% 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 2014 vintage. Maturation took place in the finest French oak barriques for eighteen months before bottling in December 2015.
'Small Batch Wine #2'
60% Ebenezer Sangiovese / 40% Coonawarra Cabernet
Each vintage Phil Lehmann has 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 Phil 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 from fruit that is grown exclusively on the rich red soils found in our vineyards at the southern end of Coonawarra.
The micro-climate in this location provides an extended ripening period for the grapes, which imparts unique qualities in this range of wines. The combination of these elements, produces 'Terra Rossa' wines with wonderful fruit expression, elegance in structure, complexity 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 twenty-seven year old vines are consistently low yielding, producing fruit with piercing flavours and considerable depth.
The Merlot was held on skins for twelve days for fermentation, prior to pressing and filling to fine-grained French oak barriques, (50% new, 50% second-fill), for a total of twenty months barrel maturation.
"Fine and lithe attack; piquant red fruits and touch of fresh earth, milk chocolate, supported by fine chalky tannins"
Terra Rossa Shiraz
Terra Rossa Shiraz is made exclusively from mature Shiraz vines grown in the rich red-over-limestone soils of Coonawarra’s terra rossa strip.
To enhance integration and ageing potential, a portion underwent open fermentation, with the balance using closed fermenters with extended time on skins, bringing fruit brightness, colour stability and structure.
Élevage was carried out in a combination of new (40%) and second-fill French oak Barriques and Hogsheads for eighteen months. 2015 was an optimal Shiraz vintage, resulting in a wine with great intensity of ripe, dark fruit with impressive structure for cellaring.
"Dark brooding fruits; considerable intensity of dark plum, mulberry, dark chocolate, fine briary and supportive tannin structure"
Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon
Fruit for Terra Rossa Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from four key sub-sections of Parker Estate’s Abbey vineyard. (Scarlett, Pepper Tree Single Wire, Pepper Tree Double Wire and Ash Blocks.)
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon showcases all the hallmarks of an optimal growing season: rich, ripe and generous. A portion of the wine spent a prolonged time on skins (thirty days) to ensure extended aging potential.
Maturation took place in new (60%) and second-fill French oak barriques for eighteen months, before final blending and bottling. A classic Coonawarra Cabernet from a strong vintage.
"Beautiful expression of Coonawarra Cabernet in a strong year. Powerful fruit drive and ripe Cabernet flavours with fine supportive chalky tannins. Regal and powerful, yet elegant structurally"
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 and Chardonnay are 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 Chardonnay
Fruit for the 2015 Coonawarra Series 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.
After a favourable growing season, fruit for this Chardonnay was harvested in mid-March before being fermented in new French oak barriques. 65% of these barrels went through malolactic fermentation before the alcohol ferment to tighten the structure of the wine and add complexity.
The V&A fruit was fermented separately in stainless steel to enhance the varietal characters of the finished wine, before the components were blended ahead of bottling in December 2015.
Coonawarra Series Shiraz
This is the fourth 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 April 2015, the grapes were fermented in both closed and open static fermenters, with fruit remaining on skins for 10 days to increase flavour, tannin and colour extraction.
Maturation took place in second and third fill French oak Hogsheads for the duration of 16 months while 15% of this portion was treated to new French oak to increase structure and the potential for aging.
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
Made from fruit grown on the Williams family vineyard in Southern Coonawarra - located just behind the Parker Cellar Door - the grapes were picked at optimum ripeness following an exceptional growing season in 2015. Fermentation took place in static fermenters before maturation in French oak followed by final blending and bottling.
The Coonawarra Series Cabernet Sauvignon is made in a ripe and generous style, yet with enough restraint to display distinct varietal and regional characteristics.