Winemaker in the House - Max & Me (round 2)
‘MAX & ME’ or Sarah & Phil, back in the Artisans house this weekend.
As I walked in the front doors of the Rex in Tanunda at 6.40am on Wednesday to face my weekly thrashing at the hands of Jess the personal trainer, the BOM app on my phone reminded me how bloody cold it was – a touch below -2 degrees Celsius. And whilst I considered for a moment the insanity of anyone being out and about at this time of the morning (paying to be thrashed!) in these alpine conditions, my heart went out to the folk living high up in the hills of the Eden Valley. For we in the wine business recount time and again of the cooler nights and crisp morning conditions of that fair Valley, and the powerful impact these special micro climates have on the wines produced from the vineyards dotted across what must be the most Australian looking of Australian vineyard landscapes. (cue kangaroos, gnarly old gums, rolling hills and big blue skies etc).
Concerned, I dropped Phil “Lehmo” Lehmann a text this morning ‘Morning mate… random question. How cold did it get at your joint in the EV this week?’ I then prepared to wait a little while for a response, giving Phil the time to take of his gloves, warm his digits, blow the steam off a mug of coffee, shoo away the kangaroos and file his response. ‘Cold as penguin’s feet mate – would have hit minus 0.5 I reckon.’ Now that was not what I expected, and I conveyed my surprise at reports of positively tropical conditions coming in from my similarly hirsute mate from Eden Valley in a follow up question. ‘Bugger me, I thought you blokes would be colder up in them thar hills?’
‘Closer to the sun’came the reply in an whip crack of an instant of time. The Lehmann dry wit that has spanned generations is still hard at work.
Phil & Sarah Lehmann’s Eden Valley property produce some brilliant wines under their Max & Me label, and we’re very excited to have them in the house at Artisans pouring their wines this weekend. And why is their estate label ‘Max & Me’, and not ‘Phil & Sarah’? That story starts with a chance meeting of Sarah with Phil’s dog Max, which marked the start of their journey together. Sarah, a professional ballet dancer and passionate dog lover, was performing at the Barossa Music Festival. She met Max at rehearsal, and meeting Max led to meeting Phil. Max was always with either, or both; whether working in the vineyard or winery with Phil, or at work or University with Sarah. He went to the wedding, and tagged along on their honeymoon. So what to call their wines made from their beautiful Eden Valley vineyard? ‘Max & Me’ of course!
The full range is on tasting this weekend, and the Lehmanns will be in the house from 12-4pm Saturday and Sunday with the latest weather and vintage reports from their beautiful Boongarrie Estate property in the Barossa Ranges. A place where biodiversity is encouraged and where pest and disease pressures are minimal. Where sheep and cattle graze the vineyard grasses during winter, and where dung-beetles do what dung-beetles do – eat animal poo to produce dung-beetle crap to serve as fertilizer to improve the vineyard soils. This philosophy of managing the land to look after the soils, and deploying minimal chemical inputs makes for special dirt in a special place. And with special people in charge, there’s one thing for sure. These are exceptionally special wines!
Cheers, Howard from Artisans.