Lifestyle Food & Wine Lion Mill a Roaring Success
Lion Mill a Roaring Success
Written by Dr Louis Papaelias
Tuesday, 24 October 2017

 

In 1890, Richard Honey, a South Australian timber merchant who owned Lion Timber Yards in Adelaide, purchased from the Union Bank the property known as White’s Mill in the Perth Hills near what is now Mt Helena. With the goldrush in full swing there was money to be made in milling jarrah, much needed for the expanding colony’s public works and infrastructure projects. The township of Lion Mill was declared in March 1899. Robert Bunning’s Perth Jarrah Mills bought the mill site, now Lion Mill, in 1905. It remained the Bunnings’ main WA mill until its closure in 1923.
After the timber was felled, small mixed agricultural and horticultural enterprises flourished and were sustained by the dependable water supply of the Darling Scarp. The current site of Lion Mill wines was purchased in 1996 and planted in 1999.
According to Dr John Gladstones (Viticulture and Environment, 1992), the elevation of sites on the Darling Scarp and their accessibility to cooling sea breezes allows for a ripening of fruit of up to 2-3 weeks later than on the adjoining Swan Valley floor. He was of the opinion that the climate closely resembles that of the Douro Valley in Portugal making it suitable for full-flavoured table wines and for the production of quality fortifieds.
It appears that that Lion Mill has taken heed of what Dr Gladstones has said because there is a substantial planting of varieties well suited to warmer climates – tempranillo, durif and zinfandel (Primitivo). There are wines made from the Bordeaux, Burgundy cultivars, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, but, in my opinion, they were less convincing on tasting than those aforementioned. All wines tasted reflected careful and skilful winemaking and viticultural practice.
 

The Wines

Lion Mill Blanc de Blancs 2015
Made in the traditional method from chardonnay grapes this had a pleasant yeasty fruity nose with fine bubble and a full rich palate. Clean finish. A good aperitif and food wine.

Lion Mill Sparkling Shiraz 2014
Full effervescence on pouring and a very attractive, richly flavoured shiraz with bubbles. Crisp and lively.

Lion Mill Tempranillo 2014
The noble grape of Spain has here produced an appealing medium-bodied wine of intense colour and savoury red fruit aromas. Soft dry tannins balance an agreeably fruity palate Very nice drinking now.

Lion Mill Durif 2016
Deep purple in colour with red black fruit mulberry aromas, it has intense flavour with more noticeable tannin yet a soft and balanced finish. This wine will age well though is balanced enough to be enjoyable right now. Quite moreish.

Lion Mill Zinfandel (Primitivo) 2011
Deep purple-black colour and an aroma of spicy super-ripe plums and prunes. Rich sweet fruit, full-bodied palate and a step-up in intensity. There is a persistence of flavours on the finish. At six years of age, it is still very youthful and promises to age for many more years. Lovely.

Lion Mill Cabernet Shiraz 2012
Deep intense colour, aristocratic cassis and plum aromas; fruity and full bodied with firmer tannins. It has the potential to age. A very good wine.

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Does red wine cause headache? I have heard a lot of people say that it does. I have also heard many say that it is bunkum. It’s the amount of alcohol you drink that causes the vasodilatation and headache they would say. Some put it down to histamines in wine. Others point to the sulphite content as the culprit.

Personally, I have become aware over recent years that certain types of wine, mainly red, will predictably bring on a headache within an hour or so of consumption. And I am talking here about no more than two standard drinks as the trigger.

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