Kym Teusner: fine wines from this Barossa star


I first met Kym Teusner in the Barossa Valley in 2004 (see my report here here). He’d only just begun then, as his first release was the Joshua in 2002. There were just 130 dozen of this wine made, because at the time he was working full time for Rolf Binder. He says that Rolf was very supportive, even letting Kym move into his old winery for his side gig. By 2008 Kym processed 300 tons in this winery, and decided it was time to have a chat with Rolf.

Kym Teusner, Barossa winegrower

‘I told Rolf that I wasn’t doing the best for him, or for me,’ says Kym, as we met over dinner in London to taste his wines. ‘So I left on good terms.’ He set up a winery on the eastern side of Nuriootpa. ‘The sites are licenced according to your ability to dispose of waste streams,’ says Kym. ‘This had an EPA license for 500 tons, but only enough power for 200 tons. We ended up doing 1500 tons through this site.’ So he moved again, and bought an old factory on the western side of Nuriootpa.

Founding business partner Michael Page moved on, so Kym was on the lookout for new investors. He was matched with a Spanish family who’d started a media business in Australia 25 years ago. They fell in love with South Australia and bought lots of vineyards, but then wanted a winery partner, so they bought Michael out. ‘They are great business partners to have on board because they are very interested but not controlling.’

Now Kym is up to 3000 tons each vintage, with 1000 tons Teusner wines, then another third contract winemaking, and another third bulk. Many of the wines are affordable ($30-ish, although the Righteous tier is above $100).

We began with a vertical of The Joshua. This is a Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz blend with vineyard age up to 135 years. This is designed to be fresh, bright and vibrant with no oak, and it’s bottled within 6 months of vintage. ‘Even after 12 years it retains a core of vibrant fruit,’ says Kym, ‘but adds mushroom, truffle and forest floor.’

Teusner The Joshua 2015 Barossa, Australia
A standard vintage. 65% Grenache, 25% Mataro, 10% Shiraz is typical for Joshua. Sweetly fruited and quite mellow with nice spice, sweet cherries, plums and a hint of pepper. Lovely freshness for its age. 93/100

Teusner The Joshua 2021 Barossa, Australia
A warm vintage but the days weren’t too hot, with no extreme events. Juicy, sweet and vibrant with red cherries, spice and nice warmth, showing a rounded edge to the ripe fruit. This has an ease to it, but also some spicy hints and a silky edge. 94/100

Teusner The Joshua 2022 Barossa, Australia
Cool vintage with no heat spikes. Long growing season and good acid retention. Lovely juicy, vibrant fruit with pure red and black fruits and a nice grainy edge. Very supple. 93/100

Teusner The Avatar 2008 Barossa, Australia
Cork-sealed. Avatar is usually 50% Grenache, but the lighter, brighter parcels go into the Joshua. The balance is Mataro and Shiraz and this spends 18 months in oak. 2008 was a very warm vintage. Blackcurrant, black cherry and spice here with subtle tar notes. Has a harmonious character with some warm spiciness and good structure. Maturing in a nice way. 93/100

Teusner The Avatar 2012 Barossa, Australia
This vintage was mild throughout, with cool evenings. Supple and fresh with nice weight, and notes of tar and spice. There are some stony-edged black fruits with tar, spice and dried herbs on the finish. Very stylish. 93/100

Teusner The Avatar 2020 Barossa, Australia
This was the year of the bush fires, and it was also in the middle of the drought. Yields were down 40%. All the fruit was tested for smoke impact at a cost of A$60 000, and another 20% of the wine made was culled after further testing. Lovely focus to this wine which is sleek and supple with red cherries and berries. Liqueur-like, bright, creamy and pure. Very stylish. 94/100

Teusner The Avatar 2021 Barossa, Australia
Highly aromatic with sweet cherries, plums and blackcurrants. Has nice vibrancy with a hint of mint. Lovely balance here with fine spices and nice freshness. Good concentration and purity. 94/100

Teusner The Dog Strangler 2015 Barossa, Australia
Mataro. Kym says that Australian Mataro (aka Mourvedre) is quite unique. It gets fully ripe with no aggressive tannin, and no iodine and blood notes. This has lovely herbal complexity with some mint, thyme and lavender. Supple palate with some richness but also freshness. Nice vibrancy with real personality. 93/100

Teusner The Dog Strangler 2019 Barossa, Australia
This was a cool year. Concentrated and quite pure with sleek, ripe black fruits with a cherry freshness and some fine spices. Fine-grained with hints of pepper and a lovely savoury edge. 94/100

Teusner The Dog Strangler 2021 Barossa, Australia
Supple and floral with fresh aromatics. Black cherries, plums, fresh red fruit notes and some spice. This is very fresh with a hint of pepper. Lovely. 95/100

Teusner The Independent 2018 Barossa, Australia
This is a blend of 55% Shiraz and 45% Mataro. Kym says he is looking for the instant gratification of Shiraz complemented by the complexity of Mataro. This is sweetly fruited and juicy with ripe spicy notes, nice weight, some complexity and lovely balance. 92/100

Teusner The Riebke 2019 Barossa, Australia
This is Shiraz from Ebenezer in the north of the Barossa, at 150 m elevation from the valley floor, where it is 5-10 C cooler at night. Heavy red clay soils. Full tannins ripeness with less sugar accumulation are the characteristics of this site. Concentrated and bold with fresh, sweet black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with some grip. Nice freshness and a touch of pepper, as well as some mint. The Riebke family were the first grape suppliers to Teusner. 95/100

Teusner The Gentleman Cabernet Sauvignon 2021 Barossa, Australia
60% is from Williamstown at 350 m and 40% from Eden Valley at 400-500m. Supple, bright and juicy with nice blackcurrant fruit, as well as hints of olive and spice. Supple and fresh. 93/100

Teusner The Albert 2018 Barossa, Australia
Old vine Shiraz (80 ish years old) in Ebenezer and Williamstown. 30% new oak (tight-grained French). Powerful and dense with sweet blackberry and cherry fruit with notes of spice and earth. Good density, nice grip, and real finesse. 95/100

Teusner The Albert 2019 Barossa, Australia
Lovely weight here with sweet cherries, plums and raspberries. Has density and an appealing lushness, with a peppery edge. Very fine. 94/100

Teusner The Righteous Mataro 2018 Barossa, Australia
This has a black label and is the best example of each variety each year, although it’s not made every year. This is sleek, ripe and concentrated with lovely depth to the sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit, and some olive notes. Rich, concentrated, smooth and textural. 95/100

Teusner The Righteous FG Shiraz 2018 Barossa, Australia
Ripe, sleek and bold with nice black cherry and blackberry fruit. Smooth and refined with a slight saltiness. Lovely purity here. 95/100