6 April 2021
By Dave Mullen
Bowen Estate’s stellar 2018 releases

Some of the best Bowen reds we’ve seen

“The 2018 Bowen Estate Shiraz really struck a chord with me. A wine with roots deeply-burrowed in the famous red soils of Coonawarra, from a producer with a deservedly serious reputation for its Cabernet Sauvignon – the undisputed spiritual grape of the region.” Nick Butler, The Real Review

Dave Mullen Wines have distributed Bowen Estate since early 1993, starting with a combination of the 1990 and 1991 vintages. So, when we say the current 2018 vintages are up there with the best we have seen, there’s over a quarter of a century of vintages we can compare them with.

Doug Bowen is referred to as “the legend of Coonawarra” and is officially recognised as a Patron of the region. Bowen Estate was established in Coonawarra in 1972, with the first few vintages produced before electricity had even reached the area. The estate has been family-run since its inception with Doug at the helm. More recently, Doug has stepped into the “retired” position of viticulturist with daughter, Emma taking on the role of winemaker.

The Bowen name is synonymous with quintessential Coonawara Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and its “classic coonawarra™” trademark. The iconic terra rossa soils of “the Cigar Strip” are made of red, iron-rich clays covering a limestone base, and paired with the maritime winds from the southern ocean create the prime environment (similar to Bordeaux) for producing these densely characteristic varietals.

Coonawarra is recognised as a cool climate wine region and Doug says, “these conditions mean Coonawarra doesn’t experience the same extreme heat” as others in Australia. The Bowen’s pick their fruit weeks later than these other regions, allowing the grapes to develop fuller flavours across the longer ripening season. This will bode well for them going forward as global warming continues to impact viticulture.

Over the past 12 years, the Bowen’s have adopted a more sustainable approach in the vineyard by eliminating pesticides and weedicides. They’re one of the few producers in the region that still hand-prune their vines and each year, use the same team of people to do this which allows them to control their yields. The fruit is picked only once it has reached Doug and Emma’s preferred ripeness to ultimately attain typically Coonawarra flavours. 

The 2018 releases marked Bowen Estate’s 44th vintage. These elegant and balanced wines illustrate the addition of Emma’s modern approach to Doug’s traditional methods. The refined structure and balance of the wines means they are immediately drinkable, but have the capacity to comfortably age for 10 or more years.

Bowen Estate Shiraz is said to reflect Coonawarra better than any other wines produced in the area. Decades of selective vineyard replanting from their original “absolute favourite” Shiraz vines has paid off, with the 2018s showing extra depth, colour and fruit sweetness.

Bowen Estate remains one of the most competitively-priced producers of premium red wine in Australia. With cooler weather ahead, the 2018 Bowen Estate reds are perfect to pair with big flavoured dishes such as roasted or barbecued meats, hearty stews and spaghetti bolognese. 

The Bowen Estate 2018 Shiraz and the Cabernet Sauvignon are both available to order in WA now through Dave Mullen Wines.


James Halliday – Bowen Estate 2018 Shiraz – 94 points 
“Rich and complex, with layers of blackberry and satsuma plum reflecting an outstanding vintage. A long life ahead for those who are patient.”

James Halliday – Bowen Estate 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon – 95 points
“Deep crimson-purple, it is full of rich fruit, yet not extractive or alcoholic, simply full-bodied, with a perfect marriage of fruit, oak and tannins. Bowen has had its ups and downs – this is definitely up.”
——-
“The Shiraz is a fruit-driven wine. It emphasises the vineyard site, with strong, earthy, cassis aromas, soft tannins, mouth-filling palate and ripe, cassis/berry flavours.”

– Langton’s Australian Fine Wine Buying and Investment Guide –

“The organic, estate-grown Bowen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is an expressive, archetypal Coonawarra claret style. Classically proportioned yet full-bodied, it is exemplified by pure blackcurrant aromatics, delicacy of flavour, supple richness and fine, loose-knit tannins.”
– Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, 30th Anniversary Edition –