Pepperjack’s winemaker Richard Mattner talks varietal additions

by James Wilkinson

In August 2020, Pepperjack, one of Australia’s leading wine brands, added three new varietals to its portfolio – a Malbec, Sangiovese and a Chardonnay – and they have quickly proven to be a winner.

With a deep heritage stamped in the Barossa, Pepperjack wines have always been rich and honest, showing the region’s outstanding qualities.

However, with a desire to be more dynamic and innovative, the winemaking team have expanded beyond Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon to produce three new outstanding wines to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers and occasions.

Sourcing grapes internationally was a very first for Pepperjack, which makes the Pepperjack Malbec a true standout.

Winemaker, Richard Mattner, travelled to Mendoza, Argentina to source the grapes – ensuring the Pepperjack style and quality was not going to be compromised.

“Argentinian Malbec is different to Australian Malbec in that it has a depth of rich dark fruit, but still displays fresh aromatics of spice and violets and a bold tannin profile,” he said.

“The Pepperjack philosophy is to create wines that are synonymous with the regions that they are from. Therefore as we expand beyond Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, there was a need to expand our sourcing from beyond the Barossa,” he said.

Mattner said following in the ‘emerging varietal’ footsteps of the Malbec is the Sangiovese.

“Quite fruit driven in style, it has the rustic notes you would expect from a Sangiovese but with a soft round tannin profile, which remains true to the Pepperjack style – modern and approachable. With a small splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is guaranteed to be a true crowd pleaser,” he said.

“With thanks to Adelaide Hills’ dry crispness and Padthaway’s full roundness and flavour, the Chardonnay is fresh, vibrant and fruit-driven with a mouth-watering acidity, but still maintains a nice phenolic presence.

“With Chardonnay seeing a real revival recently, we felt it was a good time to once again try our hand at making some white wines, beginning with a Chardonnay.

“This is a really exciting time for Pepperjack as we evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of consumers and occasions – especially the demand for lighter-bodied, more refreshing varietals as we head into the warmer months,” he said.

It’s just the start of things to come for Pepperjack too, according to the leading winemaker.

“There is a desire to expand the white wine portfolio, so watch this space,” Mattner said.