Q&A with Kym Teusner

September 24, 2015

Every year we assign our Vintage Cellars tasting panel with the important task of identifying the best new releases in the liquor world for our annual Best Of Awards. We searched through hundreds of this year’s finest wines, beers and spirits to bring you the Best Of 2015 – your go-to-guide to the top drops of 2015.

With winemakers, brewers and distillers continuing to up the stakes and produce first-class drops year in year out, it’s no easy feat to narrow down the vast selection to one single winner. However, there was no argument about our choice for the best overall winner of 2015 – Teusner’s ‘The Independent’ Shiraz Mataro.

The bold flavour of the Shiraz balances beautifully with the added definition of the Mataro, making it a real treat for those who have the pleasure of tasting it.

Following the big reveal we spoke to Kym Teusner, the mastermind behind Teusner Wines and their award-winning drop for a peek into his life, work and an insight into our Best Overall wine for 2015.

You’re known for going by the beat of your own drum. What philosophy or MO do you bring to the table with Teusner?

Work is a big part of everyone’s life. Life should be fun. Concentrate on keeping work fun. Be honest and transparent in all dealings and only deal with the people that make life rewarding, interesting and fun, be they fellow staff, suppliers or customers. We call it our No D******* Policy (one of the few policies we abide by). Life’s simpler that way.

When’s the last time you had a holiday? (A real one)

My life is a holiday.

What are the very first things you do when you get up and the last thing you do before hitting the hay?

Adjust my attitude with a shower and a coffee then head to work. At night relax with some TV.

Why do you think Mataro works so well with Shiraz? Do you think Mataro’s still a bit of a mystery for a lot of punters?

They are simply built for each other. I think of Barossa Shiraz as instant gratification wine – It’s like a block of chocolate. You can be tricked into just drinking away without thinking about it too much because it is so comforting. Mataro is like the nuts in the chocolate. It adds to the enjoyment, adds interest, savoury spice and length to the wine. It makes it more ‘thought provoking’ – perhaps forces you to think about the wine and what you are tasting so rather than simply quaffing the wine you might take more smaller sips and be more contemplative…

Mataro is absolutely still a mystery for many people. Although they have probably been enjoying it for years without knowing it - as part of their GSM blends and sometimes used in small portions in Shiraz wines without being included on the label.

What would be your top food pairing pick for the Independent?

It’s a pretty versatile wine but hard to go past a mixed mushroom and beef ragout I would’ve thought.

Luxury carbon crystal glassware.

What barrels do you use for the Independent, and how long are you barreling for?

A mix of French and American hogsheads, all of which are well seasoned (in some cases having had up to 8 vintages through them already) so they contribute little oak character to the wine. The barrels are more a storage vessel that allows the wine to breathe and evolve and mature some of the primary fruit characters. The wine matures in these barrels for up to 18 months.

Is there a grape we don’t drink enough of in Australia?

Haha – surely you know I’m going to say Mataro.

Records or iTunes? What’s the last song you chose to listen to?

iTunes, unfortunately! I’m all for convenience and ease these days, too hard to get the turntables on aeroplanes. But I do love going to my mates place and getting around his old vinyl collection…  Just about to relive my youth and go to the Regurgitator concert at The Gov in Adelaide so they’re getting a fair run at the moment!

What do you look for in a really good drop these days?

Balance and complexity.

What’s your proudest moment in Teusner’s history?

Cautiously - every day (pride’s a dangerous thing). What a ride!

If you're buying wine for an acquaintance, but not a close friend, which would you choose?

Anything that I’d want to drink with them.

Why do you think the Independent won?

I’ve long believed in this blend. I think that it’s what the BV should be hanging its hat on. The pure enjoyment of Shiraz and the complexity of Mataro in one package, who could want for more?  Balanced, rich and long, it’s not an enormous wine but it’s no wimp either, so it can keep the Grenache and Pinot drinkers happy along with the folk that love their wines big and soupy! A great all-rounder. We’ve been faithfully making this wine for quite a few years now, just waiting for you all to catch on….

For a $19.99 wine, The Independent Shiraz Mataro certainly won’t disappoint. Experience the charm of this Barossa beauty for yourself.