Four times a year, wine enthusiasts have an opportunity to savour small-batch wines that have been barrel-aged exclusively for them at Canberra’s Lerida Estate.
Only members of the estate’s 300 Club have access to the rare and experimental wines created by Lerida winemaker Jacob Law, who is currently bottling the next batch set to be delivered in October.
Lerida’s operations manager Melisa Morgan – herself a member of the exclusive 300 Club – said each club wine was produced in one barrel, so only 300 bottles can be produced.
“The wines we do are all experimental wines, intelligent wines and stylistically very different from the wines we produce on a day-to-day basis,” Melisa explained.
“They’re very small batch, single barrel wines and they’re all different varieties.”
Mel is excited about the October release, which will be an extended maturation pack, with each of the wines having spent much longer in an oak barrel than they normally would.
“The pack will contain three wines that have all been treated differently,” she said.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase how the character of wine changes and the flavour develops when it has extra time maturing in the barrel, rather than in the bottle.”
The pack features a chardonnay that has spent 16 months in oak and a 2021 vintage Shiraz Viognier that has been allowed to age in the barrel for 27 months.
The third wine is a 2022 Sangiovese that has had 15 months in oak instead of the usual nine.
“These wines are all made in very small batches, and a lot of time, effort and detail goes into making them. They’re all hand bottled by Jacob, hand labelled by us and hand numbered,” Melisa said.
The wines are so limited that even Melisa, who runs the 300 Club, has had to join in order to taste them.
“I didn’t want to miss out on these amazing one-off wines,” she laughed.
The 300 Club was created for wine lovers and wine enthusiasts keen to try something different and experimental.
“This is not like a regular wine club that sends out a mix of bottles once or twice a year that you can go and buy off the shelf anywhere,” she explained.
“You can’t buy these wines. And there will only ever be one opportunity to taste them.”
Four times a year, members receive their three special bottles and they’re encouraged to open them and share them with friends.
“It’s a great opportunity to compare the different wines, to read over the wine notes and discuss them over dinner with friends,” Melisa said.
“Our members really look forward to tasting our next unique creations because they never know what to expect.”
One of the previous packs included three bottles of Lerida’s signature wines, Shiraz viognier that had all been made the same way but barrelled differently, using French oak barrels from different regions. The wines usually sell for $75 each, so offer great value at $120 for the trio.
“There was an enormous difference in the taste of the wine, which really showcased how the flavour develops and is enhanced by the type of barrel,” Melisa explained.
“We really put thought, time and effort into developing a pack that people will be really interested in.”
The packs include a tasting note card and the new labels will include a QR code that takes the consumer to the wine’s tasting notes on the Lerida website.
“Members look forward to receiving their wine packs four times a year and part of the excitement is they don’t know what they’re going to get. We often add extra wines or gifts, and they have no idea until it’s dropped on their doorstep,” Melisa said.
The Lerida 300 club members are “treated like family” with special offers – like an exclusive trophy-winning Shiraz pack – invitations to tasting events, and a 10 per cent discount on all purchases, including meals in the restaurant.
Members often take their family and friends for VIP winery tours and tastings, which include sampling wines straight from the barrel.
They also receive a personal email from Jacob each year to seek feedback on their experience with the wines and suggestions on what they might like to taste in the future.
Membership isn’t just limited to Canberrans, with wine lovers from as far as Queensland and Tasmania enjoying the Lerida Estate wines.
“It would be good to have more local members so they can come to our events and become part of the family,” Melisa said.
With limited places available, people can now sign up on the Lerida Estate website and have the October wine pack shipped straight to their door.