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St John's Road

Motley Bunch



Great collaboration is like an orchestra – it doesn’t work if everyone plays the same part The magic happens when a bunch of seeming misfits, fit together seamlessly, to create perfection. It’s Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti. It’s Cobain, Noveselic and Grohl. It’s Snap, Crackle and Pop.

Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz are three of the great red grape varieties that are cornerstone to the Barossa’s red winemaking pedigree. A traditional style using classic Barossa grape varieties, we looked for structure and integration of flavours. Grenache provides the sumptuous savoury, spice and fragrance, and a gentle earthiness and leather with age. Mataro contributes deeper gamier flavours and flesh to the palate whilst Shiraz acts as a strong foundation to the blend, giving colour and structure.

Vintages and Tasting notes
2010 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017
(Click to download PDF)

Wine Press and Accolades

2017 Motley Bunch GMS: 91 points - Nick Stock – 07/07/2021

Aromas of blueberry and some cooler, spicy, peppery tones, as well as blueberry, smoked meat and gun smoke. The palate has red plums and some earthy tones, too. There’s a core of deep blueberries and purple cherries and a succulently long and fleshy finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

2017 Motley Bunch GMS: 91 points - James Suckling – 30/06/2021

Aromas of blueberry and some cooler, spicy, peppery tones, as well as blueberry, smoked meat and gun smoke. The palate has red plums and some earthy tones, too. There’s a core of deep blueberries and purple cherries and a succulently long and fleshy finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

2017 Motley Bunch GMS: 92 points - Angus Hughson – 20/04/2020

The Barossan Grenache blend is going through a purple patch right now with anything that includes Grenache more popular than ever before. But it is not just the Grenache that counts with a generous splash of Mataro in these blends, with its slightly feral edge, adding plenty of interest. And that is exactly what you’ll find in this blend from St John’s Road. The wine opens with typically generous Grenache fruits with some sweet dark cherry that is backed by attractive baked earth, aged meat and spice. The wine is then full-bodied, fleshy and generous on the palate with some well balanced coconut scented oak and supple tannins. A moreish and very easy to drink Barossan blend.

2017 Motley Bunch GMS: 4.5 stars - John Lewis – 20/04/2020

This vegan-friendly Barossa Valley blend of grenache, mataro (aka mourvedre) and shiraz comes from the WD Wines’ St John’s Road brand and the back label explains that the mix of this motley bunch of varieties is like an orchestra in which everyone plays the right tune. “Magic happens when a bunch of seeming misfits fit together seamlessly to create perfection” it declares. The wine has 14.5% alcohol, but certainly is a harmonious drop, ruby hued, forest floor-scented and with spiced blackberry front-palate flavour. The middle palate displays Morello cherry, black olive, cloves and savoury oak and the finish has minty tannins. Serve with roast pork and cellar for four years.

2017 Motley Bunch GMS: 92 points - James Halliday – 05/08/2019

Matured in French puncheons and hogsheads for 12 months. I’d say pretty good bunch, neatly counterbalancing the red and purple fruits with a gently savoury finish. Snappy colour, too.

2017 Motley Bunch GMS: 92 points - Steve Leszczynski - Qwine – 11/03/2019

Dancy Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz. Juicy fruit skips about all nimble on its feet. A 38/32/30 blend, ripe raspberries are king. Dried red flower aromas add to the red fruit profile. Plush and dainty to taste, super fine tannins are preceded by a rub of earth and black tea-like tannins. You could drink a lot of this, particularly at the price. Drink now to five years.

2016 Motley Bunch GMS: 91 points - Halliday Wine Companion – 01/08/2018

37% grenache, 36% mataro, 27% shiraz, the grenache matured in used French puncheons, the shiraz and mataro in new and used French hogsheads. Good depth and clarity of colour; red and black cherry to the fore, with no hint of confection/Turkish delight. Instead there is a wine with a hint of French oak, and excellent texture and balance. A mouthwatering price, and a prosperous future for those prepare to wait.

2016 Motley Bunch GMS : 4 stars - Tony Love - The Advertiser – 01/01/2018

Those three letters have become an Australian-own “brand”, more often expressed as GSM referring to the three varieties present in a range of proportions, grenache, shiraz and mataro (aka mourvedre). This wine embodies what we’ve come to expect from this trio of best mates, a spiced cherry lift to start, anise, cola, vanilla from the sweeter side of the aromatic register, then soft, sticky, bright and tasty medium-bodied modern Australian red-wine deliciousness.

2016 Motley Bunch GMS: GOLD MEDAL – Adelaide Wine Show 2017 – 01/12/2017

2016 Motley Bunch GMS: 91 Points – Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front – 01/11/2017

“37/36/27 blend of grenache, mataro and shiraz. All into French oak, old and new. Grapes from Stonewell, Ebenezer and Light Pass sub-regions. It draws you straight in. Its supple, ripe, well-measured and well balanced. Raspberry and plums, dry/sweet spices and woodsmoke. A dip of aniseed. It’s absolutely immaculate. It’s a well-oiled machine. Drinking it is a delight.”

2016 Motley Bunch GMS: 93+ points – Kim Brebach - BWU20 – 01/11/2017

“The only thing wrong with this wine is its youth. It needs another year for the components to get to know each other well. The make-up is Grenache 37%, Mataro 36%, Shiraz 27%. It’s a rich and generous wine, serving up plums, mulberries, spices and warm earth tones. 93+ points. BUY.”

2016 Motley Bunch GMS: 93 Points – Winsor Dobbin - Winsor's Choice – 01/11/2017

“I am not a huge fan of the retro labels they use on the St John’s Road range. I understand the industry reverence for great old skool winemakers of the 1950s pictured here, but I don’t see it pulling in the punters on a crowded bottle shop shelf. Good job, perhaps, that I’m a writer not a marketer. That said, this is an absolutely terrific Barossa GMS (Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz), a signature regional style that is ballsy but in balance. Full-flavoured and fruit-driven, this is a most amiable companion just about any barbecue selection. I scored it 93/100 and it is very good value at $22. It’s made by Phil Lehmann, son of Peter Lehmann, one of those pictured on the label back in 1951. www.wdwines.com.au.”

2015 Motley Bunch GMS: 90 points – Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front – 01/05/2017

“The St John’s Road wines are of course made by noted winemaker Phil Lehmann. It’s a GMS rather than a GSM blend this year. Fruit and earth. There’s no weighty oak to contend with here, it’s mostly just fruit, spice and earth, the feeling pure and the drinkability factor high. There’s is a gentle dab of polished cedarwood, likely from oak, but it adds texture more than it does flavour. Nice wine, this. Good value all round. ”

2015 Motley Bunch GMS: 94 points – Tony Keys - The Key Report – 01/07/2017

“Sweet, sweet violets tinkering with the senses, enticing and inviting. A cool 94 and $22 is nothing man, nothing.”

2014 Motley Bunch GMS: 93 Points – Tony Keys - The Key Report – 01/03/2017

“ A grenache-mataro-shiraz blend that is simply gorgeous, hell it’s hard to find better at $22 get on to it is my advice, 93 points ”

2014 Motley Bunch GMS: Ben Canaider - The Spectator Australia – 01/09/2016

“Spicy, punchy, lively and pert. Fresh plums jump out, pink peppercorns are kaleidoscopic. It is a long and dry red wine that is equally a creature of the Barossa’s vineyards as it is an homage to the Rhone and the grenache, syrah, mourvèdre blends that proliferate there. Mourvèdre is called mataro here, or monastrell in Spain, btw. I know, it’s cray-cray, but, like, whatevs, as my EA, Fleur, says. There’s no oak interference in this wine, just cheerful fruit. Black beans cooked with smoked paprika and barbecued sausage. ”

2014 Motley Bunch GMS: 91 Points – James Halliday - 2017 Wine Companion – 01/08/2016

“45/35/20% grenache mataro shiraz. A wine of composure. It tastes of raspberry, blueberry, anise and dried spice but it’s the impression of both balance and flow that impresses most. Accordingly, it’s drinking very well young.”

2014 Motley Bunch GMS: Winsor Dobbin - The Sunday Examiner – 01/10/2015

“I love the retro labels used by St John’s Road, the Barossa brand that now employs talented Phil Lehmann, son of the late, great Peter Lehmann, as winemaker. This is a wonderfully enjoyable blend of three grapes that thrive in the Barossa sunshine: Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz. There is plenty of flavour to be found here, but also an understated elegance that shines throughout the St John’s Road range. Far from being old-fashioned, like the label, this is young a vibrant, fruit-driven and charming.”

2014 Motley Bunch GMS: 90 points – Huon Hooke - Hooked on Wine – 01/10/2015

“Grenache, mourvedre, shiraz) Medium to full red colour with a trace of purple. The bouquet is savoury and earthy, with some secondary development and is not especially youthful for its age. There’s a touch of oak vanillin and the palate is full-bodied and deep, rich and layered, with generous flavour and ample soft tannins. Very good. Attractive flavour which lasts and lasts. This is a cut above.”

2013 Motley Bunch GMS: 17.5/20 Points – Raymond Chan – 01/07/2015

“Full, even, very dark black-red colour, a little lighter on rim. The nose is elegant, softly blossoming with aromas of ripe, dark raspberry, blackberry and boysenberry fruit, along with a little lift and spicy, peppery elements. Some warm, aromatic jammy notes emerge in the glass. Full-bodied, densely packed and well-concentrated flavours of dark raspberries, plums, boysenberries and black fruits feature on the palate. The fruit is supported by soft, grainy tannin extraction and structure, forming a strong and positive core. Bright acidity enlivens the mouthfeel and lifts the fruit aromatics, and warm alcohol adds to the drive, leading to a soft, lingering spicy, raspberryish finish. This is a deeply packed, grainy textured, ripe GSM blend with raspberry, blackberry and boysenberry flavours. Match with barbecued and grilled red meats, and Middle Eastern fare over the next 5-6+ years. A blend of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz fermented to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 14 months in seasoned French oak puncheons”

2013 Motley Bunch GMS: 93 Points – Kim Brebach, BWU$20 – 01/05/2015

“A big, rich, multi-layered fruit cake but here we get enough interesting goodies thrown in, from herbs to leather and gravel. Works like a charm, and will please crowds the right way.”

2013 Motley Bunch GMS: 93 Points – Huon Hooke – 01/04/2015

“Deep red/purple hue; the bouquet oddly perfumed, with a dominant walnut (oak?) note. Dry spices also. It’s attractive and on the palate, dense and very deep, showing excellent balance and harmony of flavours. This has density and layers of flavour. Excellent wine, with a bright future.”

2013 Motley Bunch GMS: Chris Shanahan – 01/03/2015

“Barossa winemaker Phil Lehmann and marketer Jonathon Hesketh collaborate on a number of wine labels, including Hesketh and St John’s Road. In Motley Bunch they bring together three time-proven Barossa varieties, grenache, shiraz and mataro (aka mourvedre). The inviting blend delivers the bright, ripe, juicy flavours of the warm 2013 vintage. Grenache provides musk-like high notes and plush fruit; shiraz contributes body, colour and structure; and mataro brings savoury character and firm tannins. The three work together to produce wonderful warm, earthy, fruity drinking pleasure. ”

2013 Motley Bunch GMS: Paul Ippolito - 5 Min Wine Rush - http://www.paulippolito.com.au – 01/02/2015

“The classic blend of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz, winemaker Phil Lehmann and the Barossa Valley at a price of about $22, all augur well as a combination. Indeed this silky smooth red blend delivers at all points very well indeed. Juicy succulent ripe fruit, well integrated oak, seamless tannins and judicious blending come together very nicely indeed. Some savoury notes compliment the fruit and yet all the overall focus to remain in tact. Easy effortless drinking with a bbq of mixed meats to accompany it. Good drinking. A few more years left in it but seriously there is no reason to delay the current level of enjoyment.”

2013 Motley Bunch GMS: 94 points – Tony Keys - Wines that rock – 01/12/2014

“St John’s Road ‘Motley Bunch’ Barossa Valley GSM 2013: It curls around the tongue like a python around its pray but it doesn’t kill just imparts an array of flavours’ in a soft and sensuous was, 94 points and good value at $22.”

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