Kevin, Helen and Charlie O’Brien have been making wine at their McLaren Vale winery since 1997. That’s a long time. They’ve seen varieties come and go, but the one that’s stuck is Shiraz. They’ll be bringing this glorious red wine to Game of Rhones for you to taste, but we stole five minutes with them before the big day(s).
Tell us your story!
Twenty years ago, when Friends and Seinfeld were all everyone watched, Kangarilla Road was born in McLaren Vale to proud parents Helen and Kevin O’Brien. A year later their son, Charlie, was added to the family.
Both Kangarilla Road and Charlie were brought up in a household full of love and a clear sense of what was right and what was wrong. No bad wine, disgusting habit, or even commercially unsuccessful wine was ever tolerated. It was a sad goodbye to the lovely Rhone variety Viognier which Australians never embraced. The O’Briens still mourn its passing. Others were also lost along the way but the backbone of the family, Shiraz, has always flourished.
Charlie has grown now and he too embraces Shiraz as his closest ally, but he is open minded and is willing to adopt other Rhone varieties into his own family.
Tell us three things about your style of wines?
Our wines rely on the natural generosity of McLaren Vale fruit but we temper that with an overriding elegance. The wines reflect our care and attention to detail and we leave nothing to chance. Chance is unpredictable and a spoiler of lovely wine.
G, S or M?
We love S, and G is wriggling its way into Charlie’s heart but M, not so much…
What’s your favourite/most memorable Rhone wine experience?
Kevin: 2010 Chateau Ampuis by Guigal drunk late last year and appreciated with like-minded friends.
Charlie: 2004 Penfolds Grange at Magill Estate, celebrating his 18th birthday.
If you were a Game of Thrones character, who would you be and why?
Kevin would be Ned Stark and Charlie would be his son (no, not Jon Snow) Robb Stark. Ned is good and honourable as is Kevin, and Robb has the courage and strength of character to step up when the need arises as would Charlie.
If you weren’t a winemaker, what would you be?
What do you drink when no one is watching?
Kevin secretly enjoys Rum and Coke. Charlie is still young enough not to be embarrassed by anything!