My Fellow Inebriates,

Sixteen bucks in our local booze shop and we had ourselves a bottle of PETER LEHMANN BAROSSA BRUNETTE (2008). We’d had some luck with Peter Lehmann wines before, mostly because they’re competently made and easy to drink, and we held this one to the same expectations. How did it measure up?

peter lehmann barossa brunetteIn fairness to Peter Lehmann, his BAROSSA BRUNETTE was upstaged by an Argentine Malbec we enjoyed immediately before it (review to follow). Although we have friends who would debate this, the LBHQ policy is to have the lesser wine first, moving from good to better (we can’t afford “best”). It’s very pleasant to savor one wine only to have it topped by another. This way you get to enjoy both wines—the first in ignorance of the second. If you have the better wine first, whatever follows is going to seem like relative crap.

Well, yes and no. Sometimes it’s just a shock to the palate. Sometimes that second wine isn’t necessarily lesser—just different. You have to let those taste buds shift gears and adjust. If the second wine is decent, this usually occurs within one glass. However, if the wine is relative crap, you end up bitching about it until it’s gone, wishing it were like the first.

This may have been what happened with PETER LEHMANN BAROSSA BRUNETTE. Following a Malbec that overdelivered with complexity and ripe fruit, the Lehmann offering came across as one-notish, industrial swill. Which probably wasn’t a fair judgment. So let’s address it on its own merits.

To do this we have to dismiss our impressions of the first glass. All of us (bears, parents, our friend R) were getting pleasantly pissed when we opened the BAROSSA BRUNETTE. Almost pissed enough to enter the basement for Guitar Hero embarrassment.

We will ignore the first glass. A Guitar Hero interval…

Just what we needed to absorb the first wine. The second glass is fair game.

Okay, so LBHQ (and guest) impressions were as follows:


Barnyardy…one-notish…mass-production…couldn’t get past the barnyard note


Industrial/standard…thin…turpentine/petroleum…ish. Didn’t really quite work…


Mass-market swill but not objectionable; I’m having more.


You guys really don’t have to finish it; I’ll take care of it.

The stuff is pretty standard and typical for its price range—certainly not a “find.” A 75:25 blend of Grenache and Shiraz and ringing in at 14.5% alcohol, BAROSSA BRUNETTE is earthy and dry with unexpectedly assertive tannins yet a surprisingly short finish. As much as we’ve been happy with previous Peter Lehmann buys, this one reeks of mass production and even has the sense of being constituted of leftovers. As R said, it doesn’t really quite work.

But there our criticism ended. We had alcohol to ingest and “Bulls on Parade” cued up. My dad kicked my mum’s ass; she is really never going to improve at Guitar Hero, but at least she has thumbs and can make the attempt. Between songs we dissed Peter Lehmann’s marketing team for the following ad copy about Peter Lehmann, the man himself:

Peter Lehmann logo

This wine is a testament to the man and his bravery to dream.

Even when you write your marketing copy in the third person, everyone who reads it knows you signed off on it. Or at least you should have, especially if you’re saying your product is representative of you and your bravery to dream.

I’d like to believe Peter Lehmann himself is blissfully unaware of the douchebag copywriting being done on his behalf. After all, the guy is 82 years old. If I were 82 I’d be hanging by the pool, and if I owned a vineyard I’d be wrecked all the time—too wrecked to care what anybody wrote about me.

Let’s hope that’s the case. But for any of you out there, let’s just say: Even if you write your ad copy in the third person, everyone who reads it suspects you signed off on it. So if you say you’re a “gifted innovator,” a “visionary,” or a “thought leader,” we generally read it as “dickhead.”

Note to anyone with a marketing bio: It wouldn’t hurt to self-deprecate a bit. Your work stands as its own testament, does it not? Don’t be a tool.

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