One sip of a wine from Vintage Longbottom will convince you of their extraordinary quality. The company, owned and operated by Kim Longbottom, and her daughter Margo, has a distinctive family history.
Kim, who is originally from New Zealand, realized a dream in the early 1990s with her husband, Mark Longbottom, by acquiring excellent farmland in Padthaway, South Australia, with vines that were initially planted in 1964.
The Longbottoms carefully selected portions of their property for the replanting of vines that were well suited to the limestone soil. The area proved to have ideal weather for growing, with good rains in the winter and mild, sunny summers. In 1998, they started Henry’s Drive Vignerons and released their first wines, coinciding with the birth of their first and only child, Margo. Mark and Kim succeeded in launching a line of wines that gained popularity for their outstanding quality. Sadly, Mark passed away in 2010, leaving Kim as one of a handful of sole women vignerons in Australia.
After eight years of running the winery and raising her daughter alone, Kim decided to sell her vineyards and winery in Padthaway. She and Margo moved north to Adelaide where together they created a successful new company, Vintage Longbottom.
Rather than growing grapes, Vintage Longbottom sources the finest varieties. Kim’s expertise and connections have resulted in a portfolio of six wines. They include the “H” line of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Syrah; premium Henry’s Drive Shiraz and a Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon; and the flagship Magnus Single Vineyard Shiraz that was named in honor of the beloved man who started it all, Mark Longbottom.
Woman Around Town had the opportunity to chat with Kim and Margo and sample the six wines in their current portfolio. This mother/daughter team is truly impressive. Their dedication to each other and Vintage Longbottom is immediately evident.
Margo is a student at the University of Adelaide working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a course of study that will be significant to the operations at Vintage Longbottom. She commented, “I love the course that I’m taking and I can apply the knowledge I gain directly to our business.” She was quick to express admiration for her mother saying, “Working with my mom is really special because we get to create together and also spend time together.”
Kim expressed great pride in her daughter. “Margo is mature beyond her years. She is a fun person to be around and we work very well together.” She also commented, “We work hard and play hard.”
Margo told us about the team behind Vintage Longbottom. “Relationships are everything. We maintain good ones with our trading partners, customers and suppliers. By staying focused on the quality of our wines and being true to the brand, visually and stylistically, we have been able to achieve expressive, engaging wines.
Vintage Longbottom has continued the attractive labeling started by Henry’s Drive Vignerons that pays homage to Australian history. The Henry’s Drive Line follows a postal theme with a depiction of a postage stamp created in the early 1950’s to honor Henry Hill, the stagecoach driver whose route, also called “drive,” sliced through what was the Henry’s Drive Vineyards.
We want our readers to know a little about the character of Vintage Longbottom’s collection of wines from McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills that we tasted with expert guidance from Kim and Margo.
Henry’s Drive Magnus Reserve Shiraz 2017 – This beautiful wine is a tribute to the winemaking talents of the late Mark Longbottom. The Shiraz grapes are sourced from both Padthaway and McLaren Vale. It has a complex aroma with lavender, thyme and star anise. The palate delights with dark fruits, dark chocolate and touches of licorice. Wonderfully balanced, the wine has fine-grained tannins. Magnus benefits from decanting at least an hour before serving. It can be aged for 10-15 years. Serve this wine with braised beef, seared tuna, or barbecue spare ribs.
Henry’s Drive Shiraz 2019 – The Shiraz was sourced from four different blocks in McLaren Vale where the soils are mostly red clay loam mixed with varying levels of quartz, slate and ironstone fragment. With its lovely bouquet of violets and mulberry, the palate is bright with flavors of blackberries and dark chocolates. It is a smooth wine with firm tannins on the finish. A portion of this wine was used as the base for the Henry’s Drive Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon Blend. Serve this at room temperature with meat dishes like beef stroganoff, roasted vegetables, or a charcuterie platter.
Henry’s Drive Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 – This wine is comprised of 67.5 percent Shiraz and 32.5 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a rich aroma of ripe mulberry and nutmeg. On the palate, this well-balanced wine has firm tannins and flavors of blackberry and cacao. Serve it room temperature with veal scaloppini, lamb chops, or roasted chicken.
Vintage Longbottom “H” Sauvignon Blanc 2019 – The grapes for this wine were sourced from Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills. It has fragrances of nettle, lime zest and papaya. On the palate, it is a medium bodied wine with flavors of preserved lemon and cantaloupe. This wine is best served chilled and is a great accompaniment to hummus, cured olives and creamy soups like lobster bisque or clam chowder.
Vintage Longbottom “H” Chardonnay 2019 – This Chardonnay was made with slow ripened grapes from the Adelaide Hills. It has aromas of pink grapefruit and orange blossoms. It is a medium bodied wine with flavors of lemon zest and a nutmeg spice that are made more complex by French oak nuances. The wine’s finish is fresh with a balanced texture. Enjoy this Chardonnay with white pizza, a spinach tart, or a traditional French croque monsieur.
Vintage Longbottom “H” Syrah 2019 – The wine is a luscious deep red with purple hues and has the aroma of rhubarb and cherry. Smooth and elegantly textured, it is fruit forward with fine tannins and spirited flavors of pomegranate and cardamom. The fruit for the wine is sourced from a mature block in Nairne, in the east of the Adelaide Hills. Serve this wine chilled with dishes like pulled chicken or pork sandwiches, Peking duck pancakes or savory brunch dishes.
Woman Around Town wanted to know what the Kim and Margo have planned for the future. The mother/daughter team hopes to have some time, post-pandemic, to travel to France and Italy to experience the full scope of those wine regions. With more and more women making a significant impact in the wine industry, Kim and Margo’s accomplishments will be admired and applauded for a long time to come.
Vintage Longbottom is exclusively represented in the United States by the importer, Quintessential. For more information, visit the website.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kim and Margo Longbottom/Vintage Longbottom