Kosciuszko Wines Today
Kosciuszko Wines is one family’s commitment to the heritage the Snowy Mountains offers all Australians. Named after the highest mountain in Australia, Kosciuszko Wines reflects the elegant, high altitude cool climate wines of Tumbarumba, the often snow-bound wine region closest to the Snowy Mountains. These wines represent the unique High Country flavours of the grapes grown in this unique part of the world.
To those who ski, hike, fish, ride or simply enjoy the physical beauty and lifestyle of the Snowy Mountains, Mount Kosciuszko is an inspirational presence for all to see.
Kosciuszko Wines is owned by the Mason family. Bill Mason has been involved in the production and marketing of wines in the ACT and Southern New South Wales since 2004.
In 2004 winemaker Chris Thomas came to Tumbarumba to make wine and establish his wine business. At that time the premium quality of the local high altitude, cool climate fruit was not widely recognized and was only just becoming known to the wine consumer. Although the large corporate wineries had been making wine from grapes sourced in Tumbarumba for some years, they did not at that time often refer to Tumbarumba as the wine region on their labels. Chris made Kosciuszko wines from grapes grown in Tumbarumba vineyards for many years, winning a number of medals including at the Canberra and Region Wine Show and other regional wine shows.
Over the years, Chris worked closely with Bill Mason who launched the Kosciuszko Wines range in Canberra and Southern NSW. Following his retirement Chris sold Kosciuszko Wines to today’s owner Bill Mason.
Today Tumbarumba is considered as one of Australia’s leading cool climate wine regions that region appears proudly on the Kosciuszko wine label, just as it always has.
Bill Mason also owns and manages the leading wine and beverage distribution and marketing business, Regional Wines and Beverage Merchants. RWBM has a loyal following among restaurants and fine wine retailers across the National Capital and Southern NSW. The Mason family also owns Zane Hills wines an on-premise only wine for restaurants. RWBM is the exclusive distributor for a number of leading wineries including, Gallagher Wines of Canberra, Gipsie Jack Wines of Langhorne Creek SA owned by John Glaetzer and Ben Potts. Happs Wines of Margaret River WA, Cofield Wines of Rutherglen VIC and Beechworth Wine Estates VIC. Bill Mason and RWBM values highly the close associations it has built up over fifteen years with wineries and customers across Southern NSW and the ACT.
The Naming of Mount Kosciuszko
Mt Kosciuszko in the Snowy Mountains was named after the Polish hero and freedom fighter General Tadeusz (Thad) Kosciuszko, by the Polish explorer and geologist Sir Paul Edmund Strzelecki in the pioneering days of early Australia. The field-work by Strzelecki for his geological mapping took him across New South Wales, and to the Australian Alps, where he was the first person to ascend the highest peak in Australia.
Kosciuszko was a military engineer, statesman, and military leader who became a national hero in Poland, and the United States. He fought in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth’s struggles against Russia and Prussia, and on the American side in the American Revolutionary War.
General Kosciuszko was also well known in the USA for his influence in the independence wars of the late 18th century. In the United States, places named after Kosciuszko include Kosciusko Island in Alaska, Kosciusko County in Indiana, the city of Kosciusko in central Mississippi and numerous streets and parks across the country.
The Polish nation paid a most unusual honour to Kosciuszko in 1820. The city fathers of Krakow asked the Polish people to help build a Mound on the outskirts of the city with soil from the many battlefields on which he had waged his fight for Poland’s liberty. For three years devoted men, women and children brought earth in bags, baskets and carts, even in cupped hands to the site as they built by hand this famous Memorial to Kosciuszko.
At the time of the naming of Mount Kosciuszko, Strzelecki noted:
“The particular configuration of its eminence struck me so forcibly by the similarity to the Mound elevated in Kraków over the tomb of patriot Kosciuszko, that, although in a foreign country, on foreign ground, but amongst a free people (of Australia), who appreciate and follow freedom, I could not refrain from giving it the name of Mount Kosciuzsko.”
Kosciuszko Wines Brings Together Vineyard and Winemaker
In Kosciuszko wines Bill Mason has brought together, pioneering grape grower Juliet Cullen and leading winemaker Robert Bruno. The grapes are grown in the Excelsior Peak vineyard in Jingellic Road Tumbarumba. Excelsior’s Juliet Cullen pioneered grape growing in Tumbarumba in the early 1980s. Juliet undertook the first research in 1979 that revealed that Tumbarumba has a climate with an uncanny similarity to Dijon in Burgundy, the home of the world’s great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The vineyard is situated in the High Country on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains, in southern New South Wales, 25 kms south west of Tumbarumba and 115kms north east of Albury. At a site 630m above sea level, the vineyard is planted on a high ridge of granitic sandy loam soil with a north-westerly aspect and north-south rows. This ‘terroir’ produces a beautiful ‘mouth-feel’ in the wines, intense colour and flavour.
The wines are made by Winemaker Robert Bruno, at the family owned Toorak Winery in Leeton. Robert graduated with a Degree in Wine Science at Charles Sturt University and has hands on experience in France and Australia’s Barossa Valley, Hunter Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Central Victoria.
Wine Show Results and Reviews as at 23rd March 2020
Kosciuszko Chardonnay 2018
- Rating 91/100, Silver Ribbon, Top Value, Nick Butler, The Real Review
(AUS), Jan 2020 Lovely, pale-yellow colour. The nose is complex: toasty oak and
roasted nuts, minerals and the faintest tease of lemon pith. Caramel oak. It’s fresh
enough, and offers serious value.
- 3 Stars, Bronze Medal Winestate Magazine, May/June 2020
Kosciuszko Pinot Noir 2015
- 4 Stars, Winestate Magazine, May/June 2020
- Rating 88/100, Huon Hooke, The Real Review (AUS), February
2020 Medium to full ruby colour with a tinge of purple, the bouquet light, elusive
and straw/terrestrial. A hint of prune-like overripeness. The palate opens with some
sweetness and then dips towards a cooler back-palate and mild finish. A pleasant
mid-weighted but savoury pinot with a cleansing dryness on the finish. There’s a lot
of mid-palate fruit and it’s in good nick at five years old.
- Rating 93/100, 5 Stars, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit (NZ), Jan 2020 Gorgeously
fruited and inviting, the complex bouquet shows dark cherry, sweet plum, mixed
spice, thyme and toasted almond characters. The palate delivers elegant weight and
flowing mouthfeel, wonderfully complemented by polished tannins and savoury
nuances, finishing long and engaging. At its best: now to 2022.
Kosciuszko Sangiovese 2015
- 3 Stars, Winestate Magazine, May/June 2020
- Rating 93/100, 5 Stars, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit (NZ), Jan 2020, A lovely
expression of the variety; the beautifully lifted bouquet shows dark cherry, dried
herb, anise and roasted nut aromas, followed by a juicy palate that’s brightly
expressed and refreshing. It’s finely textured and lingering, elegantly framed by fine
grainy tannins, making it beautifully structured and persistent. At its best: now to
Kosciuszko Pinot Noir 2018 (Now Sold Out)
- Rating 88/100, Nick Butler, The Real Review (AUS), Jan 2020 A
confident wine in the glass – dark cherry red. A cedary oak note leads an
intense nose of plums, spice and earthy, truffly notes. It’s ripe on first sip
showing strawberries, raspberry essence and cranberries – bright acidity and
supple tannins. Still primary. Will improve and grow more complex with time
in the bottle.
- Canberra and Region Wine Show – 2019 Bronze Medal
Kosciuszko Pinot Noir 2017 (Now Sold Out)
- Rating 91/100, Silver Medal, James Halliday, December 2019, 80% crushed and destemmed, 20% whole bunches, 6 days on skins, matured for 8 months in French oak (20% new). A well handled wine, with plum and cherry fruit to the fore, backed by light tannins.
- Rating 94/100, Australian Wine Showcase – 2019 Gold Medal
- 4 Stars, Winestate Magazine, July/August 2019 Inviting earthy/cherry richness to the nose and earthy mushroom-like flavours open up to spirituous cherries with firm tannins.
- International Cool Climate Wine Show, Mornington Peninsula – 2019 Silver Medal
- Australian Cool Climate Wine Show – 2018 Bronze Medal
- Canberra and Region Wine Show – 2018 Bronze Medal
- Rating 87/100, Huon Hooke, The Real Review (AUS), June 2019 The colour is youthful and has a good purple tint. The bouquet frames herbal, plummy, slightly ‘dry red-ish’ aromas to the fore. A touch of Italian herb tonic. The wine is medium to full-bodied and quite firm on the tongue. It’s a bit forbidding. The tannins err a little towards toughness. It calls for food.
- Rating 87/100, Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review (NZ), May 2019 From a high-altitude vineyard in New South Wales, west of the Kosciuszko National Park. Lightish pinot noir with tangy cherry, raspberry, savoury, earth and truffle flavours restrained by a thread of fine acidity and peppery tannins. An intriguing wine that would benefit from a little more concentration.
- Rating 86/100, Toni Paterson MW, The Real Review (AUS), May 2019 Lovely bright red cherry and blueberry aromatics. A touch of cola and spice. The palate is quite taut and bright
- Rating 93/100, 5 Stars, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit (NZ), April 2019 It is delightfully expressed on the nose showing spiced cherry, cranberry, olive, thyme and almond characters with a touch of gamey complexity. The palate is juicy and finely textured, delivering bright fruit flavours together with silky mouthfeel and polished tannins. Beautifully balanced and harmonious offering ripe berry flavours with elegant spicy nuances.
Kosciuszko Chardonnay 2017
- Bronze Medal, Australia International Wine Challenge 2019
- Rating 93/100, Australian Wine Showcase – 2019 Gold Medal
- Rating 89/100, Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review (NZ), May 2019 From a high-altitude vineyard in New South Wales, west of the Kosciuszko National Park. Tangy chardonnay with lime, grapefruit, citrus, toast and biscuit flavours. Nice purity with bright acidity suggesting cool growing conditions
- Rating 92/100, 4.5 Stars, Sam Kim, Wine Orbit (NZ), April 2019 Restrained and elegant, the wine shows lemon peel, nectarine, oatmeal and roasted cashew characters on the nose, leading to a finely textured palate that is focused and tightly structured by bright acidity. It is delicate and refined with pristine fruit flavours, finishing long and mouth-watering.
- Rating 87/100, Toni Paterson MW, The Real Review (AUS), April 2019 A tightly-structured wine with intense sweet-fruited citrus flavours. Good lemony acidity and highly pristine fruit
- Rating 15.5/20 Lester Jesberg, Winewise, October 2018 Fresh and peachy, but simple with acidic finish
0417 036 436 Bill Mason (Owner)