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 Awards and Reviews as at 6th May 2022
Kosciuszko Rose 2021
- Rating 91/100, Silver Medal, Wine Showcase Magazine, Mar 2022
- Rating 91/100, Gary Walsh, WineFront, Feb 2022 Red cherry, watermelon, a smattering of aromatic herbs. It’s fresh, a little flinty and powdery in texture, strawberry and discreet creaminess, but bright and balanced, and good to drink. Finish is clean and has a little blood orange tang and zing. Nice wine. Good drinking.
- Rating 92/100, Silver Medal, Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion, Jan 2022 A pretty pastel pink, with a fragrance and flavours of Turkish delight, watermelon and strawberries with a hint of fresh herbs. The palate is alive and refreshing acidity keeps this on track to a dry, clean finish.
- Rated 89/100, Bronze Medal, The Canberra & Region Wine Show, Jan 2022
- Rating 95/100, Gold Medal, The National Cool Climate Wine Show, Dec 2021
- Bronze Medal, NSW Wine Awards, Dec 2021
- Rating 92/100 Winestate Magazine, November/December 2021
Kosciuszko Sauvignon Blanc 2021
- Rating 93/100, Gold Medal, Wine Showcase Magazine, Mar 2022
- Rating 91/100, Gary Walsh, Winefront, Feb 2022 Some varietal pungency, along with guava, gooseberry and lime and lemongrass. It’s crisp, tight and quite flinty, but does have a good amount of flavour, some passionfruit pith and orange in there, a subtle creaminess, and a bright and tangy finish of good length. If you like a pretty racy Sauvignon, this goes along pretty nicely.
- Rating 90/100, Silver Medal, Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion, Jan 2022 As refreshing as they come, with it’s cool lime leaf and fresh basil aromas plus sugar snap, passionfruit pith and lots of citrus zest on the alate, alongside racy lemony acidity. It’s a juicy crowd pleaser, so just chill it right down and enjoy.
- Rating 87/100, Bronze Medal, The National Cool Climate Wine Show, Dec 2021
- Gold Medal & Best Sauvignon Blanc in NSW Trophy, NSW Wine Awards, Dec 2021
Kosciuszko Chardonnay 2019
- Rating 95/100, Gold Medal, Wine Showcase Magazine, Mar 2022
Kosciuszko Chardonnay 2018
- Gourmet Traveller Wine, July 2021 Almond meal, white stone fruit. Crisp, almost delicate, with restrained oak notes; oak tannin, good phenolic structure and fine acid. Alpine herbs, musk and a sweet stone fruit character underpin it all. This is a fine, distinctively regional chardonnay.
- Rating 88/100, Bronze Ribbon, Recommended, Huon Hooke, The Real Review (AUS), July 2020 Bright, light-yellow colour, with a green herb and lemon-lime fruit aroma, fresh and primary, fruit-led and youthful. Nice. The wine is delicate and restrained, refined and subtle, just lacking a little generosity and persistence.
- Rating 17.5/20, Financial Times (of London) and jancisrobinson.com, Jancis Robinson, May 2020 Real tension and purity on the nose. Really rather beautiful. Lovely satiny texture and great, exciting play between the fruit and acidity. I’d love to taste this blind alongside a fine Puligny. Some slight chewiness on the end suggests a long life. A wine with a beginning, middle and end.
- 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 Lifted zesty citrus nose with honeyed notes and muted tropical flavours.
Kosciuszko Chardonnay 2017
- Rating 93/100, Gold Medal, 2019 Australian Wine Showcase
- 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.
- Bronze Medal, 2019 Australia International Wine Challenge
- Rating 89/100, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, 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 89/100, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, Huon Hooke, The Real Review (AUS), May 2019 Full yellow colour. A complex bouquet of smoky, toasty and buttery nuances. The wine is crisp and fresh on the tongue with lively acidity – a brisk, appetising but rather pared-back wine with some future potential. The acidity suggests it will go best with food. It’s good value.
- Rating 87/100, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, 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
Kosciuszko Pinot Noir 2019
- Rating 89/100, David Stevens-Castro, Wine Pilot, Dec 2021 Pinot Noir can be a tricky variety when you’re looking for value. Thus it’s a pleasure to find such a flavoursome and layered example. This Kosciusko Pinot Noir made with fruit from Tumbarumba is fragrant, floral and slightly earthy on the nose. Black cherries, plum and chocolate powder flavours are all in balance. It has a long structured shape due to its core of high acidity, making it really juicy. Tannins are soft, plush and ripe at 14.2% alcohol. The wine is terrific for sparking appetite due to its lingering finish. It is also quite flamboyant. I enjoyed it with a medium rare scotch fillet which it handled well because of the compact ripe flavours and lively acidity. The roast potatoes on the side linked with the wine’s earthy complexities too. A delightful, charming and cheerful wine.
Kosciuszko Pinot Noir 2018
- Rating 91/100, Silver Medal, James Halliday, August 2020 There is no doubting its Tumbarumba provenance, nor, of course, its varietal makeup. The flavours are at the dark fruit end of the pinot spectrum, plum and black cherry aromas and flavours with the first signs of spice emerging, and more to come.
- Rating 86/100, Bronze Ribbon, Recommended, Huon Hooke, The Real Review (AUS), July 2020 Deepish red colour with a good tint of purple, the bouquet subdued and oak-muffled but also subtly cherried. The palate is medium-bodied and oak-drying on the finish, with sappy tannins. A fair wine without a lot of definition.
- Rating 16.5/20, Financial Times (of London) and jancisrobinson.com, Jancis Robinson, May 2020 Quite a deep, nuanced garnet colour. Complex, savoury nose suggests a wine that is more than two years old. Very pleasing balance of fruit, acidity and light tannins. A little more body than a wine that would be described as pretty. Finishes dry and quite savoury. A wine I shall take to the dining table for more trials. Lightly grainy tannins suggests it will have quite a long life.
- Rating 88/100, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, 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.
- Bronze Medal 2019 Canberra and Region Wine Show
Kosciuszko Pinot Noir 2017
- 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, Gold Medal 2019 Australian Wine Showcase
- 4 Stars, Silver Medal, 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.
- Silver Medal 2019 International Cool Climate Wine Show, Mornington Peninsula
- Bronze Medal 2018 Australian Cool Climate Wine Show
- Bronze Medal 2018 Canberra and Region Wine Show
- Rating 87/100, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, 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, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, 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, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, 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 Pinot Noir 2015
- 4 Stars, Silver Medal, Best of NSW, Winestate Magazine Special Annual Edition, Jan 2021 Exotic spices and blue fruits on the nose with rich mulberry flavours and sweet vanillin oak. Ageing beautifully.
- Rating 92/100, Silver Medal, James Halliday, August 2020 10 year old MV6 clone, hand-picked, open-fermented with 20% whole bunches, the remainder destemmed and crushed, 3 days cold soak, matured for 10 months, 33% new oak. There are a couple off notes but the glass is near full.
- 4 Stars, Silver Medal, Winestate Magazine, May/June 2020 Exotic spices and blue fruits on the nose with rich mulberry flavours and sweet vanillin oak. Ageing beautifully.
- Rating 88/100, Bronze Ribbon, Top Value, 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
- Rating 86/100, Bronze Medal, James Halliday, August 2020 Handpicked, no sorting, open-fermented with 20% whole bunch, the balance crushed and destemmed, matured for 10 months in French oad (20% new). Green acidity.
- 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 2022.
- 3 Stars, Bronze Medal, Winestate Magazine, May/June 2020
0417 036 436 Bill Mason (Owner)