Earlier this century Patrick and I met. We were studying Oenology together at the University of Adelaide. Our orbits aligned primarily over a mutual concern with dressing ourselves but also through ‘doing art’, taking pictures, music, cooking, dancing with (or at least adjacent to) young women, and through our asymmetric fringes which we thought made us look like Alex James but looking back they made us look more like an out-of-work K.D. Lang. After university Patrick took off to the UK to pursue clothing, and I continued to make wine for 9 years or so before our orbits realigned and we started P Johnson. Voila.

So oenologically speaking we feel as though we have something left to say. With access to some of the best vignerons in the country (and overseas) the goal is to continuously produce limited batches of exceptional wines that are vivid examples of great viticulture, great winemaking and great sites.

Through university it was apparent our mate Julian Langworthy was going to be pretty good. He was one of those annoying people who didn’t appear to work all that hard, he just had an instinct and intellect for it. Julian has proved to be a remarkable winemaker that is evidenced by a very large pool room’s worth of trophies and medals including a most coveted Jimmy Watson Trophy and Winemaker of the Year awarded by the most magnificently eyebrowed James Halliday. Julian is Chief Winemaker of the Fogarty Wine Group (Deepwoods/Millbrook/Dalwhinnie/Lake’s Folley) and has his own marvellous Nocturne label.

Julian is regarded as the ‘King of Cabernet’ by his peers and that’s a very reasonable appraisal considering his single handed re-posturing of Cabernet in the Australian context. The little 800-odd bottle batch he has made us is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from his own 30 years old Sheoak block near Yallingup (Northern Margaret River), and 20% Malbec from a block just down the road that is 40 years old and is a scarce old clone from Houghton’s. The wine is pure, lively and energetic, medium-bodied yet intensely flavoured. The palate has loads of gorgeous black currant fruit, a typically regional ferrous and marine background combined with a mouth whetting spine of gravelly tannin. The Malbec adds a blue-fruited aromatic lift and packs out the wine’s palate with darker fruits and a fine grained density. Utterly delicious.

The wine is made exclusively for P Johnson clients but will be available in small amounts at some of Merivale’s finest institutions such as The Centennial, Mimi’s, Bert's and Totti's.

Tom Riley
Founding Partner

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