Winery in Focus: Evans & Tate

Barry Weinman: 4th February 2019

Evans & Tate has had a chequered history. Established by the Evans and Tate families in 1974, the original Redbrook vineyard was planted in 1975. In 1983 the partnership broke up, with the Tate family taking control of the winery.

The winery then underwent a period of sustained growth, culminating in a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1999.

After apparent initial outperformance in 2005, things started to unravel, with mounting debt and unsold inventory (an interesting review of this was published in the Financial Review at the time). This culminated with the appointment of receivers and the subsequent sale of the winery to McWilliams Wines in 2007.

A new chapter for Evans & Tate began in October 2017, when the winery was purchased by the Fogarty Wine Group, who also owns wineries such as Mill Brook, Lakes Folly and Deep Woods.

Through many of the changes, one constant was the presence of Matt Byrne as chief winemaker. Matt started in 2001 and has consistently produced quality wines, despite the ownership changes, with the current wines in the premium range being amongst the best the winery has produced.

The staff are really enjoying the transition to Fogarty Wine Group and, if anything, the wines are only likely to get better.

A winery to watch!


Evans & Tate – Chardonnay – Breathing Space – 2017. ($16.15 ex cellar door). Taut and fine, this is made in the modern style, with gentle wine-making inputs and subdued fruit. With air, this wine really shines, showing fine fruit framed by the subtle oak and barrel ferment characters. The texture and acidity on the close are a highlight. Excellent value.

Evans & Tate – Chardonnay – Redbrook – Estate – 2017 ($36). Fine and taut, with attractive stone fruit aromas leading to hints of grapefruit and pineapple. The palate is a treat, with the supple fruit absorbing the oak and lees work easily, rendering the palate near seamless.  The finish is lithe and fresh. Delicious drinking now – 5 years. (Spends 7 – 10 months in 100% new oak, barrel ferment, on oak, wild yeast ferment).

Evans & Tate – Chardonnay – Redbrook – Reserve – 2015 (Pre-release sample). Lovely nose that is at once complex and complete. The palate is a tour de force, with powerful fruit in the grapefruit and melon spectrum, complex flinty/mineral lees characters and creamy texturing oak. The acidity is a highlight on the finish, conferring great drive to the palate. Slightly chewy to close, this will be a treat over the next 5 – 7 years.

Evans & Tate – Chardonnay – Redbrook – Reserve – 2014 ($65). Honeysuckle, melon and zesty grapefruit notes. The palate is taut and reserved, more so than the 2015. Lanolin, minerals, driving acidity. A taut, shy wine right now, this is worthy of spending years in the cellar to let the fruit express.

Evans & Tate – Shiraz – Redbrook – Estate – 2016. An explosion of super sweet fruit in the plum and red berry spectrum, with spice notes building in the glass. The palate is flooded by white pepper and spice, with the structural components keeping the fruit in check. A very impressive wine that, whilst delicious now, will be much better in 10 years’ time (fruit cold soaked with a proportion of whole-bunch).

Evans & Tate – Shiraz – Redbrook – Reserve – 2013. More restrained and reticent than the Estate. The palate is sophisticated and complete, with hints of mint, vanilla and supple spice. Only 20% new oak, but this makes an impact in a positive way. A textural treat that is sure to age well.

Evans & Tate – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Redbrook – Estate – 2016. Again, lovely fruit on show here. Ripe and polished with fine, texturing oak, supple tannins and fresh acidity. Also shows a touch of eucalypt and pepper on the finish. The finish gets a little grippy to close, which will soften with time in the cellar. Will be great with a juicy steak now.

Evans & Tate – Cabernet Sauvignon – Broadway – 2017. Supple, medium bodied, savoury. Fruit is the focus here, with little in the way of oak. An approachable food-friendly style with eucalypt highlights and fresh acidity that cleanses the palate.

Evans & Tate – Cabernet Sauvignon – Broadway – 2016. Similar in style to the 2017, but with a little more richness and depth to the fruit. The balance is the key here. Again, a very food- friendly style, but also one that will do well with short-term cellaring.

Evans & Tate – Cabernet Sauvignon – Redbrook – Reserve – 2014. Wow, the step up in intensity and power is palpable in this wine. It is crammed full of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, with firm tannins and driving acidity. Textural, chewy and complex, with spice from the oak and gentle herbal, eucalypt notes. A wine of presence and power.

Evans & Tate – Cabernet Sauvignon – Redbrook – Reserve – 2013.  Inky, intense, powerful and brooding, with chewy tannins. Tight, structured, very long, with the oak barely noticeable. Needs a decade to open and will continue to improve for many more years, yet you can already see the quality of the fruit open up with air.

Evans & Tate – Cabernet Sauvignon – The Evans & Tate – 2014. Tangibly different from the Reserve. Supple, fine, silky, fresh, lithe and restrained, yet this manages to remain approachable. The integrated tannins help confer a seamless finish. With lots of air, the fruit characters start to shine. This is a superb wine that is a delight to drink, but also sure to age well.