|Pipers Brook Vineyard was established in 1974 by Dr. Andrew Pirie to make both still and sparkling wines, the latter being bottled
under his own name. The vineyards were taken over in 2001 by the Belgian-owned Kreglinger. This firm is in the wool and sheepskin business, having been established in 1893, but entering the wine industry only in 2000, when it founded Kreglinger Estate in the Mount
Benson region of South Australia.
Pirie was supposed to stay on, but was unceremoniously booted out of his former winery in 2003. After a less than friendly few months, relations between the two parties improved, and Pirie won (purchased?) back the right to his own name. The Belgian firm renamed the Pirie sparkling wine Kreglinger. It might have been more logical and more prestigious to simply rename it Pipers Brook, but if one can be eponymous, why not the other?
Pirie will bring out his own sparkling wine as from the 2005 vintage. He told me his sparkling wine activities will be much smaller than in the past, although the product will be sourced from vineyards matched to "the old ones … same spacing, same district, same age and same aspect".
Before I smelt the Kreglinger cork, I expected I might pick up TCA, but if it was present, it was below the threshold for detection. Overall it was quite sweet, with a clove-like aroma I
took to be eugenol, which is commonly found in tiny concentrations in oak casks and thus, I suppose, not impossible for it to be found in cork. On the other hand, both wines were fermented in the same casks, so the
clove aroma could also be in the Pirie. If it was, it went unnoticed because, unlike the Kreglinger, Pirie's wine has not had the fruit and creamy-biscuity richness stripped out.
If Kreglinger send me another bottle from a batch it is happy with (i.e., no cork problem), I am prepared to repeat the head-to-head, but for now Pirie wins hands down.