Eight at the Gate Australian Wines


By Linda Kissam


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writer Linda Kissam and Eight at the Gate Winery co-founder Jane Richards. Watch/Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, Podbean, or SoundCloud.

We all want the best wine at the best price. Eight at the Gate Australian wines is “that wine.” Think best value-for-money wines up to $40.

Haven’t heard much about Eight at the Gate in the US market? You will, and the story behind these wines is charismatic.

As you probably know, many people buy wine based on how the label looks. Others trust the terroir to bring them a defining and consistent taste. Others love the story behind the wine. Others trust the media and competition scores. IMO, the way to judge value-for-money is to balance the taste against the price. The further you get into your wine journey, the more you develop what I like to call benchmark tastes. In other words, we calculate what we like in certain types of wines against the price. A sort of great price-to-taste-quality ratio. The bottom line here is that Eight at the Gate wines should exceed your expectations. It did mine.

Australian wines can vary depending on where the grapes come from. Australia’s wine regions range from rugged mountains to lush pastures. Temperatures certainly vary from warm days to misty mornings and crisp, cool evenings. There are more than 100 different grape varieties planted across the country in 65 designated wine regions.

Eight at the Gate vineyards are located on the famous Limestone Coast, specifically the Wrattonbully area. This is home to some of the most sought-after grapes in the world. Think rich red soils, ocean breezes, and luminous sun. It also supports many large and boutique wineries, with Cab, Char, and Shiraz being the most successfully produced grapes.

The owners are sisters Jane Richards and Claire Davies. Their love of family, farming, and wine brought them to purchase an already established vineyard in Wrattonbully in 2002. With eight children between them, Eight (souls) at the Gate is a common sight around the property. The vineyard has been providing grapes and wine for many iconic wine labels for the past 20 years plus. Since 2005, they have produced their own wine with fruit chosen from the best parts of the vineyard. Eight at the Gate Wines were born in 2016.

Jane shares these thoughts on the wine process. “Our soil is free-draining terra rossa, which is ideal for viticulture. The limestone beneath the ground gives us an edge for growing grapes. Because vines don’t like having wet feet, after a rain the limestone drains the moisture away, keeping the ground ideal for the vine to flourish in. But the limestone ground can make life interesting. You can be putting a vine post into the ground, and it can disappear as it falls into a cave underneath! Our vineyard has been built on the sharing of knowledge and skills. Claire is a qualified viticulturist who studied viticulture and oenology (the science of making wines) at Roseworthy. And I brought the years of experience and knowledge gained in the corporate world. Our wines are perfected by our winemaker, Peter Douglas.”

The sisters are proud of what they have accomplished. It all shows up in the taste. Here are my impressions of the four wines sent to me for review. After the wine reviews, enjoy several recipes provided by the sisters.

  • Eight at the Gate Vineyard Sunset
    Eight at the Gate Vineyard Sunset

Note from the owners, “Our single vineyard Wrattonbully wines, present with their distinct colour, aroma, and flavour – the fruits of our labour.”

2016 Cabernet Shiraz
An elegant vintage showcasing soft, tannins, and notes of cherry, dark berry jam, fig, orange rind, and earthy spice. Nicely structured with a long fruit and spice finish.


  • A well-spiced lamb or beef curry
  • Cheese and smoky bacon burger
  • Broiled flank, chimichurri
  • Beef and mushroom stroganoff and pasta
  • Smoked brisket, corn, and all the fixings
  • Sharp cheddar cheese

2016 Family Selection Shiraz
Another nice fruit-forward nose and taste. On the first swirl expect a nose of blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, and cedar. On the palate, the same, plus some cedar, fruit, and warm spice. Expect smooth tannins and a ripe berry fruit finish.


  • Roast lamb
  • Grilled steak and green peppercorn sauce
  • Soy and ginger braised duck legs
  • Sticky barbeque ribs
  • Quail saltimbocca, soft polenta, peperonata.

2018 Wrattonbully Single Vineyard Chardonnay
A lovely soft Chardonnay with some oak and fruit. Pale straw in color. On the palate, you’ll like the white peach with citrus notes some oak, and (yay!) some mid-palate flinty notes. Cool and refreshing.


  • Grilled Peri Peri chicken and slaw
  • Bagel, lox, and cream cheese
  • Coq au Vin Blanc – chicken and mushrooms braised in Eight at the Gate Chardonnay and cream finish with tarragon
  • Tuna Niçoise salad
  • Boston clam chowder
  • Crab cakes

2019 Family Selection Chardonnay
A nice example of what we’ve come to love in Australian white wines. Medium-straw color. On the nose, lovely stone fruit and citrus. White peach and citrus on the palate with a good medium mouthfeel. A stylish wine. Vegan-Friendly.


  • Broiled peach and prosciutto salad
  • Roast turkey, especially at Thanksgiving
  • Prawn with Asian noodle salad
  • Ripe Brie or Camembert cheese
  • Lobster salad
  • Grilled salmon, grilled broccolini, lime mayonnaise
  • Seared scallops, sage butter
  • Garlic prawns in a creamy sauce

Enjoy these recipes with notes from the owners.

Eight at The Gate have teamed up with Ian Perry, local Mount Gambier chef to create a selection of recipes and serving suggestions to accompany our wines. Ian has spent over 35 years in the food business working in some of the best restaurants across the world. He now gives back to his craft teaching the next generation of chefs at the Mount Gambier TAFE.

We like to see our collection of recipes as a guideline. Enjoying our wine with food should be fun and relaxing, but also develop conversations around the table.
We have structured our wines with passion and resolve for you to enjoy, the food should be created around how you like to eat, and cook let there be a hint of chaos around the food. Adjust the recipes to your taste and liking. Different ingredients bring different flavor profiles. You can immerse yourself in complex culinary conversations or simply enjoy delicious wine with tasty food and your favorite company.

Smoked Trout Salad, Chardonnay Dressing 

Pairing: Eight at the Gate Family selection Chardonnay

The buttery mouthfeel with a hint of melon and citrus work well with the creaminess of the hot smoked trout. Using a little of the wine in the dressing gives a lighter acid than using vinegar, If needed a little squeeze of fresh lime juice may be added for extra zing

Per Person….
A handful of salad leaves – we recommend watercress for its peppery flavor

Finely sliced shallot or some red onion
75g hot smoked trout (may use other hot smoked fish such as salmon or Tuna), broken into flakes
A little soft herb such as parsley, tarragon, or dill
Pinch of Kosha salt

The Dressing – This makes more than you need but will keep well in the fridge for two weeks.

¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup Eight at the Gate Chardonnay
1 cup Fruity olive oil – South Australian, if available

  • Whisk the wine into the mustard, then slowly add the oil while whisking continuously
  • Note – the dressing may split, simply re whisk before use or place in a clean recycled jar and shake as needed

To serve

  • Gently toss the leaves, shallot, herb, and fish together.
  • Dress lightly to your taste just before serving. Or allow your guests to add their own dressing to personal taste.

Tweak your salad by adding one or more of the following: shaved fennel, sliced radish, ribbons of cucumber and carrot, garden peas or asparagus, a few knobs of Persian style feta.

Chicken Liver Pate – Eight at the Gate Chardonnay
The crisp soft creamy acid of our Chardonnay cuts the richness of this pate or with the simple addition of green peppercorns to this delicious dish is a beautiful match with Eight at the Gate Shiraz Cab. The subtle pepper enhances the spice notes in the red wine.

½ cup Eight at the Gate Chardonnay
½ cup Brandy or Whiskey
½ cup Port or Fortified wine
1 shallot or half a small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
1 sprig fresh Thyme or ½ tsp dry
500g (1.1Lb) Chicken or duck liver, trimmed of sinew
200g or 2 sticks butter, room temperature
½ tsp salt, or to taste
2 tsp green peppercorn, lightly crushed (optional)

In a small pan, simmer the wine, brandy, and half the port along with the shallot, thyme, and garlic. Reduce the volume to about 1/3 cup.

  1. When ready, allow to cool and remove the thyme stalks
  2. In a fry pan heat half the butter, fry the livers for three to four minutes on each side. Ensure the lovers are still pink and soft.
  3. Place the livers, all the butter and wine/port reduction, and salt into a food processor.
  4. Add the extra port and blend the livers to a smooth paste. Season to taste.
  5. If using, add the green peppercorns and lightly blend.
  6. Place pate into a jar or dish. Chill in the fridge for 4 hours to set.

Note: Pate will keep for up to a week in the fridge. A little melted butter may be poured onto the top of the pate for presentation.

Grilled Lamb Chops or Cutlets –Eight at the Gate, Family Selection Shiraz
While the Coonawarra wine region just down the road from our vineyards is world-famous for Cabernet Sauvignon, the younger Wrattonbully region is not only becoming recognized for well-structured Shiraz, it also produces amazing lamb. We even keep a few sheep in our vineyards.

Marinade for 2 lamb racks or 8 lamb chops
3 – 4 cloves garlic or 2 tsp garlic paste

2 sprigs of rosemary
4 salted anchovies
2 tablespoons olive oil

  • I use a pestle and mortar to make a rough paste, but you can blend in a machine or chop all ingredients and bind with the olive oil.
  • Massage into the lamb and allow to marinate. Best left for about 20 minutes for the flavor to develop
  • Broil or Grill to your liking. We prefer cooking medium over a charcoal barbeque, but it’s your food and we want you to enjoy it with our wine.

Serving suggestion; Onion Puree:
2 large onions, sliced

1 cup heavy cream
Kosher Salt to taste

  • Over low heat, cook the onion in the cream until the onion is tender, blend, and season to taste with a little salt

Chard Broccolini (or broccoli, Rapini, Broccoli Rabe. Or Asparagus will also work well.)

  • Blanch for One minute in boiling saltwater or 30 seconds in a covered microwave-safe dish
  • Toss in the remaining lamb marinade and char on the barbeque or broiler

Pasta Caponata – Eight at the Gate, Family Selection Chardonnay
Serves 4 generous serves or 6 lighter ones. This is an Italian version of the French Ratatouille. No tomatoes, so use vinegar instead, with a little sugar to give a sweet-sour balance. The anchovies give an umami salty hint without the fishiness you may expect, and can be left out for a vegetarian version.

1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 eggplant diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup red wine vinegar, depending on the acid level
¾ cup olive oil,
4 anchovies (optional)
½ cup green olives, in quarters (optional)
1 tablespoon capers
Salt to taste
Sugar, to taste if required

1.1lb cooked pasta – long pasta, such as spaghetti is recommended.

Serve with fresh shaved Pecorino or Parmesan

  • In a heavy-based pan. In half the olive oil, gently sweat the onion without color. Once it has started to soften. Add the garlic and anchovies
  • Add the remaining oil, eggplant, and bell pepper. Cook gently for 10 or until tender.
  • Add the vinegar, capers, and olives. Simmer gently for 5 minutes
  • Taste the sauce, adjust seasoning with salt and sugar to your liking.
  • Toss through with freshly cooked pasta. Serve with shaved Parmesan or Pecorino and a glass or 2 of eight at the Gate Family selection Chardonnay. If you fancy a red, try the Eight at the Gate Shiraz Cab red blend

If you’d like to stock your home cellar or restaurant with some of these exquisite wines visit https://eightatthegate.com/

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit www.AllInGoodTaste.info



About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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