Izway Mates

Izway wines was conceived on a handshake between two Aussie wine makers in a chateau in Beaujolais. Brian Conway and Craig Isbel met during vintage at Chateau de Bluizard in 2002 and after many nights drinking pastis they decided to start their own winery in the Barossa Valley. The wine making is simple and minimalistic and is based on old world, hands on techniques. They ferment their wines using indigenous yeast, limit acid additions as much as possible, rarely use nutrient, never use tannin or any other additions and never fine or filter the wines. They both love the purity and energy of natural wines and these are the styles that they are emulating. Brian and Craig would like to think their wines are a true expression of the terroir from which they are sourced and that all of their winemaking philosophies are based around expressing terroir as truly as possible.

The chosen one: Izway Mates Grenache Mataro 2013

My impression:

Fragrant berries and some earthy undertones jump right out of the glass.

In the press:

Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2013 mates grenache mataro has a savory, earth and herb-laced nose over a core of red currants and red cherries. Full-bodied with a lot of red berry and earthy characters on offer in the mouth, it has lovely satin textured tannins and a good amount of freshness to support the fruit through the long finish. The Wine Advocate 90+

A little about the craftsman Brian Conway:

1. How did you get involved in the world of wine?

My late father introduced me to fine wines when everyone else was drinking beer and vodka and orange. I love beer, but this stuff was better.

2. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in winemaking since you began your career?

Just quite simply generational change and the incremental differences this makes, over many years, due to changes in style or representation of certain varietals based on a winemakers thinking at the time. A winemakers take on Shiraz in the ’90’s is different to what is seen today and the same could be said across the board. When any market becomes extremely well educated, as Australian wine drinkers have been for many years now, everything must constantly improve. Just do not lose why you actually started doing it in the first place and change to suit a passing fad.

3. What are some of the exciting changes that you see happening in the Barossa Valley? 

I see many generations of winemakers who have made lovely wines for many years and younger generations coming through also making lovely wines. 

4. Where else in the world have you studied, trained or worked a harvest?

Studied at Charles Sturt but left with 7 units to go, preferred being at home with my wife and new born son and getting on with my growing business. Sonoma, Yarra Valley, Margaret River, Alsace and Beaujolais. How did that influence your winemaking? Probably Beaujolais the most in terms of our Grenache blend Mates and the rest of my influence from my business partner Craig Isbel, the great wines my many friends make from around Australia and the great wines of France and Italy.

5. Do you collect wine?

Three young children, three wine business’s, consulting…ah no but will again shortly.

6. What’s your desert island wine?

Water would be my drink of choice on a desert Island and Grand Cru White Burgundy for the fish and wild chickens/pigs that would surely be on the island

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