Dolan Family Wines, Barossa Valley
Dolan Family Wines was founded by Nigel Dolan in 2007 drawing on the family’s rich, proud history and winemaking experience. The three steps shown on the front label of Dolan Family wines represents the three generations of winemaking – Bryan, Nigel and Tim.
Experience and tradition
Drawing on experience from working with some of the biggest names in Australian wine, Nigel Dolan has won many awards for his character-filled, flavoursome wines. In addition to two coveted Jimmy Watson awards (Australia’s most coveted award for one-year-old red wine still in barrel), Nigel has won nearly every other major red wine Trophy in Australia, including Winestate magazine Australian 2009 Winemaker of the Year.
Handcrafted wines, highly prized by collectors
Dolan Family Wines is Nigel’s passion project. The wines are made from very small parcels of the premium fruit from the prestigious Langhorne Creek, Barossa Valley and Clare Valley regions. Not surprisingly, these lovingly handcrafted wines are only ever available in small quantities.
The philosophy behind every bottle of Dolan Family wines is the same: not working to a formula but assessing each batch of fruit on its merits, then applying the best winemaking technique to bring out its best qualities.
I’m the great grandson of a Clare Valley vigneron and son of veteran winemaker Bryan Dolan, of Saltram, Stonyfell, Metala and Hardy's fame, a Jimmy Watson trophy winner, wine industry veteran and all-round good guy. I made my first wine in 1977 and still enjoy every vintage. It’s a fascinating journey across a number of regions, wineries, brands, some lows but more highs, and I’ve met some really good people. My son Timothy, is winemaker at Peter Lehmann wines, and he’s on a good path. Together we create the Dolan Family wines range.
Nigel’s favourite wine moment
Actually 2 wine moments…
1. 1927 Stonyfell Claret my father Bryan opened for me and a small group of fellow Roseworthy students. Intended as a demonstration of what happens if a wine is "over the hill", amazingly it was magnificent – layers of character and complexity, but still with life and vibrancy. That one bottle said a lot. An inspiration.
2. 1962 Domaine de la Romanee – Conti LaTache. Opened by the late and dear Len Evans OBE, legend, friend and mentor. Poured casually on his verandah for me and a small group. As was his way he presented it in a decanter and we had to guess what it was. No-one got close, but we were all impressed. It was artwork in a bottle, and typical of the generosity and guidance Len could provide.
Nigel’s winemaking Philosophy
1. Innovate, be prepared to take a different view on things. Be prepared to try a different way.
2. Respect, maintain the integrity of the variety and region of the wine.
3. Vision, have clarity of the outcome you are looking for.