THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENOLOGIST
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- “Coonawarrifying” Wine – The New Terroirism
- XAVIER WINES, XAVIER GOODRIGE, Yarra Xavier Wines
- MOMENTO MORI, DANE JOHNS, Heathcote
- PATRICK SULLIVAN, Yarra Valley
- QUEALY WINEMAKERS, KATHLEEN QUEALY, BALNARRING, Victoria
- TURBID BRETTY, WILLIAM DOWNIE. MORNINGTON, Victoria
- BINDI, MICHAEL DHILLON, MACEDON RANGES, Victoria - Organic
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ENOLOGIST
- I was discovered inside a case of free Gallo wine samples at Heathrow Airport.
- A Brand Blag?!
- I believe it was a case of Chardonnay destined for a restaurant in Belgravia.
- Mr Worthless, the grape variety is irrelevant. I will not consent to my niece conducting a relationship with a supermarket trolley or
marrying into a wine lake.
- My intentions are entirely honourable. I believe in minimal intervention.
- My dear sir, doing nothing may be the natural thing, but nature itself is entirely unnatural. We should avoid contact with it at all costs.
- Do you not enjoy the taste of wine, Lady Brandall?
- It is so much better not to enjoy wine. One can then boast about one’s disappointment. Besides all pleasures are fleeting. My disappointment
invariably begins the moment the cork is pulled.
- I would venture to disagree. I believe that one does not taste wine. It tastes us.
- I’m sure, Mr Worthless that is a dreadfully modern thing to say. However, it does not avoid the fact that the wine you make has no purpose
other than as a medicinal cure for fainting fits. Unless you can furnish me with evidence of a noble viticultural lineage I must ask you to
cease paying court to my niece.
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The eucalyptus tongue-down-yer-throat of Cabernet, the oak prisons of Chardonnay,
the carpeted corridors of Shiraz and the port lakes of liqueur Muscat?
A glass of Shiraz on a Friday evening
Looking down from the observatory
The sun is melting in a wine dark ocean
It brings out the Australian in me.
Al Stewart – The Shiraz Shuffle
Father Ted (hunched over picnic basket to conceal what he is doing): Okay, Father, I’m just getting ready for the picnic.
Accidentally clinks two bottles of wine together as he puts them in the basket.
Father Jack: Drink!
Father Ted: Oh no, Father, it’s just sparkling lemonade.
Father Jack (with a triumphant leer): Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay 1991!
Father Ted: You can tell that just from the sound of the bottles?!
Father Jack: Drink! Drink!
BROOKFORD ESTATE, South Eastern Australia
Extremely adequate fruit-juicers from the fictitious country known as South-Eastern Australia. The Chardonnay Semillon has
plenty of grassy-grapiness on the nose, although the palate has less zest and is a touch drier than you would taste in a Côtes de
Gascogne, for example. The Cabernet Shiraz has a good thump of cherry-jam fruit with a nip of cocoa and pepper.
BROOKFORD ESTATE CHARDONNAY SEMILLON – stelvin
BROOKFORD ESTATE CABERNET SHIRAZ – stelvin
“Coonawarrifying” Wine – The New Terroirism
Although novelty may be as old as the world itself every one in the wine trade is constantly aware of the importance of reinvention and
338elabeling. Wine, as a business, is less concerned with what goes on inside the bottle and more with the notion of pushing product. The
notion of terroir, for example, has been hijacked by many people who wish to give credibility to their product. Producers, regions, even
countries are highly conscious of image and the necessity to talk up individuality in a competitive global market. In Australia, for example,
there is a move away from the well-trodden, well-marketed varietal path towards the notion of promoting regionalism, the glimmerings of a
foundation of an appellation controllée, encouraging quality wines. Each country wishes to establish discrete terroirs, to differentiate
between commercial swill and high quality wine, insofar that the region itself, Coonawarra, for instance, due to the particular properties of
the soil, is recognised as a denominator of quality, a form of high level branding. Terroir is subtler than this for within a region there is a
sub-region, therein a microclimate, a row of vines, some grapes, a grower’s personality, a range of vinification options and a singular cuvée
of a wine from a particular vintage. Regionality is thus not the whole truth. Take Chablis, a classic example of a wine that does not need to
be marketed by its grape variety. Not all wines from Chablis are, however, made in the same way – one vigneron may use new oak, another
stainless steel, another old oak – and taking into the account the variables imposed by nature, weather conditions, the aspect of the slope,
the geological composition of the soil, the yeasts, we can see how a multiplicity of different wines of different styles may derive even from
one region. Furthermore, there is a dilution of terroir – just as Chablis widened its remit with the creation of Petit Chablis AOC, so
Coonawarra as a region began to encompass land outside the fabled Terra Rossa soil. Given how arbitrary this all this it would be useful to
discover a form of categorisation that takes into account what the wine actually tastes like. What thus defines the wine is the accumulation
the second point: wine needs to be marketed more imaginatively to achieve a truer sense of what is in the bottle. As Jean-Luc Godard
observed: “To me style is the outside of content and content the inside of style, like the outside and inside of the human body”. We should
never lose track that we cannot define the essence of wine any more than we can describe a person, but we can describe its most obvious
characteristics and say how it affects us.
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STANTON & KILLEEN, Rutherglen
Australians are basically a bunch of loudmouth drunks, but I once met a group near Peera-Peera in the southern Australian
outback who were the complete opposite. Not only were they quiet and reserved, but they also happened to be vegetarian
teetotallers. However, before I had a chance to speak to them, they hopped away into the bush.
Rutherglen lies in undulating countryside, where the hills of Australia’s Great Dividing Range meet fertile plains of the Murray
Valley. Hilltops of quartz gently fall away to bands of well-drained red loam on the lower slopes and it is here the vines of
Rutherglen’s great fortified wines are grown.
Rutherglen has a Mediterranean climate, with long, dry summers stretching lazily into warm, golden autumns – ideal for
ripening grapes to sugar levels way up on the Baume scale. Fifteen to seventeen degrees Baume is normal; an exceptionally
good autumn can produce the astonishing levels of twenty degrees Baume, and beyond. Rows of huge, venerable casks have
matured countless vintages of muscat, and a huge range of red and white table wines at Rutherglen – an ideal area for
producing a full range of still table wines and fortified dessert wines.
Classic Rutherglen Muscat
A maturing style blended from selected parcels of Muscat, to impart greater levels of richness and complexity, with the
beginnings of ‘rancio’ characters produced from the maturation in wood
This luscious solera style fortified wine displays
medicinal flavours of toffee, Seville orange, cocoa bean and coffee.
STANTON & KILLEEN RUTHERGLEN LIQUEUR MUSCAT – ½ bottle
XAVIER WINES, XAVIER GOODRIGE, Yarra
Xavier Wines is the brainchild of Xavier Goodridge who worked with Pat Sullivan. These are surely amongst the most natural
tasting wines you will find in Australia. HQ (Hipster Quotient). – 10/10 – not only covers the stubble on the fizzog front, but the
addition of the flat cap is a masterstroke and the totally uncommunicative wine labels confer further credit Based in Yarra Hills,
Xavier sources organic fruit. Shirley Rose is 100% Pinot Noir with a short maceration and wild yeast ferment
All the wines are made in stainless tanks, undergo natural malo and are bottled on the lees No filtration, fining or sulphur
added. Halfway to Heaven is a delicious Fiano, quite textural but also with good acidity. Papa is a Syrah with bright fruit and
spice – definitely at the cooler end of the spectrum (and we’re not talking hipster here).
HALFWAY TO HEAVEN WHITE
MOMENTO MORI, DANE JOHNS, Heathcote
Sourced from the Chalmers vineyard in Heathcote.
equal parts Vermentino, Fiano and Malvasia with 10% Moscato Giallo to create the latest edition of ‘Staring at the Sun’. After
three and a half months on skins and no additions whatsoever, this time around the fruit has imparted rich florals, some
charcuterie and fleshy orange elements. A little musk, ginger spice and savoury grip marks the complex finale.
The fruit for this wine was grown by the Chalmers Family Vineyard on the Mt Camel ranges in northern Heathcote. Dane works
closely with them to achieve the quality of fruit they require each year. In turn they are meticulous in the vineyard, using
organic viticulture practices and have decades of knowledge growing alternative varieties in Australia. All of Dane’s wines are
as hand-made as can be. Small ferments, wild yeast, no new oak, no mechanical pumps, no fining, no filtration, no additions. All
of his wines are full of character, freshness and purity, and above all else, they are alive.
STARING AT THE SUN
Details on these wines to follow.
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PATRICK SULLIVAN, Yarra Valley
All the Pinots are from organically-farmed cool-climate Yarra fruit on old clay soils apart from Amazon which has a touch of
basalt and quartz. Pat is looking for clean crunchy fruit- all ferments are wild/ ambient Fruit of Sky and Windy Cottage are
50% whole bunches, Good Morning Tom is 100% whole cluster, whilst Amazon is completely destemmed fruit. Whilst all
ferments are in stainless steel. Fruit of the Sky and Windy Cottage are transferred to used oak barrels. Then no racking until
bottling. Fruit of the Sky Pinot Noir is from a lofty vineyard up high in the Yarra Valley. This wine comprises some of the rarer
clones of Pinot Noir to be found in Australia. Its high aromatic fruit with a river run of piercing acid. A juicy health tonic
Amazon Pinot Noir is from a vineyard that lives amongst the trees overlooking the Yarra River. Only 500 bottles produced. This
wine was ripe and thus never saw wood and was bottled 5 months after harvest. Intense tannin with youthful fruit. Good
Morning Tom is the surprise of the harvest. 100% whole cluster Pinot Noir revealing Chinese five spice and pure balance. Very
drinkable style. Windy Cottage Pinot Noir is from an old neglected Pinot Noir vineyard close to the forest which makes the
water junction of the Woory Yallok stream and Yarra river. A cooling, simple and fun. Brittania Creek comes from a dry-grown
35-year-old vineyard in the Yarra Valley and is a co-fermented blend of Semillon, Chardonnay, Chenin and Sauvignon. This
means all grapes are picked and made at the same time, not picked separately and then blended, as is the norm. The wine
spends one week on skins, fermented with natural yeasts in a mzxture of used barrels and aged in same and is bottled unfined
and barely filtered. The resulting orange wine is smooth and textural with fresh fruit flavours alongside notes of dark spice.
Lovely tension and tight-graining with tangy acid and fine tannins.
Though he distances himself the actual term, Pat Sullivan’s name has become deeply synonymous with the natural wine
movement. Haggis wine is a non-vintage no- varietal from Heathcote and Yarra Valley fruit. This wine is 100% whole bunch.
50% Moscato Giallo and 50% Sauv Blanc. 1 month on skins in 2-ton fermenters. Pressed into stainless steel and clay vessels
and bottled early. All natural ambient ferment. Unfiltered, unfined, just a little SO2 at bottling. This is textural, grippy wine with
honeydew, orange rind and some sweetness to open which is then offset by a savoury finish – complex and accomplished.
Patrick has been making Jumpin Juice for five years. It was the first wine to carry his little "half full" optimism symbol. Made in
the styles of a trattoria style wine it is fruit forward, soft and gluggable. This particular bottling was 50% Pinot Noir and 50%
Pinot Gris. 100% from Gippsland with fruit grown by Patrick. Fermented part in stainless, part ceramic with a little bit of
whole bunch but largely de-stemmed.
FRUIT OF THE SKY PINOT NOIR
AMAZON CREEK PINOT NOIR
WINDY COTTAGE PINOT NOIR
NEW WORLD WINE
QUEALY WINEMAKERS, KATHLEEN QUEALY, BALNARRING, Victoria
Musk Creek Vineyard is a mixed farming property with 11 acres established in 1994 to Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and
Muscat Rouge à Petit Grains. The native timber covered valley folds down towards the sea, located only 5 kilometres away. The
vineyard is North-North East and the elevation allows a view of Westernport Bay. The soil is a deep and heavy brown clay feed
by springs. The vineyard has great capacity to create aromatic wines with high natural acidity. Musk Creek Vineyard requires
great energy and expertise to harness the natural vigour and transform into grape quality.
Turbul Friulano has extended fermentation on skins, then into barrel to mature. Turbul is bottled without any clarification.
Sleek creamy palate, almond milk & filled with the exotic aromatics of angelica blossom, honey, bright pepper spice, parsley
root, lemon rind.
Tussie Mussie is a generous wine with a luscious stone fruit palate; honey, heavy bottomed pears, creamy. Six months on lees
assist generous mouth feel and palate weight. Balanced with natural acidity. The Pinot Gris has a magnificent appearance of
the palest gold colour; traits found only in perfectly ripened cool climate Pinot Gris. Perfume of honey, pink berry, fungi, even
the forest, and hints of porkiness and nut.
Musk Creek Pinot Noir is evolving slowly to open up to its full potential. Some
spearmint, raspberry and spice aroma; palate is moderate weight, silky and fine natural acid.
TUSSIE MUSSIE PINOT GRIS
MUSK CREEK PINOT GRIS
MUSK CREEK PINOT NOIR
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NO SO2 MORNINGTON PINOT NOIR
Bindi, 50 km north-west of Melbourne in the Macedon Ranges, is the family property of the Dhillon family. Originally
purchased in the 1950s as part of the larger grazing farm ‘Bundaleer’, ‘Bindi’ is a 170 hectare farm of which 6 hectares are
planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Fifteen hectares are dedicated to managed plantation eucalypts for high grade
furniture timber whilst the remainder of the land is maintained as remnant bush land and important indigenous grasslands.
The vineyard and winemaking philosophy is to seek balance and purity in the expression of various individual vineyard sites
and this philosophy is applied to farming and conservation at ‘Bindi’; the preservation of the natural harmony.
The vineyard elevation is 500 metres above sea level and soils are predominantly shattered quartz over siltstone and clay
with some eroded volcanic top soil over clay. Yields are typically 3.5 to 5.0 tonnes per hectare and hand management
regimes of fastidious small vineyard philosophies are maintained encompassing hand pruning, frequent passes (at least ten
passes each vine) though the growing season managing the vertical shoot positioned canopy and hand harvesting.
Increasingly low impact, organic outcomes are being trialled and implemented.
percentages of natural yeast ferments, gently worked ferments, delicate pressing, long lees ageing in French barrels and
minimal racking. No fining and restricted filtration regimes are followed. The Kostas Rind Chardonnay, grown on a 1.5
hectare plot, is an intense, mineral wine fully ripe but lean, taught and intense with savoury, creamy elements. Fragrant
notes of orange blossom, nectarine stone, spice and subtle nuttiness are usual with a vibrant, tight, long palate highlighted
by clean acidity, wonderful texture and fine length. The wine is fermented in French barrels of which typically 20% are new
and is lees stirred every week over winter and given around one quarter malo-lactic conversion. It is racked around eight
months after vintage, and returned to barrel for a further three months before bottling. Quartz Chardonnay is at the upper
end of the Chardonnay planting, where the quartz incidence in the soil is the greatest. The fruit has extra complexity, finesse
and intensity. This wine comes exclusively from this soil. This area is approximately half one hectare in size. The
characteristics are similar in the Quartz Chardonnay to the Composition Chardonnay but all aspects are amplified here yet
remain in complete harmony. The winemaking is the same for both wines although the Quartz Chardonnay sometimes
spends a few months longer in barrel and there is a higher percentage of new wood used, being around 35%. The ideal of
the Dixon Vineyard Pinot is to produce a delicious, perfumed, spicy harmonious, textured wine that is not as intense,
complex nor ageworthy as the individual vineyard wines This essentially is the declassified fruit or barrels from the single
vineyards. The wine is fermented the same way as their other Pinot Noirs in that it is ostensibly 100% de-stemmed and
gently worked in small, open vats with most vats being run as un-inoculated ferments. The wine spends 11 months in French
barrels, of which about 10-15% are new. The Block Five vineyard is about half of one hectare in size on a sheltered, north
facing, and very quartz-riddled site. It has a wonderful natural vineyard exposition. The wine is always darker in fruit
expression and immediately more spicy and earthy than the other Pinots from this estate. It is less immediately perfumed
and has more tannin and fruit power. The wines from Block 5 require bottle ageing to develop the same suppleness and
delicacy as the Composition but even in their youth they are quite profound. The wine spends 15-17 months in French
barrels of which about 35% are new. This wine is never oak driven but can certainly benefit from a higher percentage of
new oak without being dominated by sappy, smoky oak elements
KOSTAS RIND CHARDONNAY ~ limited availability
QUARTZ CHARDONNAY ~ limited availability
BLOCK 5 PINOT NOIR ~ limited availability
DIXON VINEYARD PINOT NOIR
ORIGINAL VINEYARD PINOT NOIR
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