Wrattonbully Vineyards is a noteworthy winemaking estate established by the Hill Smith family in 1994
Inspired By The Torrid Savoury red wines of Spain Wrattonbully makes an excellent introduction to Tempranillo. After several visits to Spain by Robert Hill Smith and Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rosa, it was decided to plant an imported clone D8V12 to the six and a half hectare Davis Block site in slightly cooler climes than it's Spanish origins. The result is a pure and articulate single vineyard wine that demands to be engaged and experienced.
Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz established Two Hands with the aim of making the best possible Shiraz wines from fruit grown to good vineyards
Their Intention Was And Still Is To Show The Diversity Of Australian Shiraz By Highlighting Regional Characteristics And Allowing The Fruit To Be The Primary Feature Of The Final Wine By working closely with growers and focusing on small batch handling Two Hands are able to identify parcels of old Barossa vineyard Shiraz which can be assembled into an exceptional wine of salient varietal definition.
JOHANN CHRISTIAN HENSCHKE PURCHASED LAND AROUND THE TINY VILLAGE OF KEYNETON IN 1861 AFTER FLEEING RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN SILESIA. Keyneton grew to become a cultural focus for early Barossa settlers, not least of all was the Henschke Family Brass Band! The B flat euphonium
, imported to Australia from Leipzig in the late nineteenth century by musical entrepreneur Carl Engel of Adelaide, was the Henschke favourite. Just like the namesake Henschke wine, a euphonium exhibits warmer and more subtle tonal qualities than it's louder modern counterparts.
IT IS THE BRESS WAY, that superior quality grapes should be treated gently and with minimal intervention, to be vinified in nothing but the finest new French oak. Low cropped viticulture is in large part, the raison d'ĂŞtre for such reverence, the wines of Bress are religiously handled in such a manner. The bucolic affability of Yarra Valley fruit, seamlessly coalesces with the more elegant and fragrant Macedon Pinot Noir, achieving a measured yet engaging and complex wine. A match to charcoal pork roast and marinated chicken grill.
JOHN AND PATRICIA KENNEDY MAKE A VERY SPECIAL WINE. Work in the vineyard is focused on unravelling intricacies within their site, identifying those areas which produce the best fruit. There is a perceptible learning curve from year to year, as the Kennedys continue to extract a finer quality of fruit with each vintage. The property was carefully chosen and the viticulture is tailored to growing grapes that are flavoursome, structured and balanced, to be crafted into wine by the eminent Sandro Mosele.
OUTSTANDING LANGTONS CLASSIFICATION. St Henri was originally modelled after a wine made at a local Adelaide Hills estate named Auldana
, eventually acquired by Penfolds. The resident winemaker was married to a Henrietta
and his son's name was Henri
. Penfold's chief winemaker John Davoren's devoted work with St. Henri set new standards in Barossa reds. St. Henri has long established itself as an elegant, perfumed style based on exemplary fruit definition delicately backed by supple background oak, a modern St Henri classic.
Kevin Mitchell's tireless
and passionate devotion to his chosen craft has propelled him to international cult status
Like many Australian winemakers Kevin Mitchell is highly trained in both the scientific and artistic sides of winemaking. He also comes from a long tradition of grape growing in the Clare Valley. Kevin began a prolific winemaking career in 1993 as cellar hand. He worked his way up within the industry to be assistant winemaker at a list of companies including Krondorf, d'Arenberg, Kingston Estate, Orlando and BRL Hardy, as well as wineries in the USA. Mitchell purchased the Kilikanoon property in the heart of the picturesque Clare Valley in 1997 with a vision of creating his own brand. The first Kilikanoon releases in 1998 met with immediate export success, and the international reputation for this sensational Clare winery's editions have built steadily from there.
The fruit for Kilikanoon wines is mostly sourced from low yielding vines grown at the estate's vineyards in the Clare and Watervale regions. The now famous Killerman's Run is Kilikanoon's entry level Shiraz, which alone makes it better than many winery's premium offerings! It is blended from Clare, McLaren Vale and Barossa vineyards, and combines the best of each of these. It is soft, juicy, ripe, and neatly oaked. Its aromatic, spicy, plummy and chocolatey. Its long, clean, balanced and succulent.
The Kilikanoon group owns or controls over 500 hectares of prime vineyards throughout South Australia. They have chosen their terroir carefully to enable a wide range of wines which seek to express the individuality of their respective regions. All the Kilikanoon fruit is hand pruned and hand picked from vines that are 30 to 40 years of age. Traditional methods of vinification are used, fermentation taking place in small open fermenters and gently processed through a basket press.
Kevin Mitchell has succeeded in putting some Clare Grenache to perfect use with the Prodigal, building a wine that has plenty of fresh berry fruit â€“ raspberry, dark cherry, strawberry â€“ wrapped up in the classic rosy sheen expected of the variety. It's a textural thing, almost like polished silk, found in the best Cotes du Rhones. Then there's a firm finish with tannins like a cup of fine black tea.
The first Eden Valley wine in the Kilikanoon portfolio was sourced entirely from the Blacket Estate Vineyard located high up in the Eden ranges. Seasons in the Eden Valley tend to be Mediterranean in classification with winter to spring rainfall and long cool growing seasons. Grapes are harvested when the optimum balance of flavours, acid and sugar levels are at their peak. Gently passed through a membrane press with only free run juice making up the final blend, the wines are fermented cool to preserve the natural fruit flavours and aromas.
In its relatively short history Kilikanoon has won a large number of Australian and International awards and received high praise from the worldâ€™s most respected wine writers. The 2002 Clare Valley Wine Show was what really put Kilikanoon on the map. Initially most of Kilikanoonâ€™s red wines were crushed and fermented at Torbreck in the Barossa. Mitchell has also worked closely with Neil Paulett in the Clare Valley where the Kilikanoon Rieslings are crushed. Another important partnership for Kilikanoon has been with Rolf Binder in the Barossa, with whom Mitchell has formed the Binder Mitchell brand. In 2005, Kevin was finally able to realise his dream of building a purpose built winery with open fermenters and basket presses to ensure ever higher standards of quality from the expanding fruit sources.
Established 1860, Tahbilk
is one of Australia's most scenic and historic wineries
Located in the Nagambie Lakes region of central Victoria (120kms north of Melbourne), one of the nation's premium viticultural areas, the property comprises some 1,214 hectares of rich river flats with a frontage of 11 kms to the Goulburn River and 8 kms of permanent backwaters & creeks. The vineyard comprises 168 hectares of vines which include the rare Rhone whites of Marsanne, Viognier & Roussanne, along with classical varieties such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc & Verdelho.
Harvest commences in early March and continues for five to six weeks with approximately 1,600 tonnes of grapes processed. Total production is over 100,000 cases with just over 20% being exported to the key markets of U.S.A., United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries.
In 1860, the same year that Phylloxera was first observed in France, Melbourne businessmen, including John Pinney Bear, formed a company to create a vineyard on the Goulburn River, with the grand aim of planting a million vines, an achievement yet to be realised with some 360,000 vines currently planted! The site chosen was referred to by Aboriginals as tabilk-tabilk meaning the place of many waterholes.
The next major development came in 1875 with the construction of a New Cellar, running at right angles to the 1860 Cellar
Excavated in just 12 weeks by James Purbrick (a third cousin to Reginald who was to purchase Tahbilk some 50 years later), 20,000 cubic yards of soil was removed by horse drawn carts (one of which is on display in the original cart-sheds opposite Cellar Door). The walls and arch of the New Cellar are 3 feet thick with the arch being self-supporting (using no keystone) and then covered with earth. The bricks are interlocked as only sand and lime were used to join them together with the whole cellar completed in time for the 1876 vintage.
The Swiss-French impact then continued with Francois Coueslant, considered in his day to be a most knowledgeable vigneron and progressive farm-manager, taking on the General Managers role from 1877 -1888. He was responsible for, amongst many innovations, the construction of the distinctive Tower (1882) that surmounts the original Winery building and features on current Tahbilk labels.
The Tower's first level played a functional role in winemaking until the 1940's. The second level was used as a storeroom for oats for the horses, with the third level described by Coueslant as "an observation room, from which you will be able to have an eye over all the vineyard, which fact may help the work a little". The upper level was purely aesthetic.
In the renowned
Marlborough wine region of New Zealand, between the waters of Cloudy Bay and the jagged Kaikoura Mountains, lies the ancient glacial Awatere Valley
In the nineteenth century, early pioneers stopped in this valley at a place where their horses could wade across the Awatere River. They called this point The Crossings. Today, this spot falls within The Crossings wine estate, which is made up of three vineyards in strategic locations within the valley. While this land was once used by the settlers for grazing, recent years have increasingly seen it converted to vines, as this southern sub-region of Marlborough proves itself to be a prime vineyard location.
While the Awatere Valley is producing wines different in style to those of northern Marlborough, wines from The Crossings offer a particularly individual expression of the Awatere. As one of the viticultural pioneers of the valley, The Crossings have been able to select a spread of the best sites, and from the many different parcels within these, are able to create individual wines that express the land in which they are grown. At the heart of The Crossings lie 140 hectares (346 acres) of vineyards spread over three specially selected sites on the northern banks of Awatere River in Marlborough's Awatere Valley These are wholly owned by The Crossings, ensuring complete control over the grapes.
The natural profile of the Awatere Valley, with its golden staircase of river terraces provides variations in soils and temperatures at different altitudes. This means that within each of The Crossingsâ€™ vineyards themselves numerous sites exist, offering a wide variety of parcels with diverse flavour profiles from which we create our blends. This enables the crafting of well structured and individual wines, which retain an unmistakable Marlborough profile, while exuding Awatere character. The Crossings' viticultural focus is on maintaining low yields and achieving good vine balance to produce fruit that ripens uniformly and with maximum flavour intensity.
Working in harmony with nature forms the root of The Crossingsâ€™ vinegrowing programme and has directed all aspects of site preparation, planting and vineyard management. In an age where the drive to maximise production has transformed diverse ecosystems into monoculture in many of the worldâ€™s vinegrowing areas, The Crossings celebrates biodiversity, and has left many of the fine old trees and existing vegetation on our sites. The estate also avoids the use of pesticides and herbicides and follows the practices of New Zealandâ€™s Sustainable Winegrowing programme.
The Awatere Valley is the southern sister valley of the Wairau Valley, where Marlborough's Sauvignon Blanc legacy began. As interest has grown in the Awatere, vineyard plantings have risen to around 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres), with very little prime viticultural land now left in the valley. The Awatere Valley shares many general climatic characteristics with the Wairau Valley, such as the low rainfall, high sunshine, warm summers, cool nights and long dry autumns ideal for producing high quality wines. However, bud burst for vines on lighter soils in the Awatere can be a little earlier than in the Wairau, while the region's harvest can be later, often giving Awatere grapes a longer ripening period in which to develop intense flavours.
With a relatively high water table in the Wairau Valley, the natural vigour of a vine like Sauvignon Blanc must be constantly checked in the vineyard in order for the vine to concentrate its energy on its grapes. However, the lack of underground water in the Awatere's free draining glacial outwash gravel soils, limits both the vigour and yield of its vines. This enables the vines to achieve a good balance and allows the viticulturalist greater control of vigour. The result is ripe concentrated fruit which makes wines that embody the distinctive minerally style of the Awatere.
Arakoon aspire to
make elegant, restrained and sophisticated wines that will complement food, as wine should be drunk with fine food and good company
Let there be no doubt, the wine is made in the vineyard. The source fruit can vary greatly from vintage to vintage. In order to obtain a certain degree of consistency, batches are processed as separately as possible followed by a final blending, assembling wines into unique styles. Elegance with power, aspirations which are not always easy to reach. Arakoon maximize quality by interacting with growers as much as possible, and by choosing growers who are interested in producing high quality fruit, rather than just high quantity. Processing, maturation, blending and bottling are also important and that is where the winemaking part comes in.
Arakoon aim at producing styles which the winemakers themselves would like to drink. Inspirational producers around the world include amongst others: Guigal, Graillot, Rayas, Clape, Pegau, Trevallon, Rousseau and J.J. Confuron (reds), and FX Pichler, Knoll, Coche-Dury, Marcel Deiss and JJ Prum (whites). Whithin Australia, Arakoon are fans of Mount Mary, Noons, Bowen's, Summerfield, Wendouree, Lakes Folly and Jasper Hill. Notably, Australia and McLaren Vale produces grapes that differ from the European favourites, so physical emulations are therefore impossible. The quality however that these producers routinely achieve is very much a target to emulate.
Arakoon believe that experimentation is the key to achieving higher and higher levels of quality. It is easy to make a prediction of what happens in response to certain treatments, however, any real answer will only come from trials. Tests are routinely conducted with synthetic corks vs. a range of natural corks, the number of times a wine should be racked, the effect of fining rates, primary fermentation in barrel vs. vat, pre- and post-fermentation maceration, etc... and there is more to come.
After tasting Arakoon you may become surprised that some of the wines taste quite different from most other South Australians, more elegant and understated perhaps. This is a stylistic objective resulting from extended maceration post-fermentation, the use of subtle new French oak amongst other old barrels and blending towards the above stated aim. These styles sometimes are a better match with food rather than big and overtly fruity wines.
Wines are graded into a big and a light or elegant group. The big group contains the Big, fat & gutsy (BFG), the Sellicks Beach and the Doyen. The remainder are more on the lighter side. Sellicks Beach/BFG blend is based on little new wood and wines that have a porty, jammy element in them, whilst reserve Shiraz and the doyen are more stamped by subtle new French oak and varietal aromas. The Lighthouse/DBB blend is an attempt at producing an elegant Cabernet Shiraz modeled after the likes of Dom. du Trevallon in Provence.
Arakoon don't own or manage vineyards but they have firm views on viticulture. Since inaugural vintage, Aakoon have brought in grapes from vines that have yielded miserably and from vines that have had reasonably large crops, from vines that were two years young, up to a hundred years old, from vines that have ripened their fruit early and late, and with varying degrees of ripeness (10.5 to over 16% potential alcohol!). In Summary, the best wine so far (doyen) have come from two year old vines that ripened early. Arakoon have seen examples where low yielding vines produce wine that is not too special, whilst reasonably high yielding vines give very nice fruit (and therefore wine). At vintage, Arakoon produce a large range of varying batches that differ in grape, geographical origin and winemaking treatments. Some vineyards are harvested at two ripeness levels. The different batches are kept separate all the way until blending. For such a tiny winery, Arakoon can end up with a substantial number of batches, between 15-25 depending on the vintage. Subsequently the batches are grouped according to style or potential. Not only structure, but flavours are considered.