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Lake's Folly was the first new vineyard in the Hunter Valley last century, established by Max Lake and his family in 1963 and the first boutique winery in Australia

At the time of its establishment very little premium wine was drunk, there was no capital to invest, and Cabernet was an unproven grape for the area. Its name was almost a foregone conclusion and Lakes Folly was born!

Lakes Folly

The tradition continues, with the first boutique winery in Australia making only two wines, a red Cabernet blend and a white 100% Chardonnay using all estate grown fruit. The property changed hands in May 2000 to Peter Fogarty. Peter was the chosen buyer because of his wish to maintain the integrity and current direction of the Folly. Six years on, nothing has changed nor is likely to. There are no plans for expansion, small is beautiful. - Lakes Folly

With a total production of around 4,500 cases, less then a quarter is Chardonnay. Lake's Folly practice the KISS philosophy, 1 red and 1 white, same vintage, same price, life is complicated enough as it is! In the vineyard, quality is derived primarily from the terroir. The old vines, now well and truly self regulated to produce low cropping high quality fruit, are well established and give consistency even in difficult years. The winemaking aspect is very simple. Hand picking, gentle crushing and traditional open fermentation for the reds, barrel fermentation and extended yeast lees contact for the Chardonnay. Judicious use of French oak, small barrel maturation for both, hand bottling and that's it, no more, no less.

The most important aspect is great fruit and attention to detail from vineyard to bottle

Only two wines are made at Lakes Folly, all from fruit grown on the estate. A White (Chardonnay) and a Red (a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Shiraz, Merlot and Petit Verdot). Lakes Folly have structured the vineyard to make a more complex wine. The style is restrained and elegant showing finesse and complexity. The wines have clarity of structure, and a great length of flavour. In the warmer climate of the Hunter Valley we have no trouble in achieving mature tannins in our red grapes. So you won't find any herbaceous/ capsicum characters, so common in many cool climate Cabernets. Red wine is as much about how it feels in your mouth. Its texture, ripeness and maturity rather than the quantity of the tannins.

Then you have weight vs complexity. The riper the fruit the bigger the wine but the trade-off is loss of finesse and elegance. Crop levels are also critical in achieving complexity (not to mention canopy management, irrigation, etc). Needless to say the exclusively estate grown fruit requires diligence in achieving these goals, the weather having the last say on the fruit intensity for that particular year. With the old vines, low crop levels, and good canopy management, Lakes Folly are consistently presented with above average fruit.

Being a single site vineyard (i.e. grown, vintaged and bottled on the estate) allows the winemaking team to fully express the terroir of the particular site. Red basalt over limestone with a southeast aspect and forty year old vines, makes for wines with great complexity. Throw in some traditional winemaking, French oak and you have a unique distinguished single site wine. ‚ÄúIt is not a wine which can or should be judged by conventional standards; if it were to be treated, the judgement would not do the wine justice‚ÄĚ, James Halliday, Wine Companion. Lakes Folly prefer to understate their releases, allowing them to reveal themselves at your own pace. - Lakes Folly - Lakes Folly

  • Dan Murphy Classification of Australian Wines: "The impact which the wines have had on the Australian wine world, places the red in the very great category. A classic wine in its own right...does not fit easily into any style."
  • Len Evans Australian Complete Book of Wine: "its influence and the quality of wine it produces have given it an importance which greatly out-weigh its size." Jeremy Olivers book Thirst for Knowledge ranks Lakes Folly in the 4 consistently best Australian Cabernets.
  • Included in the Langton's Classification of Distinguished Australian Wine. Quoted in Bradleys book Small Wineries of Australia as being one of the important vineyards of the world.
  • The 1997 Chardonnay was chosen in James Halliday's "Top 100". Of the 2000 vintage, James Halliday says " close to perfection as the real world will allow." Huon Hooke writes quality at this winery is better than ever. Hallidays 2006 Wine Companion sees only 4 Hunter Valley wines make the best of the best section. Three of the 4 are Lakes Folly wines from the 02 & 03 vintages with 94-96 point scores. For the second time running. Huon Hooke wrote: "The Cabernets is a history making wine with pedigree and cult status."
  • International accolades Hugh Johnson, Serena Sutcliffe, Decanter, Michael Broadbent, David Peppercorn
  • Lake's Folly on the winelist at Frances famous prestigious Troisgros restaurant. Substantial exports to the USA and UK including the Ritz in London
  • ANZ Wines has no affiliation with Australia New Zealand Bank. ANZ Wines is a customer of ANZ Bank, the involvement is limited to provision of banking services