Issue #148, March 2021

 

A look at Victoria’s
incredible diversity

 

Last week, we received a heads-up from Owen Latta at Eastern Peake winery about the vintage and harvest season in his neck of the woods:

“Vintage is now up and running for the Latta Vino wines, all the growers have excellent crops this year. So far; Sauvignon Blanc, Mencia & Viognier are in from vineyards in the Pyrenees. Cabernet Franc tomorrow, Pinot Gris next week, maybe some Grenache and Shiraz.  

It’s been a cooler season (coolest summer in 20 years). This means longer ripening, beautiful acidity and incredible flavour profiles.

Eastern Peake is still around 2-5 weeks away, hard to say when things will kick off here. There’s a lot of excitement in the air for the harvest, nets are on protecting the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the birds. There is a nice healthy crop maturing on the vine. The weather looks balanced on the long term forecast.”

Isn’t it fascinating that the harvest times can vary drastically, even within a single region?

Interestingly, Victoria is the second smallest state but it is home to more winemaking regions than any other state in Australia. Together with several regions, it also has the greatest diversity of climates, both warm and relatively cool, which allow for the production of virtually every wine style imaginable.

Our existing collection of producers based in Victoria is modest, but far from scant since it gives us an excellent illustration of Victoria’s wealth and variety. Today, travelling to Australia is not possible and therefore, we created a little vinous voyage to discover Victoria’s incredible diversity.

 

Central Highlands of Victoria

 

Positioned at 430 metres above sea level (which is relatively high within Australian vineyards) Eastern Peake's cool climate is ideal for producing high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

Owen's Intrinsic Chardonnay took us all by storm, with the introductory 2016 vintage selling out in less than 4 weeks. The latest 2018 release proudly manifests its textural complexities with a unique character amongst our rich portfolio of Australian Chardonnays.

Eastern Peake wines are incredibly age-worthy and thus, our collection of Owen's Pinot Noir dates back to 2001 in a special vertical case. A number of maturing vintages are also available individually. 

 

"I love the salinity, purity and that same buttery pastry... in a class all of its own."

 

Intrinsic Chardonnay 2018

97++ to 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey  “Different and rightfully individual, but I can see glimpses of my old friend. The nose is evocative and builds with more aeration. Grilled, creamy nuts, buttery pastry, crème pat, fresh vanilla pod underpinned with confit lemon, crisp orchard fruits and the most striking mineral freshness imaginable. The palate is a little subdued but that’s ok with me as this beauty will last a decade or more. It’s textural, satiny, fleshy and elegant in a muscular sense. I love the salinity, purity and that same buttery pastry. The acidity is racy and the pithy structure chewy and delightful. Supremely sophisticated and yet again, in a class all of its own by an indescribable sense of completeness. One of the highlights of my year and I am pinching three dozen for sure. Do not overchill, decant for 20-30 minutes and ideally serve in Zalto Bordeaux glassware or similar. Drink now to 2030+ (I believe this will be 99 points in 5-8 years)”

98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Tasted after decanting. Perhaps a little more feminine compared to the exuberant 2016 but nevertheless, the Intrinsic Chardonnay 2018 is a wine of sheer depth, which is simply incredible for such a young wine. It’s beautifully aromatic with abundant nectarines and apricots unfolding in the glass together with citrus oil, crystalline minerals and a whiff of vanilla. The tremendous texture is where this wine really shines as it covers every facet of your palate with incredible precision and velvety softness. The graceful acidity only aids a sense of poise and seamless balance, harmonising the textural, creamy sensation. This real beauty proves irresistible today but will reward those with an unyielding degree of patience."

£28.95 per bottle

 

 Those wishing to sample beautifully mature, Victoria Pinot Noir can purchase this special vertical collection spanning over a decade.

Eastern Peake Pinot Noir Vertical Case of 12

We have shipped across all of Owen’s library stock. I believe we took everything he had stashed away, which I hope he will not regret in a few years! We have some quite extraordinary Pinot Noirs, from as far back as 2001. We managed to compile a full vertical case from 2001 to 2012 however, we only have four left for sale.

£422.95 per case of 12

* 4 x vertical cases remain *

 

Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2006

Owen Latta (Winemaker) "Dream season! Easy year in the vineyard with no pressure on to get anything done great quantities per acre. Amazing grapes. Beautiful for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Coghills Creek. 15% whole bunch indigenous yeast and no adjustments. 12 months in 4-10 year old barriques. SO2 added post Malo and prior to bottling. From the get go this wine was ready to roll and has made heads turn. It has aged gracefully and is singing its song loud at the moment."

£35.95 per bottle

Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2008

Owen Latta (Winemaker)  "A nice start to the growing season with good rainfall in winter and spring and then everything stopped in summer to become a warmer short season. Intense in the vineyard with extreme drought conditions causing low yields. Interesting fruit. The wines were very forward in their youth but showed potential for longevity. Nice to revisit this and think about the season."

£29.95 per bottle

* Our last 4 bottles *

Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2010

£29.95 per bottle

Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2011

£29.95 per bottle

 

Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2012

£29.95 per bottle

 

Walsh Block Pinot Noir 2016

£28.95 per bottle

* 48 bottles available *

 

"Wow – the bouquet races out of the glass with hedonistic impact"

 

Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2016

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Wow – the bouquet races out of the glass with hedonistic impact. Briary, autumnal, deep, earthy and broody (wood smoke / fire hearth / bacon fat / soy / mushroom) uplifted with sour cherry and sweet spice – fresh rubbed rosemary and bay too. This is one of those beauties which keeps giving. You will never tire of swirling and sniffing. The flavours fan out wonderfully across the palate with filigree tannins keeping pace. Sour cherry and cranberry cascades with a soupçon of soy, briary fruits and a little backdrop of smoke. A very individual wine created by a truly gifted winemaker. Powerful but the earthy goodness provides an honest balance. Incredible length, dried blood orange on the finish and a wine which will appeal to those who love By Farr wines… Decanted for an hour and served using Zalto Burgundy glassware. Drink now to 2030.”

£29.95 per bottle

 

New tasting note added

 

OB Terroir Pinot Noir 2015

97 Points  - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "The fruit comes from a vineyard planted in 1983 at the elevation of 430 metres. The clone is MV6 - a ‘mothervine’, also referred to as the heritage clone - a vinestock which was originally taken from cuttings first planted at Mount Pleasant in the 1920s. After taking the first sniff, my immediate reaction was that this is so Eastern Peake. Those characteristic briary notes dominate the perfume with a waft of hedgerow fruit, damson plums, sour cherry and soy. The palate reveals a more savoury character, although it doesn’t fall short of the intense briary fruit. The palate builds, seemingly endlessly, with a touch of smokiness lingering on the finish. This is a very different, distinctive Pinot Noir which is patiently waiting to be discovered. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware on opening and again on the following day. Decanting for 2 hours should be sufficient enough to unveil its complexities."

£31.95 per bottle

 

Let Owen talk you through his story in this enjoyable 5 minute video.

(Video will open in a new window)

 
 

Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley was Victoria's first wine growing district with a history stretching back 170 years and is known as the birthplace of Victoria's wine industry. It is widely recognised as one of Australia's foremost cool climate regions. However, thanks to variations in altitude, it is capable of growing a wide number of varieties including some more typically suited to warmer climates.

The Yarra Valley is relentless in its pursuit to produce the highest quality, cool-climate wine styles and has played a vital role in the evolution of Australian wine. While Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are considered to be royalty in the Yarra Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz also do very well in the region’s lower, warmer sites.

 

Total vineyard area: 2,536ha

Altitude: 17-1338m

Growing season rainfall: 559mm

Notable varieties:

The glory of such diversity in a wine region means there’s no single star performer – the variation in altitude creates differences in climates and exposure that allows several varieties to excel. While the cooler climate of the Yarra Valley has long been famous for producing award-winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you’ll also find world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz coming out of this complex and intriguing region, not to mention a promising line-up of alternative varieties.

Climate:

Difference in altitude and aspect leads to substantial climatic variation.

Even the warmest sites are relatively cool.

Mean January temperature in Healesville is 19.4°C

Of the annual rainfall of 1160mm, only 200mm falls between October and April (the growing season).

 
 
 

Unquestionably, this trio of Wantirna Estate wines represent the most classical examples we have sampled from Australia. Stu described their Amelia Cabernet Merlot blend as “ethereal, terroir driven and as close to a left bank Bordeaux I have ever sampled from Australia” which demonstrates that their wines effortlessly compete with Bordeaux (and Burgundy when it comes to their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) albeit with their own footprint of brilliance. Thoughtful and intelligent wines which demand everyone’s attention.

 

Wantirna Estate Amelia Cabernet Merlot 2018

97+ - 98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is not powerful per se – more ethereal, terroir driven and as close to a left bank Bordeaux I have ever sampled from Australia. The wine needs coaxing from the glass - 4-hours in a decanter does the trick and delivers an extraordinary sense of minéralité. Supremely focused with tightly coiled fruit. Time being the only key to unlock its full potential. Violets aplenty which work wonderfully, along with brooding, dark fruits, laced with fine herbs, bay, graphite, minerals and sea salt. The balance is astonishing, the flavours slowly creep up on you. A wine which is utterly effortless, so pure and so precise. Today, this wine exudes intellect and detail – the best years are yet to come. Nonetheless, it is outstanding in its youth, but will be close to perfection in its prime (10 years in my opinion). In short, a very special wine which must be served with consideration and the mood to match. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

98+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Classical aromas of currants, juicy cherries, dark chocolate, fresh bay leaf and undergrowth. Notes of roasted coffee emerge with aeration, which adds to the allure. Lots of ripeness and confidence presented in a controlled and elegant manner. A self-assured and very fine perfume. The palate follows suit and builds beautifully with trademark cassis, cedar spice and savoury tannins. Wantirna provides an utterly compelling and powerful Bordeaux blend with exemplary finesse. Much of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are part of the original 1963 plantings with small additions of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There is much class on show with captivating generosity and layers of texture which will provide amazing drinking over the next 10-15 years or more. Nevertheless, and as with any great wine, it drinks beautifully today with 3-4 hours of decanting. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

Sarah Ahmedthewinedetective.co.uk "The vineyard is not only unusual in location. It is also unusual because the original 1963 plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are a true field blend. Petit Verdot joined the party in the 1989. The vines are dry grown on clay soils. The blend typically comprises 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot. The wine is fermented in cement tanks, then aged in French oak. Ever so fragrant and enticing, a waft of mint, tea tree and twiggy tinder-box with fresh blackcurrant whisks you off to Australia. Notes which follow through in the mouth, together with juicy blackberry, mulberry and blueberry. Mouth-watering savoury tomato paste and balsamic nuances with earthy puy lentils and gravelly minerality pull you in. Fleet of foot, fresh, persistent acidity and soft, seamless tannins make for an elegant, medium-bodied palate. With lovely intensity and flow, it drank beautifully over three days. On song, this is a characterful, class act. If you can resist it, the Egans expect Amelia to age for 15 years or more. Sure enough, when I visited in 2018, the 2009 vintage was just starting to develop tertiary notes."

£36.50 per bottle

 

Wantirna Estate Isabella Chardonnay 2019

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Time in the glass is the great benefactor (mine was left for an hour) resulting in a bouquet that blossoms and comes alive with buttered lemon, citrus peel, quartz, salty sea spray and chalk – vibrant and captivating. The palate delivers wave after wave of seductive buttered citrus fruit underpinned with razor sharp acidity. The density and palate feel are truly remarkable for such a young wine. I fear you would miss the amplitude, sheen, depth and glossiness if poured straight from the fridge (word to the wise). Yet another suave, seamless and immensely pleasing wine which will only get better over the next 10+ years. For Burgundy purists or those seeking something special, but do not want to part with £100 – this is the one for you. Compelling drinking. Decant for an hour and serve using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz “Another superb and chic offering from Wantirna. Time in a glass / decanter and preferably for an hour will work wonders. With aeration, the perfume becomes more expressive and unfolds with an abundance of fruit, sweet buttered pastry, oyster shell and citrusy freshness. The palate feel is equally compelling. This is a Chardonnay which exudes confidence (whilst retaining its modesty), it is generous and beautifully balanced. One of my ‘new’ favourites. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware following 2 hours of decanting.”

£36.50 per bottle

 

Wantirna Estate Lily Pinot Noir 2019

97-98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is a captivating mélange of wild berries, raspberries, wild strawberry, rose petal, orange rind with subtle and savoury nuances developing in the background. The tannins are silken and gently clutch to the fruit which glide effortlessly across the palate. Wild berry flavours fan out with a positive undercurrent of sorbet-like blood orange which I love. Clearly, Wantirna style centres on femininity, charm and a gracefulness without losing sight of the fruit or its place. Spectacularly harmonious with a long, mineral laced finished. Lily is just beginning her journey and will provide so much drinking pleasure over the coming 10-15 years. I am looking forward to resampling in a year or so. Decant for 1-2 hours and ideally serve using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”

97-98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I will begin by saying – please, please decant these wines. I came back to my glass of Lily’s Pinot Noir after 3 hours and it unfurled beautifully. The perfume is simply wonderful displaying an array of sweet and savoury red berries, citrus and wild flowers. The palate has great depth and a fantastic weight – not light, not heavy, but perfectly delicious. Cascading berries are supported with an effortless structure which flows with much grace. The flavours melt away softly but they do not fade. A beautiful, beautiful wine. Plenty of class and elegance without turning lean. Superb! Sampled using Zalto Burgundy Glass following 3 hours of decanting."

£36.50 per bottle

 
 

The estate is located in the Upper Yarra Valley which experiences a cooler climate which leads to greater freshness and finesse in the wines.

The viticulturalist and winemaker at Hoddles Creek Estate is Franco D’Anna, who began his career at the age of 13 working in the family liquor store and went onto become the chief wine buyer by the age of 21. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree, Franco went on to study viticulture at Charles Sturt University whilst helping to maintain a newly planted vineyard, and working a vintage at James Halliday’s Coldstream Hills and two years at Witchmount, gaining further experience in subsequent years in France, Sicily and Northern Italy. Franco sought mentoring from Mario Marsen from Mount Mary who consulted on Hoddles Creek’s first vintage.

Franco notes his experiences in winemaking across the world as having significant influences on his style, learning something new from each place.

 

Our latest tasting notes

 

Hoddles Creek 1er Cru Pinot Noir 2018

97-98 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Beautifully scented with sweet raspberries and cherries, revealing riveting spice and delicately earthy complexities with aeration. An elegant whiff of rose petal and mint adds a wonderful lift. The palate is equally fine and elegant and simply melts away slowly after wrapping the taste buds in a luxuriously soft blanket of flavour. The purity and precision is highly impressive and the balance between fruit, acidity and svelte tannins is astounding. High class from the 1er Cru Pinot Noir is never surprising and yet, it always amazes me. Please decant, as this wine really shines when allowed the time. Clearly, it will continue to evolve for years to come. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware on opening and again on the following day, when it showed even better."

£30.95 per bottle

 
 

Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Noir 2019

96-97 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Franco’s wines are famous for their quality and longevity. The 2019 Estate Pinot Noir is showing incredibly well for such a young wine. The perfume offers a superb medley of fruit, spiced beetroot, pencil lead and violets. The palate follows suit with the addition of minerals. The length is impressive, especially when considering its modest price tag. There is no compromise on quality and the wine intensifies with decanting, revealing wonderful complexity. This must be one of the best buys under £20, but please treat it like any serious wine and decant. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware on opening and again on the following day, when it showed even better."

£18.95 per bottle

Superb value Estate Chardonnay
is close to selling out

 

Hoddles Creek Estate Chardonnay 2018

95 Points - James Halliday "This has the typical energy, finesse and drive that makes Hoddles Creek have a ‘must buy' tag year in, year out. It has all the power needed to cruise through the next 10 years, with grapefruit, Granny Smith apple and stone fruit decorated with a necklace of bracing acidity."

Gary Walsh (The Wine Front) "Juicy and peachy, spiced oatmeal, fennel and a little stuck match. It’s flavoursome with ripe pear and nectarine flavour, flinty texture, an appealing grapefruit cut to the acidity, and a long, well-defined chalky finish. Feel the quality of quiet confidence. It’s a great thing to drink even as a young wine, though a couple of years will help it along too."

£17.50 per bottle

* Our last 11 bottles *

 

View all wines from Hoddles Creek

 
 

Our Best Value Winery
of the Year – Soumah

 

One of Soumah's Bestsellers is almost gone

Soumah Single Vineyard Hexham Pinot Noir 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “I love the bouquet which is so inviting with a mix of soured red fruits, dried orange peel and an entire pantry full of sweet spices – there’s a little Christmas feel to the aromas which I find wistful. The flavour spectrum is immensely pleasing and follows a similar pattern to that of the nose. Sweet and sour fruit intermixed with a Smörgåsbord of spice cuddled with filigree tannins. Fleshy, ample and mouth-filling with palate drenching satisfaction. Very moreish is an understatement. The best Aussie Pinot Noir you are likely to find at twenty-quid. Simply delicious and faultless for the money. Drink now to 2025, but there is no need to wait.”

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Burying your nose into a glass of Hexham Pinot Noir is a delight. Bags of spice, clove in particular, with more sweet spice, a healthy waft of wonderful forest floor and wild forest fruit. Texturally, the Hexham is another triumph. Flavours dance on the palate with effortless grace and melt away into a soft finish. Do not mistake elegance and softness for lightness – it carries a perfectly judged intensity and balance. A real charmer and huge kudos for outstanding value."

£19.95 per bottle

* Our last 60 bottles *

 

Geelong

Hand-crafted with passion and dedication, Geelong's elegant wines are the expression of a cool climate, rich soils and a unique history. After a winemaking hiatus of more than 100 years, Geelong is again home to many boutique and family owned vineyards creating world-class varietal wines. Low rainfall produces a rich concentration of flavour, aroma and colour – the distinctive regional characters of Geelong wines.

 

Total Vineyard Area: 467ha

Altitude: 0-396m

Growing season rainfall: 298mm

Notable varieties:

Chardonnay
Pinot Noir
Shiraz
Cabernet Sauvignon

Climate:

The region’s climate is cool, providing an extended ripening period. 

The majority of the area is strongly influenced by the moderating effect of the surrounding water of Port Philip Bay or Bass Strait. Pushing up into the northern part of the region the climate is less maritime and more Continental.

The region is fairly dry, with average rainfall between 500 and 600 millimetres per annum; the majority falling in winter and spring.

Strong winds are a constant, providing good airflow within the canopy, which assists in the natural control of various vine diseases.

The mean average January temperature is 19 degrees.

 
 

Geelong is an exciting region for any winemaker and the sub-regionality allows Ben Mullen and Ben Hine the opportunity to craft some superbly unique styles of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Mulline remain our Dark Horse Winery of the Year and sadly, their cool climate Syrah sold out after we shortlisted it amongst the top 3 Shiraz wines in December 2020.

 

Mulline Sutherlands Creek Pinot Noir 2019

97++ / 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “So pure and wonderfully delicate. The bouquet is alluring with cinnamon stick, warmed earth, forest floor, sweet spice and violet – very Burgundian and Ben’s time with one of Burgundy’s great, Domaine Dujac is clearly on show. The tannins are super-fine, almost whispery. Wonderful transparency (there is no hiding with this style), sweet fruit and pangs of freshness. The fruit is spiced and feels exotic – a twist of black pepper to balance the sweetness. Harmonious and beautiful being the most accurate description. The finish is long and seamless. Wonderfully accessible but 4-6 years of bottle age will unlock the wine’s true complexity. A real triumph…”

• 100% Pinot Noir - Clone MV6, Moorabool Valley, Geelong

• Strathmore Vineyard, Muhlebach Road, Sutherlands Creek- Planted 1998

• Grey and brown loams and clay loams, with Fragmented Granite

• 20% New French Oak

• 30% Whole Bunch

• 9 months in Barrel

• 13% Alc.

• 125 dozen produced

£32.95 per bottle

 
 

2021 Best Chardonnay Wines - Wine Companion Awards

Mulline Portarlington Chardonnay 2019

97+ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet is inviting with poached apples and pears (lightly spiced), lemon oil and lots of sea spray which builds fabulously with more aeration. A wine of great delicacy with the balance between fruit, structure and acidity pitch perfect. The palate is chiselled and laser-like with racy acidity. Saline, lemon, green apple and flint. Very sophisticated and intellectual, but natural all the same. The focus and purity feel unforced – very contemporary. Bottle age will develop this wine into an absolute beauty. It certainly has the pedigree and structure to offer at least a decade. Oh so graceful and the finish lasts for minutes… I predict this will score 98 to 99 points with a few years bottle age.”

97 Points - James Halliday "Selectiv'-harvested, pressed direct to oak (30% new Austrian) with full solids at 10 degrees C for wild yeast fermentation, sulphured but sat in oak without movement. This is a wine initially all about mouthfeel/texture/structure until the back-palate and finish when pithy grapefruit notes break free to populate the aftertaste with all manner of primary fruit, juice and zest contesting first place."

• 100% Chardonnay - Clone I10V1, Bellarine Peninsula, Geelong

• Nurringa Park Vineyard, Portarlington Road, Portarlington - Planted 1994

• 20% New French Oak

• Natural Ferment, Full Solids

• 9 months in Barrel

• 13% Alc.

• 110 dozen produced

£32.95 per bottle

 
 

2021 Best Sauvignon Blanc Wines - Wine Companion Awards

Mulline Bannockburn Fumé Blanc 2019

98 Points - Stuart McCloskey "The bouquet is ultra-pure and sings with honeyed quince, touches of apple, apricot and warming ginger with more aeration. The palate is confident, unforced and a joy to sample. More complex than most Australian Sauvignon Blancs and full of charisma. I love the youthfulness which provides good bite and pithiness, although the palate offers much depth and breadth. Sumptuous in parts despite its infancy. Very impressive and certainly one of the best examples of Aussie Sauvignon Blanc currently available. Long, incredibly satisfying, juicy, moreish and sophisticated. This will be incredible in 5 years.”

Mike Bennie, The Wine Front "A superb rendition of the oak-rested Sauvignon Blanc sect of wines, here marrying gently nougat-like characters with ripe citrus, a splash of passionfruit and faint but comely green herb characters. It's got superb texture, lots of complexity and feels compelling to drink. Kudos."

• 100% Sauvignon Blanc - Clone F4V6, Moorabool Valley, Geelong

• Bannockburn Vineyard, Kelly Lane, Bannockburn - Planted 1996

• Limestone Clay with shallow topsoil horizon

• 30% New Austrian Oak

• Natural Ferment, Full Solids

• 9 months in Barrel

• 13.5% Alc.

• 100 dozen produced

* Our last 15 bottles *

 
 
 

Macedon Ranges

Macedon Ranges is Australia's coolest mainland wine region. Only a short drive away from Melbourne, vineyard altitudes in this region range from 300 to 800 metres above sea level, making it cool to cold by world standards.

Due to slow ripening during cool autumnal temperatures, Pinot Noir is perhaps the finest variety in Macedon Ranges, although Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz is also planted here (mainly toward the rocky hillsides of Cobaw Ridge). Often rated equally highly is Macedon Ranges Chardonnay yielding fine, elegant and potentially long lived wines, often fuller flavoured styles with great complexity.

In short, you will find some exceptional wines in the Macedon Ranges, which are often scarce and diverse in nature.

 

Total Vineyard Area: 215ha

Altitude: 211-1013m

Growing season rainfall: 357mm

 Notable varieties:

Chardonnay

Riesling

Pinot Noir 

Shiraz 

Cabernet Sauvignon and blends

Climate:

Site selection (altitude, protection from wind and spring frosts, maximum sun interception from north and north-east facing slopes), the careful matching of site and grape variety, canopy management and relatively low yields are all prerequisites for success. 

Even then success will not come every year - those few extra degrees of heat, as well as extra hours of sunshine of the warmer Melbourne summers are needed to get the best results.

 
 

Recently, we asked Shadowfax winemaker, Alister Timms, to tell us what makes Macedon Ranges special and how does its unique climate affect the wines. Alister described it as follows:

"The Macedon Ranges is an hour’s drive North West of Melbourne and has beautiful rolling hills with gum trees. Native wildlife such as kangaroos and echidnas are abundant, with the aptly named Wombat State Forest situated here.   Vineyards are small and tucked away in little nooks and crannies.  The region has a higher rainfall and cooler nights than Melbourne due to its elevation, 400m to 800m.  It is known as Victoria’s “Spa Country” with Melbournians in particular spending long weekends at picturesque towns such as Hepburn Springs, Daylesford, Trentham and Woodend. 

The cool, elevated sites in the Macedon Ranges have a very long growing season. This means that the grapes on the vine ripen later in the season, well into Autumn and are often harvested in early May. The cooler days and nights during the ripening allow a very slow flavour ripeness, so tannins and concentration builds for a long time, making the final wines pure, concentrated with lovely precision and length."

Click here to read our full Q&A with Alister.

 

Shadowfax Little Hampton Pinot Noir 2018

98-99 Points – Stuart McCloskey “Little Hampton can be found in the Macedon Ranges at an elevation of 720 metres. The site was planted in 1998 and is indicated as being ‘very cool.’ We have been pouring from the sample bottle for two days (kept in pristine condition overnight). Despite the reference to ‘very cool’ the bouquet is far from being unresponsive. It’s brooding in comparison to Straws Lane and displays a smörgåsbord of dark, red berries, that tell-tale orange sorbet / blood orange which I find is a hallmark in all great Burgundies. Daft as it may sound, there is a sense of a deep-set winter – truffles without question. Extraordinarily natural – I feel rather overcome. The palate delivers a sense of equilibrium – I cannot put my finger on it, but something is very special about this Pinot Noir. It builds and builds, but ever so gently. The sweet, spiced fruit complements the dusting of white pepper which is divine. I am not in a rush to finish my tasting note. In fact, I could happily sample all day long and write a 2,000 word thesis. I will never forget this wine… Drink now to 2040. Decant for 2-4 hours and you must serve it using Zalto Burgundy glassware if you would like to share the same experience.”

£37.95 per bottle

* 54 bottles remain *

 
 

Shadowfax Straws Lane Pinot Noir 2019

98+ Points – Stuart McCloskey “Planted in 1987 and perched at 800 metres on a north facing slope of Mt Macedon. The bouquet is utterly seductive and gently unfurls with sweet, wild strawberry and orange sorbet. There’s a cooling briary edge – do I detect a little rosemary and sage? Sweet, Morello cherries and raspberries for sure. Menthol too. Clearly, an ever evolving bouquet. Simply, mesmerizing. The palate is medium bodied and builds gently. It’s so natural and laced with crisp red berries. The tannins are laced with silk and the acidity judged to perfection. Touches of blood orange on the finish which I adore. This is effortless and a deeply moving wine to sample. The flavours fan out gloriously and seem everlasting with every sip I swallowed, and I filled my glass three times. Truly an exceptional Aussie Pinot Noir and perhaps one of the very best (without being showy). I would dearly love to see this in a blind ’19 Burgundy tasting. Drink now to 2040. Decant for 1-2 hours and serve using Zalto Burgundy glassware.”

£37.95 per bottle

* 53 bottles remain *

 
 

Shadowfax Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2019

96-97 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "This wine really opens up and expands when decanted, even one hour makes a difference. The aromas reveal wild, dark berries, juicy cherries and raspberry with a wonderful lift from rose petals and mint. There is a good dusting of sweet spice too along with pencil lead and gentle cedar notes. Pretty fruit opens the palate with a little citrus zing, juicy cranberries and a good bite of blood orange. The palate feel is generous, succulent and unforced. The finish is long and the tannins powdery. It’s delicious today, but I’m super curious to see how it develops over the next 5 years. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware."

£23.75 per bottle

 
 

Shadowfax Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2019

97+ Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "The perfume is so inviting with an abundance of citrus and minerals infused to perfection. The aromas are super pure but intense at the same time (give it a few minutes in the glass). Notes of lemon oil, chalk and oyster shell build up with aeration, together with a lovely touch of nougat, ginger and nashi pear. The flavours follow suit with elegance. It is generous, but equally composed, super smooth and even slightly viscous (amazing texture). No wonder this is the go to wine of team Shadowfax. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware following 30 minutes of decanting."

£23.75 per bottle

View our entire collection of Shadowfax wines

 

Cobaw Ridge is a fully certified organic and biodynamic winery producing spellbinding wines which are honest, authentic and unashamedly full of flavour. The winery was established in 1985 by Alan and Nelly Cooper who we have previously introduced. Their vines were planted on granitic, sandy soil in the cool climate Macedon Ranges, on the cusp of the Great Dividing Range at some 610m. Their positioning, in a natural amphitheatre, provides the perfect place to produce 100% estate grown, hand-picked, hand-pruned, hand-tended, terroir-driven wines. In short, a unique labour of love.

Biodynamic principals have their sceptics however, and to quote Alan, “We feel these practices will further our holistic, sustainable, and above all natural approach to grape growing and winemaking, and provide an even greater opportunity for the wines to speak of the land which bore them.”

 

Cobaw Ridge Pinot Noir 2017

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Tasted throughout the day which is such a lovely way to discover a wine’s true character. It was a touch cold when first opened however, after two hours of aeration, it unfurled beautifully. Evocative aromas of bramble, sour cherries, hedgerow fruits and sweet spices are lifted by elegant herbal notes and a whiff of undergrowth. Pristine fruit shines on the palate with wonderful purity before the textures expand to reveal its deep and earthy complexities. The balance is retained throughout and the savoury finish is delectable. Excellent and a unique Pinot Noir with a difference. Thoughtful, not a hair is out of place and its friendly character is most appealing. Sampled using Zalto Burgundy glassware. Enjoy now and over the next 5-7 years."

£29.50 per bottle

Cobaw Ridge Syrah 2015

This high-altitude site sits at 610m above sea level, yielding Syrah imbued with floral aromatics and spicy flavour profile. The fruit is always impeccable when it enters the winery, every effort taken in the vineyard by the Coopers to ensure little needs to be done in the winery to bottle a pure expression of their unique vineyard.

Alan Cooper, Founder & Vigneron “Very much typical of our Syrah from a cooler year, aromatic on the nose, savoury spice and a fine dusting of black pepper to finish. The essence of granite. Focussed and expressive of our amazing terroir. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. Huge latent power and structure to burn. This wine will reward you even more with age!”

 

£29.50 per bottle

 

Heathcote

With mild summers, Heathcote benefits from the effects of cool winds blowing from the south and channelled through the valleys of the Mount Camal Range. This provides a longer growing season leading to slower ripening and a greater level of fruit complexity.

Few would argue that Heathcote's climate and soil produces world-class Shiraz with a unique character. It is deep, rich and velvety with cascades of dark and sweetly spiced fruit. The ripe but fine tannins give texture, sustaining length and notable longevity.

White Rhône varieties like Viognier and Roussanne are very well suited to the warm conditions and long sunshine hours in Heathcote. Cabernet Sauvignon is also finding itself at home in Heathcote with rich flavours of blackberry and blackcurrant, often expressing aromas of eucalyptus in cooler vintages.

 

Total Vineyard Area: 215ha

Altitude: 211-1013m

Growing season rainfall: 357mm

 

 Notable varieties:

Chardonnay

Riesling

Pinot Noir 

Shiraz 

Cabernet Sauvignon and blends

 

Climate:

Site selection (altitude, protection from wind and spring frosts, maximum sun interception from north and north-east facing slopes), the careful matching of site and grape variety, canopy management and relatively low yields are all prerequisites for success. 

Even then success will not come every year - those few extra degrees of heat, as well as extra hours of sunshine of the warmer Melbourne summers are needed to get the best results.

 
 

The flagship Springflat Shiraz collection

2003 / 2008 / 2013 / 2015 / 2016

 

Highly recommended

 

Wild Duck Creek Alan's Cabernets 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A dreamy bouquet which unfolds to a heady and seductive mix of blueberry compote, blackcurrant pastille, mint and a little orange zest. The texture is satin-like and crammed with sweet blackcurrant and cassis. There’s a certain nod to savouriness with bay leaf, fennel, mint / eucalyptus and some leafy tobacco coming through. It’s glossy, textural and a real charmer – a bit of a show-off. At this stage, the wine offers simplicity (albeit in waves of deliciousness). Complexity will come, but the wine requires 5-10 years. There’s a lovely elegance which you do not often find with Wild Duck Creek wines. This is where you come if you are seeking rivers of ripe fruit, fun and a place where the wine will wash away a crappy day (without any effort). I do believe this will turn out to be a real gem in 8-10 years. Stash a few bottles away and let’s see if I am right! Decant for 1-2 hours and serve using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97+ Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Oozing with cassis, blackcurrants, eucalyptus and sweet spice - this is such a classy wine. Year on year, Alan’s Cabernet never fails to impress us. A classic Bordeaux blend with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec from the oldest estate vineyard planted in 1974. Generous flavours coat every facet of the palate with excellent concentration and supple tannins. Gentle acidity balances the wine perfectly and new oak (100% French) adds a layer of toasted spices. Plush and harmonious, Alan’s Cabernet is a real treat which will continue to evolve beautifully over the next decade. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux Glassware."

£29.95 per bottle

 
 

Wild Duck Creek Cornella Shiraz 2018​

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A subregional blend, produced in tiny quantities and will bring a huge smile to those seeking a wine which delivers on flavour (which it does in bucket loads) and drinkability. The aromatics are explosive and take no coaxing. Warm earth, camphor, tobacco, cedar, ink and coal blend perfectly with a heady mix of dark berries and plums. The palate opens to a rush of sweet fruit which provides a wonderfully sensual gloss and mouthfeel. The tannins support but are supple. The sense of symmetry is deeply impressive which is a nod to a great winemaker. The wine builds and builds in the mouth… I would categorise the wine as sensual, structured and showing some masculinity. Black fruits, tobacco and smoke lead to a very long finish. Excellent and a real charmer with grip. Decant for 2-3 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” 

96 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "A brand new addition to our shelves, Cornella Heathcote Shiraz is a sub-regional blend made in tiny quantities (we’ve been asking Liam for an allocation for the past three years!). Deep in colour and rich in aromas with sweet berries, violets and Asian five spice. Mulberries, liquorice and smoked minerals emerge with aeration. The palate is incredibly supple with vibrant acidity balancing the abundance of fruit. A touch of graphite and earth add another layer of texture and lead towards a dry, savoury finish. Tannins give an excellent, well balanced grip. Enjoy on the day of opening if you’re after its abundant fruit or come back to it the next day if you want to unearth those savoury textures. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware."

£24.95 per bottle

 
 

Wild Duck Creek The Dabbler
Cabernet Carmenere 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “A single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (67%) with Carménère taking up the remainder of the blend. The small addition of new oak aligned with the blend reminds me of a young Bordeaux. The wine opens with beautifully expressive notes of black cherries, blackberries, touches of redcurrants, a little menthol, dark, bitter chocolate and cloves. Despite its age, the mid palate provides richness and heaps of sweet black and red fruits, all tinged with dried herbs (sage). The palate is vivid with perfectly balanced fine, pillowy tannins. I detect a little graphite and tobacco infused black fruit on the long finish. This is really going to blossom over the next 5-10 years. This one comes highly recommended. Decant for 1-2 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.” 

96-97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Cabernet Sauvignon with a third of Carmenere, partially co–fermented, then matured in French oak barriques and hogsheads. Sweet raspberry, plums and cinnamon fill the air as you decant the Dabbler. A touch of new oak is clear as is the whiff of vanillin which adds to the aromatic sweetness. Redcurrants, cranberries, pen ink and dried herbs emerge with aeration. Interestingly, the palate reveals more earthiness that you would expect, judging by the nose. Fresh acidity balances the fruit perfectly while dried herbs and clove add definition on a long finish. What a great addition to Wild Duck Creek’s immensely pleasing portfolio. The Dabbler offers fantastic value and will age gracefully for 10+ years. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux Glass without decanting (curiosity took the better of me)."

£22.50 per bottle

 
 

Wild Duck Creek Creek White Duck 2020

95-96 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "55% Roussanne and 45% Viognier fermented in 500L French oak barrels. The perfume begins with a floral lift accompanied by fleshy, white nectarine, pear and spiced apple.  A little earthiness and a beautiful round texture characterises the Roussanne. Whereas the Viognier contributes to the mouthfeel with bountiful stone fruit and wild flowers. Admirers of floral driven whites from the Rhône Valley will find much delight in the generous and highly aromatic style of the White Duck. Sampled using Zalto Universal glassware after 20 minutes of decanting."

£17.95 per bottle

* 29 bottles remain *

 

Last bottles of Yellow Hammer Shiraz Malbec

Hammer Hill Shiraz Malbec 2011 – 18 bottles available

Hammer Hill Shiraz Malbec 2012 – 16 bottles available

 
 

View all Wild Duck Creek wines

 
 

Discover Victoria - Twelve Pack

Despite being the second smallest state in Australia, Victoria is home to over 600 wineries, more than any other wine producing state.  Victoria is also fast becoming one of our favourite regions. We are truly smitten with the wines from this cool climate region and we love the diversity we are seeing from our winemakers there.  This 12 pack showcases much of this diversity with a huge variety of wines from both well known and up-and-coming young wineries.

1 x Shadowfax Macdeon Ranges Pinot Noir 2019
1 x Shadowfax Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2019
1 x Wild Duck Creek Cornella Shiraz 2018
1 x Wild Duck Creek The Dabbler Cab Carmenere 2018
1 x Hoddles Creek Pinot Noir 2019
1 x Soumah Upper Ngumby Pinot Noir 2018
1 x Soumah Upper Ngumby Chardonnay 2018
1 x Shadowfax Minnow Roussanne 2019
1 x Wild Duck Yellow Hammer Shiraz Malbec 2018
1 x Soumah Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
1 x Latta Wines Granite Riesling 2019     
1 x Hoddles Creek Pinot Gris 2018

RRP £251.60 per 12
Offer price £230.95 per 12

 

High Scoring Pinot Noir - Six Pack

These bottles represent the pinnacle of our rather impressive range.  We have personally scored every bottle in this case at least 97 points so we’re confident that you will be beyond impressed with every one of these six different Pinot Noirs.  This is a great starting point for tasting the sky high quality of Pinot Noir currently being produced by our talented Australian winemakers.

1 x Shadowfax Little Hampton Pinot Noir 2018
1 x Wantirna Lily Pinot Noir 2019
1 x Mulline Sutherlands Creek Pinot Noir 2019
1 x Eastern Peake Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2016
1 x Soumah Equilibrio Pinot Noir 2019
1 x JC’s Own Morialta Pinot Noir 2019

RRP £198.35 per 6
Offer price £181.95 per 6

 

Six wines which rocked our vinous world - Six pack

With the constant deluge of new arrivals at our HQ over the past twelve months, we have been truly spoiled for choice.  However, we struggled and carefully put together this six pack which contains those wines which left us speechless.  These are all beautifully made wines, which stand out from the crowd and deliver supreme value for money while also showcasing the diversity of our range.

1 x Shadowfax Little Hampton Pinot Noir 2018
1 x House of Cards Ace of Spades Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
1 x Utopos Shiraz 2018
1 x Grey Sands Pinot Gris 2018
1 x Latta Vino Granite Riesling 2019
1 x JC's Own Lobethal Chardonnay 2019

RRP £188.85 per 6
Offer price £170.95 per 6

 

View all mixed cases