A Vinorium Exclusive:
Wild Duck Creek Estate
Wild Duck Creek Estate began life when David Anderson and his wife Diana moved to Heathcote with their son Liam and his sisters Ngaire and Bridie, David was a portrait and landscape artist and Diana worked as a medical technologist and assisted David after he had expanded his business into wedding and baby photography. David’s real ambition however was to make wine, partly due to the fact that he and his friends wanted to drink good wines without having to pay the price for them. Admitting that back then neither of them knew anything about winemaking, David began seeking advice wherever he could and learning whatever he could from other wine makers. David and Diana began planting their first vines in 1980 on 4.5 hectares of land that David had purchased during the 1970s when he was eighteen as a place for him and his mates to go camping once in a while. They produced their first few bottles in 1986 which were enjoyed by just friends and family and relocated to Heathcote in 1989, moving into a small house that David’s parents had built on the land. Their first commercial vintage was produced a year later.
"...his production remains very small, he continues to use the same traditional basket presses and open top fermenters that they started with, he continues to make deliveries himself accompanied in the van by his dog Merv, he just wants to make good quality, honest wine."
Wild Duck Creek’s reputation began to grow as they scooped up a couple of gold medals but David’s ambition remained the same. He had no interest in becoming an empire or commercialising in any way and to this day, his production remains very small, he continues to use the same traditional basket presses and open top fermenters that they started with, he continues to make deliveries himself accompanied in the van by his dog Merv, he just wants to make good quality, honest wine. Internationally they remained relatively unknown until they were skyrocketed to fame when their 1997 Duck Muck received 99 points from Robert Parker and the price of their wine escalated and began to sell in the US for more than £1000 a bottle as demand heavily outweighed production. Even then, David remained insistent that their loyal customers who had supported them in the early years continued to receive their wines for what they’d always paid.
Duck Muck is only made in exceptional vintages the most recent of which being the fabulous 2013 vintage, which was the first vintage for six years.
These days David is joined by his son Liam who could have had a career as a professional golfer but chose to join his father in the winery, gained a Wine Science degree at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. Now, Liam’s involvement gives David a chance to pursue his other passions of aeroplanes and painting, often leaving with his easel and paints for a week or so knowing the winery is in good hands. Liam is happy to admit that, even with a Wine Science degree and a handful of viticulture courses under his belt, so much of what he knows has been taught by his father. “Letting the vines tell the story” has been a valuable lesson and understanding how the natural cycles dictate and should not be intervened with, Liam is developing an interest in Biodynamic farming and considers their methods of viticulture as “farming vines”.
Continuing to keep things in the family, Liam’s sister Bridie has also had an involvement, after expressing an interest in making wine when she was 12 years old, David gave her Row 12 of one vineyard, Row 13 the next year and Row 14 the following year. Not knowing what style of wine she wanted to make, David sent her off to smell different barrels in the winery to see which one she liked best and produced a small parcel. Bridie now works as a nurse and third sister Ngaire has studied for a Master of Business Administration with a keen interest in the family business.
We have been privileged to work with a producer that has such a commitment to their ethos, continuing to keep production levels small regardless of the fact that their wines would sell tenfold if such quantities were produced. They have an ability to seamlessly fuse passion and business combining this with family life, taking a step back from the hype that surrounded them after the Parker score. They continued with the same, level headed attitude towards their business that resulted in wines of such quality in the first place. We admire this attitude greatly and look forward to continuing our great partnership with this family.
The guys at Wild Duck Creek are delighted to have their wines represented in the UK and are always interested to hear how they are going down with our customers so feel free to give us your feedback and reviews of their wines and we will be sure to pass them on to David and Liam.
New Releases from
Wild Duck Creek
Producers notes on the 2017 vintage
One of our best vintages in the last 20 years! Normal conditions prevailed in the 2016/17 growing season. Good soaking rains over winter set up an average bud burst in early October. Reasonable rainfall allowed the vines to achieve perfect balance without the need for supplementary irrigation. Fabulous yields allowed us to be able to reduce crop levels through shoot thinning, and then fruit thinning at veraison. This further increased quality by allowing us to remove the bunches that were lagging behind during veraison, and create yields that the vines could support beautifully through to ripening. Fruit of great balance was seen in all varieties, with acid levels maintaining a naturally high level, allowing ripening to be extended to maximise flavour and ripen tannins.
Only produced in exceptional vintages in the cooler southern sub-region of Mia Mia, 3 kilometres from the winery at Adairs Lane Vineyard, pressed in the traditional basket press and barrel fermented in 100% new French oak puncheons. The wine is kept in barrel for a further 9 months and to add texture, the lees were stirred every 2 weeks with the wine being bottled un-fined. Only 1200 bottles were produced, this is a wine that rivals many top Rhône whites.
Magda Sienkiewicz "I was extremely excited to see Wild Duck’s expansion on to Southern Rhône varietals, which personally I would love to see more of in Australia. Simultaneously, I quickly began to worry that my increasing anticipation of receiving and sampling their pure Roussanne will raise the bar a tad too high. Absolute nonsense! Wonderful perfume of honeysuckle, stone fruit, fennel and gentle wild flowers pouring out of the glass put an instant smile on my face. The flavours are beautifully knitted together with bracing white nectarine and fresh apricots, giving a wonderful balance of acidity and ripeness. No hard edges, no disproportions, but a seamless flow of creamy and well-rounded textures. The overall sense of harmony is superb and every sip brings plenty of joy."
Peter Robinson "What a delight! For some reason I was expecting a wine to be a little chewy but it’s so vibrant and pretty. The purity of fruit on the nose is exquisite giving a light perfume of nectarine and white peach with a touch of blossom. There is some background flint from the barrel fermentation that plays a perfectly placed supporting role. The palate is so fresh with great acidity giving a mineral backbone to the ripe stone fruits creating a silky texture, assisted by some time on lees. Very impressed." Tasted 22 January 2018
£23.95 per bottle
Producers notes on the 2016 vintage
Earliest harvest date on record with shiraz beginning to be harvested on February 9th. Although this was an early onset of vintage, everything viticulturally was early, with budburst, flowering, veraison and eventually harvested all being 2 weeks early. The 2015/16 growing season was extremely dry. We received about 1/2 of our average annual rainfall, which reduced yields from our already low levels, creating smaller berries with thicker skins, resulting in wines of intense structure,
flavour and aroma.
To create Shiraz Reserve, only the best vines in perfect balance, and the best bunches from those vines are harvested from two specific, low yielding sites, the 30 year old Original Vineyard at the winery, and the 26 year old Mt Pleasant Vineyard some 30km to the north. Applying gentle hand plunging ensuring extremely fine tannins, the wine is softly basket pressed into 100% new French oak barriques and was matured for 25 months resulting in an immensely structured, full bodied wine that will age gracefully for up to 20 years.
£48.95 per bottle
A single vineyard wine made from grapes that come from Wild Duck Creek’s original vineyard planted by David back in 1974. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (74%), Cabernet Franc (11%), Merlot (11%), Malbec (4%) from extremely low yielding vines that maximise concentration, David and Liam choose to leave out the final pressing from their basket press that results in a medium bodied wine of elegance and finesse. Matured in 100% new French oak hogsheads for 22 months, Alan’s Cabernet will age with grace.
£28.50 per bottle
A blend of Shiraz (82%), Malbec (12%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) harvested from 5 vineyard sites across Heathcote, fermented in traditional open top fermenters and gently pressed using the basket press and matured in various sized barrels for 22 months.
£15.95 per bottle
Producers notes on the 2015 vintage
The 2014/15 growing season was slightly dryer than average, yet yields were good across all of our vineyards. Naturally high acid levels delayed harvest until the fruit was balanced enough to be picked. Flavour came in later than usual, resulting in high sugar levels but lovely
complex, fine flavours.
It’s interesting comparing the 2015 to the 2016 vintage, the 2015 showing finer tannins with a more red fruit profile, this vintage will cellar for 20+ years.
£48.95 per bottle
Produced from grapes grown in one of their original vineyards Alan’s Cabernet vineyard, the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is only produced in the best Cabernet vintages and only the best bunches of grapes are used in the wine with only 1200 bottles of the 2012 being produced. The wine is matured for 22 months in 100% new French oak.
£48.95 per bottle
In the past we have always supported Wild Duck Creek with their flagship wine Springflat Shiraz. One of their founding wines and starting life as a single vineyard Shiraz, Springflat has developed into a vineyard blend across three of their vineyards resulting in a regional wine that is as expressive of the Heathcote region as it is of the vineyards. We will continue to buy their Springflat Shiraz as we have with all their current vintages but stocks remain of 2004 presenting us with an opportunity to offer Wild Duck wines with maturity, in the vintage that we fell in love with. To be able to taste how gracefully these wines develop is a rare pleasure.
Magda Sienkiewicz"I’m always astonished by the generosity of Springflat Shiraz. In the glass, beautiful dark cherry colour. The nose is exuberant with plums, blackberries, dried fig and liquorice developing with aeration. The cascade of fruit is endless, expanding further on the palate with agen prunes and dried apricots. All textures flow seamlessly, which is impressive given the amount of ripe fruit packed in every mouthful. The 2004 Springflat entered a beautiful stage, where it has developed a good sense of maturity without losing its abundant fruit. It will continue to provide much drinking pleasure for the next 5-6 years."
Peter Robinson "Deep, intense aromas of bramble, plum and blueberry leading to fig and touches of sweet clove spice. The palate is concentrated and the depth continues giving flavours of bramble fruits, plum, prune, liquorice and tar. There is freshness on the palate and tannins are soft and fully integrated. The flavours of this wine are intensely powerful but in no way too much, the soft texture perfectly balances the depth and concentration and the finish lingers with consistent intensity. "
Tasted 24 January 2018