Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Macedon Ranges Cool Climate Wine

I had a beautiful day trip out of Melbourne on the weekend to the Macedon Ranges, the coolest grape growing region on mainland Australia.

While there are close to 50 vineyards not all of them have cellar doors, and I was a little picky about where I wanted to go as well, so I ended up doing about half a dozen cellar doors. Below are just the highlights.

So it's a quick hour drive out of Melbourne and your there. Though this time my girl, Sarah, was insistent on stopping in on the Lancefield farmer's market, which is small but worth the stop even if its just to pick up some local cheese and olives to go with the later bought wine!

Curly Flat 

We started the day at the top,so to speak, Curly Flat. Probably one of the most lauded vineyards in the Macedon Ranges. I've had their wines before but not for a while and never from their cellar door. I can find some of the premium wine cellar doors can be quite pretentious but not so here. Take a seat at the long table or by the fire and let the very welcoming Curly crew come to you.

The performers line up at Curly Flat.
We tasted the entire range they had available. The entry level Williams Crossing Chardonnay 2013 was great (Sarah preferred this to all the other whites in fact!). And as for their entry level Williams Crossing Pinot...Wow....certainly doesnt taste "entry level" or "bottom rung" to me...fantastic. So if the fruit that ended up as the Williams Crossing didn't make the cut for their "Curly Flat" label, what did ? Enter stage left, the 2011 Curly Flat Pinot Noir , a show stopper now with a real bright future (could cellar well for 6 + years)... this was the wine of the day with real complexity, a nose of cherry, orange pith, forest floor characters and subtle spice with the palate following on with beautiful cherry and cranberry balanced well with earthy savoury elements and fine tannin, amazing length too!
Curly Flat's, entirely new oak (a rarity in the Pinot world), Limited Release Pinot Noir was very interesting too and was good to see some experimentation.

Knight Granite Hills

Next up and a bit further north was Knight Granite Hills (aka Granite Hills). They had quite a big selection here, the drops that pulled me in were their lean, zippy and mineral driven Riesling and a peppery Shiraz. But it was their Cabernet (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) blend that nailed it.

The vineyards at Cobaw Ridge.

Cobaw Ridge

Next up was Cobaw Ridge...
Interesting cool climate wine? Tick! Biodynamic & Organic? Tick ! And above all else, quality? Tick!
Cobaw Ridge, what a pretty site..amid this picturesque landscape these guys have plantings of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz & Lagrein (Northern Italian varietal). Just recently certified Biodynamic and Organic these wines are in classic cool climate style. I really dug all of these wines, although the Lagrein definitely needs food in my opinion to really show its full potential. I took home what was my favourite, the 2010 Syrah.
Having a look at the progress of the Biodynamic Syrah.

I was lucky enough to get a winery tour from the winemaker,Alan Cooper, and have a look at their Shiraz's at different stages of the ferment and a sneaky taste of the Chardonnay about to go into bottle any day now , is looking fresh in its youth, nice and zippy but already with enough body to taste great already.
Will be keeping an eye on these guys for sure.

Hanging Rock

Its all about the sparkling here for me. Yes they had other tasty wine, especially so in their value range. I really liked the full style Hanging Rock Poppet Head Chardonnay 2012 especially so for the bucks. But the Sparkling eclipsed everything... 9 years on its lees (wiki lees and why its important) and deliciously similar to a classic biscuity and yeasty champagne style (am I allowed to say that? Eeek!).

A mention must be made to another one of my favourite Macedon producers Mount Monument- which I was unable to visit this time around as their cellar door is in North Melbourne.

Stand out wines:

  • Curly Flat Chardonnay 2011
  • Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2011
  • Cobaw Ridge Syrah 2010
  • Knight Granite Hills "The Gordon" Cabernet blend 2008
  • Hanging Rock NV Sparkling
Full tasting notes on some of the above wines to come on this blog in the coming week.

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