I’ve decided to write about the three single vineyard sauvignon blancs from 2017 as a group. Individual winemaking & vineyard details for the above wine is below, But, having made sauvignon blanc from the Upper Yarra since 2012, when the variety was perhaps at the lowest
point in it’s popularity within the region, I think we’re in a good position to reflect a little...
To claim to have revitalised interest in what the variety is capable of doing, when made with thought & care, is bold. And it’s not in our nature to make bold statements. But I do think we’ve had more than a hand in helping wine writers, sommeliers, winemakers & the general public realise that Australian sauvignon blanc can be a bloody interesting drink. We’ve also, during the course of this journey, been able to further & further refine our approach to its
The percentage of new oak has dropped, as has time in barrel. We see new oak (generally now around 5-10%, although the 2017 Lone Star has none) to be something that adds texture& spice, but even any hints of “woody” or “new barrel” flavours are not on the agenda. And bottling is always early.
We rarely use sulphur dioxide before winter & then it’s used sparingly. It’s about locking in what we love, that balance between fruit & savouriness, & getting the wine safely to bottle.
We’ve never acid adjusted, used yeast, any fermentation aids, malo cultures or any fining agents. I think we tried to cold stablise the wines once & then thought “what the hell was that about?”.
Texture is clearly incredibly important. All the wines are pressed hard & spend their days on lees up until bottling. We stopped any filtration several years back, preferring to clean the wine via racking. To that end we’ve even pushed things a little further this year, racking the wines only once – bottled “sur lie” if you like. So yes, they’re cloudier in 2017.
But I think the overarching them of what I’m trying to say is over the course of this ride we’ve learnt to do less & less & trust some great old sites, whilst still ensuring the juice is interesting, delicious & brings you more & more of how the vineyard, season & variety taste.
Wine is, after all, a drink.
Volume: 530 dozen
Site: Summerhill Vineyard, Yarra Junction (Yarra Valley), Victoria.
Winemaking: Hand picked, pressed to barrel & then wild yeast fermented & matured in 5% new/95% used French oak hogsheads & barriques. Partial MLF, racked, settled (but not fined or filtered) & then into bottle. No additions of any kind other than sulphur dioxide.