Welcome to Contours – our journal and quarterly newsletter featuring a curated collection of stories from our brands, our people and our industry. We created Contours to connect with our small part of the wine world. While the world may be far-flung and locked-down, we urge you to get involved, connect with us and each other.
In our first edition, we take you on a pre-lockdown trip to regional NSW through the lens of sommelier Bryce Faiella (Chiswick, Sydney) then to Wilyabrup in Margaret River to celebrate an important milestone with Halliday Wine Companion’s Viticulturalist of the Year Vanya Cullen. Overseas travel is off the agenda so we’re exploring some imported Bright Dry Reds with Group Wine Ambassador Matt Dunne, and we share some exciting new, single vineyard wines from Central Otago.
Enjoy the read and explore the Contours journal any time.
As always, but especially during these tough lockdown times, we’d like to thank our customers, brands, and people, we couldn’t do it without you.
A brief break from most lockdowns and a fleetingly-ajar Western Australian border saw MTFWS representatives Jenny Butcher (NSW), Gae Grant (QLD), Nick Kay (SA), Tyrone Stott (WA) and Craig Haworth (QLD) join Vanya Cullen and some very special guests for the 50 Years Tasting and associated events.
STOP PRESS: Congratulations to Vanya Cullen on the Halliday Wine Companion Viticulturalist of the Year Award.
What did this experience mean to you?
NK: It was such a privilege to attend the tastings and absorb the conversations of some of the country’s best wine writers and industry leaders. Vanya’s passion shone through in the wines and expressed her vision in every glass.
What discoveries did the vineyard hold for you?
GG: Venturing into the vines we planted sunflower seeds in the centre of the vineyard which had been marked with a special quartz stone. Spending time among the vines emphasised how central the earth, soil and site are to the wine. Feeling the energy held in the land and finding the “heart” beating beneath our feet.
What was the most revealing of the 50 Year Tastings?
NK: The Kevin John bracket for me, such power and purity in the vertical of wines.
GG: We were totally spoiled. The Kevin John and Diana Madeline verticals were once-in-a-lifetime.
I also found the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc tastings so interesting. The original Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc (Cullen Vineyard) were planted in the 70s, with planting of the Mangan Vineyard commencing the mid-1990s. Originally, Cullen blended the two vineyards, but the introduction of biodynamics in 2006 began to amplify the sites’ own styles. Vanya decided to showcase their individuality release both a Cullen and a Mangan Vineyard wine from then on. Seeing the differences emerge through time was illuminating.
What can we expect to see new for Cullen in the market?
JB: Look out for the Grace Madeline, which is an evolution of the Cullen Vineyard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc named for Diana Madeline’s mother who was a suffragette from Tasmania. We tasted three vintages 2018, 2019, 2020.
NK: Consistency of the signature quality across all varieties, the Grace Madeline will be a welcome addition to the Cullen Legacy.
New Central Otago
Single Vineyard Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
From its inception and the inaugural release of the Pinot Noir in 2005, Nanny Goat Vineyard has strived to produce wines with elegance, concentration and balance while allowing each individual parcel of fruit to tell its own unique story.
The acquisition of a special site in Queensberry has allowed winemaker Alan Peters-Oswald to focus on not only varietal expression, but that of this unique terroir.
The Queensberry sub-region, is approximately halfway between Cromwell and Wanaka alongside the Mata Au/Clutha River at the base of the of the Northern end of the Pisa Mountain range.
The Queensberry range is 100% sourced from the vineyard in Queensberry. BioGro Certified organic, this single vineyard range sees the benefits of the adoption of organic and regenerative viticultural practices, both environmentally and qualitatively. The effect of healthy soils and resilient vines is evident in the quality of fruit and characteristics of these wines.
Chardonnay was whole bunch pressed to stainless steel tank before being transferred to 500L oak barrels for natural fermentation and maturation on lees. Pinot Noir is 26% whole bunch, creating rich depth and retaining a complex, elegant fruit profile.
These special wines are very limited and purchase limits apply.
“…but in the cooler months the more medium-bodied, savoury styles of reds are chiming in with some serious vigour and an equal amount of excitement. I’m not only talking single-varietal celebrations, but the artful skill in making great wines from meticulously crafted blends. The blend can certainly be your friend!
When you think of the Veneto in Italy you would normally have your Soave hat on. When you think of Carmen?re you probably are dreaming you were in Chile right now and actually able to travel out of Australia.
Veneto Legend Stefano Inama did some early trials that showed there was great potential for Carmen?re just south east of the Soave Hills (Colli Berici). Each plot is assessed, worked, harvested and vinified separately. Inama are entering an exciting new phase working with Bordeaux’s Stephane Derenoncourt Consultants alongside their own talented team including son’s Alessio, Luca and Matteo.
Watch this space!”
Group Wine Ambassador
A Collection from the
New South Wales regions.