arb & clarke & beechworth chalmers 216

200 fine wines later: Arblaster & Clarke South Australia & Victoria vintage tour

Dalwhinnie's vineyard in the Pyrenees lifts the lid on diverisy, even in this small Pyrenees' pocket of the country

Dalwhinnie’s vineyard in the Pyrenees lifts the lid on diverisy, even in this small Pyrenees’ pocket of the country

I’ve covered a lot of ground over the last few weeks in Australia.  I’m used to it on press trips – it’s work after all but, as I discovered, holidaymakers on Arblaster & Clarke wine tours are just as keen to taste far and wide.  In 10 days me and my charges visited no less than 25 producers in 9 regions and tasted over 200 wines.  I reckon not far off 300 if 2016 ferment samples and a fair few wines enjoyed over lunch and dinner are included. We drew the line at breakfast wines – the Barossa Sparkling Shiraz and bacon butty recco fell on deaf ears!  I think my group need to return to taste a mature Sparkling Shiraz – it won me over to the genre.

Here’s a low down on the regions, wines & producers featured on this South Australia and Victoria harvest tour (and click here for my post about some of the tour’s top foodie experiences).  As you can see, with behind the scenes access to winemakers, owners, wineries and vineyards we were privileged to taste iconic wines, museum as well as latest releases, including two d’Arenberg’s hot off the press $200 a pop new releases (reviewed here).

Sandra and Guill de Pury at Yeringberg

Third & fourth generation winemakers Sandra and Guill de Pury at Yeringberg

So what did my charges make of Australia?  Like me they loved the deep and demonstrable passion of the producers for their product, whether first gen. winemakers or multi-generational.  They were struck by the history of this New World country – its legacy of old vines (we visited the world’s oldest known Mourvedre, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines).  And the contrast between preserved in aspic 19th century wineries (Best’s Great Western, Yeringberg) and state-of-the-art operations (The Lane).

From the seemingly flat-unless-you-know-it Coonawarra strip to the higher ground of Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, the Pyrenees and Great Western and everywhere in between, we experienced the diversity of terrain, topography and climate.  No more so than in the Yarra Valley – so much greener than the Pyrenees and Heathcote, with morning mists to refresh the vines.

The freedom of winemakers compared with Old World counterparts struck forcibly home.  No-one balked at the pick and/or mix philosophies around single vineyard or blended wines, but Australian’s kid in a sweet shop love of exploring lots of different varieties proved harder for some to get their head around.  Better take them for a Chalmers sisters’ charm offensive next time!

Yeringberg bounty

Yeringberg bounty

I am pleased to report that one of our number made her first ever purchase of Australian Shiraz (from Dalwhinnie) – savoury, cool climate Shiraz made its mark and at Best’s and Seville Estate.  It was just one of a number of splash the cash moments. Mine occurred at Yeringberg, whose Marsanne Roussanne was a stand out of my very first trip to Australia in 2004. Full report and pics on that slice of history visit next week.

Arblaster & Clarke’s next Australasian tour in 2017 heads to New Zealand; it’s back to Australia again in 2018.

Clare Valley

The entrace to Tim Adams' Mr Mick winery

The entrance to Tim Adams’ Mr Mick winery – the old Leasingham winery

Mr Mick

Mr Mick Vermentino 2015 (Clare Valley)

Mr Mick Pinot Grigio 2015 (Clare Valley)

Mr Mick Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley)

Mr Mick Rosé 2015 (Sangiovese) (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams

Our hosts Tim Adams & his wife, co-proprietor & GM Pam Goldsack

Adams & his wife, co-proprietor & GM Pam Goldsack

Tim Adams 2015 Riesling / Tim Adams 2009 Riesling (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams 2015 Pinot Gris / Tim Adams 2010 Pinot Gris (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams 2013 Semillon / Tim Adams 2007 Semillon (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams 2013 Fergus / Tim Adams 2008 Fergus (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams 2012 Cabernet Malbec / Tim Adams 2008 Cabernet Malbec (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams 2012 Shiraz / Tim Adams 2007 Shiraz (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams 2012 Aberfeldy / Tim Adams 2002 Aberfeldy (Clare Valley)

Tim Adams 2011 Botrytis Affected Riesling 375ml (Clare Valley)

Mount Horrocks

Jeffrey Grosset & Mount Horrock's Stephanie Toole

Jeffrey Grosset & Mount Horrock’s Stephanie Toole

Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley)

Mount Horrocks Semillon 2014 (Clare Valley)

Mount Horrocks Shiraz 2013 (Clare Valley)

Mount Horrocks Nero d’Avola 2013 (Clare Valley)

Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley)

Grosset

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Grosset Springvale Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley)

Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley)

Grosset Alea Riesling 2015 (Clare Valley)

Grosset Gaia Cabernet blend 2013 (Clare Valley)

Barossa Valley

Rockford

Barossa vintage: small batch winemaking at Rockford - Chief Winemaker Ben Radford shovels Shiraz

Barossa vintage in full swing: small batch winemaking at Rockford – Chief Winemaker Ben Radford shovels Shiraz

2013 Eden Valley Riesling (Eden Valley)

2012 Local Growers Semillon (Barossa Valley)

2015 White Frontignac (Barossa Valley)

2015 Alicante Bouchet Rosé (Barossa Valley)

2014 Frugal Farmer (Barossa Valley)

2011 Moppa Springs (Barossa Valley)

2013 Rod & Spur (Barossa Valley)

2013 Rifle Range Cabernet (Barossa Valley)

An earlier batch is being basket pressed - slow, very gentle work to acheive Rockford's soft, mellow palate

Said basket presses

2011 Basket Press Shiraz (Barossa Valley)

Sparkling Black Shiraz (2015 disgorgement) (Barossa Valley)

2007 Shiraz VP (Barossa Valley)

P.S. Marion Tawny (Barossa Valley)

Hewitson

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At last I paid homage to The Old Garden – the world’s oldest known Mourvedre vines, with a splash of (white) Doradillo

Hewitson Gunmetal Riesling 2015 (Eden Valley)

Hewitson Lulu Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Adelaide Hills)

Hewitson Miss Harry Grenache-based Red Blend 2013 (Barossa Valley)

Hewitson Baby Bush Mourvèdre 2014 (Barossa Valley)

Hewitson Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2014 (Barossa Valley)

Hewitson The Mother Vine Shiraz 2013 (Barossa Valley)

Hewitson Old Garden Mourvèdre 2012 (Barossa Valley)

Artisans of the Barossa – John Duval

John Duval Plexus MRV White 2014 (Barossa)

John Duval Plexus SGM Red 2012 (Barossa)

John Duval Annexus Grenache 2013 (Barossa)

John Duval Entity Shiraz 2013 (Barossa)

John Duval Eligo Shiraz 2012 (Barossa)

John Duval Plexus SGM Red 2005 (Barossa)

Henschke

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Paying homage to another sacred site – Henschke Hill of Grace vineyard

2015 Julius Eden Valley Riesling (Eden Valley)

2014 Louis Eden Valley Semillon (Eden Valley)

2015 Innes Vineyard Pinot Gris (Adelaide Hills)

2014 Croft Chardonnay (Adelaide Hills)

2013 Giles Pinot Noir (Adelaide Hills)

2014 Henry’s Seven (Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro, Viognier blend) (Eden Valley)

2012 Keyneton Euphonium (shiraz, cabernet, merlot, cabernet franc blend) (Eden Valley)

2010 Cyril Henschke Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Merlot (Eden Valley)

2012 Mount Edelstone Shiraz (Eden Valley)

2010 Hill of Grace Shiraz (Eden Valley)

Turkey Flat

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Our hosts Christie and Alex Schulz

Turkey Flat White 2015 (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Rosé 2015 (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Butcher’s Block Red 2014 (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Mataro 2015 (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Grenache 2014 (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Shiraz 2013 (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Sparkling Shiraz NV (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Pedro Ximénez NV (Barossa Valley)

Turkey Flat Last Straw 2010 (Barossa Valley)

Charles Melton

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Caught purpled-handed – Charlie Melton shows us his Winery Block Grenache

2008 Sparkling Shiraz (Barossa Valley)

2015 Rose of Virginia (Barossa Valley)

2013 La Belle Mere GSRM (Barossa Valley)

2014 Father in Law Shiraz (Barossa Valley)

2012 Kirche Shiraz/Cabernet (Barossa Valley)

2011 Crown Village Cabernet (Barossa Valley)

2012 Nine Popes GSM (Barossa Valley)

2012 Voices of Angels Shiraz (Eden Valley)

2012 Grains of Paradise Shiraz (Barossa Valley)

Taste of Eden Valley

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Riesling a star player in Eden Valley

Forbes & Forbes Riesling 2015 (Eden Valley)

Eden Hall Reserve Riesling 2015 (Eden Valley)

Eden Valley Wines The Saviours Riesling 2008 (Eden Valley)

Irvine Estate Merlot 2013 (Eden Valley)

Irvine Estate Grand Merlot 2009 (Eden Valley)

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With Shiraz

Eden Hall Block 4 Shiraz 2010 (Eden Valley)

Dandelion Vineyards Red Queen of the Eden Valley 2012 (Eden Valley)

Dandelion Vineyards Legacy of the Barossa Pedro Ximénez NV (Barossa)

The Lane

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The Gathering tasting Experience at The Lane

Cuvee Helen Sparkling Zero Dosage 2009 (Adelaide Hills)

Gathering Sauvignon Semillon 2014 (Adelaide Hills)

Beginning Chardonnay 2013 (Adelaide Hills)

Reunion Shiraz 2013 (Adelaide Hills)

19th Meeting Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Adelaide Hills)

Block 8 Merlot 2013 (Adelaide Hills)

Lunch wines 

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Block 10 Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Adelaide Hills)

Block 3 Chardonnay 2015 (Adelaide Hills)

Block 14 Basket Press Shiraz 2014 (Adelaide Hills)

Reunion Shiraz 2001 (Adelaide Hills)

d’Arenberg

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One of many promising vintage 2016 samples

The Custodian Grenache 2012 (McLaren Vale)

The Derelict Grenache 2012 (McLaren Vale)

The Beautiful View Grenache 2010 (McLaren Vale)

The Sticks & Stones Tempranillo Grenache Souzao Tinta Cao 2011 (McLaren Vale)

The Conscious Biosphere Aglianico Petit Sirah 2012 (McLaren Vale)

The Cenosilicaphobic Cat Sagrantino Cinsault 2010 (McLaren Vale)

‘The Athazagoraphobic Cat’ Sagrantino Cinsault 2011 (McLaren Vale)

The Dead Arm Shiraz 2012 (McLaren Vale)

J.R. Afflatus Shiraz 2012 (McLaren Vale)

‘The Old Bloke & The Three Young Blondes’ Shiraz, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier 2011 (McLaren Vale)

Lunch wines

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Not forgetting a splash of The Money Spider Roussanne with sorbet

NV Pollyanna Polly Sparkling (Adelaide Hills) Chardonnay (52%) Pinot Noir (40%) Pinot Meunier (8%)

The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay 2014 (Adelaide Hills)

The Ironstone Pressings GSM 2011 (McLaren Vale)

The Noble Botryinia Fuckeliana Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (Adelaide Hills)

Rymill Estate

Not the usual suspect - a fine, dry Coonawarra Gewurtztraminer

Not the usual suspect – a fine, dry Coonawarra Gewurtztraminer

Rymill gt 2015 (Coonawarra) – Gewurtztraminer

Rymill The Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Coonawarra)

Rymill Classic Shiraz 2013 (Coonawarra)

And the big guns

And the big guns

Rymill Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Coonawarra)

Rymill Sandstone Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Coonawarra)

Rymill The Surveyor Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Coonawarra)

Rymill Maturation Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Coonawarra)

Rymill Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Coonawarra)

Rymill Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 in magnum (Coonawarra)

Rymill Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 in magnum (Coonawarra)

Rymill Classic Shiraz 1994 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves of Coonawarra

How big is the Coonawarra cigar/terra rossa strip? Pete Bissell of Balnaves gives his view

How big is the Coonawarra cigar/terra rossa strip? Pete Bissell of Balnaves gives his view

Balnaves Chardonnay 2013 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves The Blend 2013 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves Shiraz 2013 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves Cabernet Merlot 2012 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Coonawarra)

And shares some golden oldies - long empty, alas!

And shares some golden oldies – long empty, alas!

Balnaves The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (Coonawarra)

Balnaves Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon NV (Coonawarra)

Hollick

Another unusual suspect - Savagnin with empty glasses afetr dinner at Pipers of Penola with winemaker Joe Cory

Another unusual suspect – Savagnin with empty glasses after dinner at Pipers of Penola with winemaker Joe Cory

2014 Hollick The Charlatan Savagnin (Coonawarra)

2013 Hollick Pinot Noir (Coonawarra)

2013 Hollick Cabernet Sauvignon (Coonawarra)

2015 Hollick The Nectar (Coonawarra)

Best’s Great Western

The world's oldest known Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir reside here

The world’s oldest known Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir reside here

2014 Best’s Chardonnay (Great Western)

2015 Best’s Great Western Riesling (Great Western)

2014 Best’s Great Western Foudre Ferment Riesling (Great Western)

2015 Best’s Great Western Foudre Ferment Riesling (Great Western)

2014 Best’s Bin 1 Shiraz (Great Western)

2014 Best’s Bin 0 Shiraz (Great Western)

Firmly in the shade - Viv Thomson dispenses Riesling on a most welcome vineyard tour pit stop

Firmly in the shade – Viv Thomson dispenses Riesling on a most welcome vineyard tour pit stop

Lunch

2005 Best’s Great Western Riesling (Great Western)

2005 Best’s Pinot Meunier (Great Western)

2014 Best’s Pinot Noir (Great Western)

2009 Best’s Cabernet Sauvignon (Great Western)

2011 Best’s Sparkling Shiraz (Great Western)

Dalwhinnie

David Jones shows off his vineyard - a fine ampitheatre

David Jones shows off his vineyard – a fine ampitheatre

2008 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay (Pyrenees)

2014 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay (Pyrenees)

2012 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz (Pyrenees)

2013 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz (Pyrenees)

2012 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Cabernet (Pyrenees)

2013 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Cabernet (Pyrenees)

2012 Dalwhinnie The Pinnacle Shiraz (Pyrenees)

2012 Dalwhinnie Southwest Rocks Shiraz (Pyrenees)

2012 Dalwhinnie The Eagle Shiraz (Pyrenees)

Blue Pyrenees

Sparkling wines a key player here

Sparkling wines a key player here

2012 Midnight Cuvee (Pyrenees)

Brut Rose (NV) (Pyrenees)

2014 Champ Blend Blanc (Pyrenees)

2013 Cellar Door Series Malbec (Pyrenees)

2013 Section One Shiraz (Pyrenees)

2012 Estate Red (Pyrenees)

2012 Richardson Cabernet Sauvignon (Pyrenees)

Sparkling Shiraz (NV) (Pyrenees)

Warrenmang

Bazzani Saluté Sparkling2012 (Pyrenees)

Bazzani Unwooded Chardonnay 2014 (Pyrenees)

2010 Vinello by BAZZANI (Pyrenees)

2006 Warrenmang Estate Chardonnay (Pyrenees)

2010 Warrenmang Estate Grand Pyrenees (Pyrenees)

2009 Black Puma Shiraz (Pyrenees)

Jasper Hill

Ron Laughton digs deep

Ron Laughton digs deep

2015 Georgia’s Paddock Riesling (Heathcote)

2006 Georgia’s Paddock Riesling (Heathcote)

2014 Georgia’s Paddock Viognier (Heathcote)

2014 Georgia’s Paddock Semillon (Heathcote)

2014 Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz (Heathcote)

1999 Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz (Heathcote)

2014 Emily’s Paddock Shiraz (with 3% Cabernet Franc) (Heathcote)

1999 Emily’s Paddock Shiraz (with 3% Cabernet Franc) (Heathcote)

2014 Nebbiolo (Heathcote)

La Pleiade Shiraz 2012 (Heathcote) – collaboration with Michel Chapoutier

Occam’s Razor Shiraz 2014 (Heathcote) – Emily Laughton’s wine

Mac Forbes

Vintage 2016: Mac Forbes has all fingers on the pulse of this ferment

Vintage 2016: Mac Forbes has all fingers on the pulse of this ferment

2015 RS29 Riesling (Strathbogie Ranges)

2008 RS37 Riesling (Strathbogie Ranges)

2015 Yarra Valley Chardonnay (Yarra Valley)

2015 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley)

2014 Hoddles Creek Chardonnay (Yarra Valley)

2014 Woori Yallock Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley)

2010 Woori Yallock Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley)

2012 Hugh Cabernet Sauvignon (Yarra Valley)

Innocent Bystander

Phil Sexton hosts our winery visit and tasting

Phil Sexton hosts our winery visit and tasting

2014 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay (Yarra Valley)

2014 Giant Steps Tarraford Vineyard Chardonnay (Yarra Valley)

2014 Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley)

2014 Giant Steps Applejack Vineyard Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley)

2014 Innocent Bystander Mea Culpa Syrah (Yarra Valley)

2013 Giant Steps Harry’s Monster Bordeaux Blend (Yarra Valley)

2015 Innocent Bystander Moscato (Victoria)

Seville Estate

Seville Estate Blanc de Blanc 2012 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Chardonnay 2014 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2014 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2012 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Riesling 2013 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Barber Rosé 2015 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Pinot Noir 2014 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Shiraz 2012 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Reserve Shiraz 2012 (Yarra Valley)

Seville Estate Dr McMahon Shiraz 2011 (Yarra Valley)

Yeringberg

The only winery I've encountered which looks like an Indian Jones film set - the very original 1880 winery

The only winery I’ve encountered which looks like an Indian Jones film set – the very original 1880 building

Yeringberg Marsanne Roussanne 2013 (Yarra Valley)

Yeringberg Viognier 2013 (Yarra Valley)

Yeringberg Chardonnay 2013 (Yarra Valley)

Yeringberg Pinot Noir 2013 (Yarra Valley)

Yeringberg Shiraz 2013 (Yarra Valley)

Yeringberg Yeringberg Cabernet blend 2013 (Yarra Valley)

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