Hunter Valley, NSW
This is a story of a man who has no history in the wine business and no pretention to knowing much about it. He has drunk enough good wine to know what he likes and has invested wisely to ensure that he can deliver at the highest quality and, most importantly, he has scouted out a couple of seriously good winemakers to help him achieve what he wants; namely expressive, pure Hunter Valley wines produced without preservatives. The current winemaker Jade has worked all over the place including recently with cult Mosel producer Clemens Busch.
Richard purchased the winery buildings and land in 2008 and works with five local growers very closely to ensure that his access to top grade fruit is direct and pays the premium required for this to be effective. The Chardonnay comes from a vineyard planted by Murray Tyrrell called ‘Leogate’; it’s very close to Tyrrells famous HVD vineyard and virtually next door to it’s Moon Mountain vineyard. The Shiraz comes from two main parcels that are quite far apart; the ‘FGH’ block close to the winery delivers punchy, dark and typically earthy fruit, and the ‘Tree’ block at Mount Broke that provides fragrant lift and fresh acidity.
All grapes are hand harvested and sorted three times! I asked Richard if it was difficult to assemble a team of pickers in the Hunter Valley and he said it was easy to find the labour but not the skills as practically everyone in the Hunter harvested with machines.
Following crushing the wines undergo fermentation using indigenous yeasts and are not adjusted in any way; they are then matured for six to nine months in a mix of newer and older barrels and hogsheads before being bottled on the estate unfiltered.