True winemaking and the great wines of the world come about from following your passion and simply doing that which you love and can do best, rather than trying to create something to please everyone.
From my view point, the policy of doing less and concentrating only on those things for which I am truly passionate about is beginning to pay off. This is contrary to many other winemakers who are caught up in the trend of doing more – more complexity, more varieties, more spin - which I feel actually equates to less.
The evolution and continuation of great Chardonnay here at Giaconda is a direct result of this philosophy. I believe the slow maturation in our underground granite cave, combined with more careful work in the vineyard and further honing of the winemaking techniques we employ, has given us an unprecedented run of great Chardonnays from 2010 right through to the extremely exciting 2015 vintage.
After 30 years of refinement it requires focus and detail to gain small improvements in the wines.
As a direct result of fermenting underground at lower temperature with a naturally high humidity, we often observe an elongation of the fermentations. There is something special about these longer fermentations: they build more complexity into the wines. It is not uncommon for wineries in Burgundy to have fermentations last up to a year, sometimes more. Under our unique conditions here at Giaconda the wines spend more time maturing before any sulphur additions are required, resulting in greater complexity.
You may have read or heard something about natural winemaking? At Giaconda the definition of natural winemaking is to run the juice by gravity to barrel and allow it to ferment spontaneously, using our indigenous yeasts, and always with full natural malolactic fermentation. Our regime and the environment created by our cave also enables us to reduce the sulphur additions to much lower levels than previously used. We do not filter the wine before bottling. In Europe this approach has consistently produced some of the worlds most acclaimed wines for hundreds of years.
In reference to Pinot Noir, we are starting to see great results from our new plantings with more of the 'old fashioned' MV6 clone showing it has as an essential role to play. I think we can make more consistent and great Pinot Noir going forward, compared with the past flashes of brilliance. From now on this will be entirely Estate grown fruit with no Yarra Valley contribution. This is not to denigrate Yarra Valley Pinot Noir, but I feel we need to concentrate on single vineyard wines for our Giaconda label.
Last year Jeremy Oliver awarded the 2012 Estate Vineyard Shiraz 'Wine of the year' in his book the Australian Wine Annual. In a tightly contested field with many wonderful wines it was gratifying to see years of planning and dedication to creating another truly inspiring Estate Vineyard wine come to fruition with such an acknowledgement. In addition, the 2012 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay was awarded fourth best wine, and his top Chardonnay of the year.
In common with many other regions, the 2014 vintage was very much reduced in quantity by frost. As a consequence of this our En Primeur offer will be limited to a release of two wines only: 2014 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay and 2014 Estate Vineyard Shiraz.
Coming in next year's newsletter... barrel tasting notes of the first Nebbiolo from our new Red Hill (Beechworth) vineyard. In addition, we will have information on our new terracotta amphorae wine trials.
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