Inspired by the fanciful tales of Pierre Renard and his father, Pierre et Papa is a compact range of high quality, well balanced whites, reds and rose made from grapes sourced through Southern France. With packaging influenced by old French advertising ephemera, Pierre et Papa’s nostalgic feel is very much in tune with the desire to seek out honest value.
Passion for his vineyard, an inherent love of the environment, and a desire to produce exquisite wines year after year.. these are the driving forces behind Domenic Mondillo. Central Otago has a distinct semi-continental climate, found nowhere else in New Zealand. It is one of the hottest, coldest and driest regions in New Zealand. Domenic Mondillo selected the Bendigo property, after years of vineyard developments throughout Central Otago, being the warmest site in the coolest region. Domenic believes this is the key to consistently ripening Pinot Noir and Riesling, where tannin structure is developed and the complexity if found in wine. Once the grapes arrive at the winery, the winemaking is very ‘hands off’ with minimal intervention. All Mondillo grapes are de-stemmed and quality French Oak barrels are used for the Pinot Noir.
Once part of the Venetian Republic and with sections under the influence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for some time, the wines of the North-Eastern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia have noticeable Slavic and Germanis influences. The climate is distinguished with very warm days and chilly nights that help maintain a balance in the grape between acidity and sugar levels and allows the grapes a long, slow growing season. “The white grapes of this naturalized French variety are harvested by hand in the vineyards on the eastern Friuli hills. The dry wine has a complex aroma with roses, acacia blossom, apricot and hints of walnut and spices. Smooth and persistent on the palate with evident perception of tropical fruit.”
Founded in the 1960’s, the ancient church of San Martino Vescova from the 9th - 11th century stood here, and today parts of the ancient church are still being uncovered in the vineyard. “The Prosecco DOC San Martino has an intense nose that is almost aromatic, but always fine and elegant, recalling apple and banana. To the palate, Extra Dry is pleasantly full and harmonious. Excellent as an aperitif and a great accompaniment to fish, pasta and rice dishes.”
Since the first vines were planted in 1973, the Coal River has become firmly established among Australia’s most prestigious cool climate wine regions and by the 1990’s, there was already a growing understanding throughout Asia that Tasmania meant quality: quality of produce, quality of air, quality of water, quality of life.
Wang Shan and her family saw the potential to turn this quality into something that would truly connect Tasmania with their home of Tianjin in northern China…a way of bringing the best of Tasmania to China and, in return, bringing some of the magic and excitement of China back here. So, in 1999, they purchased Nocton Park and began to plant the vineyard, predominantly to pinot noir and chardonnay.
Mammoth Wines are located in the South West of Western Australia in the world-famous Margaret River region. Our name was inspired by the large limestone cave called Mammoth Cave which is located 21km south of the Town of Margaret River. It is surrounded by beautiful Karri and Marri forest and houses extinct animal fossils. We aspire to make fine wines that reflect the terroir of the region, with its rugged beauty and exquisite environment.
The range consists of: Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Merlot.
Fox Trot Margaret River range of wines has been developed exclusively for the on premise trade to reflect a perfect unison between food and wine. Fox Trot wines are sourced from our two vineyard sites Alexanders Vineyard and Miamup Vineyard. This area has been described as possessing all of the Bordeaux’s strengths and none of its drawbacks. For these vineyards it is an exquisite environment - warm sunny mornings and cool afternoon breezes provide the best aspects of both warm and cool climates.
The range consists of: Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Merlot.
A champenoise tale, in the heart of the Montagne de Reims… introducing Champagne Gardet award winning champagne house and now available at Bacchant Wines in 2014.
Champagne Gardet is a medium sized and family-owned company that was created in 1895, when Charles Gardet founded his establishment in Epernay. In the 1930s, Georges Gardet, son of the founder, moved to Chigny-les-Roses, a premier Cru-ranked village in the heart of the "Montagne de Reims", with a very precise aim: to develop the Champagne Gardet brand, whilst continuing to supply wines of unimpeachable quality.
To do so, he based his method on the secular champagne making rules: a high-quality grapes supply and a wine making process fully oriented toward excellence. This purpose and the respect of tradition are still at the heart of the current owners' preoccupations: the PRIEUX family. Deeply attached to their roots, the Champagne region, the family has been working in the arboricultural and agricultural sectors for years; passing on their love for their land from generation to generation.
Champagne Gardet is the 20th House of Champagne (in volume), with an annual production of approx. 1 million bottles. The greatest care is taken to produce high quality products by leaving the champagnes on the lies in the vaulted cellars for the longest possible (way over the legal requirement) and by being one of the few Houses still using oak barrels to age part of the reserve wines.
Newly arrived… Ulithorne at Bacchant Wines.
Rose Kentish, Winemaker of the year finalist 2014, brings incredible wines from Europe and McLaren Vale. Rose Kentish and her husband Sam Harrison - deliver wines which are regularly featured in the UK's 100 Best Australian Wines, an annual list awarded by Matthew Jukes.
Since 2001, Rose has made small quantities of Latin-named wines - 'Frux Frugis' Shiraz, 'Paternus' Cabernet Shiraz, 'Chi' Grenache Shiraz, 'Flamma' Sparkling Shiraz and 'Dona' GSM from McLaren Vale.
Named McLaren Vale's best winemaker in 2008, Rose has received enthusiastic praise among industry peers: "these are cult wines" (Decanter) and "Cult wine in the waiting" (Max Allen).
In 2010, Rose and Sam packed up their 4 young children and moved to France to begin making wines from the South, including 'Epoch' - a Provencal Rosé, and 2 Corsican wines ("Corsus' and 'Immortelle' made from indigenous Corsican varieties. These wines she continues to make each year, packing up the finished wine and shipping it back to Australia for sale.
Rose aims to make wines that express pure fruit and soil. Her wines are elegant and restrained, with fruit quality being the essence.
Rose makes a selection of single vineyard wines, from the original family plantings at Ulithorne vineyard, as well as from her Kay's Road vineyard. She, with her husband Sam Harrison, are building a winery and cellar door on their Kays Road vineyard. Completion of the winery is expected in time for 2015 Vintage.
We are in the midst of the 'wine show season' with some tremendous results again coming our way. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Arthur's Reserve Cabernet, Petit Verdot Malbec have been leading the way.
The Adelaide Wine Show continues to be a happy hunting ground for Lake Breeze with our 2009 Arthur's Reserve bagging top gold and a trophy for the Best Other Red Blend.
I am also really proud to say our Lake Breeze Cabernet Sauvignon ('92, '04 & '10) was selected as a finalist in 'The Outstanding Wine of Provenance' which is one of Adelaide Wine Show's most coveted trophies. This prestigious award assesses three vintages of a wine, with judges looking for a strong sense of style and regionality. Judges this year were Jeremy Oliver, Brian Walsh, Andrew Caillard MW and Canadian judge Chris Waters.
This is the second time we've entered and the second time as finalist. (Here's hoping third time lucky!) Other finalists this year were Wolf Blass Platinum Label and Black Label, McWilliams 1877 Cabernet Shiraz and Skillogallee Riesling, with the winner being Saltram's No 1 Shiraz.
"Everything we do is done on the smell of an oily rag", says Ben Gould, owner, manager, and winegrower at Blind Corner in Wilyabrup, Margaret River, WA.
Since establishing Blind Corner in 2005, Ben has made his wines on a strictly 'needs must' basis. Having returned from Europe, travelling and working with his wife, Naomi, in all of that continents major winegrowing regions, the cash flow wasn't there to support a major operation from the get go, and so practicality and pragmatism dictated the tempo. As a result, the wines of Blind Corner are exceptionally interesting, and could easily fit under the loosely defined 'natural wine' umbrella.
"We were making natural wines just because we couldn't afford any of the yeasts, acids, or tannins", says Ben about the ready-to-go gap fillers that some winemakers use, "and a lot of it was also a bit of neglect, because I just couldn't be here all the time. I had to earn enough money just to live and support my family".
Before making wines at Blind Corner, Ben had worked for his father on a vineyard that he owned in Margaret River, called Deep Woods, which was established in 1997. But, it was sold soon after, just as Ben was beginning to like the idea of him as winegrower for the family business.
"When Dad sold (the vineyard) it was a bit of a shock", recalls Ben, "because, for me, I'd finally found something that I loved".
Ben took on a GM role at Deep Woods, but found it difficult to stay, and so he sold a house that he had bought while working there, trading it in for a vineyard, which eventually became Blind Corner. After the vineyard was established, Ben and Naomi moved to Europe and began working there, gaining experience in many of the major winegrowing regions.
While Ben and Naomi were in Europe they visited Nicolas Joly's vineyard, Le Coulée de Serrant, in Savennières in the Loire Valley, France. Nicolas Joly is most famous for his group 'Return to Terroir', a band of biodynamic believers from across the globe who adopt biodynamic practices in their vineyard, and produce premium examples of place driven wines. Ben had been interested in biodynamics because of his near neighbors, Cullen, back in the Margaret River, but seeing the vineyard of Nicolas Joly really pushed his biodynamic buttons.
"Visiting Le Coulée de Serrant was phenomenal", says Ben, "his place was alive, there were birds, bugs and insects, and yet the vineyard itself was clean… so after seeing this, I knew that this is what I wanted to do".
The Blind Corner vineyard is dry grown (no irrigation) and chemicals were phased out in 2007 to accommodate Ben's new found belief in biodynamics. Growing the vineyard dry forces the vine roots to dig deeper in search of a reliable water supply. Naturally, this de-invigorates the overall yield of the vines (Ben now gets approximately 3-4 tonners per hectare), but the concentration of flavor and colour in the fruit is one of the positive trade offs that Ben is seeing. It is a case of quality over quantity.
"Biodynamics, for me, is about being a bit more proactive", says Ben, "by building up the microbes in the soil using 500… Since using BD you can now put your shovel in the ground anywhere (in the vineyard) and find worms. It makes you feel good".
Feeling good, and making good wines is of obvious importance to Ben. That's why he has grape crushing parties, where he'll invite a few good friends around to the winery during vintage to drink some beers and stomp some grapes.
The first time Blind Corner held a crush party, Ben enlisted the help of some interested Swiss backpackers ("all ladies"), who had, earlier, been helping to pick the grapes in the vineyard. However, despite their best efforts, Ben wasn't able to re-employ these, or other backpacking girls the following year, and so, in order to maintain efficiency, he had to think of other ways around it.
"When we do the foot crushing", says Ben, "and we've got, say, 16 bins, and it can take half an hour to an hour per bin, I'm looking at a 16 hour day. So, now, I just have a party, and get my mates around and we drink beer… it's pretty cool".
Pragmatic partying aside, Ben is very committed when it comes to the final product, his wines, which are a direct result of Ben's resourceful, and imposed pioneering philosophy.
"Because we didn't have any money to buy the additives", says Ben, "I had to try and manipulate the grapes and their tannins to mimic the stuff you would (otherwise) buy in".
The Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, is made like an Italian 'Amarone', whereby the grapes are air-dried prior to fermentation. Because the grapes are dehydrated, the sugars and other flavours that remain are highly concentrated.
"The Cabernet became an 'Amarone' because I could find the tannins before I made the wine", says Ben, "and with the sav blanc, I wanted the skin to ferment because I loved some of the stuff I'd seen in Europe, but was scared about extracting too much tannin, so a portion of it is air dried as well".
The other portion of the Sauvignon Blanc is fermented with extended skin contact in a concrete egg called 'Boonie', and then the two are combined after filtering out much of the gritty bits from the free run juice.
"It's minimal additives winemaking", says Ben, "but not minimal intervention, in the beginning. If I stuff a wine up, I can't afford to get a machine in to fix it, so everything we do is watched like a hawk, which is what you need to do if you're making natural wines anyway".
"There's nowhere to hide", continues Ben, "if you picked too early and the tannins weren't quite right, I can't just get a packet of tannins and add that to make it alright. We have to find that balance, and every year is different".
Capturing vintage variation is a crucial component of Ben's winegrowing philosophy, because it's the differences from year to year, vintage to vintage, that make it the most interesting for Ben as a winegrower but, also, enables him to make a wine that no one else can copy.
"The only way to make a wine that no one can emulate is to not use additives", says Ben, "because then you're trapping the vineyard in the bottle, and no one else can make that because it's not their vineyard".
"There's lots of things you can do (as a winemaker)", continues Ben, "to make the next Moss Wood Cabernet, Grange, or Hill of Grace… but the only way to be individual is to just make wine from grapes, and that's it".
Ben's 'oily rag' philosophy, born out of practicality, has meant that the wines of Blind Corner could be misinterpreted as highly experimental, and inventive, when in actual fact, it's Ben's dogged determination to produce something that not only speaks of place, and is true to its origins, but is also something completely and totally unique and personalised to him.
"We don't want to be part of the crowd", says Ben, "we want to be completely us".