Three words… Holly’s Block 2011! (Is 2011 a word? Hhhhmmmmmm… have to look that one up). Lots of positive press, Gold Medal at the Hunter Valley Wine Show and inclusion in the Good Wine Guide as “The Best of the Best”, has propelled this single vineyard Semillon into iconic status. The media hype surrounding the 2011 whites has been received with glowing smiles and is a reflection of a great year in the Hunter. Simply delicious!!
I am writing to you today from d’Arenberg Wines in McLaren Vale. We have travelled through the Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, the Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, Coonawarra and now McLaren Vale. I have just had a long chat with d’Arenberg’s owner, d’Arry Osborn, about the current climate of our industry and subsequent topics. d’Arry is the genuine article. A wine man through and through and just a great bloke, I love him. d’Arenberg is one of my favourite wineries and as I sit overlooking some of their famous vineyards, I am reminded of how lucky we are in Australia to have such an amazing viticultural plane to work with.
I am travelling through South Australia’s great wine regions with one soul intention – to taste and buy wine! Nothing else. Wine is my life and visiting cellar doors is a huge part of that passion. As with any conscious wine travel, there have been highs and lows. I have been saddened by the amount of wine companies I have visited where the cellar door is manned by misinformed, disinterested and in some instances, downright rude staff who marred the entire experience. The cellar door experience in my book, is about giving the visitors a unique peek into your world as a wine producer. Giving every ounce of energy and passion and sharing that magic with grace and vigour. The one word which has always summed up the mystique and magical world of wine is authenticity. Unfortunately the Australian wine industry has lost a lot of this in recent years. Too many wine companies are placing too much emphasis on wine promotion and product placement and the grass roots element has faded away. Too many of the newer companies (up to 15 years old) are cleverly conveying themselves as established regional icons yet sourcing grapes for winemaking from four or five different regions. Why would I go to the Barossa Valley to taste and buy a wine from the Clare or Adelaide Hills or God forbid, the Hunter Valley? That is not a cellar door experience. Not only that but there are more wine brands in Australia than not which are exactly that – brands. There is no owned winery or vineyard, no rhyme or reason, they are merely just labels.
If your cellar door experience lacks that essential ingredient of authenticity through there being a lack of a winery or visible winemaker; lack of local vineyard land; a host of labelled wines from outside regions or simply an austerity and lack of passion evident during your experience, you have fallen victim to what I call a “disparity by design” kind of moment. Get the hell out of there! There are a host of great cellar doors elsewhere………..keep looking!
Most of the cellar doors which fell into this category, I questioned. The subsequent answers filtered through in the form of “What are you on about, mate? It’s a commercial reality to have wines from outside regions.” So I ask you today, when did the words “commercial reality” replace the word “opportunism”? It’s the wine industry we are talking about here! What happened to “provenance”, “history”, “love”, “passion” and stuff it…..good ‘ol fashioned “integrity”? Why would you visit a wine region to taste and buy wines from outside that region? Really! I understand the larger commercial companies have to operate like this but you can count them on two hands. The rest are small to medium sized companies. It only happens in the new world. The famous and most reputable wine regions of Europe do not condone this behaviour. Something to think about.
On the whole I was impressed with the quality of a few relatively unknown but well established wineries and will be happy to share them with you on our website www.marshestate.com.au. I have a truckload (really) of wine to be sent back to the Hunter next week so re-stocking the cellar will be a joyous occasion.
d’Arry has just informed me that the 2012 vintage will be his 70th vintage. How awesome is that? All I can say is that the wine industry and wine lovers across the globe wish you well……..
OK, ready? For this mailing list we are releasing the 2011 whites of which you cannot, as a Marsh Estate fan, miss out on – be quick! Also, may I introduce a new little fizzer to the stable – Jacques’ Path. Made from 100% Semillon in a German Riesling (Mosel) style, loads of personality and beautiful crisp acid coupled with 40 grams of residual grape sugars, it is addictive, so be warned! I take no responsibility! YES! That is the 2005 Holly’s Block on the list….don’t thank me now! Also for this mailing list, we are releasing the three 2010 Shiraz. Vat “S”, Vat “R” and Private Bin. Whoa! It’s all happening! Tiny amounts so I will say this once – BE QUICK!! We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you in the cellar door soon.
As always for this mailing list we are subsidising the freight. Freight is free to Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast and is only $12.00 per carton, door to door, elsewhere in Australia. Our International shipping rates are exceptionally well priced so feel free to email us with any queries.
2011 POPPY’S MAVERICK SEMILLON
Made from 100% “basket pressed” Semillon from our sandy loam creek block. This maverick little wine typiﬁes the traditional/modern style with a twist. Bursting with lifted fruit, steely natural acid and zesty appeal. Enjoy this drink now style.
2011 HOLLY’S BLOCK SEMILLON
Made from 100% Semillon free run, an outstanding example of a traditional styled Semillon. Displaying exceptional complexity and depth, with great balance. Cellaring will pay handsomely. A classic Hunter Semillon..
2005 HOLLY’S BLOCK SEMILLON
Made from 100% Semillon free run, this is a true example of traditional Hunter Semillon. Showing beautiful honey and toasty characters, a very reﬁned and complex palate, together with great structure and balance. Drinking well now but further cellaring will pay handsomely.
2011 UNOAKED CHARDONNAY
Made from 100% “basket pressed” Chardonnay. Picked early in vintage to mimic a sparkling base and left on extended yeast lees. This textural, estery and creamy stylistic wine is made primarily for Asian dishes.
Made from 100% Chardonnay free run. Matured in 80% French and 20% American oak barriques for six months, it has produced a full ﬂavoured wine with excellent oak overtones and accentuated fruit. It will cellar well for 4-5 years.
2011 JACQUES’ PATH
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher who became famous for his theories of dissemination, thinking outside the square. The wine reﬂects Jacques’ philosophy. Made from 100% un-irrigated Semillon in an off dry style, similar to the famed German Riesling style. 40 grams of residual grape sugars and mouth piercing acidity gives rise to this lovely focused style. Loads of personality! Drink icy cold.
Made from 100% non irrigated Merlot grapes grown on sandy loam soil from our Creek Block. It has made a lively, soft, early drinking wine with excellent balance. It should be enjoyed while reasonably young.
2010 VAT “S” SHIRAZ
Made from 100% Shiraz grapes grown on red soil from our eastern block. It has produced an elegant, softer style wine with a well balanced tannin structure and a rounded ﬁnish. Stored in American oak barriques for 12 months and will cellar well for 4-5 years.
2010 VAT “R” SHIRAZ
Made from 100% non irrigated Shiraz grapes grown on red volcanic soil from our western block. Stored in French and American oak for 12 months, it shows lovely, rich, regional characters and dense fruit with excellent balance. It will cellar well for many years.
2010 PRIVATE BIN SHIRAZ
Made from 100% non irrigated, low yielding Shiraz grapes grown on red volcanic soil from our house block. The wine displays classic varietal characters combined with regional distinctiveness. Stored in a selection of premium French oak for 12 months and cellaring will pay handsomely.
2009 CABERNET SAUVIGNON VAT “N”
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from our house block. Medium, plum red in colour with lots of spice and cherry characters with soft, velvet tannins. Stored in French oak for 12 months and will cellar well for many years.