In a way, Ben Ranken’s wine career has come full circle. He grew up on a vineyard in Tumbarumba, a region in New South Wales famed for the quality of its chardonnay. Recently he and his wife purchased the Wilimee Vineyard in Macedon, another cool-climate region ideal for chardonnay. In the intervening years he gained considerable vintage experience in Australia and the northern hemisphere, and since 2007 has been making wine at Galli Estate, an incredible Sunbury-based producer that also has a vineyard in Heathcote. We chatted about his winemaking journey, his many influences, and also how important the Lorenzo Galli Scholarship is for educating the wine industry on the nuances of Italian grapes that they work extensively with.
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Ben Ranken from Galli Estate
Witchmount Estate is one of the closest wineries to central Melbourne, and has been producing outstanding wines for many years. Having been submitted some samples I was thrilled to taste some Witchmount wines on Let’s Taste for the first time! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Witchmount Lowen Park Sangiovese Rosé 2016 – RRP $19.00
Witchmount Estate Cabernet Franc 2016 – RRP $32.00
There happened to be a Craiglee lunch held at my new place of employment (Bellota Wine Bar, part of Prince Wine Store in South Melbourne) on Saturday and after service finished I had a look at some of the wines that were left over. Here are some of my thoughts.
I sold the Craiglee Shiraz back when I was the wine buyer at King & Godfree; Pat Carmody has been making wine in Sunbury for quite a while and his reputation is richly deserved.
Chocolatey spicy pomegranate blackcurrant. Quite supple and very long, sour plum raisin, generous but focused.
Blackcurrant liquorice. Denser structure, deeper tannins, more young in appearance than the 2010.
Much more savoury meaty earthy hints of spice. Brighter and fresher but fruit subsided and more dark spice notes developing.
Deeper and more mellow. Tight and lean, minerality showing a bit more, purity of tannin.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Dense full structure but still soft earthy tannins and fruit.
Back in 2007 renowned Australian wine commentator and educator Campbell Mattinson published a book entitled “Why the French Hate Us – the real story of Australian Wine.” I’m very ashamed to admit that I haven’t actually read this book but I have certainly heard wonderful things. It is on my pile of shame. The interesting thing is that it isn’t just the French but Europeans in general who hate us, without even understanding Australia that well. I had more producers in Europe than I can count expressing interest in working vintage in New Zealand and Chile than this big brown land, and even more reducing Australian wine to simple fruit driven mass-produced and marketed brands. The simple fact is that Australia produces a minute amount of wine compared to giants like France, Italy and Spain, less than single regions in North & South America, and yet we are the fourth largest exporter in the world. Clearly we are doing something right. In truth the world hasn’t even seen the best wines and regions that Australia has to offer as they are still being discovered. Something that has recently been discovered is that the pre-Cambrian soils in the Heathcote region of Victoria are the oldest in the world. Another reason to hate us.
Pre-Cambrian Heathcote soils
Bright apples, smoky salty sulphurous. Light bright crisp body, a little texture. Long and fresh, light.
2013 Pinot Grigio carbonic
A bit of colour. Crisp fresh thin light and yet to express.
2013 Pinot Grigio
Fresh light and clean, nice fruit.
2013 Nebbiolo Rosé
Bright tight strawberry, a touch savoury. Full and dense, textured and slightly sweet with a touch of green.
2013 Sangiovese Rosé
Cherry cherry sweet fruit.
2013 Nebbiolo on 15% temp skins
Very tannic and acidic, lacks a bit of fruit sweetness.
2013 Nebbiolo second pick
Fuller riper juicier, better balance depth and character.
Nice brightness of dark cherry fruit. Dark and soft but a little sweet and simple.
Tight focused wonderfully long, great black cherry fruit sweetness.
Slight savoury but very bright fresh juicy. Fresh light acidity, quite tight.