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.
I was super thrilled to recently sit down for my wine podcast The Vincast with Matt Holmes, winemaker for Bannockburn Vineyards.When I mentioned that I hadn’t tasted any wine from Bannockburn that he’d made, he very generously brought along a few bottles for me to taste. Here are my impressions!
Matt Holmes’ winemaking career has come full circle. His first short experience as a chief winemaker was at Bannockburn Vineyards, stepping into a role that was vacated just before vintage, but in effect was a caretaker position until the new winemaker was appointed. Following that he gained experience all over the world, before recently returning to Bannockburn to become the permanent chief winemaker. We spoke on this episode about his amazing journey, and what excited him about the new opportunities that Bannockburn and Melbourne offer.
If you haven’t listened to it already, on Episode 123 of The Vincast podcast I chatted with winemaker Mac Forbes, who has been working for over 10 years to change perceptions of sub-regional Yarra Valley. He generously gave me a bottle of his 2015 Coldstream Pinot Noir and I was thrilled to share my impressions of the wine here on Let’s Taste. I was particularly thrilled to share the experience with my six-month-old son Ollie!
Mac Forbes Coldstream Pinot Noir 2015 – RRP $50.00
Having worked in the Yarra Valley and spent plenty of time driving around it, I’m amazed at how geographically large and diverse it is. Mac Forbes has been one of the most important wine producers that has attempted to show how different each part of the region can be. He does this through the medium of grape variety, having released a number of sub-regional wines every vintage since 2004. I was thrilled to sit down with him and hear more about his journey and what led him to take such a serious risk in choosing this approach.
John Harris – winemaker for Mitchell Harris Wines – was my guest on Episode 122 of The Vincast wine podcast. We chatted about his journey and all the exciting things he and his in-laws have been doing with their wine brand and wine bar in Ballarat. He generously brought a long a few bottles of his wine, and I was glad to open and share my experiences here on the Intrepid Wino channel!
I’m always thrilled when I get an email from David Chatfield letting me know there are some new Out of Step Wine Co. releases. This is probably even more the case since I was privileged enough to share winery space with Dave this year, and see some of the wines in their early developments. One of those wines is tasted on this edition of Let’s Taste, accompanied by a few 2016 wines. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Out of Step “Catbird” 2017 – RRP $28.00
Out of Step Willowlake Pinot Noir 2016 – RRP $33.00
Out of Step Malakoff Estate Shiraz 2016 – RRP $32.00
I was joined by a very special guest on this edition of Let’s Taste, Piero Fonseca, who as an Italian sommelier and wine wholesaler is an expert in Italian varieties. We looked at a bottle from my cellar, the 2010 Giaconda Nebbiolo. Giaconda is one of Australia’s most cult producers, it’s Beechworth vineyard producing one of the finest chardonnays in the country. I was fascinated to see what their interpretation of the noble nebbiolo grape would be.
As mentioned before here on Let’s Taste and on my podcast The Vincast, Yeringberg is a very special winery for me as they produced my epiphany wine that led me to follow my career path. For a period of time I would try to find older bottles of Yeringberg wines, and this was the last one I had. The bottle unfortunately wasn’t in great condition, but the wine still looked pretty good. Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Increasing the volume of fruit for this vintage meant a lot more pressing. Luckily that was largely automated thanks to the pneumatic press, but there was quite a lot of manual labour required, bucketing solids into the press. Six separate skin-contact ferments were all press at different times, and every time the press needed to be cleaned. The pressing program was as follows;
– One of two tonnes of Riverland Vermentino were fermented on skins in two separate ferments. One was pressed immediately after the completion of fermentation, spending a total of nine days on skins. The other was pressed twelve days later, spending a total of three weeks on skins. Both were transferred to neutral white barriques for ageing.
– One tonne of Mildura Nero d’Avola was de-stemmed and split into two fermenters. After only two days of fermentation one half-tonne was pressed and completed fermentation in a stainless steel tank, whilst the other half-tonne completed fermentation on skins but was pressed soon after, a total of 10 days on skins. Each press went to a 300L mature hogshead barrel for ageing.
– Two tonnes of Pyrenees nebbiolo were de-stemmed and split in half. Both finished fermenting on skins. Nothing was added or removed from these ferments. One tonne was pressed after 15 days on skins, the other spent 56 days on skins. They were split between 2010 and 2012 vintage barriques.
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