Autumn Update

 

Progressing towards another cold Tassie winter our vines are casting off the last of their autumn leaves. A very beautiful scene but an inevitable warning that the long hard slog of pruning awaits!

After a warm and very dry summer when even irrigation water became very scarce, harvest was early and picking completed over a much shorter interval than usual. Some excellent fruit is well advanced on its journey toward our 2016 wines.

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Introduction: Our Vineyards

Clemens Hill Vineyard

We purchased this vineyard in 2013, lured by the beautiful location with views across the Coal River Valley, Pittwater and Frederick Henry Bay as well as the property’s track record of producing many excellent and critically acclaimed wines.

The vineyard was first planted in 1994 to Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc on a gentle north-easterly slope. This is a moderately warm Tasmanian micro-climate with sunny aspect and warm temperatures moderated by gentle summer cooling sea breezes- a perfect combination for producing fine table wines.

The initial block was supplemented by plantings of Pinot Noir in 2003 and 2009, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in 2003. This year we have also grafted some of our Sauvignon Blanc vines to Chardonnay and some Semillon vines to Riesling to increase our future product range. Total planting will remain at 5.5 HA.

Tashinga Vineyard

This vineyard was established in 1991 by the current Clemens Hill owners and initially planted to Chardonnay. The vineyard sits on a warm northerly slope in a natural amphitheatre formed by the hills bounding the Coal Valley. This is a wild and beautiful place, with great views from the vineyard itself and surrounding ridges. The mico-climate ensures the very long ripening period essential for producing highest quality sparkling wines. In warmer seasons and with careful viticulture we also have the luxury of gathering fruit that is ideal for crafting memorable still wines.

Even in their youth these vines showed an elegant structure and depth of flavour that would characterise future wines. Hand picked in late April and early May, harvesting is usually staged so that each part of the block is picked at optimal ripeness. Coupled with creative and sensitive winemaking we are pushing toward the pinnacle of Australian chardonnay wines.

In 2006, higher up the slope than our original chardonnay block, we planted additional chardonnay and some pinot noir vines. To date this block has been tempestuous with low yields, unexpected vigour and high demands on machinery that add up to very expensive viticulture. Although making minimal contribution to our wines at present, we are optimistic that this block has a great future! Total planting will remain at 2.5 HA

Introduction: Reserve and Aurelia wines

Our Reserve or Aurelia range of wines are not only the best we can produce in any vintage, Aurelia wines must be outstanding examples of their genre.

The search for excellence begins in the vineyard with very tight control of fruit yields -only 4-5 tonnes per hectare for Aurelia Pinot Noir.

Only the best clones from our oldest vines are selected. Rigorous bunch thinning, careful fruit exposure through leaf removal and shout positioning, and hand harvesting smaller parcels of fruit at perfect ripeness ensures the best start possible for these wines.

In the winery the goal is preserving and enhancing all the delightful flavours concentrated in these grapes during our long and gentle ripening period. The winemaker will selectively use whole bunch pressing, and for Aurelia white wines only the free run juice is captured. Wild and cultured yeast fermentation with secondary malo-lactic fermentation are selectively applied to smaller portions of the fruit.

Oak treatment begins by sourcing the best quality barrels to match each fruit parcel, with creative use of varying barrel size, barrel age and duration of exposure. Careful blending of these smaller parcels of wine results in immensely satisfying wines remarkable for intense and pure ripe fruit flavours of great depth and complexity complemented by satisfying textural elements and unusual longevity.

The very low yields and additional labour can more than double the cost of the grapes used for our Aurelia wines, and the use of only free run juice, first rate oak and small batch processing in the winery greatly increase our production costs.

Aurelia sparkling wines spend a minimum of 5 years maturing on lees, barrel times are often longer for Aurelia wines and these wines are most often allowed to develop in the bottle for several years before commercial release.
Not surprisingly, earning the right to carry the Aurelia label demands a price premium for these outstanding wines. We are confident that great drinking satisfaction will amply reward the extra expenditure on Aurelia wines.

Our Estate range of wines are all sourced from the same vineyards with application of the same viticultural and winemaking techniques as Aurelia wines. Higher yields and shorter wine maturation times are the main reasons that we are able to market these excellent wines at lower prices