Tag: Mount William Winery Macedon Blanc de Blancs 1998

Jun 06 2011

The Macedon Ranges: Small in Quantity but Big in Quality!

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Some friends of ours recently gave us a bottle of the superb Bindi Pyrette Heathcote Shiraz 2009. According to James Halliday “only a skilled pinot maker [ie. Michael Dhillon] could induce Heathcote to provide such an elegant shiraz.” (James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2011)

Indeed! Along with Curly Flat, Bindi is one of the icons of Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, the coolest wine region on Australia’s mainland. These two wineries have established the Macedon Ranges as one of the best sources in the country for pinot noir and chardonnay. The intensely aromatic yet elegant Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir is rated as “Outstanding” in Langton’s 2010 Classification of Australian Wine V, and the Curly Flat Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are both critically acclaimed, regularly featuring on the wine lists of Sydney’s and Melbourne’s very best restaurants.

The Macedon Ranges, the highest and coolest of the five wine regions surrounding Melbourne, is home to mountains and forests alternating with open, windswept slopes. It’s an unforgiving place where exact site selection is critical. The best sites are north facing to catch the last rays of autumn sunlight and are protected from the worst of the wind and the spring frosts. The well-draining, quartz riddled, grey sandy loam soil that overlays a clay base is ideal for varieties like chardonnay and pinot noir, which perform best when their roots are forced to dig deep to survive.  In most years moderate rainfall typically guarantees a long growing season but also naturally keep yields low. Consequently, most of the 40 or so vineyards in the region are small, family-run businesses.

Granite Hills and Hanging Rock Winery, two of the oldest wineries in the region, have also highlighted the region’s potential for sparkling wines. John Ellis, who founded Hanging Rock in 1982 with his … Read the rest

Nov 11 2010

Premium Australian Sparklings for the Silly Season!

Posted on November 11, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

As the silly season approaches and your mind turns to what to serve at a party or send as a Christmas gift, you may wish to consider Australian sparkling as an alternative to French Champagne.

Australia is really starting to make its mark as a producer of  fine quality sparkling. The best examples are being made in the cool climate regions of Tasmania, the Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills and Macedon Ranges under the direction of skilled winemakers using either the French traditional method (méthode champenoise) or the ‘transfer method’ (in which second fermation takes place in the bottle like Champagne, but the wine is disgorged after it has completed its ageing on lees).*

As I mentioned in a previous post, Australian Sparkling: Rivals Best in the World?, 3 September 2010, earlier this year the Tasmanian House of Arras released the EJ Carr Late Disgorged Sparkling 1998, which at a recommended retail price of  $190 made it the most expensive Australian sparkling wine on the market. But Arras also makes very good and less expensive vintage and non-vintage sparkling. The Arras Grand Vintage Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2003 (rated 96 points by James Halliday) retails for $75 and the Arras Brut Elite Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay retails for $55.


Other top producers include boutique winery Mount William Winery in the Macedon Ranges. Like Arras it recently released a vintage 1998 sparkling, Mount William Winery Macedon Blanc de Blancs 1998 (retail $80), which spent 10 years on lees before being disgorged. James Halliday gave the wine 97 points, and here’s the winemaker’s Murray Cousins description of the wine.

Still maintaining a freshness and colour which belies the age. The fruit character was found to be so elegent on disgorging, that no dosage was required. Very delicate with Read the rest