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August 2015 News
A Great tasting with Huon Hook
Back in May, (yes, its been a while since we have emailed!) Adam was invited to visit with Huon Hook and taste through the A.T. Richardson portfolio. It was a fun tasting an interesting conversation with one of Australia’s most esteemed wine reviewers. If you dont already subscribe to Huon’s Blog, it is well worth it, he writes on a range of subjects, not just wine. Entertaining reads! Check out his article of our tasting in May here.
Remembering the 2015 vintage
And since we are casting our minds back to May, its worth noting a couple of points about the 2015 vintage. Although a while back now, we do remember that it finished early, and unlike the current chilly winter, the weather was warm and kind throughout the entire harvest season. Our Riesling came to perfect ripeness and despite, perhaps because of very low yields, our Shiraz turned out to be very dense, dark and spicy. Likewise, the 2015 Neb and Durif are looking intense and muscular.
Since the 2015 reds are not ready to drink yet, why not try some of our current releases while you wait.
Chockstone mixed dozen from $240 (delivered).
Hard Hill Road six-pack $255 (delivered)
Adam’s Recent Cool Discoveries
Wine: Last month I tasted a pretty fine California Pinot; 2010 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir. A perfect combination of Californian Pinot weight and delicate varietal character. Overall pretty complex and intriguing. I liked it so much I bought a few more bottles.
Music: I recently watched an old DVD; A Night With Lou Reed. A 1983 performance in a pretty small NYC club. Classic gritty Lou Reed stuff.
Book: Where Men Wine Glory by Jon Krakauer – a factual book about a pro U.S. football player who volunteered to go to war in Afghanistan in the 90’s and the corruption that ensued in covering up the facts that he was shot by his own mates.
Before we go…
Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us, and a special welcome to all those who we met at our booth at the Grampians Grape Escape.
Adam and Eva
April 2015 News
Celebrating Another Great Vintage
With our 2015 Hard Hill Road Nebbiolo still on skins, and a number of our reds still to go to barrels, we are almost through our harvest season and ready to celebrate!
Visit us at the Grampians Grape Escape this Weekend
Come visit us at the 2015 Grampians Grape Escape in Halls Gap this weekend. We will be pouring all of our current releases all Saturday and Sunday. If you haven’t been to this event before it is well worth the visit! It is a showcase of Western Victoria wine and food, and will have some great entertainment and culinary events scheduled.
If you don’t have the chance to visit us this weekend, you can purchase the full range of our wines from our website. And don’t forget, your Cellar Club discount of 15%.
Although challenged with very low crop levels this year, the vintage wines are looking excitingingly great, and we give you a full 2015 vintage report in our May newsletter.
March 2015 News
Two Big Boys for a Strong Finish to the Year
The year may be coming to a close, but we’re not quite ready to call it quits, so we are squeezing in one more release-a double-feature, actually: the 2012 Hard Hill Road Durif and the 2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz. We bottled these wines earlier in the year, be have managed to keep our hands off them to give them some time to unwind before we let them loose. Read on to find out more about these wines and a special Hard Hill Road deal.
Built to Last
Going into the 2012 vintage at our Hard Hill Road vineyard, we knew we had some concentrated and complex grapes so knowing that wines of dense structure and longevity were in the making, we decided to get back into Hard Hill Road winemaking after a five-year hiatus. These wines were worth the wait. Check out the color of the Shiraz fermentation below.
Our 2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz is particularly tight, dense, and complex. Today, this wine offers a tantalizing balance, but if you want to save it for a special occasion, it also has the potential for development long into the future. Read the tasting note here.
Unlike the Shiraz, which we aged in French Barrels, we aged our 2012 Hard Hill Road Durif in American oak puncheons. While the influence of these barrels is subtle, they create a generosity to the Durif’s “bigness,” allowing the floral and feminine character of this muscular wine to assert itself. Read the tasting note here.
Although both wines remain tight (think of a coiled spring), they are approachable now. But if you can wait 10 or 20 years into the future, your patience will be rewarded. Don’t just take our word for it, read James Halliday’s review below.
The Perfect Holiday Gift to yourself
You can buy our 2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz and 2012 Hard Hill Road Durif from our website at our standard Cellar Club 15 percent discount for $250 per six-pack.
However, if you’d like to try all of our 2012 Hard Hill Road wines-including our recently released Nebbiolo-we are offering a Hard Hill Road Mixed Dozen (four bottles each of 2012 Shiraz, Durif, and Nebbiolo) for $475, including free delivery.
SRP: $49 per bottle
Cellar Club Price: $42 per bottle in 6-pack
Cellar Club Special: $39.50 per bottle in mixed dozen
James Halliday Wine Companion 2015 Rates our Hard Hill Road Wines
2012 Hard Hill Road Shiraz – 96 points. Drink by 2047. Deeply coloured; a full-bodied wine with elegance, thanks to the precisely controlled alcohol; the intense flavours of blackberry, blackcurrant, licorice, dark chocolate, and pepper are framed by high-quality French oak and persistent, but fine and balanced, tannins. It will be extremely long-lived, never losing its way.
2012 Hard Hill Road Durif – 94 points. Drink by 2019. Deep, but vivid colour; no-holds-barred with this one, Adam Richardson’s U.S. experience no doubt encouraging him to go for the doctor with this plush, deeply layered, black-fruited Durif, throwing in some oak spice, and licorice found along the way to complete the picture. In common with other top Durifs, the tannins are not hard.
Is it Durif or Petite Sirah?
Durif, also called Petite Sirah in France and the United States, is named for French Botanist Dr. Francois Durif, who crossed Syrah with a grape variety named Peloursin in 1880 in the south of France.
The resulting variety has plump berries, big bunches, and creates wines of deep colour and robust tannins. Early French winemakers thought these Durif wines tasted just like concentrated Syrah wines made from very small berries-hence the nickname Petite Sirah, an amusing descriptor because, when see the grapes or taste the wine, there is nothing “petite” about Durif.
Adam’s Recent Cool Discoveries
Music: I’ve been listening to Townes Van Zandt this week. He’s not the most cheerful of country blues singers, but his melodies, gentle picking, and carefully worded lyrics always put me in a pensive, relaxed mood.
Food: Following a chunky steak and mushroom pie at Ararat’s Waacks bakery, I am been craving simple, wholesome meals this month. I don’t know how many gold medals these guys have won for their baked goods, but I can attest they are all well-earned!
Movie: Stand Up Guys, starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. Once you’re comfortable with the idea of three aged ex-gangster dudes reliving their dodgy past, this plot will keep you entertained with gunfights, a stolen muscle car, a Viagra overdose, righteous retribution, and some slick humorous banter.
Drink: In the U.S., the town of Portland, Oregon, has become so hip, it has a popular television show named after it. We recently visited the city and in a 1920’s-style cocktail bar, I ordered a whiskey sour, a long-forgotten favourite, this one made with Four Roses bourbon. This particular whiskey provided a distinct character, and this barkeep’s version didn’t include the usual egg white, which I think makes it task like raw soufflé.
October 2014 News
Get Ready For Our Neb!
We have finally released our 2012 Hard Hill Road Nebbiolo, the first release our Hard Hill Road series for a number of years. Read on to find out more about our Neb and how to get your hands on some of this rare wine.
The 2012 Hard Hill Road…What?
“What’s a Nebbiolo?” we can hear many of you ask. Well, the first thing to explain about Nebbiolo is that its a grape variety native to northeast Italy. And is made famous as Piedmont’s Barolo and Barbaresco wines, some of the world’s greatest wines.
The second thing to know is that Nebbiolo is an enigma. It is suited to only a handful of wine regions throughout the world, and even under ideal conditions it’s difficult to grow. Once harvested, the grapes present a winemaking Rubik’s cube. Young Nebbiolo wines naturally carry massive tannins, whilst having an underlying delicate nature with subtle and nuanced flavors. Think of a ballarina built like a rugby prop forward. With careful vineyard work, a creative and dedicated winemaking approach, and a touch of luck, the wine can be a triumphant balance of power and beauty.
A review of the 2012 Hard Hill Road Nebbiolo in the 2015 Halliday Wine Companion:
“Nebbiolo made to look easy, enough to cause the majority of Australian makers to grind their teeth furiously in frustration. It has unusually good colour, and all the perfumed rose petal, violets, and dark cherry aromas you are meant to see on the bouquet, but which are so often missing in action; the palate follows suit and, best of all, the tannins are supple. Yes, it was a good vintage, but this is an utterly exceptional result.” 96 points
Buy Your 2012 Hard Hill Road Nebbiolo
James Halliday’s early review and some word-of-mouth in the trade meant that most of the 2012 Hard Hill Road Nebbiolo has been pre-sold. But don’t worry, we set aside a number of cases for our Club members and will honor our standard Club discount and free shipping.
The 2012 Hard Hill Road Nebbiolo is available to you in half-dozen at a Club member discount price of $250 per six-pack. You can purchase direct form our website.
Adam’s Recent Cool Discoveries
Food: This month I surprised myself with a fantastic pork belly with Chinese spice and sweet chilli sauce, which I cooked over the period of two days. Twenty four hours in brine, followed by six hours in the oven, followed by four hours in the fridge, and then a final frying resulted in rich and textured blocks of pork love.
Wine: The wine this month is close to home; a 2009 Taltarni Pyranees Cab Merlot Petit Verdot that was so elegant and easy to drink that the order was sent for a second bottle.
Music: Texas band, The Arc Angels, formed after the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan, by his two surviving band members, along with two young Austin guitarists. It’s pretty heavy guitar rock, but with an Austin blues feel.
Book: My Dad Has Purple Hands, written by Barossa winemaker Wayne Dutschke, is our kids favorite bedtime book. It tells the story, in rhyme of how a young girl’s dad makes wine, and describes the entire winemaking process from vineyard to glass.
September 2014 News
Our 2013 Chockstone Chardonnay was awarded 94 points and selected as a WOW Factor White by James Halliday in the Aug/Sep 2014 edition of the Halliday Wine Companion magazine.
It was pleasing to see that Mr Halliday appreciates our focus on vibrancy and the fine acid balance in our Chardonnay, and he certainly agrees with us in the ageability of our wines, stating that this 2013 Chardonnay would cellar until 2023. You don’t have to wait that long to start drinking it though, so follow this link to buy from our website – at your normal 15% discount.
Read full tasting notes here
Adam’s Recent Cool Discoveries
Food: The hit for me this month was a crayfish gratin at Bistro Laurent; in Paso Robles, Southern California; a long time favourite of mine. The crayfish itself was pretty awesome but it was really the fine creamy sauce that sent it over the top.
Wine: Since I’m talking French style food, I drank a great affordable Chablis last month. William Fevre, 2010 Fourchaume was crisp and mellow, and was just starting to show some interesting bottle bouquet.
Music: As some of you may know the guitar legend J.J. Cale died in July, and Eric Clapton and a few other of JJ’s friends have released a tribute album, called The Breeze (a tribute to JJ Cale). Its a great look at a handful of some of his less-often heard tunes.
Book: I have just worked my way through ,a non-fiction called Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a remarkably well researched and confronting personal story of life in an airport slum in Mumbai. To me, it demonstrated, that despite the squalor, and hardship that surrounds these people, they live just a different version of the same life than we all live.
The Neb’ is yet to come
There has been quite a bit of interest in the pending release of our Hard Hill Road wines, so we just want to say that the next newsletter you receive will be for the first recent release of these wines; the 2012 Hard Hill Road Nebbiolo.
June 2014 News
Tasting the New Vintages
Those of you who made it to the Grampians Grape Escape last month got a chance to taste our upcoming releases, including the 2012 Chockstone Shiraz and the 2013 Chardonnay. The Chardonnay release is still a few months away, but read on below to find out about release of the 2012 Shiraz.
A Return to Brambles and Black Pepper
Our 2012 Chockstone Shiraz received such a great reception at the Grampians Grape Escape last month that we have decided to bring the release forward a few months, and make it available now.
We heard many comments at the festival that the 2012 Shiraz is a little different from the 2011–and you’re right!
While the 2011 is characterized by red fruits and white pepper spice of the wet cooler vintage, the 2012 is back to our classic style, with blackberry brambles, black pepper spice and a touch of liquorice.
SRP: $25 per bottle | Cellar Club Price: $21.25 per bottle (delivered).BUY WINE
Hard Hill Road Wines – Almost There
We last released our Hard Hill Road Wines in 2007 and have been holding out on releasing the next round for just the right year, and the 2012 vintage was it.
For years, Adam has been an fan of Nebbiolo wines, and after finding just the right vineyard (rare in Australia) in the neighbouring Pyranees region, he produced his first Nebbiolo, as well as a specially made Shiraz and a Durif from our Hard Hill Road vineyard. They were bottled a few months back and are on track to be released in August, so we will tell you more about them in our July newsletter.
Adam’s Recent Cool Discoveries
Wine: A visit to my winemaking friends at Seppelts Great Western last month resulted in a tasting of just about every red wine they made during the 2014 harvest-as well as a few older bottles, including one from 1966 (the year I was born). The standout was the 2012 Seppelts St Peters Shiraz – what a cracker!!
Music: Jazz Samba by Stan Getz and Chralie Byrd. I found my way to this historic album, by a circuitious route through a range of other albums – and im glad I found it, maybe 50 years late. Its a surprisingly groovy collection of guitar and sax numbers that set the tone for an era of Bossa Nova jazz.
Book: Im caught up in the genre of Scandanavian crime fiction and the latest author Im reading is Helene Tursten ,and her most recent book The Torso is grim, but compelling like only a Scandanavian novel can be.
Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us, and don’t forget to grab some 2012 Chockstone Shiraz.