Saturday, August 29, 2015

Strangebird on the loose - Mourvedre

This week we have a guest post from Sue and Warren at Pyramids Road, who are enthusiastic about their Strangebird variety Mourvedre, and took a wet day off from pruning to tell us all about it. Over to Sue and Warren:

Mourvedre has many names -the French call it Mourvedre, Monastrell in Spain and Mataro in Australia. It is debatable about its origin but it is widely planted in the south of France and near to the east coast of Spain behind Alicante. In Australia, it was planted and grown as bush vines in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. These plantings have considerable age where
some vines are 80-100 years old.

In our vineyard it stands straight and tall which means it is a pleasure to work with. It grows with gusto and proves difficult at pruning time as the canes grow very thick and strong. It loves the sunshine and warm days in our summer as the tannin in the skins needs this weather to ripen. 

We love this variety as it has the potential to be used in a blended wine or as a straight varietal wine. It classically has elements of spice, earthy, dark cherry flavours with a tannin structure that gives the wine great body and length. The wine is a dense purple colour that, while delicious in its own right, is best accompanied with food. It is not for the light hearted and accompanies any hearty meat dish on winter nights by the fire. It creates interest in the cellar door and most people are intrigued and willing to sample the wine. Since our first vintage in 2005 it has created quite a following and many repeat customers keen to see how each vintage changes.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Strangebird on the loose - Malbec

Malbec is grown by a few wineries on the Strangbird Trail - Ballandean Estate, Golden Grove, Bungawarra, Whisky Gully and Summit Estate.

A rich dark purple with blackberrry and violet notes, Malbec loves high elevation. In lower elevations, Malbec grapes struggle to produce the acidity they need to create great tasting and long lasting wine. High elevation areas with a wide diurnal temperature shift, typified by hot days and  cold nights,  make the grapes produce more acidity 
Jeff Harden from Bungawarra says that in his vineyard, Malbec in relatively small quantities was planted  by previous owners about 1982, for use as a blender with Cabernet Sauvignon as was traditional in France in the Bordeaux blend.  A few years ago, he realised his biggest, healthiest vines were by now  those Malbec - it clearly liked it here, so he budded some of my other vines across to Malbec (using buds from my existing Malbec to keep the clone pure).  His first 100% Malbec wine was made at last in 2012 - a huge, peppery/berry wine ideal with barbecues and game.