A medium weight, smashable GSM, this wine has spring blossoms, raspberry, blueberry and satsuma plum, with Szechuan pepper and laksa mint on the nose. The palate has a generous heart, with plum and rhubarb crumble, cherry liqueur, apple pie, and cedar. It’s a super juicy, slurpy, ebullient exercise in deliciousness.
Rule of Thirds
A rule of composition common to photography and graphic design (and now wine), through which an aesthetic sense of order and balance is achieved.
The Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro vineyards were chosen because of their capacity to make unique contributions to the wine. Each vineyard has a distinct personality that helps create a sensorial experience of order and balance in the finished wine.
The cooler climate of Williamstown in the southern Barossa combined with 30 year-old vines and sandy soil produced beautifully bright, floral, punchy Grenache. Light and ethereal, it’s ideal for providing fruit purity and prettiness. A smaller portion of the Grenache component was sourced from Bethany in the foothills of the Barossa Ranges.
From 20 year old vines on the valley floor near Nuriootpa, dry-grown on sandy loam. Classic Barossa intensity, but harvested early to avoid any over-ripe, stewed flavours. The Shiraz provides spice, structure and classic Barossa flavours.
Also dry-grown 35 year-old vines, this fruit comes from a Stockwell vineyard used in some of the Valley’s best examples of the variety. Beautifully rich and savoury, the Mataro gives great plushness and structure to the blend.
All components were hand-harvested, sorted, then fermented separately using wild yeast. 20% of the Grenache and 10% of the Shiraz were included as whole bunches, with the remainder going through full crush. The Grenache ferments underwent a cold soak to accentuate bright characteristics, while the Shiraz and Mataro had some extended maceration to bring structure and savoury elements to the blend. Everything was pressed to small old French oak after settling in tank, except the Mataro, which went to second-use French Barriques. All components were matured for 18 months before the final blend was assembled and bottled without fining or filtration.
A light, moreish wine that captures the best flavours of young, vibrant Grenache.
The Grenache was sourced from an elevated vineyard near Williamstown at the southern end of the Barossa where the Valley meets the Adelaide Hills.
The cooler Williamstown site produces the bright, punchy Grenache.
A densely complex nose that rewards contemplation with an alluring mix of feijoa, Asian spices, and cherry cola as well as floral highlights and cedar forest undertones. Juicy on the palate, with cherry and goji berries amongst fresh herbs, sarsaparilla-root, rosemary and rhubarb. The tannin is fine and the finish lip-smacking. Very mysterious indeed.
What is it about Pinot Noir? It’s one of the most compelling but also polarising varieties. Arcana is a reference to Pinot being one of the most elusive grapes in the world. It has secrets and mysteries that have been endlessly chased by countless wine lovers. You might also say good Pinot, like arcana, is something of an elixir or remedy.
The character of arcana is strongly influenced by the qualities of the Pinot clones we source from two sites in Woodside in the Adelaide Hills. Here the combination of clone and location produces a weightier Pinot with juicy, rich red fruit flavours and a complex mix of floral and spice aromas.
We source a different Pinot clone from one site located in the elevated, cooler microclimate of Carey Gully in the Adelaide Hills. The grapes from this site produce wine with natural elegance and structure as well as spice and fresh herb characters.
The arcana is a best of vintage blend, with the 2015 coming from a selection of five barrels. All components were hand-picked and given slightly different treatments during primary ferment depending on the clone and perceived qualities of the grapes. Some components included small portions of whole bunches and were pressed early, and others were subjected to extended time on skins. Each component was basket pressed before being gravity-transferred to old French hogsheads. In some cases the lees from primary ferment was included in the barrels to enhance texture and complexity. After aging for 14 months in oak each component was assessed and blending trials were conducted to determine the proportions for the final blend. The wine was then racked to tank before bottling without fining or filtration.
This wine revels in shadows and darkness. Liquorice, tar, stewed blackberry, violets, oyster shell and burnt orange drive the sinister nose. The palate follows with plum and rhubarb crumble, fennel seeds, and bitter chocolate, all woven around a powerful, structural tannin backbone.
A composition that is intended to be evocative of the night, but poses few restrictions on the form. It may be gentle and nostalgic, full of reverie and tenderness, or it could reflect the dark passionate heart of Romanticism rather than its intimate lyricism.
There’s not much Tannat planted in Australia, partly owing to the perception that it only makes ferociously black, tannic wine that tastes likes ‘dark matter lurking in a pot’. However, the Adelaide Hills vineyard growing the Tannat for Nocturne shows that this variety has much more to offer than this. The 20 year-old Tannat vines are located on clay loam just west of Woodside on an elevated, east-facing slope that’s well protected from hot afternoon sun. A mild January and less late season rain than usual produced great quality, flavour and natural acidity in the vineyard in 2015. Excellent work by viticulturalist Adam Loveys as well as Ann Lees and Michael Bowe together with the favourable growing conditions produced the best possible Tannat for the Nocturne.
The Tannat was hand-picked in late April, bunch sorted, destemmed and crushed, then left for short cold soak. Once warm, the Tannat underwent a short ferment in an open vessel using wild yeast. This was followed by a 7 day period of extended maceration. The wine was then basket pressed, settled in tank, and transferred to small format oak. Half of the barrels were French, the other half American. The Tannat had a long, 24 month period of maturation before being bottled in late October 2017 without fining or filtration.
Our unpretentious Pinot has a brilliantly lifted nose of satsuma, cranberry and cherry liqueur, leading to dried herbs and flowers with hints of mushroom and forest floor. The palate opens with sour cherries and fresh raspberries, followed by baked quince and feijoa with bramble-patch and potpourri in the background. It’s a super slurpy light-bodied wine with zingy acid lines and beautiful fine tannins.
Pinot is the grape variety responsible for some of the most intense wine snobbery on the planet. It’s supposed to be taken very seriously. It’s supposed to sit in the finest barrels in cellars with moody lighting for years before being released. It’s supposed to spawn expansive dialogues on the interplay of light and dark elements, brilliant bouquets harmonizing with brooding layers of earth and mushroom and ethereal, mysterious spices. But the Adelaide Hills are producing fruit with amazingly attractive characteristics right out of the gate, so we’ve put together a Pinot that’s still young, vibrant, fresh and delicious. It’s a wine that you can just drink and enjoy. This style of Pinot is becoming extremely popular, with the Adelaide Hills at the heart of the movement.
A small portion of fruit was sourced from a vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley sub-region of the Adelaide Hills growing the 777 Pinot clone. The cooler Piccadilly vineyard provided a bulwark against hot early Summer conditions, helping to preserve the heady aromatics and fresh red fruit flavours the 777 clone is renowned for.
The majority of the fruit was sourced from a vineyard west of Woodside growing the 114/115 Pinot clone. The east-facing vineyard is well-protected from hot afternoon sun, making it ideal for growing 114/115 Pinot with its natural elegance and delicate flavours.
A portion of the hand-picked fruit from both vineyards was de-stemmed, crushed, and wild fermented on skins with minimal intervention for a short time before being basket pressed to old French oak. The free-run portions of these ferments were included in the final blend after 14 months maturation. A small amount of the Piccadilly fruit was kept as whole bunches and underwent a carbonic maceration ferment, producing a blending component rich in floral aromatics. A small percentage of whole bunches were included in the wild ferment of the remaining Woodside fruit to provide some extra texture and spice. This portion spent longer on skins before being pressed to old French oak for 13 months.
This aromatic white wine interweaves the best aspects of three of our favourite varieties from the Adelaide Hills: Savagnin, Gewürztraminer and Petit Manseng. The Savagnin and Gewürztraminer contribute fresh flavours of passionfruit, pomegranate, and stone fruit as well as a green apple crunch. The savoury, slinky characters from barrel-fermented Petit Manseng provide a subtle counterpoint. It goes well with itself lightly chilled, but also complements a diverse range of foods.
Fugue [fyoog]: a musical composition with two or more parts interwoven harmoniously, with an additional part working as a counterpoint. A fugue can also be a loss of awareness of identity, with flight from one’s usual environment, often associated with hysteria. Which is also apt.
Tucked away in the backblocks of Lobethal, these vineyards were previously underappreciated due to the variety’s chequered past. The wine it produces has an amazing elegance, with pure fruit characters and lifted blossom aromas. It is now greatly appreciated, and forms the backbone of the Fugue.
This Lenswood vineyard is on one of the best sites for Gewürz in the Adelaide Hills, if not the country. Perched on a steep hill with easterly aspect, the vines get full morning and midday sun, but are protected from late afternoon sun by the topography and by a row of pine trees atop the hill. The result is a unique microclimate, which produces conditions ideally suited to this variety.
From the heart of Woodside, this variety is very rare in Australia. It is well suited to the environment of the Adelaide Hills, and holds tremendous acid. The wine produced has an amazing mix of elements, from nashi apple to guava as well as savoury notes and minerality.
Each variety is treated completely differently in the winery to bring out their best attributes. The Savagnin is fermented cool in stainless steel to capture the innate purity of the fruit. The Gewürz has some skin contact and barrel fermentation to bring out the florals and muskiness. The Petit Manning spends time on lees and in barrel to tweak the palate structure. The components are then blended to highlight each of their strengths.
Hypnos is the mythological personification of sleep who dwells in the underworld in a cave where day and night meet. The waters of the Lethe – the river of forgetfulness – flow through the cave. Hypnos lays on his soft couch, surrounded by his many sons, who are the bringers of dreams. Hypnos is said to be a calm and gentle god who helps mortal humans in their time of need.
The Shiraz is from 2 blocks either side of the main road in Stanley Flat, just north of the Clare township. These 30 year-old vines growing in hard-packed soil produce tiny, intense berries. The resulting wine is vibrant purple, and has an amazing earthiness to go along with the fruit and spice of good Clare Shiraz.
Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir is the foil for the Shiraz. The combination of clone (20 year-old MV6) and location (Woodside, elevation 390m) produced a relatively weightier Pinot Noir with juicy, richer red fruit flavours and a complex mix of floral and spice aromas – the perfect companion to the predominant Shiraz component of the blend. Grapes from both Woodside and Clare were handpicked and bunch sorted at the crusher.
Both varieties were wild fermented separately in small open vessels after a short cold soak, with the Shiraz having 5% whole bunches and the Pinot Noir 15%. Following short periods of extended maceration, the Pinot was pressed direct to small old French oak while the Shiraz was settled before transfer to barrel. 40% of the Shiraz spent 12 months in a new French oak puncheon before going to small, old French oak. Both varieties had 18 months maturation time before bottling without fining or filtration. Blending Shiraz and Pinot to achieve the best balance between the 2 was fascinating, but more challenging than expected. Many hours were spent trialing different combinations before we hit the sweet spot that makes the most of the interplay between these unlikely bedfellows.
Blood plum, stewed cherries, blueberries and violets dominate the evocative nose, supported by bay leaf, fennel and a hint of cedar. The complex palate features bright notes of glacé cherry, red currant and raspberry balanced by plum crumble, anise and black pepper, with the long, compelling finish showing cigar box and amaro. This cohesive wine has a beautiful mouthfeel, fine tannins and is fiendishly moreish.
The name Blacklight captures the key attributes of the component varieties; the contrast between the dark, brooding flavour spectrum of the Mataro, and the light, red fruit flavours of the Grenache. Also implied is the dynamic between the two. By providing a contrapuntal context, details that would otherwise be hidden are revealed.
The 30 year-old Mataro vines from Stockwell in the northern Barossa were right at home in the warm, dry conditions of the short and sweet 2016 vintage. The dry growing season produced smaller berries with good concentration of flavour and colour. Some decent late season rain in early March helped extend ripening towards the deeper, darker flavours needed for the Mataro component of Blacklight.
Most of the Grenache for the 2016 Blacklight was sourced from Williamstown at the very southern, elevated end of the Barossa. The cooler Williamstown vineyard site protected the Grenache during very warm weather in December and January, enabling the retention of bright, punchy flavours. A small portion of Grenache from Bethany was also included in Blacklight for the first time. The elevation and cooling gully breezes at the Bethany vineyard produced some stand-out Grenache in 2016.
Our handling of the Mataro aimed to accentuate the darker, savoury characters of the fruit. The Mataro was de-stemmed and crushed before undergoing wild ferment, where it received vigorous manual punch-downs and occasional pumpovers. The wine was basket pressed after 18 days on skins and transferred to old French Hogsheads. After spending 14 months in oak, all free-run and pressings components of the Mataro were included in Blacklight, comprising 56 per cent of the final blend. The Grenache was handled more gently in order to preserve the bright, delicate characters of this variety. A small portion of whole bunches were included in the wild ferment of the Williamstown Grenache, which also underwent a period of extended maceration before being pressed to very old American Hogsheads. The Bethany Grenache was pressed into old French oak after a short time on skins. Both Grenache components were matured in oak for 12 months.
A dramatic bouquet with raspberry, lavender, dried redcurrant and potpourri, jostling for position with mace, cumin, and coriander seed. The silky, rich palate opens with a burst of juicy berries and finishes spicy. Blueberry, blackberry and blackcurrant yield to anise and mocha, with spices loitering around all the while. A wonderfully slurpy entry resolves to a precise, grippy finish. Yum.
A Tessera (plural Tesserae) is one of the small pieces of stone, glass or ceramic that comprises a mosaic. Tesserae are anonymous fractions of a design, and once disassembled, a mosaic cannot be reassembled on the basis of the form of its individual pieces. Malbec – the ‘black wine of Cahors’ – has spent much of its life as a small piece in more famous blends, including Bordeaux. Here though, the drama and beauty of the Tessera shines on its own.
Malbec has a chequered past in Australia, although Clare is one of the few places with a reputation for producing wonderfully dark Malbec bursting with brambly fruit, alluring violet perfume and firm, grippy tannin. The Malbec for the 2018 Tessera from Armagh is no exception. Located 4km northwest of the Clare township, the undulating Armagh vineyard sits on red-grey loam at an elevation of 400m. Solid rainfall in late January and early February together with generally mild conditions through to the end of Summer underscored the quality of the 2016 Clare vintage, including our Armagh Malbec.
The Malbec was hand-harvested in mid-March, bunch sorted, then divided into 2 treatments for vinification using wild yeast. 20% of the Malbec was subjected to carbonic maceration, spending 4 weeks in a small closed fermenter. For the other 80%, a small portion of whole bunches were included in a warm ferment that had 7 days of extended maceration. Both treatments were basket pressed, settled in tank, then transferred to small, fourth-use French oak barrels. The wine was matured for 16 months before the final blend was assembled, then bottled without fining or filtration.