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When I was approached to be a guest wine blogger for Yahoo!7, I have to admit, I was pretty excited. Working with wine is a lifestyle rather than just a job. I grew up with it, studied it, work with it and love to drink it and learn more about it… and talk about it.
Since working in my parents vineyard as a young boy, I went on to study wine and have worked in the industry ever since, but my current role as Nepenthe Winemaker is by far, the most rewarding so I thought I'd start by telling you why…
Nepenthe Wines is situated in the Adelaide Hills between the townships of Hahndorf and Balhannah. Most of our vineyards are estate owned, which we manage from pruning right through to harvesting, although we also source fruit from local contract growers.
It is picture perfect up here, in my eyes, one of the most beautiful Australian regions; the rolling hills are covered in a tapestry of gum trees, vines, fruit trees and pasture. It is only 25 minutes from Adelaide, but worlds apart climatically, with the high altitude of ‘The Hills’ making it Australia’s premier, and South Australia’s only, cool climate wine region. The region experiences warm summers with cool nights and very cold, wet winters with cool, crisp fresh air reminiscent of the Alps.
The region has an amazing range of micro-climates, all with varying aspects, altitudes, slopes and soils. An example of this is a Sauvignon Blanc grape from our Balhannah vineyard will show ripe, tropical fruit characters and great fruit depth; in comparison the same variety at Lenswood will be herbaceous with crisp, tangy and great natural acidity. This diversity offers me a broad spectrum of blending options as well as providing the opportunity to grow a vast range of grape varieties!
Each vintage we keep the individual vineyards parcels separate throughout the winemaking process with blending just prior to bottling - through tasting and blending to result in a more complete and balanced wine.
So what grapes varieties are suited to the Adelaide Hills? Generally, the cooler sites are ideal for the more aromatic delicate varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir and the warmer sites produce elegant Shiraz and even Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The Adelaide Hills in the cooler vintages has the potential to produce great Sparkling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We are also, along with some other local producers, working with lesser known varieties such as Tempranillo and Gruner Veltliner which is resulting in some exciting new wines.
Worth a look:o 2009 Gold Deviation Road Deviation Road Methode Champenoise Sparkling – Trophy winner for best Sparkling at the 2011 Adelaide Hills Wine Show
o 2011 Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc – Recently picked up Australia’s Best Sauvignon Blanc over £10 at Decanter World Wine Awards
o 2010 Hahndorf Hill Blaufrankisch ‘Blueblood’ – At the forefront of new and interesting varietals, this central European blend is kicking goals with the Australian Wine reviewers
For more information about Nepenthe Winery, visit www.nepenthe.com.au.
VIDEO: Watch the Executive Chef of the award-winning Quay restaurant show you how to make his decadent Gouda custard with mushrooms, hazelnuts and Jerusalem artichokes in this step by step video.: