May 1st 2017
A fine bunch of importers showing some rare and rather fancy favourites. Should be great fun for members of the Melbourne wine trade (and, let’s face it, for us).
Here’s a rundown of the CellarHand line-up for the day:
2013 Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée RRP $80
Chardonnay 48%, Pinot Noir 33%, Pinot Meunier 17%, Pinot Gris 2%. Acidity 8.3g/L and residual sugar 9g/L.
2013 was unseasonably cold in April and May, which delayed budburst by two weeks. Then there was very hot weather throughout July. The successful flowering enabled healthy fruit set which led to good yields across all the Hattingley Valley sites. Harvest started on 2nd October and ended on 5th November. The grapes achieved good sugar levels with sufficient acidity for premium sparkling wine.
After the grapes were harvested, 25% of the total blend was barrel-fermented in three- and four-year-old white Burgundy and Bordeaux barrels, giving the wine lovely texture and richness. The wine spent eight months on its fermentation lees. There was no stirring or addition of sulphur dioxide, with occasional topping up. The wine spent 12 months ageing on lees with a further two months on lees after disgorging.
The 2013 Classic Cuvée is pale gold in colour. It has a well-developed nose showing a hint of autolysis with some subtle oak character. The balanced palate has crisp acidity and fine mousse. It has delicate toasty characteristics from the ageing on lees, while the gentle oak adds complexity.
2015 Gunderloch Rothenberg Grosses Gewächs RRP $96
The Rothenberg vineyard encompasses about 20 hectares directly on the Rhine River on the north end of the “Roter Hang” between Nackenheim and Nierstein. Around five hectares of this comprise the heart of the Rothenberg. The vineyard has a slope of 30 to 80% and comprises 290-million-year-old red shale plates. The Hasselbach family of Gunderloch Estate own around 4.5 hectares of this prime vineyard made up predominantly of very steep parcels. The Nackenheimer Rothenberg is without question their most prominent vineyard mountain. It yields wines of striking mineral character paired with a broad spectrum of expressive spice and fruit aromas.
2015 Groiss Sauberg Tradition Grüner Veltliner RRP $83
Single-vineyard Grüner Veltliner from the Sauberg site’s 50+-year-old vines on calcereous conglomerate soils. Selective harvesting by hand in several passes at the beginning of November 2015. 12 hours’ maceration on skins. Gentle pressing without stems. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in used Austrian oak barrels. Aged for 10 months on full lees until bottling in September 2016. Alcohol 13.5%; residual sugar 2.4g/L; acidity 5.7 g/L. Complex nose with white pepper, herbal notes and juicy, ripe yellow fruits. Powerful body on the palate. Full, balanced, elegant and minerally in the mouth with a salty finish.
2013 Huber Pinot Noir Schlossberg Grosses Gewächs MAGNUM RRP $346
(750ml RRP $164)
Bright yellowish limestone par excellence. Schlossberg is considered the most concise vineyard in Breisgau and has been used for viticulture since 1492. It’s a steep slope on a gradient of up to 72% (in the Kapelleberg part up to 96%). It requires purely manual work and the mineral, skeleton-rich soil with bright yellowish limestone is geologically rare within the Black Forest foothills. The main orientation is south to south west. It’s an absolutely top location for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Of the vineyard’s 50 hectares, Huber’s holdings are 6 ha, of which 5.49 ha are classified as Grosses Gewächs. The 6- to 35-year-old vines are planted with a density 6,250-13,000 vines/ha. The yield here is 28 hl/ha. The steep slope makes for very intense sun radiation. The wines have great inner warmth and depth, a firm structure, pronounced minerality and strong fruit.
2012 Pittnauer St Laurent Altenberg RRP $28
St Laurent grown on the loamy, red gravel soils of the Altenberg vineyard in Gols in Austria’s Burgenland. Natural yeast fermented and matured in 500-litre French oak barrels. Beautifully bright fruit, extremely seductive. Silky palate texture, sleek yet crunchy. Very complete texture and mouthfeel. Once you stop marvelling of the sleek silky texture, the fruit sweetness and brightness kicks in.
2015 Dr Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten 375ml RRP $63
Auslese means “selected from the harvest”, and is a luscious, limited production sweet wine made from very ripe clusters that are about 50 percent affected by botrytis. The botrytis mould, (aka “Noble Rot”) draws moisture from the grapes, dehydrating them and concentrating the juice. The resulting wine is dense, intensely flavoured and rich on the palate, but balanced by Riesling’s naturally crisp acidity. The red volcanic soil of the Ürziger Würzgarten vineyard produces wines of a completely unique nature. The wines showcase the typically juicy and precocious fruit of the “spice garden,” with a rich mouth feel, zippy acidity and lingering finish.