Mt Alexander, Central Victoria VIC
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon
Planted in 1999, Dash Farms sits perched at over 450m above sea level on the southern granitic slopes of Mt Alexander (Leanganook) looking back towards Mt Macedon and the Macedon Ranges.
Like Ray-Monde, it sits just outside the Macedon Ranges GI. Ripening for Chardonnay occurs around a week earlier than my family’s vineyard Cobaw Ridge. These lean granite soils and high altitude confer both concentration and freshness at low sugar levels.
Romsey, Macedon Ranges VIC
Doug’s Vineyard is situated on the outskirts of the township of Romsey, in the Macedon Ranges. Owned by the Newnham family it was planted 20 years ago to predominantly MV6 and smaller amounts of 114 and 115 clone pinot noir.
A cool hamlet, the vines sit at around 500m altitude, atop a North and North East facing hillside on red rocky volcanic basalt soil, moderating vigour and providing amazing intensity to the fruit, ripening small, beautifully formed clusters at low sugar levels.
South Gisborne, Port Phillip VIC
The Ray-Monde Vineyard was established in 1988 by the Lakey family, in South Gisborne at 400m above sea level on the Southern edge of the Macedon Ranges GI, to which it once belonged. The gently North-East facing 5ha of Pinot Noir form a small part of the 230ha grazing farm now managed by John and Tristia Lakey, on which sheep, cattle, chicken and more are reared, with an emphasis on sustainable grazing and re-vegetation.
A true mixed farm, I’m privileged to be able to purchase its fruit. The vineyard is unique for the area, being planted in gravelly ironstone and basaltic clay soils, with very little top soil and a huge amount of “Bluestone” rock just below the surface. This lean soil together with vine age results in incredibly concentrated grapes, with thick skins and ripe stems even at low sugar levels.
Landsborough, Pyrenees VIC
The Shay’s Flat Vineyard is situated on an elevated and picturesque ridge in the heart of the Pyrenees. A distinctively Australian setting with the vineyard surrounded by wheat paddocks, native bushland and scrub, the 20+ year old vines are rooted deep into mineral rich shale, quartz and mudstone soils, growing powerful, yet detailed fruit.
It is the second to ripen of the three Cabernet Sauvignon sites. I have a distinct soft spot for the Cabernet wines produced in the 70’s and 80s by the pioneering wineries of Central and Western Victoria, many of which seem ageless even now.
Maiden Gully, Bendigo VIC
“This vineyard is a national treasure - it has the ability to produce reds from cabernet sauvignon and shiraz that cellar with the elegance and longevity to rival anything in Australia” - Jeremy Oliver
Balgownie Vineyard is a name that should need no introduction to lovers of Victorian wine. An icon of the 70s and 80s, it has produced some of the most remarkable mature Australian wines I have had the pleasure of drinking. Indeed, my cellar is well stocked with them thanks to 10+ years of collecting.
Established in 1969 at 200m above sea level near the banks of Myers Creek in Maiden Gully, on Ordovician shale, quartz and ironstone rubble, thanks to current winemaker Tony Winspear it now supplies me a small amount of old vine Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the earliest plantings, 1970.