The Piccadilly Valley, being a wine subregion of the large and diverse Adelaide Hills region, produces the so-called ‘cool climate’ style of wines with their finesse, elegance and food friendly nature, which are gaining world-wide momentum, in part, due to their growing interest as a complementary counter-point to the ‘sunshine’ wine styles of warmer regions. Sparkling and still wines of Pinot and Chardonnay are especially distinguished from this region; Grüner Veltliner is quickly growing in popularity. Pinot Noir, being the quintessential red grape of Burgundy and Champagne, is often considered the most expressive grape due to its extreme response to its growth environment (all aspects of a vineyard – French: ‘terroir’).
Their 20-year old predominantly Pinot Noir vineyard is located high on the western rim of the Piccadilly valley, just below 600 metres and, consequently, is often shrouded by fog during the cooler months. Situated on an ancient ridge of clay and mudstone this site has two major water sheds and offers three aspects, sometimes referred to as ’terroirs’ that enable the vines to deliver fruit for sparkling and still wines from a single vineyard site. In addition to the terroirs that are a critical determinant of wine flavour, yeasts are the ‘real’ winemaker as they ferment sweet grape juice or must to alcohol, carbon dioxide and a vast array of aromas and flavours.
Wine = Grapes + Yeast
Wine results from a partnership between grapes and yeasts, under guidance of the grape grower and winemaker. Some important vineyard considerations include variety and clones, soil health (microbes, nutrients and moisture), canopy management and crop load. Some important winemaking decisions concern when to harvest, grape processing (whole cluster, crushing, maceration/skin contact, level of grape solids, etc), yeasts (vineyard, selected strains, co-culture, etc), temperature profile, aeration, malolactic bacteria, barrels, etc. With Paul’s extensive knowledge of yeast the flavour of his wines is enhanced by the use of a variety of fermentation strategies, such as small batch fermentations employing a wide variety of selected yeasts of different species and strains, singularly and in combination, and including vineyard yeasts (so-called ambient, native or wild yeasts) to unlock the hidden flavours that all grapes possess before fermentation. This approach allows wines to express their wonderfully unique complexity and character reflective of our cool-climate vineyards each vintage. Our wines therefore express a sense of place and vintage – a ‘vinous’ diary.
Pinot Noir cultivated on the south-facing slope is used for making sparkling wine whereas the sunnier western slope with multiple clones produces still red wines. Together with the cool climate Austrian variety, Grüner Veltliner, these wines are considered especially food friendly and compliment the innovative tasting plates on offer at the café, using locally grown produce where possible. Chardonnay and Merlot wines are produced from neighbouring vineyards. A tiny block of Cabernet Sauvignon that survives on the north-eastern slope is believed to be one of the highest altitude blocks of Cabernet in South Australia. Pinot Meuniere is also cultivated for sparkling and still wines by Julian and Juan on our Henschke family vineyard at Uraidla, Piccadilly Valley. All wines are produced from Piccadilly vineyards within 5 km of our winery and cellar door. Join us on our journey as we attempt to tame the high and lows of these and other cool climate varieties as each season unleashes different and sometimes confronting challenges……taste and celebrate with a sumptuous tasting plate the vintage variability that our vineyards captures annually as expressed by the microscopic winemakers, yeasts.