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Sunday, August 15, 2010


Castagna is situate in Beechworth Victoria, one of the countries fasted growing cold climate regions, tucked in t the nape of the Victorian Alps. The winery site on just over 4h of Syrah, Viognier & Sangiovese  with a small pocket of Pinot noir. Syrah & Sangiovese are the masters of this stunning venture, with a Altitude of 500 meters above sea level. Castagna is one of Victoria's Premier Biodynamic  Vineyards. A vineyard in its infancy Castagna was established in the early part of the 1990's it has already had its fair share of up's and down's. Having seen devastating fires of 2003 and coming of age during one of the worst droughts that this country has ever had to endure Castagna has not only flourished but is has cemented its name one the List of Victoria's premier Vineyards. Julian has a realistic approach to his wines; 
"We make wines of terroir. Terroir is not only about soil but the whole eco-system which consists of light, heat, prevailing winds, slope of the land, length of the season and, most importantly, the organisms living and working in the soil - about a billion organisms per gram of soil. It is these micro-organisms that link the soil to the roots of the vine, strengthening and imprinting that particular soil’s authentic character."

The Castagna 2005 Un Segreto show great promise for things to come. The hue is deep with good weight and a vast depth of elegant purple, with a nose of plum, berry fruit and the always seductive savoury finesse.  The 2005 shows a agreeable balance between the new and old french oak that it was so alluringly crafted in. The principal palate shows an elegant balance of fruit and savoury notes. There is great tannin structure, the oak and fruit balancing the tannin level nicely. This wine shows some Pinot like characteristic's with its great balance of all the elements that are concussive of well crafted wine. It has a well developed length of palate and an enjoyable finish. To me this is a wine well worth savouring & stocking up on.
94 Points Drink Now Till 2018
DIAM Closure

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The All Mighty Downie

It has to be said that William (Bill) Downie is one of my favourite wine makers. He started his own label in 2003. With his previous  stint every year in Burgundy this enabled him to express his love for regional wines with the 3 Pinot's that he crafts. He uses purchased grapes from older vines on these vineyards to make his wines, carefully avoiding any use of pumps, filtration and fining. His eye catching labels were designed for him by Reg Mombassa (Mental As Anything Fame) who is also know in the art world for his famous MAMBO graphics. These have help his obtain shelf space at many of Victoria's leading wine stores.
In 2007 Bill Won the "Gourmet Traveller Wine" 2006 Wine maker of the Year Awards, taking home the Kemeny's Medel for the Best Young Winemaker 2006. 

"His intention is to produce wines of purity and detail that reflect their place of origin. They are made in the most natural way possible, not pushed or shoved in any direction. They are not added to or subtracted from." (

Sourcing grapes from some excellent sources such as:

Denton View Hill, Yarra Gen in the Yarra Valley for his "Yarra Valley Pinot"
This wine is grown on only granite based soils in the Valley. There was a lot of mint, some developing meat and a touch of cherry stone. Then a complex bundle of light, vegetal, stalky cranberry fruit.  It is a well made wine, well balanced, and extremely powerful Pinot i think it will cope well with a few years left in the bottle for it brilliance to develop further.
90 Points Drink now till 2018
DIAM with Wax Seal

Merrick's Grove, Merrick's in the Mornington Peninsula for the "Mornington Peninsula Pinot"
The 2008 Mornington Pinot Noir, there is strawberry, raspberry with a meaty element coming in gently. There is a bit of grippy tannin, some spice too, on the palate but it is really nicely blended with gentle fruit flavours. A long, slightly spicy and herbal finish. 
94 Points Drink Now till 2020
DIAM with Wax seal

Berry's Creek Vineyard, Berry's Creek; Lucinda Estate, Leongatha; Followell Farm (His Vineyard), Yarragon all in Gippsland for His "Gippsland Pinot"
The 2008 Gippsland Pinot Noir.  This is an outstanding wine – period!  A light, floral nose mixing with raspberries and some sweet wild strawberries leading onto a gently fruity palate, with a bundle of cocoa powder and raspberries. 
93 Points Drink Now till 2017
DIAM with Wax Seal
In 2011 there will be another Gippsland Pinot Noir released, this time with fruit from their own property.  If the 2008 is anything to go by, I can’t wait!