February 11, 2007
It was the perfect day for a Merlot. Actually any day is good for Merlot but in the tropics one has to be careful with alcohol of any kind. Nevertheless, we had to do some tasting today. 2001 was our first Merlot vintage. Nobody wanted to buy the fruit. This is why I decided to make all of it into wine. Alan Johns of Yering Farm (www.yeringfarm.com.au) did this for us.
All our wines are hand crafted. They come from a single site vineyard, Two Hills Vineyard in Glenburn, and are hand picked. The fruit was fermented in traditional open fermenters and aged in old French barriques to preserve the Merlot’s elegance and finesse. At 12.8 % alcohol it is not too “heavy”. It is medium bodied, dry with a good acidity and a long finish. Its subtle flavours of ripe forest fruit and its firm tannins give the wine a fine balance.
Two Hills Vineyard – Merlot Block, single site (3 1/2/ acres)
We do not have many bottles left of the 2001 vintage here in Jakarta, and in fact not many are left on our vineyard either. It has matured in the bottle and some of our friends like it better then the lighter more elegant 2004 vintage. 2001 was a warm year with a golden autumn to ripen the fruit in perfect conditions. Timo Mayer, our friend and winemaker at Gembrook Hill (www.gembrookhill.com.au), described it as an “umpf” wine, rich and heavy whereas the 2004 Merlot vintage is elegant with great finesse. Anyhow, we enjoyed the drop today far from the place where it was grown. It reduces the homesickness we feel from time to time.
If you want a bottle or two please call in the bottle shop of the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg/Melbourne (www.oldenglandhotel.com.au) and ask for Two Hills Merlot. If you are in Germany please contact Dr. Ulrich Hillejan (email@example.com). Zum Wohl. Salute.
2001 and 2002 Sauvignon Blanc and 2001 Merlot vintages of Two Hills Vineyard
January 10, 2007
Today I want to take you to a small place in Central Victoria Glenburn, between Yarra Glen and Yea, about one hour northeast of the capital city of Melbourne. From there we drive about 5 km up north and turn right into Two Hills Road, a gravel road which will lead us to our vineyard.
Our vineyard facing north
It’s all grazing land here surrounded by gum forests of the national park. Most residents are retirees; many are weekenders. The vineyard is located on the right hand side on a 50 acres block (about 21 ha). It consists of about 1 ha Sauvignon Blanc (planted in 1996), 1 ha of Pinot Noir (planted in 2002) and 1.3 ha of Merlot (planted in 1997). The rest of the land is grassland with some small patches of gum trees and a small forest. A small river, Katy’s Creek, builds the boundary on one side.
Two Hills Vineyard towards our second dam
In 2001 we had our first vintage. Our Sauvignon Blanc of 2002 even won us a bronze medal at the Singapore Wine Show.The wines are available in Melbourne at the Old England Hotel in Heidelberg (bottle shop; www.oldenglandhotel.com.au), at the Berry Cafe in Dixons Creek (on the way from Yarra Glen to Yea) and in the Alexandra supermarket chain. In Germany my friend Dr Ulrich Hillejan (Gesellschaft fuer Unternehmensentwicklung mbH, www.s-h-r.de) sells our Merlot to other friends and family. At the moment we have only Merlot 2004 for sale. All the other wines have sold out which is of course good news for the producer and bad news for the consumer. 2006 was our most successful year so far. We had a good harvest (after a complete loss in 2005 due to adverse weather conditions), sold all our grapes, and most of our wines. The 2006 vintage of Merlot is ripening in French and American oak and will be bottled in March 2007.
We are selling most of the fruit to other wineries. Living abroad is not very conducive to wine marketing. Another friend, Steve Sadlier of Vineadvice from Yarra Glen, takes care of the vineyard management. He is our viticulturist. Our wines are made by another friend, Alan Johns, owner and winemaker of Yering Farm Wines (please visit their website at: www.yeringfarm.com.au).
The wine region is called the Upper Goulburn Wine Region Victoria (formerly Central Victorian High Country) and is promoted by various organisations among them the Upper Goulburn Winegrowers Association of which we are also a member (please visit their website: www.uppergoulburnwine.org.au). I took the map from this website. Unfortunately, it’s not up to date (we are not yet listed as members for instance) but it gives some idea of the location.