Lunch on the farm with Rees Miller 2008 Thousand Hills Shiraz

January 16, 2012

I am back at work in Bangkok after a short and exciting assignment in Myanmar. Today was my first day at the office desk. I was staring into the computer screen, reading and answering e-mails, signing contracts and organized many odd and less odd work related things.

I usually skip lunch when working in my office. Instead I eat a muesli bar or some fruit. Green mango is one of my favourites. Naturally that I was reminiscing about the recent past, the glorious days of our Christmas vacation on Two Hills Vineyard.

One very memorable meal was an Anglo-Saxon kind of food combination with roasted potatoes, silver beet, carrots and a leg of lamb. From the pictures you can see how delightful these dishes looked like. But can you also imagine the taste? Gorgeous food, awesome stuff.

The question what wine should we have with this meal was easy to answer. First of course our own 2004 Merlot. But we wanted also something else, something strong and refined, a wine with zest and character.

I selected a ‘2008 Thousand Hills Shiraz’ by one of our neighbouring vintners from the Yea area, the Rees Miller Estate.

I have written a few blog entries about wines produced by Rees Miller Estate ( I also love their Merlot), and I do not want to repeat myself. Silke Rees and David Miller produce some of the best bio-dynamic wines in our region.

The ‘2008 Thousand Hills Shiraz’ is just a wonderful wine, full bodied and spicy with lots of fruit and an intense finish. It was just the ideal accompaniment for the lamb, the potatoes and the veggies. Frankly speaking it was one of the best red wines I drank in 2011. Watch Rees Miller and their wines.

Address:
Rees Miller Estate
5355 Goulburn Valley Highway,
Yea, Victoria, 3717.
Tel.: +61-3-613 5797 2101
E-mail: info@reesmiller.com


Max Allen, Australian wine writer, and the Upper Goulburn Wine Region

January 26, 2011

Max Allen’s book and three wines from the Upper Goulburn

One of my Christmas presents was a book on wine. I am now the proud owner of Max Allen’s latest book, titled “The Future makers – Australian Wines for the 21st Century”.

So far, I had not had the time to read it, but I glanced at the chapter dealing with our wine region, the Upper Goulburn Wine Region.

Wines from Rees Miller Estate and Jean Paul’s Vineyard

Only three of our vineyards in the region are described in the book. They are: Delatite Winery, Jean Paul’s Vineyard and Rees Miller Estate.

The latter two of these three are practicing biodynamic-organic viticulture which is, in the perception of many conventional vintners, a very complex, complicated and generally difficult way of producing wine. If you talk to biodynamic vintners that’s not at all the case; it’s different of course.

Many conventional vinters have great respect for their biodynamic colleagues. At our recent “welcome of the year 2011 party” at Two Hills Vineyard, the wine-makers and vintners present discussed the challenges of producing healthy grapes at length.

How can they (the bioynamic/organic producers) control the many fungal and other diseases, was one of the pertinent questions? How do they deal with mildew? How about the work in the winery?

Undoubtedly, many of their wines are of outstanding quality. This is also what Max Allen shows in his book. It is certainly worth to explore the production methods of the biodynamic and organic growers. In recent years also many of the larger wineries and vineyards have started to convert to more environmentally friendly methods of production.

Max Allen interviewed Will de Castella, owner and wine-maker of Jean Paul’s Vineyard, how he does it. I highly recommend the study of his answers.

Happy Australia Day veryone.


Wine tasting: Upper Goulburn selection

July 30, 2009

UpperGoulburnWines

Three of the four wines

When up on our vineyard in Glenburn, Central Victoria we do not only drink our own wine, but sample also quite a few, mainly local wines. Some of them I have introduced to you before (Rees Miller Estate and Kinloch Wines).

The four wines, we tried recently, were the following:

Lost Valley Winery, ‘2004 Hazy Mountain Merlot’ (14.0% alc.), from the Upper Goulburn
Mount Samaria, ‘2005 Shiraz Cabernet’ (13.5% alc.), Upper Goulburn
Girdwood Estate, ‘2005 Pinot Noir’ (16.0% alc.!!!), Alexandra, Upper Goulburn

The fourth wine came from the King Valley, just north west of The Upper Goulburn wine region.

DALZOTTO, ‘2002 Cabernet Sauvignon’ (13.5% alc.), King Valley

MtSamaria

Mount Samaria has a wombat on his label.

I do not want to describe each wine (I hate tasting notes), but a short summary is warranted.

Unfortunately, the Pinot Noir from Girwood Estate was somehow off. I had a strange smell and must somehow gone bad. We will have to try again.

I loved the Merlot from Lost Valley Winery. What a ripper wine with all the qualities of an excellent single variety wine. Also the Shiraz Cabernet from Mt. Samaria is a very nice wine and need to be praised. Both wines show that members of our association produce outstanding cool climate wines.

Also the King Valley wine from Dal Zotto was just lovely (excellent). It seems that we will not be able to visit this cool climate wine region during this visit. After the bush fires, there is just too much to do out here on our farm. Moreover, winter is an ideal time for cleaning up the bush, the land and the vineyard.

We will continue tasting various local wines. Soon more, stay tuned.


Greetings from Down Under: Two Hills Vineyard in Glenburn, Victoria

July 15, 2009

Down Under

Greetings from down under

Finally, I am on leave and I will enjoy a month long break at the family vineyard in Glenburn, Victoria. It is winter in the southern hemisphere but after many months in the tropics the cool temperatures of a Victorian winter do not scare me. After the devastating bush fires in February, a lot of cleaning up work awaits us.

Glen1

Lucy and Charlotte collecting debris from the fires

Every meal is accompanied by Two Hills wines. There are just a few bottles of the 2001 and 2004 vintages left which we consume with our meals. The ‘2006 Two Hills Merlot’ is very fruity, the intense cherry taste knocks you over. We have to organise the new labels for the 2006 vintage before going back to Bangkok.

But we drank also a lot of local wines, for instance from Giant Steps Vignerons in Healesville (2006 Harry’s Monster) in the Yarra Valley or from Rees Miller Estate (2004 Cotton’s Pinch Merlot) and Kinloch Wines (2003 Pinot Meunier) in the Upper Goulburn. Both Merlot wines went well with a Spanish omelette with mushrooms collected from our paddocks. Winter in Glenburn is just wonderful. The Pinot Meunier we had with a pasta.

Glen3

The mushroom omelette

Glen2

Lashings of Merlot from Rees Miller and Two Hills

Glen4

The lucky vintner


Jewels of the Upper Goulburn Wine Region Part I

October 25, 2008

Today, I want to start a new series and introduce to you some wine and grape producers from our wine growers association, the Upper Goulburn Winegrowers Association. I plan to feature three to four wineries and vineyards at the time. The selection is random. I will start with the wineries with open cellar doors. Of the 30 odd members of our association, about 9 belong to this category. Another 12 are vineyards which also produce some wine under their labels but conduct wine tastings only by appointment. All the others are fruit producers only and do not sell wines commercially.

The first cohort of wineries to be presented consists of Kinloch Wines, Rees Miller Estate and, a small boutique winery, called Rocky Passes Estate. I want to be honest with you. I have tasted wines made by Malcolm Kinloch (Kinloch Wines) and David Miller (Rees Miller Estate) but not the ones made by Victor Oles (Rocky Passes Estate). I have visited the two former wineries (and I know Malcolm and David) but not the latter.

But this is no impediment to write about all three of them. Anyway, we are going to visit Australia for Christmas and we might take this opportunity to get to know the Rocky Passes people.

I am starting with Kinloch Wines. Malcolm and Susan Kinloch have established a wonderful wine business. The vineyard is located in the Booroolite Valley, about 15 minutes by car from Mansfield (almost next to another famous winery of our region: Delatite Winery).

This year at the Federation Sq Showcase Series the Kinlochs were rewarded two gold medals, one for their “2004 Mary Friend Cabernets-Merlot Blend” and another for their “2006 Don Kinloch Sparkling white”. Moreover, the “Mary Friend” red was judged the Overall Best Red Blend in its class at the Award presentation for the Victorian Wine Awards.

2008 was a most unusual year in the Upper Goulburn. Kinloch Wines harvested a record 34 tons of fruit of outstanding quality. From the 2008 vintage three wines have been released so far (cellar door prices in brackets):
-Unwooded Chardonnay (A$ 18)
-Sauvignon Blanc, and (A$ 22)
-a first rosè (A$ 18) made from Pinot Meunier grapes.

I have tasted earlier vintages of the two white wines and they are delicious. When we visited Kinloch Wines in winter, one could see Mount Buller in a not so distant distance, all in white with a beautiful snow cap.

How to find them:
Kinloch Wines
In the Booroolite Valley, the cellar door is warm and friendly and offers gourmet luncheon platters on weekends and public holidays.
Address: 221 Wairere Rd, Boorolite – 15 minutes from Mansfield
Open: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm daily
Tel: 5777 3447
Email: info@kinlochwines.com.au
Web: www.kinlochwines.com.au
Contact: Susan and Malcolm Kinloch

Rees Miller Estate is the next winery in my cohort. Located near Yea – about 15 minutes drive on the highway to Alexandra/Mansfield – Sylke Rees and David Miller own and operate a fully certified biodynamic vineyard and winery. Today about 7 ha are under vines, the farm has a total of about 64 ha. Sylke and David are both very much committed to the protection of the environment, and the organic production of food. They intend to produce pure products for consumption in a way that supports the land and its people.

We got to know Sylke and David when our wine stall was just adjacent to theirs at the 2007 Alexandra Food and Wine Expo. David conducted a very interesting wine tasting, actually my first wine tasting at such an event, and Sylke sold the wines. When we visited their cellar door some time later, they were both on Christmas holidays. To my great surprise Rees Miller wines were available at our duty free wine store in Jakarta, and we did not have to suffer any shortages of their beautiful reds.

How to find them:
Rees Miller Estate
Fully certified biodynamic vineyard situated on the Goulburn Valley Highway, just east of Yea.
Address: 5355 Goulburn Valley Highway, Yea
Open: 10.00 am to 4.00 pm daily
Tel: 5797 2101
Email: info@reesmiller.com
Web: www.reesmiller.com
Contact: David Miller or Sylke Rees

The last vineyard in this first cohort of Upper Goulburn wineries with cellar doors is Rocky Passes Estate, a small boutique vineyard of about 6 acres (5 acres Shiraz and 1 acre Viognier) located in Whiteheads Creek, near Seymour. I only know their one-page website and their listing in our membership directory. Rocky Passes Estate is another vineyard dedicated to organic grape growing and wine making (there are quite a few in our region). Cropping levels are kept low (about 2 tonnes per acre). The cellar door was opened in 2006. The wines can be ordered by mail, phone or e-mail.

How to find them:
Rocky Passes Estate
Situated at the southern end of the Strathbogie Ranges, the wines are made using organic practices and biodynamic preparations.
Address: 1590 Highlands Rd,
Whiteheads Creek, Seymour
Open: Sundays 11.00 am to 4.00pm or by appointment
Tel: 5796 9366
Email: rockypasses@activ8.net.au
Web: www.rockypassesestate.com.au
Contact: Victor Oles or Candy Westney

I hope I could stimulate your curiosity. The Upper Goulburn Wine Region is a rural place with real people who love what they are doing, have passion for their wines and commitment to the environment.