Baron di Pianogrillo Sicily

Baron di Pianogrillo

By Lorenzo Piccione

Chiaramonte Gulfi, Ragusa, Sicily

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In a hilltop city of south-east Sicily, an ancient castle overlooks the lush surroundings of the Pianogrillo estate. A man of many trades, Lorenzo is a master of not only organically farmed wine and olive oil, but is a concert pianist and artist too.
 
Set at 480m above sea level, the dry grown bush vines grow on predominately limestone and clay soils, benefitting from the warm Sicilian days and feeling the cool breeze on summer evenings allowing for consistent ripening and acid retention. Lorenzo prides himself on sustainable farming methods, and as such, his vineyards and winery are certified organic.

An endangered breed of protected Sicilian swine wander the land that has belonged to Pianogrillo barons for centuries, Lorenzo being the remaining descendant of this line. The herd of locals and some horses are free to graze amongst the 14 acres of vines that produce Frappato, Nero d’Avola, Grillo and Grecanico.  Lorenzo and his team's dedication to sustainability of the ancient land they farm is unwavering, and this produces wonderful expressions of the region and varietal.

Vine pruning and training systems: Guyot, Alberello a pedale d’olivo, Cordone speronato (spurred cordon), Alberello (derived from ancient Greek viticultural techniques - the vines have no wires or support and grow low and densely in the vineyard)

Wild ferments, zero adjustments, corrections or additions minus small doses of SO2 at bottling; displaying purity of fruit, vigour, texture, salinity and minerality.

Bellissimo x

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2017 Baroni di Pianogrillo Grecanico

Certified organic, Grecanico from the Pianogrillo estate in Sicily was planted in 1990 on limestone soils and is elevated at 300m above sea level. The grapes were hand harvested, and underwent wild primary fermentation in stainless steel with gentle stirring at controlled low temperatures for 3 weeks to retain fruit purity and delicate aromatics.

The wine underwent partial malolactic fermentation in stainless steel vessels to retain freshness and remained in stainless for 6 months to settle before going to bottle.

Unfined, with a light filtration 
10ppm total SO2
9000 bottles produced

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2017 Baroni di Pianogrillo Grillo

From south-east Sicily's Chiaramonte Gulfi region in the province of Ragusa, this 100% Grillo came from vines that were planted in 2000 on limestone soils at 470m above sea level.

Certified organic, Grillo was hand picked as wholebunches where a short carbonic maceration of 2.5 days occurred followed by wild primary fermentation in stainless for a total of 10 days with minimal stirring occurring. Followed by full malolactic fermentation, the wine was left to settle for 6 months on lees in stainless before being racked to bottle.

Unfined, with a light filtration
20ppm total SO2
15,000 bottles produced

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2017 Baroni di Pianogrillo Frappato

Frappato from the Pianogrillo vineyard was planted in 1990, and grows on a combination of limestone and clay soils elevated at 300m above sea level.

Certified organic, the fruit was hand harvested, de-stemmed, and underwent wild primary fermentation in stainless steel macerating on skins for 5 days with minimal punch downs occurring once dailyThe wine was racked to old Sicilian chestnut oak where malolactic fermentation occurred and maturation for 6 months before going to bottle.

Unfined, with minimal filtration 
10ppm total SO2
8000 bottles were produced

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2015 Baroni di Pianogrillo ‘Curva Minore’

Frappato and Nero D’Avola (50% Frappato, 50% Nero D’Avola) vines were planted in 1991 and grow on limestone and clay soils. This blend is typical of eastern Sicilian territory and the Ragusa region.

Certified organic, the grapes were hand harvested, destemmed and spent 5 days on skins with minimal punch downs occurring for a gentle phenolic extraction. Pressed to stainless steel where a wild fermentation occurred, the resulting wine was racked to old Sicilian chestnut oak to allow for malolactic fermentation and 8 months of maturation before going to bottle.

Unfined, with a light filtration
10ppm total SO2
8000 bottles produced

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2015 Baroni di Pianogrillo ‘Otto Otto’ Nero d’Avola

Planted in 1991, Nero d'Avola is grown on a combination of limestone and clay soils at 480m above sea level.

Certified organic, the fruit was hand picked when phenolically ripe to capture optimum colour and structure. Destemmed, crushed and remaining on skins for 7 days with a gentle phenolic extraction seeing minimal punch downs just twice daily. The resulting wine was then transferred to old Sicilian chestnut oak where full malolactic fermentation occurred, followed by 2 years of maturation.

Unfined, with a light filtration
10ppm total SO2
5000 bottles produced

Valentine Blanc & SC

Valentine Wines

by Dom Valentine

Yarra Valley & Heathcote, VIC

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Valentine Wines is the brainchild of all round top bloke and certified legend, Dom Valentine based in the Yarra Valley.

Unlike most in the region, Dom decided to kickstart his project a little left of centre - showcasing a european approach to Yarra Valley Riesling nurtured from his experiences working under Domaine Paul Blanck in Kientzheim Alsace, Weingut Josef Leitz and Weingut Georg Breuer in the Rheingau, Germany.

The addition of a Saignée, Blanc de Blancs and a 'light on it toes' Grenache out of Heathcote came about to round out the Valentine offering.

2019 is set to see Dom's first solo release of Yarra Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - putting to good use the experiences learnt at Oakridge and Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander beside some of the region's and country's best producers.

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2011 Valentine Blanc de Blancs ZD
100% Chardonnay
1.5T/Acre
1200 bottles produced

Elevated at 150m on the dark grey and brown loam soils over clay in the Wongarra Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, VIC.  As vintages go, 2011 is still one of the coldest and wettest years on record for the Yarra Valley and most of eastern Australia for that matter... In this case, perfect for sparkling base.

Chardonnay was handpicked, wholebunch pressed to 25% french oak puncheons and 75% stainless steel where wild primary fermentation and natural malolactic fermentation occurred. The resulting wine went to bottle without the addition of finings but filtered prior to tirage.

Remaining on lees for 7.5 years to build oppulence, the wine is disgorged to order with zero dosage and a total of 20ppm SO2

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2016 Valentine '365 SC' Riesling
100% Skin Macerated Riesling
2T/Acre
60 magnums produced!

Elevated at 100m on the alluvial grey soils of the Gordon's Vineyard in the Yarra Valley, VIC.  Riesling was handpicked and destemmed while 10% remained as wholebunches. Pressed to stainless steel where wild primary fermentation and natural malolactic fermentation occurred. The resulting wine was left on skins for 365 days with punch downs occurring just once a week to keep the cap fresh and spent a total of 18 months on lees.

From here the wine was racked and bottled without the addition of finings, unfiltered and a total of 30ppm SO2

Orange, Skin contact, Amber wine. Whatever you want to call it, this stuff is the goods and won't be around for long.

First in, best dressed.

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2017 Valentine Grenache
100% Grenache
$18.35 LUC exc GST
2T/acre 
2000 bottles produced

Sourced and handpicked from Mount Camel Range, Heathcote (near Colbinabbin) at 160m elevation on Cambrian red soils and refrigerated for 2 days. While 1/3 of the fruit remained as whole bunches for whole bunch fermentation, the remaining 2/3 were destemmed and a few whole bunches remained in the ferment.

Wild primary fermentation occurred while treated similar to a Pinot Noir with minimal phenolic extraction with just single punch downs daily. This was followed by a two week post-ferment maceration until finally pressed to barrel to complete natural malolactic fermentation.

6 month maturation in old French oak barriques. Racked twice and sent to bottle with no filtration or fining with a total of 55ppm sulphur.

Becker Wines by M&J Becker

Becker Wines

by Meagan and James Becker

Hunter Valley, NSW

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Becker wines by husband and wife team Meagan and James Becker hail from the sub-region of Pokolbin in NSW's Hunter Valley. Aiming to shine a light on the potential of NSW, their family owned and operated single vineyard (undergoing organic certification) is highly recognised for some of the regions best fruit.

As a young producer in an otherwise traditional and often rigid scene, they are exploring what is an emerging modern Australian style; to harness varietal, time and place within Australia's founding region.

The Becker Wine series is a smashable and affordable entry level approach to M&J Becker Wines. As always; zero compromise on quality, sustainable fruit sent to bottle with minimal intervention and maximum care.

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2017 Becker Wines Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay (HVD, P58. 95 & 76)
Between 1t and 2.5t/Acre
2676 bottles produced

Elevated at 100m on sandy and clay loam soils from the Ablington vineyard in Hunter Valley. Currently undergoing organic certification, Chardonnay is handpicked and whole bunch pressed to neutral oak. Fermented in a mixture of puncheons and barriques for 6-8 weeks through wild primary fermentation, whilst only a small portion of barrels underwent natural malolactic fermentation to retain freshness. 

The resulting wine remains on lees for 10 months without battonage, before it was racked to bottle, unfined, but lightly filtered.  

A total of 90ppm SO2.

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2018 Becker Wines Rosé
80% Syrah PT23, and equal parts Brachetto, Schonberger, and Gewurtz
2.5T/Acre
2773 bottles produced

Elevated at 100m on clay loam soils from the Ablington vineyard in Hunter Valley. Undergoing organic certification, the Syrah was handpicked and direct pressed, while the aromatic components were handpicked, foot-stomped and received 24 hours of skin contact to promote texture before they were basket pressed to stainless.

Wild fermented separately in stainless steel for 2 weeks, without malolactic fermentation or battonage occurring. The resulting wine was bottled with minimal filtration and no fining.

A total of 100ppm SO2.

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2017 Becker Wines Syrah
100% Syrah PT23, BVRC12, 470, Pinot 777
2T/acre 
3274 bottles produced

Grown on clay loam elevated at 110m above sea level, awaiting organic certification, the Syrah was handpicked as wholebunches. Whilst 25% remained and was wild fermented as wholebunches, the rest was de-stemmed and fermented in neutral French puncheons for 3 months where full natural malolactic fermentation occurred. The resulting wine received minimal pigeage and remontage providing a gentle extraction, then left to remain on lees for 6 months.

There was a total of 9 months elevage before the wine was racked twice and sent to bottle with minimal filtration and no fining,

A total of 86ppm SO2

'Bugger All' by From Sunday Winemakers

'Bugger All' by From Sunday Winemakers

The From Sunday Winemakers - Sam Bowman, Dave Kynaston and James Becker - have been at it again!!!

In 2017, James harvested some Pinot Meunier from Tumbarumba, NSW. The fruit was primarily sought after for the production of a Pét-Nat which proved to be a huge success under his own label; M&J Becker Wines. 

Only a small parcel of less than a tonne remained, basically "bugger all". It was here that the gang decided to try their hand at producing a still red from the noble grape variety. 

Something of substance, of place and of immense drinkability...

By Dan Simmons

Introducing... Nimbostratus

Introducing... Nimbostratus

Whitlands is located in North East Victoria: a 9km long plateau that runs along the top of the western tip of the King Valley. Ranging from 700m - 900m ASL it's one of the coldest grape growing regions in Australia and the highest elevated region in Victoria. It's mostly planted with grapes for sparkling base but also includes pinot gris, riesling & pinot blanc

By Dan Simmons

Introducing... Ari's Natural Wine Co.

Introducing... Ari's Natural Wine Co.

Ari’s Natural Wine Co. started as a family hobby situated on the south coast of NSW. A vinous pass-time which is often enjoyed amongst migrant families here in Australia.

Enter father and son, Aristotle and Tony Zafirakos.

Having migrated to Sydney from a small village in Greece in 1962, over the years 'Ari' missed the wines he grew up making and drinking in his motherland. So, in 1985 he started making his own, as he always has, without factory adds or corrections.

By Dan Simmons

Introducing... Kennedy Vintners - Heathcote, Central Victoria

Introducing... Kennedy Vintners - Heathcote, Central Victoria

John and Patricia Kennedy have been working their plot of land in the region as first generation farmers for more than 35 years. With extensive experience producing high-quality produce, the family decided to purchase a prime position block on the Mount Camel Range to establish a vineyard. In the early 2000s they planted Shiraz, followed by Mourvèdre and Tempranillo in 2007.

By Dan Simmons

Champagne AR Lenoble

Champagne AR Lenoble

Armand-Raphaël Graser, like many of the early settling Champagne producers of the 18th and early 19th century, called Germany home until moving to Champagne in 1915 and setting up shop in 1920. It was the decision of the Alsace born Armand-Raphaël at the bitter end of the first World War, to part ways with the negative connotations surrounding his German lineage and last name moving towards new positive and more 'noble' beginnings; so Champagne AR Lenoble was born.

By Dan Simmons