A walkabout in an Australian Vineyard

A walkabout in an Australian Vineyard

Dec 15, 2023Eden Hargreaves

What is your favourite wine and food pairing? And any interesting/funny stories relating to how you discovered this pairing?

My wine styles are classical, whereby I seek to refine and perfect the basics. As such, one of my favourite pairings is classical. Margaret River grass feed T-bone steak, grilled over our local hardwood Jarrah, matched with Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon. The process of getting the steak to temperature, lighting the fire, getting the coals to the perfect arrangement, the cooking and of course sharing it all with friends is sheer perfection. The tannins, succulence and perfumes of Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon seem to have an evolutionary affinity with the textures and flavours of char grilled T-bone!

Which vineyard is your favourite?

An easy question. Our Clairault A Block Cabernet Sauvignon is a slice of Margaret River history. It was planted on its pure vinifera roots in 1976 by Ian Lewis on an ironstone gravel soil, on a gentle slope of our vineyard in Wilyabrup. It is a well-drained, and quite a hard and lean site, yielding amazing structured and pretty fruit. The soil is so tough that Ian Lewis used dynamite to excavate the holes for the large Jarrah wood end posts to the rows. It is beyond rewarding to be able to make wines from these majestic, now 46-year-old own-rooted vines. The pure connection of the vine to the soil, seems to give us an extra level of refinement. 

Apart from your wines, which other wines do you enjoy drinking and why?

Apart from being a lot of fun, I view drinking different wines as an important part of my evolution as a winemaker. I love to think about what the fruit was like, the winemaking techniques used and why they were used, and trying to understand the cultural relevance of the wine. A favourite is Chianti Classicos.

How has changes in the weather and climate change effected the way you produce your wines?

The changes in weather and climate have always affected the way we farm and how we approach winemaking. For example, in our Cabernet Sauvignon, we love to have dappled light in the fruiting zone all season. It allows the vines and fruit to develop a gentle suntan from the beginning of the season, so we will manually leaf pluck the vines just after the flowers have set. If the season is warmer than normal, we will adjust late season, by leaving a bit more leaf cover to protect the fruit, and if a cooler season we will keep the canopy more open, often with another hand plucking pass latter in the season.

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