Working your method by the checklist of vintages and varietals is enjoyable while you’re in wine nation. However this Hunter Valley vineyard takes you from the cellar door to an entire different degree of wine-tasting.
Run by the Scarborough household for 2 generations (and counting), Scarborough Wine Co within the Hunter Valley has been crafting excellent wine for over 35 years.
Christina and I first met the Scarborough household again in 2015, after they invited us to their property to get to know the model a bit higher.
Anybody who’s met the Scarboroughs will perceive how we had been instantly made to really feel like a part of the clan.
From that second, we fell in love not solely with the household and their wine, however with the Hunter Valley normally and top-level Chardonnay particularly.
Right here’s extra about our time there in 2015.
And till 2022, the top of their wines was the Obsessive Vary, so named due to father and founder Ian ‘Scarbie’ Scarborough’s meticulous wine-making type.
Since then, nonetheless, Sally, Jerome, and Jez’s spouse and sensible viticulturist Liz Riley have developed a brand new premium vary: Keepers of the Flame.
And with it comes a tasting expertise like no different.
A fast catch-up earlier than the principle occasion
We meet Sally and Jerome on the secluded Cottage Winery, the place the grapes for the Keepers of the Flame Chardonnay and in addition the Obsessive Semillon develop.
It’s a novel web site, someway cooler than the opposite vineyards which can be nearer to the foot of the Brokenback Mountains. And the tremendous sandy loam produces the distinctive fruit that Jerome and Liz knew can be good for this new top-of-the-line wine vary.
Whereas we’re right here, the 4 of us loosen up on the veranda of the quaint cottage by the rows of vines for a chew to eat and a chat. Sally’s additionally introduced some lunch—scrumptious antipasto picnic packing containers from Our Italian Desk in Pokolbin.
After lunch, Jerome prompts a transfer: “Let’s go and style some wine,” he publicizes, and all of us head to the Gillards Highway Winery and the Scarborough cellar door. It was additionally as soon as the household residence the place Jerome and Sally grew up.
What’s extra, it’s right here that the Keepers of the Flame wine-tasting expertise occurs.
Keepers of the Flame Tasting Expertise
As we crunch by the gravel of the cellar door carpark, Sally excitedly tells us about their new soil pit that Jerome and Liz have just lately dug. For some purpose, we’re simply as excited at seeing it, despite the fact that it’s actually a six-foot gap within the floor.
Within the pit, Jerome takes us by the varied layers of soil, substrate and mineral deposits, explaining what every layer means to the vines and the way they develop in it. It’s fully fascinating and solidifies the which means of ‘terroir’, which till now was a type of misty imprecise idea we knew linked wine with soil.
From there, we stroll to the vines the place Jerome and Sally speak us by the methods they use nature of their wine-making processes.
Members of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, Scarborough Wine Co is intently centered on environmental impression and sustainability, and we find out how they’re utilizing age-old methods from permitting nitrogen-fixing vegetation to develop between the vine rows and managing the ecosystem of the vineyards to mulching vine prunings and making their very own compost.
We speak irrigation, harvest timings, selecting strategies, pest management, grafting methods, vine age… it’s so fascinating, and Sally and Jerome are open books with all our questions.
Again on the home, we sit right down to a fantastically laid desk searching over the gardens and vines of the Gillards Highway Winery.
The tasting contains 5 completely different wines in two vertical tastings: two Obsessive Chardonnays from consecutive vintages and three Keepers of the Flame from completely different years too.
Vertical tastings are so experiential as you get to style the outcomes of time within the bottle and in addition see how completely different vintages have an effect on the wine.
Jerome and Sally style with us, speaking us by the wines as we go and in addition sharing within the scrumptious cheese plate and bread that comes with this tasting.
As a part of this superb immersive expertise that takes round an hour and a half, you’re accompanied by both Sally or one of many consultants on the cellar door, and also you come away understanding a lot extra about wine.
What’s So Particular About Keepers Of The Flame?
Sally, Jerome and Liz are very enthusiastic about this new vary of wine, and never simply because it’s new.
They’ve developed Keepers of the Flame to be a celebration of the previous and of what Scarbie’s achieved, but in addition a technique to cross on the love of wine-making to future generations.
It’s a collaboration of their completely different skillsets: advertising, winemaking and viticulture.
Every year, Keepers of the Flame shall be barely completely different. Jerome’s not aiming for consistency—aside from the standard in fact. He desires the wine to replicate the second in time every classic represents.
Grapes are rigorously chosen for his or her high quality and these small batches of wine are inoculated with wild yeast for a pure fermentation. From there, the cautious nurturing in chosen barrels ends in a few of the most interesting Chardonnays we’ve ever tasted.
On the nostril, a struck match and brioche aromas are adopted by citrus and white peach, and to style, excellent construction round extra citrus and stone fruit. Fantastic mineral qualities come subsequent with a silky texture and features of oak that spotlight the acidity.
From the three Keepers of the Flame vintages we attempt, the 2021 is the present favorite, although Jerome additionally provides us a style of the model new 2022, which could simply be our new favorite. However we’ll have to return again to attempt that after it’s prepared for launch.
Ebook your tasting expertise right here immediately by Scarborough Wine’s web site.