Monday, 2 May 2011

The Big Wet

The last 10 years were spent learning to farm the drought and doing that very well. Now it is time to learn to manage rain. The area has experienced record rain. Old timers say they have seen nothing like it in at least a generation. In the vineyard, new rivers and creeks and swamps have appeared. The equipment is constantly being bogged up to the axles. Spraying is very difficult. The decision is not to make any wine this vintage. We are only interested in producing premium wines and this is not the year for that.

At Ambar Hill earth moving machinery is installing new agricultural drains at the lower end of the main vineyard to get rid of the water that is saturating the ground. Unfortunately, they got bogged as well.
But, when finished, flood or drought Ambar Hill is good.

In Brisbane, our apartment was flooded in the basement and we were without power for several days. But our Brisbane warehouse near the river was fortunately spared the flood despite of the forecast that it would go under.

Ambar Hill has had a long relationship with the farmed seafood industry, and some producers we know well in Cardwell and Innisfail have taken hard hits. Ambar Hill is sponsoring some recovery events with wines for raffles and functions to help raise money. The Australian wine industry has organised a major fundraiser with Ambar Hill amongst the many industry donors. See the notice at the end of this news letter for how to buy a ticket.

Days of Summer : Tasting Doz – Only $120

Celebrate summer with our special tasting dozen of mixed wines. There are plenty of white wines to laze at a picnic or just to sip as the evening cools. The cost is just $120 delivered Brisbane - plus $15 delivery anywhere else in Australia. Phone 07 38908089 or email your order – payment by BSB or cheque – delivery Australia Post. A full price list is also attached.

1 Shiraz 2005
We found a few more cases of this fantastic wine at the back of the winery and can include it in our tasting dozen again. But as the famous Ochre Restaurant in Cairns has reserved cases for their wine list this will probably be the last time it is listed. Extremely elegant cool climate shiraz. Described by leading wine writer Tony Harper as having “a seamless, plush texture..”. Brisbane News praised its “Rhone like qualities” The only Queensland wine in Courier Mail’s list of best value Australian wine for including in a wine cellar.
Queensland Wine Awards 2007 Silver
Royal Agricultural Society of Qld 2009 Class 10 Bronze
Queensland Wine Awards 2009 Silver
1 Cabernet Merlot 2006
The first of our Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot. Needs more bottle age. Tannic finish will soften with time.
Australian Small Winemakers 2009 Bronze
1 Shiraz 2006
Picked very late - on 17 April. It was very ripe with luscious fruit with very high baume but as a result the ferment left a little residual sugar. Halliday said it was over the top. He was right, but it still won a medal at one of its only outings. It has produced a cool climate wine with a voluptuous taste leaving a slightly sweet finish. A wine for the mistress not the wife. It is on quite few restaurant wine lists.
Queensland Wine Awards 2007 Bronze
1 Samuel Bailey 2007
The season started with frosts in November, then drought stressed and reduced the crop. However, it produced great flavours. It was fermented in new French and American oak barrels. Des Houghton’s Courier Mail wine pick for Christmas dinner 2009.
Winestate Magazine best of 2009 Annual 2010 Edition 4 ½ stars
Queensland Wine Awards 2009 Bronze,
Australian Small Winemakers Class 44 2008 Bronze,
New England Wine Show 2008 Silver,
Cowra Wine Show 2009 Class 76 Bronze,
Wine State magazine 4 ½ stars
Cowra Wine Show 2010 class 34 Silver
Australian Small Winemakers 2010 Class 45 Silver
1 Shiraz 2007
This wine will be replacing our 2005 on restaurant wine lists. It was bottled very cold after flushing bottles with CO2. Some cases have a little of that CO2 still dissolved in the wine from the bottling. It will keep it fresh for a very long time, but the wine needs to breath for 30 mins.
Wine State Magazine
New England Wine Show 2008 Bronze
Queensland Wine Awards 2008 Bronze
Winestate Magazine best of 2009 Annual 2010 Edition
1 Shiraz 2008
A great vintage for us with considerable complexity in the wines whilst still retaining fruit freshness
New England Wine show 2009 Gold Medal
New England Wine Show 2009 Trophy best young red wine
3 Reserve Chardonnay 2008
The Granite Belt is capable of producing some of Australia’s best chardonnays. In 2008 we produced our first as a single varietal. The grapes were excellent, hand-picked and sorted. The wine was fermented in new French oak barrels. It is quite flinty in a classic Chardonnay style – perhaps unfashionably over oaked. It deserves several years of bottle age to fully integrate the fruit and oak. It received a commendation at the world’s most prestigious and influential wine competition – the International Wine Challenge in London.
  • Australian Small Winemakers 2010 Class 3: Bronze
  • International Wine Challenge, London 2010 : Commended
3 Chardonnay Verdelho 2010
Huge fresh pineapple and passionfruit nose and lovely big fruit flavours –but actually fermented very dry -reflecting the lower baume than previous years.