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winter wine feature
william downie • 2019 release
As a longtime fan of Bills wines, it is with great excitement to finally have a vintage able to showcase a full range of his wines. In 2019 Bill has achieved a lifelong aspiration to grow his own fruit for the first time which are offered below across 4 vineyards he now leases and a Gippsland cuvee.
Please enjoy the notes on each site directly from Bill and I hope you enjoy the wines as much as I do.
2019 Bull Swamp
This dry grown vineyard was planted in 1981 on old, red volcanic soils at 150m elevation. There are three separate parcels of Pinot Noir, one north-facing block of MV6 and another of Abel, as well as a more sheltered south-facing block of MV6. The vineyard is certified organic in conversion. The wine from here tends to be dense and very well structured. It smells of cherry, mulberry and other dark fruits with underlying red berries. You can taste the red earth as well as thyme and rosemary. It’s stony and mineral with noticeable tannin. A savoury and complex wine.
2019 Camp Hill
This site was planted in 1998 at 250m elevation and is considered the highest point between the Strzelecki and Great Dividing Ranges. The vineyard faces north with almost 360 degree views of Baw Baw Shire. Most of the vines are MV6 with a couple of rows of 115. It is dry grown and certified organic in conversion. The red volcanic soils have a little more rock than the other sites and the wine is finer and more acidic as a result. This wine is pungent with aromas of blood plum, rhubarb and citrus flowers as well wild red fruits. The palate has bright, nervous acidity and a tight tannin structure and will benefit from some time in the cellar.
The vineyard is at almost 300m elevation on the eastern edge of the township of Neerim South in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. It’s gentle north-easterly aspect looks straight across to Mt Baw Baw. These soils have a little more clay than our other sites and while mostly red, there are a few areas that are more chocolate brown. The vines were planted in 1985, have always been dry grown and now in conversion to certified organic status. Deeply coloured with rich, red and dark fruit aromas as well as allspice and clove, the palate is dense and complex tasting of black fruits, raspberry and damp earth. It has a chewy tannin structure and noticeable acidity.
This patch of vines, while less than 5km north of Millstream, and at similar elevation, produces a very different wine. Planted to MV6 in 1983, it shows slightly less fruit intensity but more structure than its nearest neighbouring vines. The red volcanic soils face very slightly to the south and look more in the direction of the Tarago reservoir. These plants grow the lushest green canopy of any of our vines. Aromas of violets and rose with blue fruits and poached pear, this wine has a slightly sweeter fruit profile with a soft, velvety texture. It is subtle and restrained but still complex and detailed.
A blend of 50% Matthews vineyard at Berry’s Creek in South Gippsland and 50% estate grown fruit from our Baw Baw Shire vineyards. The Matthews vineyard was planted on red volcanic soil in 1998 and has always been dry grown. It is a cool, damp site and the vines grow dense, lush canopies. The resulting wine has complex berry fruit aromas including blackcurrant, raspberry and blackberry with subtle wood spice and earth. While it shows the red earth and dark fruit aromas we have come to expect from the Matthews vineyard, the Baw Baw Shire components provide the structure, weight and complexity.