Following a dry spring, we experienced a warm summer and little rain. Harvest was compressed after hot conditions in November and a lack of rain at times we would normally expect some, making for a busy little winery! Our hand-picking dates were well-timed to harness wonderful natural acid, great fruit intensity and expected yields with no losses of fruit or quality.
Overall 2016 has been a terrific vintage, with white, red and sweet grape varieties all looking great. The winery is full to the brim, with two project wines taking up what little space we usually have left at this time of the year. The Syrah project using Terravinia Vineyard fruit rolls into a second vintage of wine produced, plus a very exciting two-barrel batch of Yarra Valley chardonnay as part of a battle of three winemakers… Two colleagues and I have each made two barrels of wine using the same fruit from one of the Yarra’s best sites. Stay tuned!
My highlight from the season has been rising to the challenge of picking and hand-processing 34 tonnes of grapes in our tiny space. We made it, and now with only two ferments yet to complete, we can start to breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to seeing the 2016 wines take shape. Cheers, Rowly!
Our Scion Durif 2013 was named among Best Wines of 2015 in Winestate Magazine, off the back of a Gold Medal at the Rutherglen Wine Show and 94 points in Halliday!
Here are winemaker Rowly's tips for maximum enjoyment:
1. Tuck it away in the cellar! Cellaring for up to 15 years will reward.
2. Game meats galore. I love this wine served with venison backstrap, cooked in a super-hot pan for a few minutes each side. Don't forget to rest it for twice the cooking time, then quickly reheat with a further 30 secs each side prior to serving. Reduce some seasonal berries down with sherry and a touch of sugar, pour across one side of the meat. YUM!
3. Let it breathe! Open and decant a few hours before you plan to enjoy. Often Durif can be better on the second night!
We caught up with our new Vineyard Manager, Jono Carter, for a quick walk around the vineyard…
1. Earliest wine memory?
I was lucky enough to try Stanton & Killeen's '95 Shiraz based port. It blew my mind, there was just so much going on in every glass it was like I was exploring a forest of very tall trees on my tongue... up until then I thought that wine was squashed grapes that had gone off.
2. What do you love about viticulture?
The thing I love about viticulture is… the vines – dull job without them! Viticulture is like bonsai art meets science: Every cane, every leaf and every shoot's position can bear influence over the vine, and the fruit.
3. Favourite varietal to grow?
Shiraz. It doesn't rush; it’s not too early; it doesn't “throw laterals” everywhere. It wants to grow up and gently sprawl; and it’s not over-eager, in that it doesn't try to carry too much fruit. Nice balance, pretty dark berries.
4. And to drink?
Any of the big reds. I want something I can ponder over and explore, something that can't be understood all in one go. It takes me a week to drink a bottle of wine; any faster and I feel I miss too much.
5. What do you love most about the Rutherglen region?
Big skies and big sunsets. You can stand out in a paddock in Norong or Rutherglen or Bowser and watch the sun set until it hits the dirt.
6. Last drink on earth?
As in before Lift Off? A nice aged rum might be nice...
French-style Picnic Hampers are now available by pre-order to enjoy at our Cellar Door, Thursday to Sunday. We love local chef Kate Akrap’s food at Jones Winery's Cafe and so are making her Picnic Hampers available at Scion to enjoy in our relaxed environment.
Photo courtesy @kel_d77
Changing with the seasons, hampers include items such as a selection of charcuterie with housemade rye bread and pickles, confit duck salad, kipfler & preserved lemon salad, and tarte aux fruit a la maison.
Hampers are only available by pre-order with 24 hrs notice.
Cost is $35pp, minimum order of two. Dietary requirements can be accommodated with notice.
Scion wine, coffee and non-alcoholic drinks available for purchase with your picnic.
Phone bookings via Scion Cellar Door: 02 6032 8844. Payment required on booking.