Viticulture: Certified organic (NASAA)
The Captains Creeks Vineyard is situated in Blampied, 10km west of Daylesford, and thus just outside the Macedon Ranges GI. Locally this area becomes part of the unofficial Ballarat region, however technically it is classed as the Western Victoria Zone, an anomaly in our young and somewhat arbitrary regional system.
The vineyard is farmed by Doug and Carolyn May, planted in the friable basalt loam of the property in 1994, and is part of the broader Captains Creek farm. Owned by the May family since 1909 and certified organic (NASAA) since 1985, it now grows an array of vegetables on the lower, more fertile areas, as well as being home to livestock and orchards. The vineyard is planted to pinot noir and chardonnay on a raised well-drained northerly slope, at around 500m altitude, close to the modern farmstead and covers 4ha. Captains Creek is a remarkable, true, mixed farming family enterprise and I am lucky enough to be able to purchase a small parcel of fruit each year.
Due to the cool, windy nature of the site, the fruit typically ripens at a low sugar level, with small berries, thick skins and with a high proportion of millerandange and hen and chicken.
Once hand harvested in the cool of morning, with carful sorting in the vineyard, the grapes are partially foot crushed then very gently, slowly pressed over four or so hours. The juice was then settled for 24 hours then racked with all but the very coarse solids to Burgundian piece, and Stockinger thick staved 600l demi-muid.
The wine sees one year in oak on full lees, no stirring, and no racking, then transferred to stainless steel with all the fine lees for a further 4 months elevage. Before racking and bottling, unfined and unfiltered. The only addition to the wine is a small dose of sulphur.
Opening with aromas of faint crushed rock and flint, lemon balm, and perfectly ripened stone fruit, this vintage shows brilliant clarity and length, with a savoury element provided by the cool climate and basalt soils, and an amplification in depth due to the season.
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