Viticulture: Lutte raisonee/sustainable, no synthetic herbicides, in transition to no synthetic chemical use. Hand harvested from 36 year old vines on the historic old “Portree Vineyard,” one of the originals of the Macedon Ranges. A late ripening, windblown site at 600m altitude, at the Eastern extremity of the region, just outside township of Lancefield. Unusually for the Macedon Ranges the soils are Cambrian intermixed with patches of granite.
Ben Ranken and his wife Sally Richardson have owned the vineyard since 2014, lovingly nurturing it back to its full potential and renaming the property “Wilimee” under which they label their own wines.
Again, 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.
The classic 2017 season was a return to slow steady ripening providing low yields of concentrated grapes with beautiful balance and freshness, in this case around 1250kg per acre. 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 five or so hours.
The juice was then settled for 24 hours then racked with all but the very coarse solids to three seasoned Burgundian piece, and one 300l Stockinger Hogs Head. 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 6 months elevage. Before racking and bottling, unfined and unfiltered. The only addition to the wine is a small dose of sulphur the week before bottling.
As always, this wine is initially very closed, with crushed stone and snuffed match predominating over jasmine, citrus and lemon rind, opening to reveal more of the citrus fruit spectrum with some wild mint and coriander nuances. In the mouth, again very tight to begin, with piercing acidity wrapped within the other elements of the wine, relaxing to show the texture faintly gloss and the wine subtly mellow.
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