The philosophy behind our wines and driving our decisions for them is a very classical and traditional one. We are focused on the classic varieties of Margaret River – Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. We are aiming to produce the wines in a very traditional, old world manner to allow for their own individual voices to be heard most clearly, not to be the bearers of a heavy winery fingerprint. Purity of fruit, balance, elegance and delicacy. These are all focus points for our production.
Doing everything possible to achieve fruit quality at harvest as close to perfection as possible is the cornerstone of our fine wines. We work with leading growers located on favourable vineyard sites and do everything we can to ensure the fruit that arrives at the winery is in optimum condition.
So what does this mean exactly?
It means that we only work with indigenous yeasts which arrive on the skin of the grapes and bunches from the individual vineyard where they were harvested and then are encouraged to ferment those very same grapes. Through using the traditional technique of making a petit cuvee where a crate or two of perfect bunches, with not a blemish on them, are selectively harvested a week or so prior to harvest and crushed, in this case by hand, and a small and strong ferment begins. This highly active indigenous yeast ferment is added to the rest of the grapes when they arrive at the winery and allows for a sometimes slow-to-initiate wild ferment to begin immediately, avoiding the common 'lag phase' seen in most new world wild ferment wines where the juice is unprotected and potential spoilage can occur.
To more practical matters, all of our fruit is harvested by hand and processed in a basket press. This is the gentlest way of pressing grapes as there is no tumbling of stalks and skins involved which can extract harsh elements from the grapes themselves. The white grapes are all basket pressed as whole bunches with no destemming occurring at all. The resulting juice, whilst being lower in yield than if you were to destem the fruit, runs from the press truly bright and clear and is immediately transferred to barrels for ferment.
Our red grapes are gently destemmed direct to open fermenters with no pumping of the juice or must (mixture of grape juice, skins and seeds). As such the berries themselves are not even broken open during this destemming process. This allows for us control the level of extraction of, most importantly, the tannins of these grapes. Cooler ferment temperatures, hand plunging whereby the ferment is mixed to ensure even temperature and extraction from the floating grape skins, and once again gentle basket pressing, means we only extract wonderfully soft, dry, nutty tannins and as such we do not have to fine and filter harsh elements out of our wines which is the norm in conventional new world wine making.
Something important which we give our wines is time. Time to develop and evolve in our cool, temperature controlled cellar before being bottled. During each wine's time in the cellar they are racked once off their sediment by siphoning them via gravity from barrel to barrel, thus not subjecting them to the machinations of an electric wine pump.
All of our wines are bottled unfined, unfiltered and unadjusted. The only thing we add to the wines is a modest amount of sulphur once they are finished in order to protect them.
I believe that in delivering the wines to our customers in this way that we truly capture the essence of the individual vintage, region, subregion and right down to the individual block where the grapes came from for each wine.