From our newsletter The Tin Shed of 2014, the beginning of our “Mr Natural” range of wines…
For some time now we’ve been fermenting our reds using “natural ferments” – no added yeast. We wanted to see if we’d left anything behind taking this step so we divided our first pick of Shiraz into three batches. The first batch dubbed ‘Mr Natural’ was allowed to start fermenting naturally and although it took longer to get going, it completed fermentation close to the other two. The second had some nutrient added – still a natural ferment. The third had nutrient and yeast added. All the ferments progressed well, though at times the aromas and activity did vary. The batches were pressed separately and put into separate barrels. All have excellent colour (very important for tannin development) but have quite different flavour profiles. The natural ferments tend to be more savoury while the added yeast tends to create more fruity notes. The wines are still very young and not complete so it’s a bit too early to have a firm opinion on what might be best, but we will continue to explore and contemplate more natural, low input winemaking.
For the first time this year we also made a sparkling Rosé. It was inspired by a wine dinner we attend in January, hosted by wine judge and writer Mike Bennie. The wine dinner was titled “Wines you need to know about.” and started with sparkling wines made using the technique “methode ancestrale”. The wine is bottled before fermentation is complete, so bubbles are created in the bottle. These wines are often a Rosé made with no added yeast, no sulphur dioxide, unfined and drunk fresh, either during the vintage or in the following spring.
Our sparkling Rosé was made from a small batch of Tumbarumba Pinot Noir. Fermentation started like clockwork, but then at what point do you bottle the wine? It turns out we bottled a little too early – it’s rather (very) fizzy but it tastes very pleasant, fresh, fruity and refreshing. It is a little cloudy as the yeast lees have not been removed (as you would with “méthode champenoise” ) but I think this adds to its charm and character – as Neil points out its very much like a Coopers Sparkling Ale. It was available for tasting at the recent Wine Harvest Festival and
was very well received. So the challenge for next year is to tone down the bubbles and make it just as pleasant to drink.
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