HEADWATERS 2021 Nebbiolo
Nebbiolo is one of the wildest grapes to grow, in 1991 my father Norman planted a row of it at Eastern Peake after reading about its early bud burst & late ripening. A good clone went in under guidance by local retired viticulturist Max Loader, he was super passionate for people to plant Nebbiolo in around the Ballarat area. Unfortunately the climate proved much too cold for nebbiolo. Our one row is still there, it sets fruit most years & fails to ripen. Yet It's always been a huge interest to produce Nebbiolo after those formative years trying to grow it. 10 years ago it was great to be reacquainted with Cameron & Robert John father & son team (Trevor Mast connections) who have been pioneering Nebbiolo in the Pyrenees for many years now (Steve Pannell suggested they grow nebbiolo for Hardy’s back in the day) , I could only imagine how challenging it is year to year farming nebbiolo in the Landsbrough Valley. I can’t believe its almost been 10 years working with this site & producing nebbiolo, 3 Harvest dates over a month,
Fermentation was in open concrete fermenters (wax lined) very little whole bunch, pump overs twice daliy, extended maceration on each harvest 3wks, 4wks & 7 weeks, each batch basket pressed. élevage for 12 months in 500L puncheons & 600L demi's - estate bottled in July 2022 with a small amount of sulphur.
Mike Bennie - The Wine Front - Rated : 94 Points 14 July 2023.
Nebbiolo in Central Vic sounds like a hard graft but a row was planted at Eastern Peake in 1991 (wow!) and there was a few others who decided it might be worthwhile around there and hence we get this wine. Fermented in concrete, then hangs out in larger format oak barrels after. It’s been sitting in bottle a year too.
Scents of game meat, sour cherry, rosemary, undergrowth and turned earth. Go you good thing. Savoury, and so the palate follows, dry, a little dusty in crushed rock tannin, more game meat and sour cherry, rose hip tea, some prune, bloody things. I love it. Tannin is fine but firm, sweeps through the light juiciness of the palate, the length unreal with persistence of gamey things and pomegranate juice. Caveat of earth and bloody things maybe a quibble for some, no issue in terms of quality for me, a delightful thing to drink with its swashbuckling slash of fruit and savouriness.