ABOUT THIS WINE
The Murdoch Hill vineyard is situated in the cool climate Adelaide Hills, near the township of Oakbank, in an undulating valley 420m in elevation. The soil structure is predominately sandy loam over medium clay subsoil’s, with varying levels of ironstone, quartz and schist rock. These vines are cane pruned with vertical shoot positioning (VSP) with extensive shoot thinning, canopy trimming and bunch thinning to control the yield. Additional vineyards were selected for this wine, including ones from the Lobethal District and the Piccadilly Valley. Each small parcel provides a different profile giving an overall complex wine, clonal material included Bernard clones 76, 96 with parcels from I10V1 and sparkling clone G9V7.
The fruit was hand-picked then kept in cold storage at two degrees for several days. The fruit was whole bunch and whole berry pressed straight to barrel with a mix of barriques, puncheons and foudre, with 15% new oak. The juice was fermented naturally with a small selection seeing partial malolactic fermentation.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
The Downer family has been farming the fertile soils of the Onkaparinga Valley since 1939. In this time, there have been many cattle grazing, hens laying, potatoes grown, and flowers picked, but in 1998 the family made the transition into grape-growing and haven’t looked back.
The estate vineyard is located behind the township of Oakbank, in the eastern Adelaide Hills. 20 hectares of sandy loam with influences of schist, shale rock-formations, pockets of sandstone and veins of quartz and ironstone, combined with an altitude of over 1100 feet, make for a great home for cool climate varieites: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah all grow happily – and organically – here.
Michael Downer, the youngest of his generation, studied winemaking at school. After getting a degree in oenology, Michael worked with Shaw + Smith (Adelaide Hills), Vietti (Barolo), and Best’s Great Western (Grampians) before joining the family winery in 2012. Michael is credited with the renaissance of Murdoch Hill, transforming the estate from a venerable wine grower to the producer of some of the most esteemed wines in the region.
He’s brought the winemaking in-house (it was previously done by a neighboring winery) and created a range of single-site, minimal intervention bottlings. He has also introduced into their winemaking native yeast and whole bunch ferments, extended skin macerations, old oak aging, and has eschewed fining and filtration.
The Australian wine industry has taken note: Downer was a Young Gun of Wine finalist in 2014, the winner of the “Winemaker’s Choice” award in 2015 and 2016, finally taking home the top prize in 2017.
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