Cart 0 items: $0.00

Balgownie Estate

Reviews and Blog


 

Simon Wiener
 
2 May 2019 | Simon Wiener

Review of the 2018 Nouveau Syrah

Read the review of our brand new release Nouveau Syrah from Qwines.

"The type of wine to keep punters happy at a wine bar or a lazy night in. A great little drink.

Medium bodied, fresh with plenty of energy, red fruits scream for attention. Think strawberries, red cherries and red currants. White pepper, some char and crunchy red apple acidity add further pleasure. A little texture for good measure coupled with a whole lot of slurp factor, another glass please.

Drink now to three years. 90/100."

Avaliable to purchase online or visit our Cellar Door in the Yarra Valley or Bendigo for a taste.
 

Time Posted: 02/05/2019 at 9:42 AM
Simon Wiener
 
10 April 2019 | Simon Wiener

Try our Nouveau Syrah

The Nouveau Syrah is a light and delicious style of Shiraz that is packed with delicate fruit flavours of raspberry, cherry, strawberry with a hint of spice. On the palate the wine is elegant and refreshing with soft tannins and balanced acid. A food-friendly wine that does not require cellaring and is designed to be early-drinking. Limited amount available.

Available to purchase online or at the Cellar Door in the Yarra Valley or in Bendigo

Time Posted: 10/04/2019 at 10:00 AM
Simon Wiener
 
19 January 2019 | Simon Wiener

Try our Inaugural Release Cabernet Franc & Syrah

Cabernet Franc is a very ancient grape, usually thought of as a French variety, however recent studies have concluded that it likely originated in Spain. Although it is probably best recognized as a one of the varieties that constitute a traditional ‘Bordeaux blend’ along with the better known components Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec, Cabernet Franc has a major role in the Loire Valley appellations of Bourgueil, Chinon and Saumur. It is also a major variety of the rosé Cabernet d'Anjou.

Cabernet Franc buds and matures earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon and is often viewed as an insurance policy against the results of poor weather. It is popular in cooler areas and the resultant wines for Cabernet Franc tend to be lighter in colour and in tannin with aromas of currants, cherries, plums and spice with an herbaceous touch.

Despite Cabernet Franc being one of the varieties brought to Australia by James Busby in 1833 it was never widely planted in Australia, with most of the fruit being used in a traditional Bordeaux Blend. It is only in more recent times that winemakers have begun to experiment and produce a straight varietal of Cabernet Franc.

The Cabernet Franc grown in Bendigo has always been a little reluctant to shine and produce it’s best. However the outstanding vintage conditions in 2017 resulted in exceptional grapes that allowed the production of a varietal Cabernet Franc (with a touch of Shiraz) for the first time. This is a lovely smooth wine with flavours of blueberries, mulberry, juniper and allspice are wrapped around a savoury core with well-balanced and fine tannins

Cellar Door Price $29 per bottle

Platinum Wine Club $21.75 per bottle

Time Posted: 19/01/2019 at 3:29 PM
Simon Wiener
 
12 January 2019 | Simon Wiener

Read Andrew Graham's Review of the 2016 Estate Chardonnay from Yarra Valley

Here is what Andrew Graham wrote about the 2016 Balgownie Estate Chardonnay Yarra Valley in the Oz Wine Review.

"Who doesn’t like chunky, old school Chardonnay? This is open, and generous, flush with white peach, vanilla bean oak all over the nose, the palate tauter through the finish than the juicy peach fruit suggests. Old school width, meets new school acidity. It falls just a little into tinned cream peaches, but plenty of flavour." Best drinking: Now and for the nest 2-3yrs. 90/100.

Time Posted: 12/01/2019 at 9:00 AM
Simon Wiener
 
7 September 2018 | Simon Wiener

2016 Estate Chardonnay is a Best Buy

We are thrilled that Australian Gourmet Traveller has included our 2016 Estate Chardonnay Yarra Valley as part of their Best Buys. Read their review:

“With its complex, roasted bread and toasted hazelnut bouquet, this is a beguiling wine. Delicious and refined with the full gamut of chardonnay complexities. Generosity delivered with finesse.” 94 points.

Time Posted: 07/09/2018 at 2:22 PM
Simon Wiener
 
21 July 2018 | Simon Wiener

Single Vineyard Shiraz Reviews

Read some of the exceptional reviews for the new release Single Vineyard Shiraz from Balgownie Estate's Bendigo Vineyard.

 

2015 Centre Block Shiraz

James Halliday's Review:

"This is a looser knit single-site Bendigo shiraz than its brethren. The result is a choir of violet, iodine and blue fruits, lifted by a skein of white pepper melded to transparent acidity and moderate tannins. Slightly reduced, echoes of Northern Rhone in its potential, floral aromatics. Will age beautifully. 96/100"

Jeremy Oliver's Review:

“Assertive and sumptuous, this powerfully flavoured shiraz tempers its intensity with elegance and savoury qualities. Scented with musky spices, cracked pepper and deep dark plum, blackberry and cassis-like scents, it’s supported by fresh, smoky cedar/chocolatey oak. Its intense core of black, blue and red fruit extends long and assertive down a firmish, powdery spine, culminating in a long, faintly mineral finish." 94/100.

Qwines Review:

"Dark fruit gets in deep. Really deep. Whiffs of sandalwood plays its hand but sits alongside the fruit. Still tight through the mouth, aging beyond a decade is not out of the question. Soft baking spices curl around the mouth with dark chocolate dotted amongst the landscape delivering a wine oozing charisma. Oh, I could kick back by the fire with a glass or three of this.
Drink now but it will be better with more time in bottle for a decade." 93/100

 

 

Cellar Door Price $65 per bottle

Platinum Wine Club $48.75 per bottle

 

2015 Railway Block Shiraz

James Halliday's Review:

“The most concentrated of the single block Shiraz pillars, this leaves the lifted, floral aromatics behind in a journey to shiraz’s world of spice: clove, anise, turmeric and black pepper. There are generous fruit flavours from the blue to black spectrum, yet the overall experience is one of energy, herb and power." 94/100.

Qwines Review:

"Hold in two hands and embrace. What a beauty this is! The first release of the Railway Block and what a debut!
As with the Centre Block and Rock Block, this is dense, generous but carries a luscious factor all to its own. Milk chocolate, dark plums, sandalwood and baking spice aromas - so much going on. Things just mesh in a relaxed and effortless manner. The mouth is filled joyously tinged with delicate spices on exit which hang long. An absolute beauty.
Drink now to a decade." 94/100.

Huon Hooke's Review:

“Deep red colour with a good tint of purple. The bouquet is fragrantly spicy and ripe, rich and plummy, with some undergrowth accents. The wine is medium to full-bodied and soft, fleshy and savoury, the palate finishing with some peppery graphite notes and a trace of pleasant bitterness. It's really nicely balanced and approachable now." 91/100 Drink 2018 to 2030.

 

 

Cellar Door Price $65 per bottle

Platinum Wine Club $48.75 per bottle

 

2015 Rock Block Shiraz

James Halliday's Review:

“This site is a tough position in which the vines struggle to embed their root system. The wine is a highly savoury blend of black olive and anise, impeccably balanced and sinuous, spiralling across the mouth as it tries to shed its firm carapace of moreish tannins and marked acidity." 94/100.

Qwines Review:

"Cedar, black olive, cola, plums, dark berry fruit. Some cured meat too. There's a tension in the mouth which time should release. Chalky and dusty tannins to finish." 91/100.

 

 

Cellar Door Price $55 per bottle

Platinum Wine Club $41.25 per bottle

 

Currently these wines are only available online as an exclusive pre-release offer to members of the Platinum Wine Club for a limited time (August 31st).

If you are a member, please login to purchase. Or why not join the Platinum Wine Club and recieve a 25% discount on you wine purchases, plus other great benefits.

Time Posted: 21/07/2018 at 9:08 AM
Simon Wiener
 
23 June 2018 | Simon Wiener

Why Winemakers Love Chardonnay

Despite being grown in Australian vineyards since the arrival of the First Fleet, chardonnay really only became popular in the 1970s and subsequently sales boomed through the 1980s. Today chardonnay is the second most widely planted variety in Australia (behind shiraz), with almost 32 000 hectares currently under vine.

Chardonnay is not only loved by wine drinkers, but it is also a favourite of winemakers and grape growers alike, and there are two major reason for this. The first reason is its ease of cultivation. Chardonnay is able to adapt to many conditions and hence is found in vineyards with very diverse climates – from the cold of Tasmania to the warmth of the Riverland. Many grape varieties are not capable of this, with varieties like pinot noir performing best in a cooler climate.

The different climates where chardonnay is grown are also reflected in the finished wine. Chardonnay from cooler climates taste more of gooseberry, grapefruit and lime, while warmer climates produce chardonnay with flavours of tropical fruit and rockmelon.

The second reason that winemakers love producing chardonnay is due to its malleability. There are a range of different winemaking practices that can be utilised in its production. This gives winemakers the opportunity to endlessly experiment with these different techniques. Some of the major winemaking techniques used in the production of chardonnay are:

  • Oak Contact. Oak barrels can be produced from trees grown in many different countries such as America, France, Slovenia, Germany or Russia. Most winemakers in Australia prefer the more delicate flavours that French oak imparts to their chardonnay, but even with French oak there are options and differences depending on where the oak is grown. The oak barrels can be used during fermentation or for storage post-fermentation. There are many further nuances about the topic of oak use in winemaking, which will be explored in a later post.
  • Wild Yeast. Most wine is produced using cultured yeasts that have predictable behaviour, produce known characters and aromas in finished wine, and will tolerate a high alcoholic-strength environment. But wine can also be produced using the natural yeast strains that occur in the vineyard and winery. These wild or indigenous yeasts often produce some unusual flavours (often termed funky) that can add extra complexity to the finished wine.

  • Time on Lees. Called sur lie in French, this involves leaving the dead yeast cells, skin, pulp and grape seeds (collectively known as lees) that collects at the bottom of a vessel after fermentation in contact with the wine for two to twelve months (in some styles, even longer). The presence of the lees improves mouthfeel, by creating a creamy texture in the wine, as well as adding cream and yeast flavours. Often times lees-stirring (or bâtonnage), where the lees are regularly mixed in the barrel or tank, is also cemployed: this prevents the formation of off-putting hydrogen sulphide characters in the wine. Leaving a wine on lees also encourages malolactic fermentation to commence (see below).

  • Malolactic Fermentation. This is a secondary fermentation that usually occurs after the primary (alcoholic) fermentation is completed. During malolactic fermentation (MLF or malo in Australia), specific strains of bacteria convert the stronger, harsher malic acid to the softer lactic acid. The fermentation is carried out by lactic acid bacteria which are usually naturally present in the winery, however MLF can be induced using cultured bacterial strains. As well as reducing the acidity in the wine, a by-product called diacetyl is produced - which is the distinctive buttery character often seen in chardonnay.

These are a variety of these techniques that the winemakers at Balgownie use in the production of out two Estate chardonnays. As these two wines originated from two very different climates – the Yarra Valley and Bendigo – they employ slightly different winemaking techniques.

2016 Estate Chardonnay – Yarra Valley

Grown in the cooler Yarra Valley, this chardonnay was fermented with wild yeast to add complexity to the finished wine. It spent 11 months on less while maturing in French oak barrels – a combination of 30% new barrels and 70% old barrels. To maintain the freshness of the wine and its crisp acidity, the Yarra Valley Chardonnay did not go through malolactic fermentation.

2016 Estate Chardonnay – Bendigo

The warmer climate in Bendigo tends to produce riper and richer fruit that results in a heavier wine. The Bendigo Chardonnay was partially fermented with wild yeast and partially with cultured yeast before spending 11 months on lees. The wine was matured in a combination of new and old French oak barrels. This wine also did not go through malolactic fermentation to preserve the natural grape acidity and freshness.

Time Posted: 23/06/2018 at 2:48 PM
Simon Wiener
 
9 January 2018 | Simon Wiener

2014 Estate Cabernet is Now Avalaible at Cellar Door

Visit the Yarra Valley Cellar Door over the holidays and try our fabulous new relesase 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Read the oustanding reviews:

“Born from vines that average almost 50 years of age, this is a big bold cabernet of deep concentration, lavish, palate-sticking tannins and ferrous, savoury character. It’s heady in perfume of blackcurrants, plums, gum leaf and blonde tobacco. The palate is an assertive thrust of choc-berry flavours, sweet earthiness and rib-sticking, tacky-textured tannins. It’s a wine of immense presence now, and should be tamed gradually with cellaring, to reveal more nuance and detail.” Mike Bennie, Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine June/July 2017

"It’s a big black beast of a red, hints of bitumen accentuating the ripeness. Again, however, it’s pulled back from the edge of overripeness by the depth of fruit and grippy tannins. It’s just a fraction too warm this vintage, a little bit soupy on the edges. Impressive concentration can’t be sneezed at however – it goes on and on, and deserves plaudits on depth of flavour alone. Best drinking: 2019-2033. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $45. Would I buy it? A glass." Andrew Graham, Australian Wine Review.

James Halliday’s 2018 Wine Companion - Rating 91

 

Awards:

  • 2016 Ballarat Wine Show Trophy for Best Other Red Wine
  • 2016 Daylesford Wine Show Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

 

Time Posted: 09/01/2018 at 2:19 PM
Simon Wiener
 
22 December 2017 | Simon Wiener

2014 Estate Shiraz is Now Avaliable in Cellar Door

Visit the Yarra Valley Cellar Door over the holidays and try our fabulous new relesase 2014 Estate Shiraz.

Read the oustanding reviews:

“As ever a big wine, but not ugly. Dark fruit, dark chocolate oak, dark, warming flavours. There’s an effortless blackness here – a deep, all consuming black, licoricey, almost tarry width. It’s fractionally boozy, but not dessicated, just driven by black, almost molasses intensity. Packs a massive wallop of flavour, with a length that is something else. Impressive, but can you forgive the alcohol warmth in a quest for length like that? I can. Will live forever too. Best drinking: 2020-2034. 18/20, 93/100. Would I buy it? A glass or two now, more later.”                     Andrew Graham, Australian Wine Review.

James Halliday’s 2018 Wine Companion - Rating 93

Awards:

2016 Ballarat Wine Show Trophy for Best Wine of Show
2016 Ballarat Wine Show Trophy for Best Shiraz
2016 Ballarat Wine Show Trophy for Best Regional Shiraz
2016 Small Winemakers Show Top Gold in Two Year Old Shiraz

 

 

Time Posted: 22/12/2017 at 4:02 PM
Simon Wiener
 
26 October 2017 | Simon Wiener

Balgownie Estate Merlot is Released

Merlot is one of the most planted premium grape varieties in the world, best known for being a component in Bordeaux blends. The Merlot grape is thought to be the result of a natural cross between Cabernet Franc and another unidentified grape, making it a sibling (or step-sibling) to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Regularly vinified together, Merlot has several advantages over Cabernet Sauvignon as it ripens earlier and more quickly, as well as providing slightly higher yields. The finished wine that Merlot produces is softer and rounder with gentle tannins that provides a contrast to the heavier more structured Cabernet Sauvignon.  These characteristics have seen the grape being widely planted in both Old and New World countries.

Merlot is in fact the third most planted red variety in Australia behind Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, with 10 537 hectares under vine. Despite this popularity Merlot is yet to really find a definitive regional home in Australia, with most of the fruit being used to soften Cabernet Sauvignon. When used in a varietal wine the results have tended to produce soft and fruity wines designed to be drunk young.

The first Merlot vineyard was planted in the mid 70’s at Balgownie Estate on clay soils with alluvial gravel at Bendigo. As the vines matured the potential for Merlot grown in Bendigo became apparent and led to further plantings in 1997. The objective at Balgownie has always been not to make a Merlot in the typical soft, fruity, easy drinking style, but to make a bigger, richer, age worthy style that would demonstrate the capabilty of the variety and the potential of the vineyard site. 

To produce our Estate Merlot it is crucial that all the elements come together in the vineyard. This is such a unique wine that it can only be produced in an outstanding vintage where the levels of sunlight, warmth and rainfall all conspire to produce flawless grapes. The yields in the vineyards are kept very low, around one tonne to the acre, to build flavour, complexity and intensity in the fruit. To retain these qualities, the fruit is hand picked before being transported immediately to the winery.

Once in the winery the fruit is destemmed and gently crushed to open fermenters where it slowly fermented over 21 days. During the fermentation process, traditional hand plunging techniques were used to maximise extraction from the skins. The finished wine was aged in a combination of new and old French barriques for 14 months before being bottled.

The new release of the 2015 Estate Merlot is faithful to our objective and is a rich and opulent wine with layers of complex flavours supporting an appealing and savoury palate with fine tannins. This a wine to enjoy with a good meal and good friends or it will comfortably cellar for 6 to 8 years.

2015 Estate Merlot

Cellar Door Price $45 per bottle
Platinum Wine Club Members $33.75 per bottle
Wine Club Members $38.25 (as part of a dozen bottles)

Time Posted: 26/10/2017 at 2:35 PM