From brand new businesses to others that have tended vines for decades, the new entries each year in the Halliday Wine Companion are always a mixed bag. Here, we chat to four of the stars from the latest edition.
Boydell’s, Hunter Valley, NSW
After being rated four and half stars for their first appearance in the Halliday Wine Companion, Boydell’s vigneron Daniel Maroulis is excited about what lies ahead. That includes a new cellar door and restaurant opening in Morpeth this spring, and excellent fruit from the 2019 vintage.
Q. Did you always think you would end up in wine?
A. As a kid from Bourke, we used to drive through the Hunter Valley on our annual family holidays and I always looked at the vineyards with lust in my eyes. Starting Boydell’s has certainly had its challenges, but anything worthwhile does. I’m excited for what we have in store!
Q. How do you explain the winemaking philosophy at Boydell’s?
A. I take a simple approach, letting the fruit shine with minimal assistance. So much care goes into the grape when it’s on the vine, I want our hard work to be showcased in every bottle. We work in small batches so we can give everything the attention it needs at each stage. We love to make wine that people get excited to drink.
Must try: The Boydell’s Sparkling Verdelho is a crowd favourite, and said to go especially well with fresh rock oysters or triple cream brie.
Eisenstone, Barossa Valley, SA
Named one of the 10 Best New Wineries in the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion, Eisenstone received a five-star rating for its debut in the guide. Winemaker Stephen Cook is a shiraz specialist, whose wines are available at their cellar door, Ironstone Cottage, on Tanunda’s main street.
Q. How did it feel to be named one of the 10 Best New Wineries?
A. It’s a fantastic recognition and endorsement for what we set out to establish. The response has been tremendous, with the next two vintages committed. Now it’s a case of holding back some wine so we can introduce new followers to our wines.
Q. What is the focus for your wines at Eisenstone?
A. The Eisenstone range is based on the special vineyards and subregions of the north-eastern Barossa Valley. Shiraz is the hero, and the wines produced so far showcase Ebenezer, Greenock and Seppeltsfield. The Marananga and Stockwell subregions will feature in future releases.
Hot tip: Stephen is excited by the wines they have in barrel from the 2019 vintage. Despite being a small vintage in the Barossa, he says it made up for it in colour and intensity.
Many Hands, Yarra Valley, VIC
Winemaker Tony Indomenico was thrilled that Many Hands was one of the 10 Best New Wineries in the 2020 Companion, saying the recognition helps keep the passion alive for what they do. Tony also believes that food, wine and people are the best parts of life.
Q. What can you tell us about your site in the Yarra Valley?
A. While looking for a new challenge in 2010, we found this great little vineyard. It was established in 1982, so that gave us a head start for the winery. Our focus is on the grapes in the vineyard, then ageing after fermentation, with Mother Nature our biggest challenge. The rest is the beginning of the adventure.
Q. What are you most excited about within your wine range?
A. Our chardonnay, rosé and shiraz are all coming up a treat. And our cabernet blends show aromas of blackcurrant, with subtle herbal notes from the old vines resulting from ageing in new barrels in our underground cellar. This wine pairs best with a Sicilian-based menu.
Must do: Visit this winery and enjoy the restaurant’s Sicilian-inspired food, together with their wines and views of the iconic Yarra Valley.
Serengale, Beechworth, VIC
Winemaker Gayle Taylor and viticulturist Serena Abbinga are thrilled at being named in the top 10 new wineries in the 2020 Halliday Wine Companion as recognition of their hard work and the quality of their vineyard, with their first wines grown and vinified on site in 2015.
Q. How do you describe your winemaking approach?
A. Our wines are hand made in the traditional way. It’s about expressing our vineyard and the season, intervening as little as possible. We rely on indigenous yeast and our wines are unfiltered. We work hard at oak balance using French oak.
Q. What can people expect from a visit to your winery?
A. We’re small and personal, so visitors get to meet us. The cellar door is a mezzanine in the winery with a view of the vineyard. Visitors get to experience the ambience of the winery, taste the wines and be able to pinpoint the exact location in the vineyard that the wine came from. Guests can stay at the vineyard at Serengale Retreat.
Don’t miss: The Serengale Beechworth Chardonnay (97 points), Beechworth Merlot Cabernet (96 points) and Beechworth Rosé (95 points) were the winery’s standouts in this year’s Companion.
*Wineries pay to be a part of this feature.