The opportunity to work with the Yarra Valley’s Rising Vineyard was too good for local Tom Belford to refuse. When the winemaker was offered the job of bringing this special site to life, Tom found it hard to say no. “It was a game-changer – 100 per cent I wanted to be involved in that,” Tom says.
The Rising Vineyard has long been a favourite for some of the region’s greatest producers, planted with the region’s hero grape varieties alongside others a little less expected. Pinot noir and chardonnay shine, but so too do semillon, gewurtztraminer and riesling in the whites, plus shiraz and merlot.
Fruit from each of these vines has gone into two new 2018 Small Batch blends. The Small Batch Red is drawn from a single block (‘425’) of pinot noir and shiraz planted side by side. “I think the shiraz here does elegance and purity so much more readily than Yarra Valley pinot,” Tom says, acknowledging this is a contentious statement. The crisp Small Batch White, meanwhile, reflects the whole Rising property. “The vineyard just says ‘Let’s make it!’” Tom says. The aim behind Rising is to create different expressions of the Yarra Valley, with the gamay and cabernet franc in the range reflective of this approach. “I thought I was going to lose my job when I made that cab franc!” Tom says. “It was super weird and pale orange, so I thought: What have I done?” But this wine found a following fast, along with the gamay, which undergoes carbonic maceration. The gamay is also close to Tom’s heart, having lived for some time in the variety’s home of Beaujolais in France.
Tom is excited about letting the Rising Vineyard sing through the key local varieties of pinot noir and chardonnay, as well as in the innovative blends, which are the wines that truly represent the Rising philosophy. “I want to bring some thoughtfulness to the process and find ways to do a little bit less to the wines along the way,” he says. “I’m very much wanting to be led by the vineyard.”
THE RISING RANGE
2018 Rising Gamay, $35
A generous and fun wine – a passion project for winemaker Tom Belford.
2018 Rising Cabernet Franc, $35
Delicate and expressive, this wine fills the mouth with flavour.
2017 Rising Chardonnay, $30
A complex wine marrying careful winemaking with rich fruit.
2018 Rising Pinot Noir, $30
A wine that draws you in. Richly fruited, structured and intriguing.
2018 Small Batch White, $30
A field blend of the various white grape varieties planted on the Rising Vineyard.
2018 Small Batch Red, $30
This wine blends pinot with shiraz, which grow side by side on the same block.
This article was produced by Halliday Wine Companion in partnership with Rising Wines.