Chris Shanahan on our 2011 Williams Crossing releases…

Williams Crossing by Curly Flat Macedon Chardonnay 2011 $24

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“Curly Flat makes some of Australia’s most exciting, complex chardonnays. The second label, Williams Crossing, comprises material declassified from the Curly Flat label. But even these “offcuts” have been completely barrel fermented and matured, with all the hands-on winemaking attention of its more expensive cellar mate. That means one of the best value chardonnays on the market. In the cool 2011 vintage it’s perhaps a little leaner and tighter than usual with attractive grapefruit and melon varietal flavours woven through the rich barrel-derived texture. At two years’ age it’s brilliantly young and fresh, suggesting further evolution in bottle.”  

For our own tasting note please click here.

Williams Crossing by Curly Flat Macedon Pinot Noir 2011 $25

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“Curly Flat’s second label, Williams Crossing, is lighter bodied and paler coloured, but that was to be expected in such a cold vintage. Despite its comparative lightness, the 2011 delivers concentrated, definitive pinot flavour with a backbone of firm, fine tannins.”

For our tasting note please click here.

Courtesy of Chris Shanahan  Australian wine & beer judge, writer and connoisseur     www.chrisshanahan.com

Shortest day turns out to be the coldest! (so far)

We’ve had some good frosts this week at Curly Flat culminating in the hardest this morning where it got down to -5, poetically coinciding with the winter solstice.  Here are some photos from around the vineyard this morning that highlight we’re one of the coolest viticultural regions in Australia.

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Curly Flat’s Vintage Hall (our cellar door) sees the ‘cold’ light of day

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Frost hairs on the lyre trellis

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um, that’s cold!

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Frozen spider webbing

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Watch your step!

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Lyre, Lyre, certainly not on fire!

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Formerly known as grass

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Curly Flat comes to Cecconi’s July 1st – Degustation Menu

CF Cecconis Dinner

Date:  1st July 2013    Location: 61 Flinders Lane Melbourne Vic 3000  

Cost: $150.00 per person    Seating is limited, early bookings are essential.

Call for bookings on 03 8663 0500 or pay online.

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Appetizer / 1st Entree

Caramelised Scallops, pumpkin fondant, porcini, capers, chicken jus

2010 & 2011 Curly Flat Chardonnay

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2nd Entree:

Ravioli with braised rabbit, creamed beet leaves, shaved parmesan

2007 & 2009 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

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Main:

Herb crusted Lamb rack with braised neck, white bean and tomato ragu

2008 & 2010 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

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Dessert:

Formaggi – Cheese with apple and raisin chutney, quince paste and crackers

2010 Curly Flat “The Curly” Pinot Noir

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Vintage 2013 in barrel, Vintage 2014 is underway…

Now that the dust from Vintage 2013 has settled, we can now look back.

This harvest was the most contracted, in terms of the time taken between our first and last pick, since full production began in 2004.  By full production we mean when each of our 7 blocks each began producing wine grapes simultaneously, which usually takes up to 4 years from initial planting.  This years narrow picking window was not unique to our vineyard, but for the majority of viticultural Australia.  Nonetheless, our crop was kept in balance with the seasons particular ebb and flow which ultimately delivered fruit to the winery at an optimal balance between sugar (alcohol potential) and natural acidity.   Now that all wine is settled in barrel (or tank) for maturation, we are now getting a glimpse of what is ahead in terms of potential.  Whilst the road that lays ahead of these wines remains long, early indications are promising.  The last element missing from the wine now, is time, and for the only thing for that is to wait!  But as our custodial role in the winery continues, albeit at a calmer pace compared to harvest, the same cannot be said for the vineyard.  Although the vines are now dormant, we enter one of our busiest times in the vineyard with pruning. Marking the beginning of Vintage 2014,  correct, balanced, pruning sets the vine up for the best possible start come bud burst in September, and also well into the growing season.  Balanced vine equals balanced wine!  Pruning started this year on May the 29th.  We’ll post more on pruning and its importance in the coming weeks.

But to wrap up this Vintage just passed, we would like give special mention to the vintage crew of 2013.  Come to our cellar door and we’ll invariably talk about what a great team we have, who work day in, day out, to especially high standards, which we feel, reflects in the wine. Come to think of it might be fair to say we equally bottle passion as we do wine (if there’s a difference!)  But each vintage, to varying degrees, we need a few helping hands and this year we had one of the most diverse, yet wonderfully integrated vintage crews since being in the business.  We mentioned diverse, as the crew came from all over the world, Phillip described it as being akin to the United Nations.  With one major difference though, everyone got along!  Thanks for being part of our excellent team, whether it was in the vineyard or winery, or both.  An outstanding vintage is only made possible by an outstanding team. Well done, Bravo, 勇敢な & braver!

“The United Nations” were comprised as follows:

  • Louis       (France)
  • Pam         (USA)
  • Florence  (France)
  • Blair         (AUS)
  • Serge      (Switzerland)
  • Ilaria         (Italy)
  • Nicola      (France)
  • Sarah      (Japan)
  • Daniel     (Italy)
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From L to R: Lisa (CF), James (CF), Ilaria, Damien (CF), Sarah, Chris McK (CF) Lisa (CF Vineyard Manager), Nicola, Chris D (CF), Louis & Jenny (CF). At the front right is Daniel & Luke (CF). Thanks also go to the many hands that are not in this photo, too many to mention!

 

 

97 points for 2011 Curly Flat Chardonnay – Gourmet Wine Traveller, May 2013

2011 CF ChardonnayEDIT

 

 

As they say, nothing good comes easy.  With our 2011 vintage, that well worn adage transcended from philosophy to fact.  Despite 2011 being our most challenging vintage to date, we have managed to grow and craft some of our finest wines to date.  But that’s all fine for us to believe that, but nothing beats what you think or how a wine is actually received by the wine community.  So here is Bob Campbell MW & Huon Hooke’s perspective on our 2011 CF Chardonnay, courtesy of Gourmet Wine Traveller

2011 Curly Flat Chardonnay, Macedon Ranges Review

“Bright, light yellow colour; very subtle restrained aromas, fresh and citrusy, the oak is almost invisible.  In the mouth it’s precise and fine, long and refreshing.  A superb wine with a long future.”  97 Points  Cellar for: 9 years 

The 2011 Curly Flat Chardonnay will be officially released in August 2013.

Union Dining Comes to Curly Flat – Lunch Menu 5/5/13

As we welcome the return of Union Dining to Curly Flat, Chef Nicky Riemer with her flare for provincial European cuisine (along with her team) will provide a culinary backdrop to highlight the complexity and longevity of Curly Flat wines.

With the lunch long sold out, please find below the menu which celebrates the perennial union where inspired food & great wine meet…enjoy!

Union Dining comes to Curly Flat, Sunday May 5th 2013

2012 Curly Flat Pinot Gris (upon arrival)

 Ocean trout coulibiac, yabby & pear salad

2010 Curly Flat Chardonnay

2011 Curly Flat Chardonnay

 Confit rabbit & saucisse de Morteaux, roast beetroot & quinoa, pecorino

2008 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

2010 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

 Hopkins River brisket braised in Pedro Ximenez, onion soubise,

Otway shiitake mushrooms & crisp caperberries

Butter roasted cauliflower

2007 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

2009 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

Lancashire cheddar with spiced apple & currant pastries

1998 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

“Coulibiac” is a traditional Russian dish which is made up of fish rolled in crepes and baked in brioche.

“Soubise” is slowly cooked onions, cooked to a puree, not caramelised

Three years work in one month!

Over the last month a lot has happened as events involving three separate vintages simultaneously converged in that time.  Firstly we had our barrel declassification of the 2012 vintage where we decide which barrels are ready to bottle (for Williams Crossing) and which go on to become Curly Flat and remain in barrel for the next 9 months.  Classically speaking, the more you do something the easier it should become.  But with our barrel declassification it seems we are destined to walk a different path as the each year the overall quality improves gradually, making the decision of where to draw the line harder to make.  We aren’t complaining about it, and of course the opposite to that is true.  We are here to make the best wine we possibly can and we’re more than comfortable with this ‘predicament’.

From here we then also bottled our 2011 Curly Flat Pinot Noir and the 2011 ‘The Curly’ Pinot Noir.  It took us two full days to bottle this sublime vintage from one of our most challenging but also equally rewarding vintages to date.  A highly aromatic release bursting with berry cherry nose which is tensioned with savoury autumnal leaves and exotic spice that merge to create a palate of buoyant gravity.  You can’t have good Pinot Noir without at least facing one oxymoron!  As for the 2011 ‘The Curly’ Pinot Noir, we’ll reveal more on that over the months ahead…

For the final of our 3 years to justify the title of this blog, we are now harvesting our 2013 vintage where the cycle begins.  Well the cycle really begins back in September when the buds first break to herald the new vintage.  Or does it begin when the potential flowers are set for this vintage, two years ago?   Either way harvest 2013 is now underway and forgiving the above passages, it is my intention not to waffle on (for a change) but rather let photos do the talking!   We will talk more on the nature of the 2013 vintage over time and of course it is like any other year in that it is unlike any other…

VINTAGE 2013 – An Endless Summer

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This may be one of the defining photos of the 2013 vintage. The verdant canopy belies the fact that this photo was only taken yesterday (22/3/13).  Whilst Autumn is in the air, it’s most certainly not in the vineyard as the green spinnaker is out at full, guiding this vintage home.

GETTING READY

Fruit picking snips are clean and ready to go!

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A battalion of picking buckets awaiting further orders

One of our French interns, Louis, cleans up our fruit bins to be ready for fruit

VINEYARD SAMPLING

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Vineyard samples for testing. From our three varieties, we perform up to 26 separate tests (so far) determined by the variety, it’s clone and its specific location

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Hydrometry testing determines sugar levels, but sugar is only part of the ‘ripeness’ puzzle..

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Here we are testing the TA (Titratable Acidity) which gives an overall summation of the total combinant acids in the juice. This and the pH take equal importance to sugar. To determine ripeness by sugar alone can leave a wines potential akin to being a luxury yacht without either a rudder or sail. It may look good, but where’s it headed?!

IN THE VINEYARD

Pressure

Grape eats Leaf! Caught on film! 22/3/13

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Chardonnay merges with sunlight, showing aesthetics and function can be in the one package.  22/3/13

MORE TO COME! 

  • A day in the life in the vineyard at harvest.
  • Follow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Pinot Gris from the vineyard to the winery.