Growing up as kids there was a hill in Sydney we used to slide down on pieces of cardboard. That hill had a little patch with some Thompson seedless grapes growing wild. We’d have a nibble on these every now and then, and it was oft remarked how sweet and succulent these grapes were. These innocent beginnings were to lead to the greatness that has become Thousand Minarets.
25 years on from those cardboard rides, the hill was rediscovered, albeit in a run-down state. How would a vineyard go here? That was the question we posed to ourselves. The Thompson seedless still certainly tasted good and it was cheaper than buying a site that actually had pedigree. This was enough to see us purchase the hill and plant it to Cabernet and other Bordeaux varieties. Meanwhile that little patch of the Thompson seedless was to be retained and nurtured to add a certain je ne sais quoi to the vineyard.
We set about thinking of what wine we could make from this unique site and came up with Thousand Minarets. Brown explains, “There’s just so much inspiration out there at the moment. Whether it’s a Thousand Candles charging a premium price for a red wine with some non-descript white wine added, Parawa Estate charging $1100 for a wine produced from 5 year old vines, or Dave Powell flogging a $900 wine to fund $90,000 strip club benders, we’ve just had so much to draw from. At the end of the day, we settled on Thousand Minarets, which looks to bring the best elements of all those other wines into one”.
This lofty goal can only be underpinned by a special terroir. The hill itself is marked out by a unique buckshot gravel and a quaint little stream running through the middle of it. The stream can sometimes become a torrent when the stormwater drain at the top of the hill, an integral part of the Sydney sewer system, overflows. We think this only adds to the unique complexity of flavour the fruit displays. Some may call it funk.
The vineyard is hand tended. Hand pruned. And before being hand-picked, each bunch of grapes receives a gentle cupping. This cupping and picking only occurs on a crescent moon, after which the grapes are hand sorted by elves in the winery.
There is minimal winemaking. From vineyard straight to barrel. Frogs included. For oak treatment we bought the world’s most expensive Dominique Laurent oak, which leaks worse than an ALP cabinet meeting, but certainly helps justify the wine's price tag.
When assessing the overall cost of this labour of love, which was boldly looking to combine the best of Thousand Candles, Parawa Estate, and the Laird, we thought the best way to price our wine was simply to add the prices together. A clean $2,100 per bottle. We may not know our PHs from our P Diddys, but we know how to price a fine wine.
And where is my sample you may ask? Well this is the response Red gave, ”We refuse to have these wines regarded at a level below the finest red wines in the world. In blind tastings involving Masters of Wine, they have held their own or surpassed some of the iconic names, recognised by wine aficionados.” Or put another way, the wine is just going to Asian markets so no need to be giving you guys freebies, especially when we have an $2060 margin on each wine.
Thousand Minarets – taste the artifice
*Article embargoed in Australia until the first case is sold sight unseen on the Hong Kong market.