Sunday, February 15, 2015

Murdoch Hill - 2013 The Landau Syrah (Adelaide Hills)

Murdoch Hill is a relatively new name to me, but it’s a winery with a bit of history, a good family story, and importantly some exciting wines.

I visited the winery in November last year, where I was hosted by Charlie Downer, the family patriarch, and his son Andrew who looks after the marketing for the winery. The farm has been run by the Downer family since the 1930s, with cattle one of the mainstays till the present day. Vines were planted in 1998, and for a number of years the wine was made offsite.

The site itself is a gently sloping one, with soil types varying between blocks. It is predominantly sandy loam of red clays, with varying levels of quartz, ironstone and schist metamorphic rock. The Red varieties are typically planted on the hardy shallow soils, and the Chardonnay and Sauvignon on the more fertile richer soils

2012 marked a significant turning point for Murdoch Hill with the return home of winemaker Michael Downer (Andrew’s brother). Michael had worked at a number of wineries both in Australia and overseas, including Shaw & Smith in the Adelaide Hills, Vietti in Piedmont, and Bests in the Grampians. He evidently learnt a thing or two during that time, for the range of wines that he has produced from the 2013 and 2014 vintages are very impressive.

Highlights include the 2013 Cronberry Shiraz, a cracking entry level wine, that finds that great balance between ripe fruit and elegance. The 2014 The Surrey Pinot Meunier is a unique, delicious, and highly drinkable wine.

Perhaps my favourite wine, however, is the 2013 Landau Syrah - the fruit for this wine comes off a part of the vineyard heavy with Ironstone. The grapes are hand tended and picked, before undergoing ferment with 50% whole bunch and then being aged in old french oak. It opens with a seductive nose, with the whole bunch seemingly having contributed to a berry perfume tinged with pepper and meatiness. To drink it is loose knit and medium bodied but displays perfectly ripe fruit. It’s underpinned by an unforced and integrated acidity and finishes with impressive length. So drinkable, but will be better again in a few years time.

Rated: 4 Stars +
RRP: $50
ABV: 13%
Closure: Diam
Drink: 2015-2020+


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