10th May 2015
The South Gippsland Wine Company is the parent company for Caledonia Australis and Mount Macleod wines.
The vineyards that make up the estate started life as a project to supply Bass Philip Winery with fruit grown in close-planted vineyards in the early 1990s. In 2008/2009, Mark Matthews purchased the vineyards and then the winery/brands.
The focus here is on the Burgundian varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Mount Macleod being the more approachable (and less expensive) brand.
Mark was in town a little while ago to show the current releases. These were predominantly from the 2012 vintage, which turned out to be a good year. There was delayed flowering, but the weather held to allow for picking of excellent quality grapes in April. Given that many other regions harvested in February that year, it demonstrates the cool climate nature of the region.
The wines were uniformly good to very good. The Mount Macleod represents good value early drinking. It is my view, however, that it is worth paying a little extra for the Caledonia Australis range. These wines are not Burgundies, but they are fine examples of good Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Given the discount available from the website, these wines represent very good value!
N.B. This was not a blind tasting, so the usual caveats apply to my points.
Mount Macleod – Chardonnay – 2012 (17 – 17.5). Leaner fruit on the nose; this is quite fine and elegant. The palate has spice and almond meal characters and has a degree of viscosity in the way it coats the mouth. The fine, crisp acidity carries the near seamless finish. (RRP $26: $18 from the winery).
Caledonia Australis – Chardonnay – 2012 (17.5 – 18). Compared to the Mount Macleod, there is more intensity to the fruit here on both the nose and palate. Peach, apricot, citrus and grapefruit are apparent, whilst the finish is long and savoury. There is lovely line and length here with some pineapple, cashew nut and mineral notes to close. (RRP $36: contact winery for pricing).
Mount Macleod – Pinot Noir – 2013 (17.5). Bright, fresh cherry fruit to the fore, with savoury notes adding interest. The palate has spice characters and decent texture, with a savoury lift. Whilst it is not overly dense, it is delicious and succulent. Acidity to close keeps thing fresh. Great value (RRP $26: $18 from the winery).
Caledonia Australis – Pinot Noir – 2012 (18). Like the Chardonnay, there is greater density to the fruit apparent here. Cherry, savoury spice, earthy notes and restrained oak all gel into a long, savoury, almost ethereal palate. Fine and tight, this is excellent. The souring tannins and acid add life, ensuring longevity. Balanced but needs time. (RRP $36: $28 from the winery).