The Beast - Skin Fermented Verdelho - 2018
Hunter Valley, New South Wales
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Once upon a time, in a wine region not too far away (The Hunter Valley), a winemaker and his daughter were walking through their winery when they stumbled across 'The Beast'.
The young girl, a devoted fan of the fairytale 'Tinker Bell and the legend of the Neverbeast', mistook her father's two 600L concrete eggs for those from which the 'Neverbeast' was born. An enchanting catalyst to which would soon hatch a new vinous adventure amongst friends, fruit and region.
University pals; Dave Kynaston, Sam Bowman and James Becker discovered a mutual love for wines of place, purpose and potential energy during their studies. What started as a passion project, became the idea to transfer the potential energy of a vineyard and bring life to the magical Concrete Eggs crafted by Loire's own Marc Nomblot, as imagined my James' curious daughter.
Stick your head into a vat of fermenting grape juice and you’ll see plenty of motion. In stainless steel tanks the motion is kind of left to right and sediment from dying yeast cells form and fall. Known as Bâtonnage, some winemakers stir the fermentation so thatthe lees can circulate to promote complexity of flavour and a developed mouthfeel.
In a concrete egg however, the juice motion is more of a 'hands-free' swirl, circling from top to bottom, naturally stirring the sediment to produce complexity and texture—it's celestial!
Still porous and allowing micro-oxygenation, the walls of concrete eggs can be up to six inches thick providing a measure of natural insulation from outside temperatures whilst retaining clarity of fruit characteristics.
Hand harvested Verdelho from organic, sandy loam soils of the Ablington Vineyard at 110m elevation in the Hunter Valley.
Destemmed, basket pressed and wild fermented in a 1 tonne open top fermenter for 10 days on skins, was then transferred to concrete egg to commence natural stirring for 3 months. Each egg was then raised by forklift and the resulting wine gravity run to bottle.
Unfiltered, unfined and no added SO2
1769 bottles produced, labeled, numbered by hand.
Full skin contact verdelho out of Broke in Hunter Valley off the Tinonee Vineyard. Spends seven days on skins in open fermenters then sent to ceramic egg to mature. A great use of Hunter Valley verdelho, one could say.
Pretty perfume here, tropical fruits but also a faint nuttiness, oatmeal, light toast, lots going on and attractive to start. Juicy in the palate, very fresh, very frisky, imbued with tropical fruitiness but also has a nice sour, herbal tang going on. Good length too. Complex, excellent drink. - Mike Bennie http://www.winefront.com.au/from-sunday-the-beast-2018/