Sunday, 28 March 2021

Four decades of refinement pays quality wine dividends

Pioneering Orange winemaker Stephen Doyle takes a different approach to his cool-climate riesling - an approach that has paid major dividends over almost four decades. 


Doyle releases his Bloodwood rieslings with a couple of years of bottle age - the 2018 ($32) has just hit the market - and he is constantly seeking to refine the style. 



The Bloodwood vineyard was planted in 1983 and Doyle admits that it took 10 to 15 years to really understand the vineyard in order to define his approach. 


"The Bloodwood style moved around a bit in the early years as we gained experience and a better understanding of our site," he says. 


“Ideally, riesling, regardless of residual [sugar] , should sit on a knife’s edge between fruit and acidity with the taster constantly questioning that fine line.

“Over the years I’ve been working a little more on the mid-palate in order to build texture. The current style works best with the grapes from our unique site. 

"We concentrate on a clean, efficient ferment minimising volatile acidity and extended ferment character. We’ve been building texture on the mid-palate since 2008, giving the wine at least six months on fine lees.”

The Scott Henry-trellised riesling vineyard sits on the higher reaches of the Bloodwood property. 

“The soil is very low-vigour, calcareous laminated silt stone and shale, the vines are all hand-pruned and hand-picked, and grown using organic principles, only ever using copper and sulphur sprays, and only if we have to,” Doyle says.

“It’s a variable site, so each vine is pruned according to its vigour, with the aim to produce around 4000 litres from the 0.8-hectare block. 

"The deep, free-draining warm gravels of Bloodwood give Riesling an austerity and fruit density which remains rare in Australian styles.

“The Orange region is in its infancy and is still working out how to grow the traditional varieties.This needs time.” 

Both the 2018 and the 2010 are wines of rare style and substance - designed for aficionados.

The Bloodwood wines are distributed directly from the winery via Bloodwood’s website www.bloodwood.biz

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