Book, stay, enjoy. That's

Sunday 19 November 2023

Sparkling star Clover Hill takes a different direction

Leading Tasmanian sparkling wine producer Clover Hill has unveiled a major change in direction. 

Clover Hill, which has been at the vanguard of Australia's cool-climate winemaking wave for three decades, is to cease making vintage wines in commercial quantities and focus on crafting multiple vintage, or MV, sparkling wines. 

Winemakers Robert Heywood and Ben Howell, along with general manager Ian White, announced the changes, which are aimed at producing stellar sparkling wines with "freshness and consistency".

The move is in direct contrast to rival producers big and small - from House of Arras to Henskens-Rankin - where making vintage wines that age gracefully is very much the focus. 

The Pipers Brook-based producer will still make some small-batch vintage wines for cellar door and wine club members, but not for public sale. 

And Heywood says that while a vintage wine from an exceptional vintage down the track may occur, attention will now be focused firmly on MV wines. 

The flagbearer is the Clover Hill MV Exceptionelle - a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier that certainly offers excellent value for an RRP of $45-50. The current release is a very fresh, chardonnay-driven aperitif style.  

Owned by Goelet Wine Estates family (Taltarni and Clos du Val in California), Clover Hill's first vintage was in 1991, well before Tasmania became an industry darling for its precise cool-climate wines.

Ian White and Robert Heywood 

Heywood says the aim is to produce wines that consistently reflect the terroir of Tasmania, regardless of who the winemaker is - and there have been several over 30+ years.

Wines will be strongly chardonnay-dominant with 10 hectares of extra vines being planted to keep up with demand. 

The Clover Hill team says it wants to demystify wine and that reserve wines held on lees in tanks under pressure, blended with the base wine from a specific vintage will ensure freshness and character and help deliver a house style consistently, year in, year out. 

The baseline blend will be around 65% of the current vintage and 35% from the two previous vintages. 

The multi-vintage concept will transition across the entire portfolio over the next 3-4 years - so if you have a favourite vintage style that you want to cellar, it may pay to pick some bottles up sooner rather than later. 

"This is a new philosophical approach and a sharpening of winemaking focus to improve quality and consistency," says White. "We can help change the narrative from winemaker to defining the house style."

Heywood points out that 95% of wines from Champagne are non-vintage wines that reduce fluctuations in style. 

"We have some of the best sparkling wine fruit in the world," he says. "And we will be able to release them at the optimum date. It's an exciting time for us with a lot of upside."

Still in the planning stage are ideas to ensure correct stock rotation and labelling, that reflects the date a particular wine was disgorged. 






No comments:

Post a Comment