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Wednesday 29 May 2024

Meet an ultra-micro producer with just one wine

TThere are boutique wine producers. There are micro producers and ultra-micro wine producers. 

Sons & Brothers Vineyard, maker of the Cabernet of Millthorpe in the Central West of New South Wales, are very much in the final category. 

Hands-on couple Christopher and Kathryn Bourke have been growing grapes at their two-hectare vineyard in the Orange wine region since 1981.

They have just one current release: a 2013 Cabernet blend that retails for $50. 

The couple deliberately release their wines after around a decade in bottke, believing they are at their best from 10-15 years of age. 

"Our Cabernet is exceptionally long lived," says Christopher, "and this is due on part to our unusual closure. This consists of a stainless steel crown cap that is placed over a a tin screw cap wad, which produces a very robust and reliable closure with an indefinite cellaring life".

The Cabernet of Millthorpe is a single vineyard wine, a bottle-aged, medium-bodied blend with a small amount of tempranillo and savagnin blended with the dominant cabernet to add textural interest. 

The couple describes the climate at Millthorpe as being like that of Beaujolais, in France, also known for its nimble, lighter-bodied reds.

So what does it taste like at 11 years of age? It is a very smooth and silky number, with intense flavours but lovely balance, making it very food friendly. 

The cool growing conditions mean the Bourkes ferment the fruit on skins for 28 days in open-topped vessels and use just a tad of  French oak (only 5-15% new) to allow the wine to be fruit forward and reflect its terroir.

The wine is only made in good years, hence there were no releases in 2011 or 2012.

This is extremely interesting and about as Burgundian as cabernet can get. 

The wine can be tried at at Ferment (The Orange Wine Centre), 87 Hill Street Orange. Ferment is open from Monday to Saturday between 11am and 8pm. Chris Bourke is at Ferment most Saturdays.

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