Australia’s renowned winery Shaw + Smith has just purchased a new vineyard in the “highest and wettest” part of Adelaide Hills to make cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the winery’s co-founder Michael Hill Smith MW has revealed.
The purchase was finalised last month for a new plot of vineyards measuring around 5 to 6 ha in Piccadilly Valley, a sub-zone inside Adelaide Hills that primarily focuses on sparkling wine production using Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
“Things are warming [up] as we know…Piccadilly is the highest and wettest part and we just felt that for a company that takes wines as seriously as we do, not to have a terrific vineyard in Piccadilly would be a mistake. It has just taken us a while to find the right site,” Smith explained on the decision.
Founded in 1989, the winery has earned a reputation for producing Burgundian style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from its 55 ha Lenswood and Balhannah vineyards.
With global warming, he observed picking time came usually two weeks earlier than before. As a result, “we are going higher and cooler,” he explained.
“For me the type of wine we want to make in the end is gonna come from cooler sites cause we like Pinot and Chardonnay. They are well suited to cooler places,” he continued.
Therefore, Piccadilly, located 400-600 meters above sea level, becomes a natural fit.
The potential of Piccadilly for making top quality cool-climate wines has not gone unnoticed. In fact in 2002 Brian and Ann Croser united with Champagne Bollinger and Cazes family, owner of Chateau lynch Bages, to create Tapanappa winery in the region.
According to Shaw + Smith, planting at the new site will start in Spring next year. The purchase is the latest by the winery to expand its prime vineyard holdings to focus on cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production.
In 2011, it purchased 20 ha of vineyards in Tasmania, Australia’s southernmost state, to make single vineyard Pinot and Chardonnay. The result was the elegant, polished and refined wines sold under Tolpuddle Vineyard, which is named after the Tolpuddle Martyrs who were English convicts sent to Tasmania.
“I went there because we found this fabulous vineyard that’s gonna make good wine,” said Smith, “and it’s a hedge against climate change.”
Speaking of the Australian wines today, he lauded the potential and quality of Chardonnay coming from the country. “One of the most exciting wines Australia is making is Chardonnay. We do really well. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world other than Burgundy where people are making fine lined Chardonnay with a beautiful acid line, complex flavours, not too oaky, not too malo, very sophisticated, very precise. And if u like these savoury wines such as [Domaine] Roulot, these wines look really good. I like California chardonnay but it’s big and rich and haven’t changed much,” he added.
Meanwhile, his Pinot Noir especially the latest release of 2018 vintage, is praised by him as the best the winery has made in the past 30 years. “It’s the best we have made. Mature vineyards and we know more what we are doing,” he explained.
In addition to the two, the winery makes wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz grapes.
Its wines are sold in Hong Kong via its local importer Links Concept.