Stephen George is an unknown icon of the Australian Wine industry. He was the pioneer of cool climate viticulture in South Australia, running against the then trend of big over the top Barossa and McLaren Vale Shiraz. He decided to concentrate on Pinot Noir from the then unfashionable Piccadilly Valley of the Adelaide Hills. He fist planted his tiny 6 acre vineyard in 1982 and at this time, there was only Brian Croser of Petaluma in the region.
You don’t need to spend much time in the Piccadilly Valley to realise why this area was granted sub-regional status—it is totally different to the rest of the Hills. In short, it’s much colder and wetter. George’s Estate vineyard lies at 570 metres above sea level and the vines shudder through some of the coolest vintage conditions in the country. Perfect conditions for high quality Pinot Noir. A healthy portion of old-vines and the vineyard’s south-facing aspect also play a significant role in the personality of these wines.
Three Piccadilly sites made the cut for this blend: the Ashton Hills vineyard; Jim Grigg’s Cemetery Block at Uraidla; and the Bickles Road, Summertown block which is managed by the Blefari family.
For the “Pinotophiles” out there, here are the wine’s technical details.
The fruit is destemmed via a small, customised, gentle destemmer that keeps most of the berries intact. Just as they have done for decades, the wines ferment on their natural yeasts. The fruit is then basket pressed, and the wine is raised without any sulphur additions until bottling. Some whole bunches are included, and the percentage varies according to the style of the vintage
This latest vintage is matured predominantly in seasoned French oak and there are five different clones contributing to the blend.