Ashton Hills has the oldest pinot vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. Stephen George wears two winemakers’ hats … one for his Ashton Hills wines coming from his estate vineyard high in the Adelaide Hills, the other for the iconic Wendouree wines in Clare. He refers to his dry grown Piccadilly Valley vineyard planted back in 1982 as the “Burgundy of the Adelaide Hills”. Stephen is one of Australia’s most highly respected winemaking viticulturalists and a pioneer of Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir. In 1982 he planted his dry-grown 3 hectare vineyard (which he refers to as his garden!) and has experimented much with trellising and planting 21 different pinot clones and settled on the best performing 5 clones. To give you an idea of the attention to detail of this craftsman, sometimes they go through 4 times hand picking the same row to ensure optimum ripeness! The result is sublime pinot noir.. unfortunately in minuscule quantities!
About the 2015 vintage ….From Stephen George at the winery: “The 2015 growing season in the Adelaide Hills delivered excellent ripening conditions, with warm days resulting in great flavour development and cool nights ensuring good retention of acid. Starting in the first week of March, this was our earliest vintage on record and despite modest yields, the consistency in temperature and fruit ripening resulted in a vintage of outstanding quality.”
The Piccadilly Valley Pinot Noir is traditionally a blend of fruit from the Estate vineyard and Jim Grigg’s Cemetery Block (right next to the quaint graveyard in the neighbouring township, Uraidla, a five minute drive away). Stephen George has long-harboured an ambition to, “showcase Jim’s fruit and to assess the influence our fruit has on the blend.” The result is typically a medium bodied palate with the influence of Cemetery Block providing juicy fruit from the warmer clime, along with silky texture and fine structured tannins that are typical of the Ashton Hills estate.
A blend of fruit drawn from estate and Jim Grigg’s Cemetery Block taken in the earliest harvest on record for the Piccadilly Valley. Perfect ripening conditions provided warm days for flavour development and cool nights ensured good acid retention. Matured in seasoned French barriques, the wine displays a richness of flavour and silky texture leading to a long, persistent finish.
17.5/20 points, Richard Hemming MW – Jan 2017, JancisRobinson.com “Uses a little bought-in fruit (from neighbour Jim Grigg). Extraordinary purity. Not just gorgeous fruit either – forest floor, wonderful granitic sort of mineral flavour, balsam, soy, light hint of truffle. Perfumed violet finish. Succulent and refined. Exquisite.”