Spring 2009 released the Tempranillo and first vintage of the TSG blend, plus a story from Julia on the importance of community.
Winter 2009 updated the story of our vineyard from the geological perspective.
Autumn 2009 talked about wine, art and history, including the Degas exhibition at the ANG.
Summer 2009 described how we made our first dessert wine, the Woolshed Creek Sticky.
Spring 2008 with another Tempranillo release, reflected on the pace of change in our vineyard and alternative varieties generally.
Winter 2008 described the making of our latest batch of vino cotto, as well as of course a brief report on the vintage just completed.
Summer 2008 had an article on the wine show system and its strengths and weaknesses.
Spring 2007 had a story about a change to food standards that allows an increase in water addition during winemaking from three to seven percent.
Autumn 2007 reported on the 2007 vintage.
Spring 2006 was the first in a new format, with lots of new releases.
Autumn 2006 was full of excitement about the opening of the new winery.
Summer 2005/2006 launched the Gumboot Tour as well as the Urban Wine Trail.
Spring 2005 released the 2004 Tempranillo and had a short article about our thinking behind alternative varieties.
Winter 2005 had an article on vintage 2005 and the teamwork that made it happen, plus releases of the 2003 Chardonnay and Shiraz, and 2001 Cabernet franc Merlot.
Autumn 2005 had an article on regionality and the Canberra District.
Spring 2004 saw releases of the 2004 Riesling and Pinot Gris, and more on terroir from the perspective of Burgundy.
Winter 2004 was the proud release of our first Tempranillo, and featured a story on terroir.
Vintage 2004 celebrated releases of our first Merlot and Shiraz, and the opening of the makeshift cellar door. We also finally got a digital camera, so you can see what we look like!
Spring 2003 saw the release of a several new wines, including a few hundred million years worth of history behind the "Woolshed Creek" range, and a story about why the new whites are bottled under screwcap.
Winter 2003 was our first newsletter of the new era, only 12 years after the first vintage! Worth a read if you would like to know how it all began.
6 August 2014 We're hiring a Vineyard Manager.
31 July 2014 The 2015 edition of James Halliday's Wine Companion is out, and we're awed by the ratings for our wines. We retain the top 'five red stars' rating overall, and get great reviews for wines such as 2013 Riesling (96 points), 2012 Shiraz, 2012 Pinot Noir and 2012 TSG (94 points), 2008 The Silurian (93 points), 2012 Graciano and 2013 Pinot Gris (92 points).
30 July 2014 The August newsletter is out, and with it the 2013 Tempranillo! Not to mention the 2014 Riesling and a couple of other new releases as well...
11 July 2014 To celebrate our new access, we have a special offer this weekend only at cellar door! A complimentary bottle of our delicious 'The Silurian' sparkling will be yours with any dozen wines purchased.
9 July 2014 We're celebrating new bitumen access! Majura Parkway works are still underway, but we have a new entrance. Instead of the old driveway on Majura Road, please turn into Mt Majura Road and then follow the new service road to the winery. It is well signposted.
2 July 2014 We hosted a wonderful group last night as part of the human brochure campaign. Here is my favourite quote:
16 June 2014 We held a vertical tasting of our Chardonnay last week, and the notes are up now on the Chardonnay page. Highlights were 2011, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, and 1996.
4 June 2014 There's a great little summary of the 2014 vintage in Canberra on Her Canberra, written by Bec Carpenter.
22 May 2014 The June newsletter is out already! There are still places available for our wine dinner at Grazing next week, and its going to be delicious! It will be our first chance to show off the 2013 Touriga, our first release of the variety and the first red released from the exceptional 2013 vintage. Kurt's food at Grazing is always exceptional, so we hope you can join us.
16 May 2014 How does Graciano age? Find out on the Graciano page, where we've listed tasting notes from our vertical tasting this week. The first vintage (2006) is wonderful to drink now and still has plenty of life. Read more.
8 May 2014 Here's a bit of fun! WIN a MINI Break at Hotel Hotel with the all new MINI Hatch!
2 May 2014 Vintage is over for another year and its been quite 'interesting'. After the heat of January and early February we cancelled making our 'The Silurian' sparkling this year, and then commenced vintage with a rush in early March with 60% of the crop coming in just five days. Wonderful, ripe and flavoursome whites and Pinot. Then things took a nail-biting turn with little batches of red being picked in between rains up until the Graciano and Touriga came off this week. Most came in very well.
Now its time to turn out attention back to other things besides purely winemaking, and this includes a whole string of interesting and delicious Events this month alone. We're also delighted and honoured to have been named the Canberra District's 'Star Cellar Door' by Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine.
18 February 2012 Following a review of our 2012 TSG by Huon Hooke last week, he has more kind words for this wine and the whole Canberra District. 'Frank van de Loo, of Mount Majura, has made a superb red wine, ''TSG (tempranillo, shiraz, graciano). The wines he makes from those varieties separately are also excellent.' Read more at 'The best NSW wine to try now'.
Our episode of WINERAM is up!
At the winery our bandwidth isn't fantastic and it's better on Youtube.
7 February 2014 The February newsletter is out, and with it new releases of The Silurian, Chardonnay, Dinny's Block and TSG. Plus a brand new wine for us, called 'Molli'! There are also plenty of exciting events like Meet the Locals, so have a read.
11 December 2013 WINERAM is coming! See the trailer...
28 November 2013 There are several important new releases! The 2013 Riesling (two Gold medals) and 2013 Pinot Gris have been released, and today they are joined by the Gold and Trophy winning 2011 Shiraz.
22 November 2013 There are a few highlights and milestones that stand out in a winemaker's life, and a gold medal for a Riesling is definitely one of them! We're very excited about our newly-released 2013 Riesling, in fact we have been excited about it since the fruit first came into the winery. Now we're proud that it has followed up its gold medal at the Canberra & Region Wine Show with a gold at the National Wine Show!
9 October 2013 The October newsletter is out, and with it some great news, some special offers, and series of exciting events. In short, we had a lot of success at the Canberra and Region Wine Show, collecting five gold medals and two trophies. Because many of the awards are for wines that we haven't released yet, the order form includes two special six-pack offers available until 20 October only.
19 August 2013 Frank is off tomorrow with the TempraNeo group, showing the 2012 and also some barrel samples of the 2013. Its great fun to be on the road with our friends from Mayford, Running with Bulls, Tar & Roses, Gemtree, and La Linea. There's a tasting on tomorrow at Pei Modern in Melbourne and a tasting in September at Era Bistro in Brisbane. Would love to see you there!
30 July 2013 The July 2013 newsletter is out, and with it the 2012 Tempranillo. There was not much 2012 made, so don't wait too long to come in and taste it. For a limited time though the last stocks of the 2011 are available to taste alongside the 2012 at cellar door, a rare opportunity. And as the 2011 just received a 94-point review from James Halliday, it might not be a long opportunity.
Like these red-browed finches? Our vineyard man Stuart Harris snapped them on a trellis wire recently.
Also coming up soon is the return of TempraNeo. Together with five other leading temranillo winemakers, we'll be holding tastings, workshops and dinners around the country. Have a look at the tempraneo.com.au for all the details.
29 May 2013 The release of The Silurian is approaching! Read more about the wine here.
23 May 2013 Wow, vintage is over and it was great. Read all about it in the May newsletter. Staff celebrated yesterday with a vertical tasting of shiraz (look out for notes appearing here soon), some barrel samples, and dinner at Ox. The May newsletter also has details of our release events for The Silurian.
18 January 2013 Our January newsletter is out. As always, you'll find news about what's happening at the vineyard, notes for our current release wines (including the new release 2011 Pinot Noir), and all the events coming up. And in this newsletter there is a fun little competition to enter!
11 December 2012 Our December newsletter is out. We've released our 2011 Graciano, there are some great events coming up in the new year. And we're offering free freight on all orders until 15 January!
24 October 2012 Mount Majura Vineyard welcomes the first ever Human Brochure to Canberra this Sunday 28th October. It's possible the #humanbrochure is one of the most exciting social media events in history. 500 Humans will converge on the region sampling selections of Canberra's wonderful array of tourism experiences. One lucky group will be joining our winemaker Frank van de Loo for a tour of our vineyard followed by a tasting. For more information on this unique event go to www.500humans.com.au and follow their experiences as they discover Canberra and blog, post and tweet their experiences to the world.
17 September 2012 We had some great results at the Canberra Regional Wine Show last week, winning 10 medals from 14 entries. The standouts were the 2010 Graciano, which took the trophies for 'Best Dry Red Other Varieties and/or Blends' and 'Best Alternative Variety'. The other gold medal was for 2011 Shiraz (not yet released). With so many good results, we also scored the Presidents Award for Most Successful Winery (within 100 miles). There were lots of good entries in the show, and we would particularly like to congratulate Half Moon winery on their fantastic 2010 Riesling that took Wine of Show.
27 July 2012 The Winter/Spring newsletter is out, with the release of the 2011 Tempranillo as well as 2011 TSG, 2012 Riesling and 2012 Pinot Gris. The newsletter and the Events page both list a number of good opportunities at Cellar Door, starting with Tempranillo tours this weekend.
12 June 2012 Quite a few new releases lately: the 2011 Chardonnay, 2010 Pinot Noir and 2010 Graciano have all been released. The 2011 Pinot Gris is now sold out, but if you're coming to the cellar door you'll have the chance to taste the re-release of our 2003 Pinot Gris. That's the first vintage we made, and it was somewhat neutral as a young wine, but we're amazed at how fresh it is now. We're down to the last three cases of 2009 Shiraz, so by the time you read this we may have released the 2010.
16 May 2012 We've had some lovely reviews lately, including the Winewise championship result for our 2010 TSG. They also rated our 2009 Merlot and 2011 Pinot Gris very highly. Jane Faulkner in The Age described the Pinot Gris as 'a terrific example'. Hurry though, the Pinot Gris is into the last pallet.
7 May 2012 Vintage is over for another year, with the last grapes (Graciano and Touriga) being picked on the 27th of April. After a lot of rain early in vintage, we had a lot of fine mild sunny weather towards the end. The last variety to be picked (Touriga) won the prize for the most disease-free. All other varieties needed some amount of selective picking to ensure that the fruit coming into the winery was clean. Overall, yields were well down (we picked only 45 tonnes). Whites are exciting in a very lively, high-acid way, while reds are particularly deep-coloured and are shaping up to be excellent. But we're still pressing off, in fact back to that now and more of this later... Oh, and the 2011 Riesling is now sold out, and the 2010 Pinot Noir released.
19 March 2012 Well, the whites are all in, the reds are holding up so far, and are getting closer to ripeness. The weather has been painfully wet, but at the moment we're getting some very welcome sunny days. Meanwhile, there is a really fun project running here at Mount Majura Vineyard called 'Project X'. In short, everyone except the winemaker is involved in making a small batch of wine. Its a great way for the staff not directly involved in production to get their hands dirty and have fun while they're learning more about the process. Have a look at Deano's blog where there are lots of great pics of the team in action.
25 February 2012 First pick yesterday, grapes chilled overnight, now whole-bunch pressing Chardonnay for the Fizz. Looks fantastic and a glorious sunny day in Canberra. More like this one please!
9 February 2012 Our Bar Majura! events (part of Summerside Festival) have been very well received, with all four weeks now booked out. If you missed out this time, make sure you're on our email list and see the Events page for more interesting things, including the Summer of Riesling tasting over at Sage next Thursday.
Meanwhile, the 2011 Pinot Gris has also been released and is making lots of friends with its lean and silvery style (and gold medal from the Regional Show last year).
In the vineyard, veraison (the start of ripening) is well underway, and all our bird nets are on, just before a downpour. Lets hope we don't get too much and we get some more dry sunny weather, because everything is set now for a stunning vintage, but the weather keeps looking dicey.
8 December 2011 The Summer newsletter is out. Read all about the BANG theory of wine pricing, our new and current releases and upcoming events. Meanwhile, we're finalising blends and preparing for bottling in January. The cool nature of the 2011 season certainly shows in some pretty exciting wines.
18 November 2011 Would you give money to these men? No? Well how about to Movember on behalf of team Mount MOjura Vineyard? Please see the team page with links for (left to right) Andrew, Frank, Fergus and Stuart.
15 November 2011 Our 2011 Riesling is released! It is always an exciting and proud moment to put a new wine forward, but this time there is also the updated label to show off for the first time. We think it still captures the Mount Majura Vineyard style, but in a new and vivid way. We hope you like it. At the end of the day of course it is what's inside the bottle that counts, and this Riesling is delightful—a true reflection of our site in a cool year. See the Riesling page for details.
8 November 2011 Thanks to everyone who came out and enjoyed Wine Roses and all that Jazz on the weekend. It was very busy but a great time. It was also a successful weekend for us at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, with the 2010 TSG (sold out a couple of weeks ago) collecting its third gold medal and third trophy, this time for best blend.
Meanwhile there are a few laughs in the winery as we participate in Movember (Jessica excluded). You can follow our team progress and sponsor us at Team Mount MOjura Vineyard.
24 October 2011 We're enjoying Spring and the place has never looked better. There's a smile on our faces too, with some great awards recently. We won the trophy for Most Successful Exhibitor a the Canberra Regional Wine Show this year, including gold medals for 2011 Pinot Gris, 2010 Dinny's Block, 2009 Merlot and 2010 TSG. The TSG also won the trophy for 'Best Dry Red Other Varieties and/or Blends'. This came after the TSG had won the equivalent trophy at Winewise Small Vignerons Awards as well. To top everything off, respected critic Nick Stock has awarded our 2010 Tempranillo 'Best Emerging Red' in The Age/Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide 2012.
17 August 2011 We enjoy having kangaroos hopping past the winery, but are not so keen on having them call the vineyard home. In 2007 the damage to vines (mainly from wallabies) and bird nets (from roos) grew to the point that we established a 1.8m high fence around the vineyard. We never managed to get all the roos out, the fence is a little bit leaky, and the happy captives have been breeding. Now, having left a gate open for a while so that the roos got used to it, we've managed to herd a good number out, leaving only five still in the vineyard. We'll try them again next week. It's satisfying to finally succeed with this approach, as we've never wanted to shoot them, but herding roos is similar to herding cats!
Bookings are coming in for the TempraNeo workshop we're hosting here in September together with five other leading Temrpanillo producers. It is the first time the full tasting workshop of 18 wines is being presented for consumers. More details on the Events page.
3 August 2011 We've had an enquiry whether our wines are OK for vegans, i.e. that no animal products such as egg white or milk have been used in their production. We do use these fining agents in many of our wines, so they are not suitable for vegans. We have trialled a plant protein fining agent derived from peas, but unfortunately it wasn't very effective. While it will remain our first priority to make the best wine we can, and many of our wines will not be suitable for vegans, we now include this information on the info sheets for each wine that can be found on this website. Of the current range, the 2009 Pinot Noir, 2010 TSG and 2010 Tempranillo are suitable for vegans. For more information on fining agents, see Frank's blog "What's in Wine".
29 July 2011 More good news: Gold Medal and Trophy for our 2010 TSG, which is being released tonight! The awards were from the Winewise Small Vignerons Awards, where we also picked up a Silver for the 2009 Shiraz and a Bronze for the 2011 Riesling.
27 July 2011 More good news: James Halliday's Wine Companion 2012 is released, and we've retained our five-star winery rating. Our wines with the highest ratings were 2010 Riesling (96 points), 2009 Tempranillo (95 points), 2010 Chardonnay (94 points) and 2009 TSG (94 points).
Wine additves have been in the news a little lately. An article by Max Allen in the Weekend Australian sparked Frank to write a blog about wine additives, called 'What's in Wine?'. The intention is to provide plain-English information about additives and processing aids that Australian winemakers can use.
26 July 2011 Exciting times here at Mount Majura Vineyard. We've just had the Honourable Martin Ferguson, Minister for Tourism, here to announce the 2011 TQUAL grants. We were among 117 successful applicants nationally.
Our $35,000 grant, matched with $35,000 of our own cash plus a lot of our own work, will allow us to develop 'Terroir Gardens' at our cellar door. The Gardens will be a fantastic addition to our cellar door experience. Just like our wines express the character of the site, the Gardens will be about the features of the site and how they express themselves in the native vegetatio, as well as ancient and recent land use.
We'll be sure to keep you updated with our progress. After planning and installing infrastructure, we'll start planting next year and open the Gardens early in 2013.
21 July 2011 The Spring newsletter is here, and will be in the post within a day or two. Bookings are already coming in for our TempraNeo workshop in September, and there is plenty more to check out, starting with the Tempranillo release evening next Friday! Our Friday night Fireside Festival events are also booking fast.
23 June 2011 High time for some news! The Tempranillo sold out a while ago and we are planning the release of the 2010. If you can make it here on the evening of Friday 29th July, the release night is the highlight of our year. There will be some lovely food and music and a chance to try not only the 2010 Tempranillo, but also the 2010 TSG. The 2009 TSG sold out in about a month, and we didn't even get a newsletter out for it, so here's your warning to come and try the 2010.
We'll be in Sydney at the beginning of July for the Good Food and Wine Show in Darling Harbour. More details on the events page, and we would love to meet you there!
We've completed our 22nd vintage, the coolest and wettest for many years, but we're delighted with the results. Yields were down in whites where we had to pick around some botrytis, but all the wines are showing vivid colours, great fragrance and tremendous freshness. There are ripe flavours at lower alcohols, and pepper in the Shiraz! The Riesling, Pinot Gris and Woolshed Creek Pink were safely bottled on Monday.
Bits of pruning have begun in the vineyard but begins in earnest when the pre-pruner arrives later today. We also have quite a lot of work underway to keep expanding our tempranillo plantings, as well as adding some more touriga and completing last year's planting of mondeuse.
Meanwhile, Jessica in Cellar Door is doing a great job keeping our Facebook page fresh. There is some footage of Monday's bottling, and much more, so a great place to look for regular updates.
22 March 2011 Vintage has been late and slow this year, with ongoing rain and cool cloudy weather. At this stage our reds are looking fine but need some more ripening. The whites are more tricky, with botrytis setting in. Our pickers are doing a great job sorting the fruit in the vineyard, so its a year that shows the benefit of hand picking, even while the cost of that picking has gone up dramatically. Look forward to some fragrant and crisp wines!
28 February 2011 Ticket sales for the Australian Wine Trade Flood Relief Raffle are in their last week. Tickets are $30 each for a chance to win a share in more than $240,000 worth of incredible wine, travel and other prizes. And, of course, to support those people affected by floods and cyclone Yasi in Queensland and floods in Victoria. You can buy them at the cellar door, or online.
11 February 2011 We are advertising the position of Vineyard Hand. Please see the position description if you are interested.
2 February 2011 Bar Majura! starts this Friday evening, a great new event at Cellar Door. See the Events page.
We've donated a couple of cases of our best to the Australian Wine Trade Flood Relief Raffle, with $240,000 in prizes to be won! You can buy tickets online or at our Cellar Door.
13 January 2011 While our thoughts are with the people of southeast Queensland and northern NSW, its a bit of a nail-biter in the vineyard this year. So far, we're on top of the disease pressure all this rain and cool, cloudy weather brings, but the forecast is for more. If we can keep things healthy, the potential is exciting, especially for the more aromatic varieties like Riesling.
Meanwhile, we're drinking local, not to mention tasting the 2010 wines that are being readied for bottling.
8 December 2010 Our Summer newsletter is out, and there is still time to stock up on wine for the festive season. There is plenty to read in the newsletter, including events coming up, the re-release of our 2001 Dinny's Block (then labelled Cabernet franc Merlot), and how you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
29 November 2010 We like to put good news here, but unfortunately we have a product safety recall to notify you of. If you have any Vino Cotto, please see this important information. There are no issues with any of our other products.
10 November 2010 We're getting ready for the Rosé Revolution! Did you know that November 30 is Rosé Day? We're planning an event at Parlour Wine Room — more details soon. Find out more at the Rosé Revolution website.
19 October 2010 A quote from Huon Hooke's column in today's Good Living: 'Alternative varieties also got a toe in the [NSW Wine Awards] Top 40. Canberra is starting to do well with the Spanish grape, tempranillo: an intriguing 2008 blend from Mount Majura, called TSG (tempranillo, shiraz, graciano) won a Top 40 placement. This is a really attractive medium-bodied red, a genuine alternative style, and it sells for just $21 from the winery.'
Here is the link to our TSG page for more info.
18 October 2010 Two of our cellar door favourites have just sold out allowing us to release the 2010 versions: Woolshed Creek White and Woolshed Creek Pink (the new name for our Rosé). As well as both being fresh and ready to go for spring and summer, they have another feature in common — lighter bottles.
Our glass supplier is gradually providing high-tech versions of the bottles we use, making the glass more uniform in thickness, and therefore saving weight for the same strength. In this case the empty bottles are 360g instead of 495-500g each, while they look almost the same. Obviously their manufacture requires less energy and resources, and they make a carton lighter. Better for the environment, and easier to lift and carry! We'll be rolling the new bottles out across most of our wines.
30 September 2010 Another show update: our two entries (2009 Tempranillo and 2008 TSG) in this year's NSW Wine Awards both made the Top 40. We'll be at the Top 40 tasting at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Ocober 21st.
22 September 2010 We came close to being most successful exhibitor at the Canberra Regional Wine Show last week, that trophy well deserved by Barwang who scored three gold medals and three silvers to our two golds and three silvers. Our standout wines were the 2009 TSG (again!) and 2005 Chardonnay (museum class) while the silver medals were for 2009 Tempranillo, 2009 Chardonnay and 2005 Riesling (museum class). Read Chris Shanahan's review of the show results here.
31 August 2010 Wine show results are starting to come in, and we're smiling. Of 23 entries so far, we've scored 17 medals (including 5 gold), which is a pretty high strike rate! The star is the 2009 TSG, with three golds and a trophy from three entries. The current vintage, 2008, already won gold last year. Two other unreleased wines, the 2009 Pinot Noir (due out next year) and the 2009 Chardonnay (due out in October) were the other heroes, each winning Gold (at Cowra for the Pinot and NSW Small Winemakers for the Chardonnay).
One of our most important wine shows for the year is the Canberra Regional, with results announced 17 September and a Public Tasting on Saturday 18th. Why not go along and see how we fare? More details from RNCAS.
27 July 2010 James Halliday's 2011 Wine Companion is published tomorrow, and we've just learned that we have achieved the 5 star rating for the first time! James' ratings are based on the track record of a winery, but particularly on the wines tasted in the months prior to publication, so the rating is a guide to current vintages available for sale. The best rated wines were (each earning 94 points) were the 2009 Riesling, 2008 Chardonnay, 2008 TSG (all current) and 2008 Tempranillo (sold out, but see our 2009).
15 July 2010 As always, there is a lot happening here at Mount Majura Vineyard!
The 2008 Merlot has sold out and won't be replaced until the 2009 is bottled late in September. The 2009 Pinot Gris has sold out, and the 2010 was only bottled a fortnight ago, but is already released as it is gorgeous and ready to enjoy.
Our next proper newsletter is with the printer, ready to send out for the Tempranillo release at the end of the month. Don't forget the release event here at the Cellar Door on the 30th of July.
Fergus and Jessica are on their way to Sydney for the Good Food & Wine Show this weekend. Also in Sydney this weekend, Five Way Cellars will have many of our wines on tasting, Saturday 17 July, 12-6pm.
Finally, the wine show season has started again, and we have five medals from six entries from our first outing, the Winewise Small Vigneron Awards. The highlight is a Gold Medal (and top in class) for the 2009 TSG, just as the 2008 (current release) won Gold at the same show last year.
29 June 2010 Have a look at the freshly-updated Events page with details of several great events in July and August, including the Tempranillo release — a highlight of the Mount Majura Vineyard year.
In other news, the 2010 Riesling and Pinot Gris are looking fabulous and going to bottle next Monday. We've skipped the Winter newsletter but will have the next newsletter out late july in time for the Tempranillo release. There will be a Tempranillo release evening here at the winery on Friday 30 July, and some interesing Spanish-themed events during Fireside Festival in August.
9 April 2010 Have a look at some lovely shots taken here last weekd by photographer Beth Jennings. Beth has an exhibition, 'leaving traces' opening on the 15th of April at The Front Gallery and Café in Lyneham and running from the 14th to the 27th. See Beth's website for details.
8 April 2010 Introducing: TempraNeo. We're excited about this new venture we're part of. Along with five other leading makers of Tempranillo, we're coming to Melbourne and Sydney in August to show off our best wines of the variety and explain why it inspires us. The workshops will be mainly aimed at trade and media, and there will be more details appearing at the www.TempraNeo.com.au website.
12 February 2010 Vintage started today, our earliest ever. We're picking chardonnay for sparkling base. Read more about vintages getting earlier and how we decide when to pick in the Autumn Newsletter, just out. Have a look at the newly released 2009 Riesling too.
11 November 2009 Frank had a great time attending the exhibitor's tasting at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in Mildura last weekend, plus the associated events such as the Stefano De Pieri-prepared Long Lunch. It was exciting to win a Gold Medal and trophy (the inaugural 'Stewards Choice' award) for the 2008 Tempranillo. It was one of five gold medal winners in the class (2009/2009 Tempranillo), showing how well the variety is coming on in Australia.
20 July 2009 The wine show season is underway, and we've done rather well in our first outing, with two Gold and one Silver medal at the Winewise Small Vigneron's Awards. The Golds were for 2008 Chardonnay and 2008 TSG (not yet released), while the Silver was for 2008 Merlot (due for release in a couple of months).
24 April 2009 We finished vintage today by picking Graciano and (for the first time), a tiny quantity of Touriga. Some lucky cellar door visitors got to foot-tread the Touriga in a barrel. Meanwhile the weather this weekend is forecast to be a little less warm and dry than hoped, so unfortunately the music and pizza planned for cellar door on Sunday have been cancelled. The cellar door will be open 12-5 pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm Sunday and Monday.
1 April 2009 Cellar Door has been alive lately, and there will be no better time to come and enjoy it than Harvest Festival this weekend. With vintage in full swing, the winery is filled with the fruity aroma of fermenting grapes. On Saturday, watch this year's batch of vino cotto being made over an open fire. There will be live music from 1 to 4pm both days, featuring the Rachel Thoms Trio on Saturday and the James Lefevre Trio on Sunday. Enjoy a winemakers lunch (orders please: 6262 3070) and visit other wineries in the region (see canberrawines.com.au).
After a hot summer, we are relieved to be having a mild dry autumn. Vintage is a hectic time in the vineyard and winery, but this is about as controlled as it gets, with just enough time to get everything done with one variety before the next is ready. Sparkling base, rosé, pinot noir and chardonnay have already finished fermenting, while riesling is underway and most of the reds are still to come in. Quality so far looks very good. Time will tell.
21 January 2009 Julia has developed a series of events for the coming months, starting with music at the cellar door 1-4pm this Sunday, on the Australia Day long weekend. The combination of fine wine and fine music dates back to before the times of Babylon and this Sunday Mount Majura Vineyard will keep the tradition alive. A sumptuous range of wines will be complemented by the divine voice of Marie Le Brun joined by James Le Fevre on Saxophone and Luke Sweeting on Keys. The absence of a rhythm section allows for heightened intimacy and the trio will be exploring a number of standards and not so standards though musical conversation. The band kicks off at 1pm and entry is free.
More on the Events page.
9 December 2008 The Summer newsletter is out, featuring the release of our first-ever dessert wine, and its delicious! The Woolshed Creek Sticky is an "iced wine", made from freeze-concentrated juice. Like the rest of our Woolshed Creek range, it is available by mail order, online, and from the cellar door.
24 November 2008 Our 2008 Riesling has just been released, and already the reviews are very favourable. 'Move over Clare Valley. The Canberra district is making a serious name for itself as a producer of brilliant riesling. This example has the most gorgeous, perfumed flavour of green melon, and pure, bright, crystalline freshness.' wrote Max Allen in the Weekend Australian (22/1108). More on the Riesling page.
27 October 2008 Our latest show success is a Gold medal for the 2008 Rosé at the Australian Small Winemakers Show, making it three medals from three entries for this wine. Our cellar door customers have been enjoying it too! The Wine, Roses and all that Jazz festival this weekend would be a great time to come and taste the Rosé and our other wines.
10 September 2008 The results of the ActewAGL Canberra Regional Wine Show were announced yesterday. We entered 16 wines and gained 13 medals, well above the average strike rate. The highlights were a gold medal for the 2003 Riesling (in the museum class) and two silver medals (2007 Dinny's block and 2008 Riesling, both still to be released). The full list of results is available from the show website.
1 September 2008 Our current-release 2007 Chardonnay picked up a Gold medal at the NSW Small Winemakers Wine Show last week. It is the beginning of our show results for the year, with many shows judged in the coming months, so watch here for more good news. We also picked up a couple of bronze medals (for 2008 Rosé and the still-to-be-released 2008 Riesling).
27 August 2008 The 2008 Rosé is released. We're starting to get a few mild, almost-Spring days here in Canberra, there is blossom about, and pruning is finished, so we're looking forward to another good season in the vineyard and hoping for a few relaxing afternoons or barbecues - perfect for a glass of Rosé.
Photos courtesy Clive Huggan.
20 August 2008 Food without wine becomes dull, but so does wine without food, so we're really enjoying the "Slow Food by the Fireside" masterclasses (see below). These photos were from the third class last weekend, with one to go (and yes, there are still a few spaces).
Photos courtesy Clive Huggan.
15 August 2008 Our masterclasses "Slow Food by the Fireside" in conjunction with Slow Food and Fireside Festival, have been very warmly received. Tomorrow's third masterclass is booked out, but there are a few spaces left for the olives masterclass on the 23rd.
31 July 2008 The Spring newsletter is out and our New Releases evening is on tomorrow (see the Events page). With our Fireside Festival masterclasses starting on Saturday, and Timo Nest installing his artworks as part of VIVID, there is plenty going on around the cellar door. Meanwhile, the website is getting an overdue update, so if you don't see the information on new releases here that you expect, check back soon, but certainly call us too.
16 June 2008 Our neighbours have struck black gold! Sherry and Gavan McArdle, of French Black Truffles of Canberra, planted oak trees inoculated with Tuber melanosporum less than four years ago, but already they are harvesting magnificent truffles. Sherry is pictured in the truffle shed, where their truffles as well as those from other growers are cleaned, graded and weighed, ready for despatch to local and overseas markets. Their first harvest has been sold to Canberra restaurant The Ginger Room, where last week we had the chance to savour them. The entree and main were good, but the truffle ice cream on the dessert was sublime! French Black Truffles of Canberra will be part of our Fireside Festival events in August.
11 December 2007 The Summer Newsletter is out, with a story on the wine show system, and releases of several new vintages. The Woolshed Creek White is back! (Labels are being delivered Thursday and we'll have it ready for this weekend).
10 November 2007 We've won two categories in the Canberra and Region Tourism Awards: both the Tourism Wineries awrd and the Visitor Experience award, as well as being named among the 'Best of the Best'. We're now in the running for the national awards judged in February. It's a great result for Julia and her cellar door team, and another good reason to come out soon and enjoy a tasting.
13 September 2007: We've had quite a successful run in wine shows lately, with 13 medals from 15 entries, but they've all been silvers and bronzes. Even better have been some wonderful reviews for the 2007 Riesling and 2006 Shiraz, including one from Max Allen. Cellar Door has been busy since the new releases at the beginning of August, with the Graciano a real favourite. While the weather has been pleasant for getting out, we wouldn't mind some cold and rain, to slow things down and reduce the chance of spring frosts that plagued the district last year. Budburst is very close. Meanwhile, we'll be in today to have fun with our friends at Anise restaurant, planning the menu for our wine dinner on the 31st of October.
1 August 2007: The Spring newsletter is out with no less than seven new releases. Eagerly awaited every year at this time is the release of our Tempranillo, and the 2006 vintage released today is a beauty. Read the newsletter or have a look around the wines page to read about all the new releases. The newsletter also has an article that may ruffle one or two feathers in the wine industry, but then it is in response to something that has certainly provoked us. We hope you enjoy the read, and remember that we always enjoy your comments and feedback.
4 July 2007: The website has been updated with maps that show where in the vineyard each variety is grown, with detailed notes on the planting history and the characteristics of each of the blocks. Have a look at the page for each wine, and send us an email if you find it interesting. This map is a sample, showing all the varieties highlighted in different colours:
2 July 2007: The 2007 Vino Cotto is now available at cellar door. We know many have been waiting for this one, and you won't be disappointed. Just as rich and flavoursome as before, and this time includes a small component of red juice that has added another nuance to the flavour. You might be asking "What is vino cotto?" See the Flavours @ Mount Majura page.
26 June 2007: We've been keeping busy, with vintage running into a hectic preparation for bottling, which was completed last week. Safely into glass are the 2007 aromatic whites (Riesling and Pinot Gris), the 2007 Rosé, and the 2006 reds including our first bottling of Graciano. We'll give everything a chance to settle down, but there are some very interesting releases coming up! We were definitely very fortunate with the 2007 vintage, our second biggest on record. As well as minor losses to frost, for the first time we lost fruit to kangaroos and wallabies. Especially as this was mainly in the Shiraz, it hurts! We are contemplating a complete roo-proof fence around the vineyard. Fortunate nevertheless we were, compared to the extensive frost, drought and fire/smoke losses around the country.
20 March 2007: Evidently the winemaker needs to stop being the website maintainer, and then this page might get refreshed a little more consistently... It has been a torrid year, but now that we are into vintage, the rain has arrived, and we still have much fruit to pick. So far, all looks good, but we are busy trying to get the rest in in good condition. Meanwhile we have sold out of 2006 Pinot Gris. The 2007 will be released in August. The 2004 Shiraz has also sold out, making way for the (Gold Medal) 2005 vintage.
27 November 2006: Mount Majura Vineyard has just won the Medal Submission category at the Canberra & Capital Region Tourism Awards for best Tourism Winery! Why not come out to the cellar door and see what you think?
In a normal year, we worry about frosts up until the end of October. We routinely cut the grass between the vine rows very regularly during October to maximise heat absorption and re-radiation by the soil, as well as increasing the drainage of cold air down the slope at night. This year it has been so dry the grass hasn't grown sufficiently to cut at all. Before this year, the only frost ever to affect our vineyard was on October 28th, 1998, when many vineyards throughout south-eastern Australia were affected. This year, we suffered a light touch on the 22nd of October, with perhaps 5% of the crop lost. While this was annoying, we are actually very fortunate in that two further severe frosts in the District (28 October and 16 November) left us untouched. Meanwhile some vineyards have lost the whole of their 2007 vintage, and only a few days later, our friends at Lerida Estate had a narrow escape from a bushfire. Needless to say, it is already quite an extraordinary year.
The Summer newsletter has gone out by email and is about to go in the post. It's a great way to keep in touch with events at the vineyard, as well as get first news of our releases. Why not subscribe if you don't already?
13 September 2006: Great results at the Canberra Regional Wine Show yesterday. Mount Majura Vineyard was awarded two gold medals, both for shiraz. The 2004 shiraz topped its class, while the 2005 was one of four gold medals in an incredibly strong class where only one wine didn't achieve a medal. Chairman of judges, Ian McKenzie, pointed out that this was a great result as judging is to the same standard as the larger capital city shows. The public tasting is on tonight, 6-8 pm at the Terrace Restaurant, Exhibition Park in Canberra. A great chance to taste the best wines of the region!
8 September 2006: The image at left is something you'll be seeing quite a bit more of: it is the official new logo for Canberra District wines. Not only are we here at Mount Majura proud of our site and making wines that are unique to it, but so also are other wineries around the District. There's no better way to find out more about it than by visiting the cellar doors and speaking with the winemakers.
31 August 2006: On at cellar door this weekend is 'Verandah Art Rant', the opening of our second exhibition in partnership with Canberra Contemporary Art Space. Come for the opening (2 pm Sunday 3/9/06) or to see the exhibition over the coming weeks.
The cellar door has been busy lately, with a series of events and many people tasting the new releases. Our small part in the Australian Science Festival was good fun for all (see pics below).
Finally the 2006 vino cotto is released also. Made with our grape juice by Jan Gundlach at flavours Culinary Academy, vino cotto is a richly-flavoured syrup used in cooking and desserts. The vino cotto is now part of the 'flavours@mount majura' range, which also includes a wonderful extra virgin olive oil, herb and salt mixes, and some extraordinarily good biscuits, Ricciarello and Cantucci. The range is available at the cellar door.
31 July 2006: The Spring newsletter is out! And that means, the release of the 2005 Tempranillo, the highlight of the year. Not only the Tempranillo though, here are the 2006 Riesling, Pinot Gris and Rosé as well as the 2004 vintages of Merlot and Shiraz. If you were counting, there was no Winter newsletter this year, it just got too far behind schedule. The newsletter also has lots of news and events coming up, so enjoy the read.
19 July 2006: Nothing is worse than an out-of-date website, and ours has been a little lately (but we have built a winery, done vintage, and bottled the '06 whites and '05 reds during this period of neglect). Now the site is not only updated but freshened with our new look. Hope you like it! Please have a look at all the events coming up and stay tuned for the next newsletter with all the new releases.
22 April 2006: A hectic vintage period is coming to a close, the Shiraz and Graciano (photo at right) being picked today after a heavy frost. Meanwhile, it has been exciting to make the wine in our rather magnificent new winery, which has been officially opened by Senator Gary Humphries. At this early stage, we believe the 2006 vintage to be a good to very good one. Tempranillo is in barrel and showing typical exuberant fruit flavour, while Pinot Gris is finishing ferment with excellent varietal character. Stay tuned!
4 March 2006: Picking has commenced, a little bit of Chardonnay going towards the sparkling wine of another local winery. Last weekend we had a great time showing around a group from Slow food Canberra, ending with a tasting under the trees. (Photo: Clive Huggan).
1 March 2006: The Autumn newsletter is out and is jam-packed with events to get involved in. Meanwhile, the new winery is almost ready to process fruit, just in time for the first pick next week. The new cellar door will be officially opened on April 12th.
9 December 2005: With 88 points (four stars) our 2005 Rosé is among 100 Top New Releases in Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine. Here's Huon Hooke's tasting note:
Made from pinot noir grown in Canberra, this is light salmon pink and has strawberry, coconut, crushed-leaf and powder-puff aromas. The palate is ethereal, light and quaffable, with just a smidgin of sweetness.
Highly Recommended. The nose is very fresh, suggestive of citrus and pear, but its on the palate that this wine really comes alive. The strong varietal flavour is enhanced by a satisfying texture and crisp acidity. Enjoy it in the short term. ($16.00) $$VALUE$$
and 2005 Rosé:
Highly Recommended. Delicate pale pink. The nose displays attractive strawberry and red fruits varietal pinot noir characteristics, and the palate is well balanced, showing minimal sweetness. Very enjoyable summer drinking, especially at its relatively low alcohol level. ($16.00) $$VALUE$$
Meanwhile flowering is almost complete in the vineyard and our winery is coming along well. The photo shows the last of the slab being poured, and the insulated panel for the walls and roof ready for erection. After completing the last seven vintages in leased space off site, we're looking forward to having our own winery!
28 November 2005: Do you have a preconception of Rosé as sweet and simple and not worth drinking? Paul Ippolito looks at the issue and recommends some new-style Rosés, including a score of 91/100 for ours.
19 November 2005: More reviews, this time from Winefront Monthly:
Mount Majura Vineyard Riesling 2005 ($16) screwcap: Eminently stylish – and distinctive. Pears and slate and lemons and a suggestion of peach, with a sense on the nose that it’s going to be sweet – but then it’s not, it’s quite the opposite. Give it a little time in the glass and it gets slatier and slatier, and finer and finer, and longer and longer. Drink: 2005-2014. 93 points.
Mount Majura Vineyard Pinot Gris 2005 ($16) screwcap: All the Mount Majura wines are interesting – this is a boutique producer actually making wines that say something about its unique place in the world, which pretty much is what a boutique producer is supposed to do. This wine is interesting too: rich and fragrant, musky and pear-like, with warm alcohol and mouthfilling, spicy, creamy oomph reaching around your tongue and over your gums. The aromatic power of this wine is quite something. Drink: 2005-2007. 87 points.
16 November 2005: Lovely review of the 2005 Pinot Gris from Fergus McGhie in The Canberra Times today (see the Pinot Gris page).
14 November 2005: We've just devoured (a pre-release copy of) the second issue of Regional Food magazine, and its the best thing since wood-fired bread. And we don't say that just because we appear in it. But perhaps because it has opened our eyes to just how rich the food culture is in our own little patch and given a sense of being part of a Great Thing. Have a look for yourself at www.regionalfood.com.au. PS: We've secured a supply to sell at the cellar door, and we'll throw in a free copy with all case purchases (cellar door, mail order or online)
before January 31st. while stocks lasted!
Meanwhile, the Festival of Wine, Roses and all that Jazz was great fun for another year, but it doesn't end there! Some adventurous folk had lots of fun launching our Gumboot Tour, which is now available as a self-guided tour any time the cellar door is open (Sundays and long weekends, 10 till 5).
9 November 2005: Great review of our 2005 Riesling by Ralph Kyte-Powell in The Age yesterday:
Former CSIRO scientist Frank van de Loo presides over the picturesque vineyards at Mount Majura. His exacting viticulture and careful approach to winemaking are on display in this pale young riesling. Its delicate aromas of lime, light tropical fruit, spice and minerals, lead to a superfine, clean palate with a long bone-dry finish.
Rating: 4 ˝ stars (“First class, a wine of distinction not far below the top rating.”); value: $$$ (“A wine with a price tag that makes it a steal.”)
Also just out is the 2006 edition of Quaff by wine critic Peter Forrestal, including reviews of two of our wines in the section "Lash Out - Great Value Wines Over $15". On the 2003 Chardonnay (2004 in the book is a typo) Peter says: "It is tight with cool, minerally flavours and a firm, even grippy, finish. Different and well-priced". On the 2004 Pinot Gris (now sold out, but check out the 2005) he writes: "Delicately fragrant with pear, spice and apple flavours, this is a fresh, clean, lively expression of the variety which is viscous, has impressive richness, depth and length of flavour. Delightfully dry finish. Great value."
5 November 2005: Congratulations to the winners of the Mount Majura Vineyard One Peak race (Stewart Fishwick, mens, Judith May, womens) and Two Peaks race (John Winsbury, mens and Emma Murray, womens). With 121 runners and ages up to 70 years, it was an amazing event and a fantastic achievement for all finishers.
4 November 2005: Our Summer newsletter is out with lots of news including the festival of Wine, Roses and all that Jazz.
22 October 2005: More good news for our 2005 Riesling, this time at the Hyatt National Riesling Challenge: from a class of 135 current-vintage wines, ours was one of 19 awarded a Silver medal. There were four Gold medals. Congratulations to local winery Mundoonen, who won the Chief Minister's Trophy for the best Canberra District wine with their lovely 2002. Following the completion of the Riesling Challenge today, we had a chance to show the vineyard to judge and British wine writer Tom Cannavan (white shirt) and Ralph Kyte-Powell of The Age (red).
17 October 2005: Lets go on a Riesling Crusade! (Paul Ippolito lists our Riesling among the best, with a score of 90/100).
Meanwhile, look at our friend among the Pinot Gris vines, who got scared by a passing tractor. (Its an echidna).
4 October 2005: With the 2004 vintage now sold out, we're pleased to release the 2005 Pinot Gris in all its freshness and wonder. It won a Silver medal at the recent Canberra Regional Wine Show, and Peter Dietsch commenting in The Canberra Review (22/9/05) said: “Mount Majura presented a superb 2005 Pinot Gris to follow its brilliant 2004”. Winemaker Frank van de Loo is very pleased with it, saying it has all the flavour of the 2004 and more finesse. More info...
28 September 2005: The cellar door is open all this weekend for the Labour Day public holiday: Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 10am-5pm. You might like to combine your visit with a meal at the wonderful restaurant Grazing in Gundaroo. They're launching their Spring menu matched with local wines; if you try the oxtail braised in coconut and coriander, let us know how it is!
Meanwhile, work has begun today on our new winery and cellar door. We're committed to being out of the leased winery space we've been using, so we desperately need the new winery to be operational for next vintage in March. The cellar door will be a big improvement on the current little shed, but will be right next to the barrel room so you'll really know you're coming to the source. Watch this space for more developments.
21 September 2005: Two big events coming up: Mount Majura Vineyard is sponsoring and hosting the start/finish for the Two Peaks race organised by the Australian Mountain Running Association. Its on November 5, we imagine you'll need to be seriously fit, and entry forms are avilable here. You could win some of our wine. Good luck!
The annual spring festival at Canberra District wineries this year is called "Wine, Roses and All That Jazz". It kicks off on Friday November 11 with a wine, food and jazz showcase in Civic, followed by two days with plenty to see and do at the wineries. Stay tuned here or at canberrawines.com.au for more information.
14 September 2005: Good news for us at the ActewAGL Canberra Regional Wine Show last night. Silver medals for 2005 Riesling, 2005 Pinot Gris (due for release very soon) and 2004 Pinot Noir (won't be available for a little while), and bronze for 2004 Chardonnay (likewise). We don't enter a lot of shows anymore: some are looking for styles we're not interested in making, and the best shows are ones where we can get along and speak to the judges to get some feedback. Champion wine of show went to Kamberra 2004 Shiraz: well done to winemaker Alex McKay. The standout classes according to the judges were Riesling and Shiraz, agreeing with what most local winemakers consider the Canberra District's best varieties.
There is a public tasting of all wines entered in the show next Saturday 17 September, 4-6 pm, RNCAS Council Room, Exhibition Park in Canberra.
11 September 2005: Warm weather recently is bringing the vines closer to budburst, with the very first signs of it in Chardonnay, the earliest variety. With budburst a new season begins and the pace of development of the vines determines our work schedule. Budburst also brings us into the time when we anxiously watch for frost.
7 September 2005: We've released our first Rosé, just because we thought it was a fun thing to try. Actually, we tried making one in 2004, learned a lot, and have now made a much better wine in 2005. Made entirely from Pinot Noir picked early, to avoid making it too heavy and because Rosé should be fresh and lively, not high in alcohol. There is great flavour nevertheless, lots of strawberries and spice. Spring is here!
29 August 2005: A lovely day yesterday, lots of buzz at the cellar door, and the Tempranillo is sold out for another year.
27 August 2005: Tim White (Australian Financial Review, 26-28 August 2005) reviews the 2004 Tempranillo (not 2003 as printed):
Minty smelling, backed with lovely red pippy berries - cranberries - and fudge-like smells. Attacks with brambly blackberries then builds really dry, sandy tannins perfectly balanced by sweet fruit and fudge to finish. Some warmth, but it fits. 92/100
25 August 2005: Following a great deal of interest and a very fun launch of the 2004 Tempranillo by ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, it is nearly sold out. The last few cases are available from the cellar door (Sunday). For mail orders, please call first to confirm availability.
Snow falling in the vineyard recently
29 July 2005: The Spring Newsletter is out, including new releases of 2005 Riesling, 2002 Dinny's Block and yes, the long awaited 2004 Tempranillo! The Tempranillo is in very limited supply, so buy early to avoid disappointment. The Tempranillo will officially be released by the ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, and in a way that you wouldn't expect, so have a look at the newsletter!
24 June 2005: The current issue of the Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal has a report on Australian Tempranillo. Of 25 wines tasted (by sommelier and journalist Nick Stock, and Yalumba winemaker Louisa Rose) five were considered the most outstanding, including both 2003 and 2004 Mount Majura Vineyard Tempranillo! These were their notes:
Mount Majura 2003 Canberra District Tempranillo
Very spicy and brambly aromas in wafts of perfume. One taster also noted dense rhubarb, black cherry and rose petal aromas. A fuller palate than some others in the line-up, with lots of flavour, fruit weight and modern, jazzy cinnamon spice. 'Like and iron fist in a velvet glove' was one taster's explanation of this wine. Very highly rated by both tasters.
Mount Majura 2004 Canberra District Tempranillo
A nose of liquorice and spice, black cherries and rhubarb with a menthol lift overlayering a long layered palate with black fruits, perfume and complexity. Some fragrance through the palate entry but drags a bit through the finish with lots of spice and anise. 'This wine has great length and life,' said one taster.
The 2004 is due for release August 1.
16 June 2005: The Winter Newsletter is out, with lots of information on our new releases, events, recent reviews and a report on the 2005 vintage. Be sure to read about our Winemakers Dinner in conjunction with Anise Restaurant in Canberra, on July 1. To make a booking please don't hesitate to contact Joseph or Justin at Anise on (02) 6257 0700.
11 June 2005: This weekend we're able to launch a new product at the cellar door, Vino Cotto. The idea was given to us by two of our grape pickers this year, Carmine and Antonina, originally from southern Italy. Each year Carmine makes wine, and each year Antonina runs off some off his juice at the beginning of ferment and boils it down to make Vino Cotto.
Our batch was made under the careful eye of Jan Gundlach, chef at Flavours, The Culinary Centre. Vino Cotto is very sweet, but has considerable balancing acidity. Its main feature is a very intense flavour, grapey yet also malty and rich. It has many uses in baking, making sauces, roasting vegetables, salad dressings, and desserts. We have prepared an information sheet, but please check back for updates as we add to it.
23 May 2005: A busy day at the cellar door yesterday as we had the regristration and starting point for an orienteering event in Majura Pines. The Pinot Gris and Shiraz were favourites, the newly released Shiraz also receiving a great review by Chris Shanahan in the Canberra Times. In fact there have been so many reviews and new releases lately, we've forgotten to mention some: the 2003 Chardonnay is now available, and the 2004 Pinot Gris is in the current issue of Gourmet Traveller WINE. The 2001 Cabernet franc Merlot is also recently released and finding friends!
6 May 2005: Vintage is almost over - we still have Graciano to pick, but this is a very late variety - and its been a good one. In fact we're all getting together today for pizza from Frank's wood-fired oven to celebrate!
The Shiraz is to be pressed off tomorrow, and is the early favourite for star of the vintage. Picking was held off until the peppery characters were matched by riper fruit flavours, and it came in with perfect natural balance: 14.4 Baume of sugar with 7.6 grams per litre of titratable acidity. With 20% whole bunches in the ferment and yeast inoculation delayed until a wild start, there will be some gamy complexity. At this stage there is a big liquorice aroma and a good peppery spice on the palate. Meanwhile the newly released 2003 Shiraz was a favourite with the owners when they met for dinner at outstanding Canberra restaurant Anise recently. The rippling structure of the Shiraz was a good match for pork belly braised in pandanus broth, and not bad with my partner's duck either!
23 April 2005: We've sold out of some of the favourites at our cellar door, but the good news is that the next vintages have been released. The 2001 Cabernet franc Merlot is a worthy successor to the 2000 vintage. A little firmer, similar flavour spectrum, and developing some wonderful complexity. The 2003 Shiraz is only quite recently bottled, fresh as a daisy and just beginning on what will be a long life. An elegant red berry dominated Shiraz and our first red release under screwcap. The 2001 Woolshed Creek Red is also sold out and its successor will be a 2004 Merlot, due for release soon.
Meanwhile, vintage 2005 has been one of the most benign and measured on record, with no two varieties ripening at once and time enough to have everything under control -- a rare thing! Quality so far is very good once again, and the natural balance in the fruit is notable.
23 March 2005: Vintage has begun! We picked some Chardonnay and Pinot noir (for our first Rose, what fun) on Saturday in the midst of Harvest Festival, and will be picking again on Easter Saturday. Rain yesterday has been dried up by strong winds, and we are expecting more mild sunny autumn weather. Harvest Festival was a great success, but there are more events still to come:
7 March 2005:The Autumn newsletter is just out, with a focus on regionality: why is it important and what is the Canberra District all about?
There are lots of events coming up too, and we would love you to be involved.
We're very pleased with a number of wines just bottled, so there is more good stuff in the pipeline. The vineyard has kept us busy, particularly with all the vines that were grafted and are now being trained. The bird nets are all on, and picking is not far away. The weather has just become more autumn-like, with mild sunny days and cool nights, just the way we like it for ripening. It all looks good for a high-quality vintage.
10 January 2005: Many of our grafts have taken already, with some shoots growing well. Others would if only they were left alone!
22 December 2004: We have grafted quite an area of vines to Shiraz, and also to Tempranillo. Its a quick way of changing varieties, where a small chip containing a bud of the new variety is inserted into a shoot of the original vine, and held with tape. This bud will grow to provide the whole new top of the vine.
We should have increased production of Shiraz and Tempranillo (both in desperately short supply!) in the 2006 vintage, whereas replanting from scratch would take another couple of years. Now we just have to hope that all the grasshoppers currently around will leave some of the precious grafted buds to grow.
We had some worthwhile rain from the series of thunderstorms that finished a week ago. We are impressed to notice that the vines have a deeper green colour also. Apparently there can be significant depositions of nitrogen from the atmosphere due to the action of lightning.
23 November 2004: We will be at Wine Australia this weekend: please come and see us at stand 228-16 (changed from 228-14). You could win a Contemporary Collection membership at the Art Gallery of NSW!
Meanwhile, the vineyard is looking wonderful, with the vines approaching flowering. We've implemented Alternate Row Mowing this year, which provides a constant source of grass pollen as a second food source for the predatory mites that help control our pest mites. Its one of the ways in which we let nature help us manage the vineyard.
Our neighbours have just planted a Trufferie: oak trees that will produce the prized black truffle. We can't wait to match them with our wines!
5 November 2004: The Spring Newsletter is out with lots to read:
22 October 2004: We're proud to be joining Canberra Contemporary Artspace as their sole wine sponsor. This initiative will involve a number of exctiting joint projects. Stay updated via our newsletter and theirs.
The Days of Wine and Roses festival is coming up, November 13-14. It is a great weekend to visit Canberra District wineries in the beauty of spring. We'll have new release 2004 whites (including the knockout Pinot Gris!), picnic hampers and live music. Our next newsletter (subscribe below) will be out soon, with more details, or visit www.canberrawines.com.au. Meanwhile, the 2002 Shiraz and 2003 Tempranillo are virtually sold out, so please call immediately to secure any.
10 September 2004: Congratulations to GRAZING Restaurant at Gundaroo. They have been awarded a coveted 'Chef’s Hat' in the 2005 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. The Spring menu matches our Tempranillo with Cajun spiced rare kangaroo loin with hommos, tabouli and horseradish cream. Definitely worth checking out!
5 September 2004: More good reviews rolling in, this time Ralph Kyte-Powell (The Age, 5/9/04) on the 2002 Chardonnay:
This quietly complex chardonnay has smooth fruit in great balance with well-measured oak. Real finesse for $20.
Meanwhile, Chris Shanahan (Canberra Times 5/9/04) thought the 2002 Chardonnay "stunning" but reviewed the 2003 Tempranillo:
For a spring treat, tear out to Mount Majura for this sensationally aromatic red, made from the Spanish variety Tempranillo. Like the aroma, the palate's loaded with luscious fruit but not at the expense of red-wine structure. There's ample fine tannins and acid to give a grippy, savoury finish. This is an exciting debut from very young vines, suggesting that Tempranillo, best known in Spain's Rioja region, is well suited to Canberra's climate.
Chris then went on to say about the 2002 Shiraz:
As good as the tempranillo is, the Chateau Shanahan team was even more blown away by Mount Majura's 2002 shiraz, the first vintage from new plantings on the warmest part of the site (lowest altitude north facing). This is a wine of real class – peppery, savoury cool-climate shiraz of real depth and complexity.
1 September 2004: Our newly released 2003 Tempranillo has just won a Silver medal at the NSW Small Winemakers Wine Show.
31 August 2004: You can tell its been dry when we announce rain on our website. Fifty-seven millimetres over the last day and a half, lovely slow steady soaking rain, just what the vines need for budburst in a few weeks!
23 August 2004: Mount Majura Vineyard is now available in Melbourne! We've just sent our first shipment to Rathdowne Cellars in North Carlton.
19 August 2004: We have an immediate opening for a Vineyard Manager!
16 August 2004: You can now order online! We have now added a secure online shopping facility, to complement our normal mail order system. We'll deliver your wine to your door anywhere in Australia.
13 August 2004: Great reviews of our Chardonnay (91 points), Shiraz (93 points) and Tempranillo (92 points) in Winefront Monthly out today: "This is a boutique producer to get in on at the ground level." We've quoted their reviews on our page for each wine.
Benchmark Wine Bar are having two winemakers dinners Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th of August, in conjunction with The Australian Science Festival. We will be there on the Tuesday. Contact Benchmark if you are interested.
To celebrate the release of our Tempranillo we will be holding two special tasting events on Sunday the 8th of August.
4 June 2004: The June edition of Winewise magazine reviews wines of the Canberra District. You'll find reviews of several of our wines, including the 2001 Chardonnay:
I don't think any of the panel expected to encounter a Canberra chardonnay of such quality in this tasting. The 2001 Mount Majura glories in a seamless merging of intensity, complexity, structure and creaminess of texture. There's a hint of matchstick to the nose, and the palate delivers great power allied with great finesse and spot-on oak handling. This wine is a regional gem.
We only have 37 cases of the 2001 Chardonnay left, so get in quick! We even think the 2002 is better again, so you may wish to compare for yourself. Both are a bargain at only $20 per bottle on our Mail Order Form. There was more good news in the Winewise article, in particular editor Lester Jesberg, a judge at many wine shows, was excited about our 2003 Tempranillo, due for release in our August newsletter:
The first-crop 2003 Mount Majura Tempranillo is a raging succes. It's a vibrant red which offers red fruits, licorice and rose petal aromas together with satisfying medium-weight palate balanced by fine powdery tannins. Highly Recommended.
There were only 101 cases of the Tempranillo made, so the best way to get some is to subscribe to our newsletter.
3 May 2004: Our Cellar Door is now open on Sundays! We've modified our little shed, in a rather agricultural way, to provide tastings and sales every Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. We would love to meet you, and show you our wines in their natural habitat! We're about 2 km from the northern end of Majura Road, or about 9 km from Canberra Airport. And if you're driving from Sydney to the snow, you'll probably be coming right past.
Vintage is drawing to a close, and what a vintage it has been! We harvested a little more than expected, certainly a record crop for us, as well as it seems a record crop nationally. Our younger vines have matured well and borne good crops of top class fruit. Whereas in previous years, some blocks had to be fruit thinned in order to keep vine balance, this was not necessary in 2004. Quality is excellent across the board, with wonderfully perfumed Pinot noir, richly scented Pinot gris and intensely zesty Riesling some of the early favourites! After a very long "Indian Summer", the weather turned cold at Anzac day (to be expected in Canberra), leaving the Shiraz to be fermented with insulation around the vats.
10 April 2004: It's Vintage, we're flat out, its Harvest Festival, and we're open! We would love to see you at our very simple cellar door over the Easter long weekend. Learn about the process "from vine to wine", bring a picnic and relax in the countryside, taste our impressive range of wines including the new releases, two stars of the 2002 vintage, Merlot and Shiraz! Find us at RMB 314 Majura Road, about 9 km north of Canberra Airport or 2 km south of the Federal Highway. We are open from 10 am to 5 pm, Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday. You might want to plan your trip to include visits to other Canberra District Wineries.
Vintage is proceeding very well. Not a drop of rain for months now, so no need to worry about that, and wonderful fruit being picked. We're particularly excited by the intense lemon characters in the Riesling, and the Pinot gris came in particularly ripe and purple, which promises a wine of real richness and flavour. There will be much to look forward to!
Our latest newsletter will be available here shortly, just as soon as a few moments can be found in between plunging vats and crushing grapes! Please sign up to receive it if you haven't done so already.
In case you can't make it over Easter, we will be opening the cellar door every Sunday, starting May 2nd. We look forward to introducing you to our wines in the context of their vineyard!
10 January 2004: The current season is shaping up very well, with cumulative temperatures (see graph) following a pattern closely resembling the great 2002 vintage. Rain at the beginning of flowering spurred on vegetative growth, making for lots of canopy management work, but the dry weather during the berry enlargement period has allowed some stress to develop, auguring well for small berries and intensity of flavour and colour.
10 November 2003: The Days of Wine and Roses Festival was a great success, with many visitors making the most of the rare opportunity to visit Mount Majura Vineyard. It was a real pleasure to meet our customers!
30 October 2003: The Spring Newsletter is out now, with lots of new releases, including our first Riesling and Pinot Gris, plus our new "Woolshed Creek" label!
21 October 2003: We're planning to be open for the first time ever, for the Days of Wine and Roses Festival, November 8-9. We'll have more details available shortly, and you can find information on the Festival at the new Canberra District Wineries website.
19 September 2003: Budburst! We have budburst in Chardonnay, only very slightly ahead of the normal time. It will still be a few weeks until budburst in the late varieties like Tempranillo. We're looking forward to another good season and no heavy frosts!
10 September 2003: We're delighted with our results at the 2003 Canberra Regional Wine Show! A Gold medal for the Mount Majura Vineyard 2002 Chardonnay was a wonderful confirmation of what our customers tell us: it's a really beautiful wine. Then there was a Silver medal for the 2002 Pinot Noir (not yet released, but it won't be long), and a Bronze medal for our first Riesling, the 2003, to be released in November. It was a very strong show, with wines from many producers showing just how good the Canberra District can be.
20 August 2003: It has been a relatively mild winter, and indications are for an early budburst in mid September. Pruning is nearly finished. We're also bottling at the moment, so there will be some new varieties to savour in our next release in November.
16 July 2003: The new releases from Mount Majura Vineyard are finally here! It has been a long and frustrating break from sales for the first vineyard in the ACT, but the good news is that we now have a number of great wines to offer! To celebrate, we've slashed the price of delivery when you order wine directly from us! Read all about it in our first newsletter.
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