Ashton Hills Salmon Brut 2009
"the wine has a haunting delicacy" James Halliday
Pink, with the slightest touch of salmon; whole bunch-pressed pinot noir bottle fermented, with red pinot noir wine added for colour. Strawberry and cherry fruit flavours are crystal clear, and the wine has a haunting delicacy. Rating:94 Drink By: 2015 Alcohol:13.5% James Halliday .
Consider this as much a sparkling Adelaide Hills pinot noir as a sparkling rosé. A medium salmon hue is derived from the addition of pinot noir fermented on its dark skins, making for a flavoursome style of rose petal and wild strawberry perfume. A fine bead and pure, high altitude acidity ring out through the palate, while dosage provides a rounded sweetness to the finish. A sparkling that can handle a solid chill. Drink: 2012 Point: 92. Tyson Stelzer
The remarkable thing about Ashton Hills winemaker Stephen George is not simply that he makes a long list of benchmark wines, but the sheer diversity that these wines encompass. He coaxes beguilling pinot noir, delicate chardonnay and refined sweet riesling from the old vines of his Ashton Hills Vineyard just below Mount Lofty, high in the Adelaide Hills, each of which rank among the finest in the land. His sparkling shiraz, from the fabled, ancient Wendouree vineyard in the Clare Valley may have no equal anywhere in the world. When you consider the sheer stylistic chasms that separate these four styles – not to mention more than respectable pinot gris, gewürztraminer, rosé and even cabernet malbec and sparkling rosé – his is a talent of unparalleled dexterity.
These are hand-crafted wines of the highest order – Stephen does everything himself, and clearly loves it. When I first visited him six years ago, he told me he refuses to employ anyone to help him in the vineyard or the winery. His idea of a nightmare is a jetsetting winemaker lifestyle selling wines. Stephen is at peace in his vineyard and his winery and all he creates somehow reflects this harmony. His attention to detail is pinpoint accurate, and he still does everything himself, the old fashioned way. Tyson Stelzer