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Hamish Thomson
 
9 March 2017 | Brand Stories, Cellar Door, Our People | Hamish Thomson

Cellar Door Project Shiraz

Best’s Cellar Door Project

Ever heard of a cellar door team making its own drop from the winery’s vineyard and winemaking facilities? Best’s Cellar Door Project could be a world first – read all about this eye-opening exercise in the blog post below.

March 2015

Imparting knowledge to their team does not trouble great leaders. And our winemaker Justin Purser embodies this attitude when he encourages Best’s cellar door team to make its own wine, under his winemaking counsel, of course. Branded The Cellar Door Project, the mission is to impart valuable winemaking knowledge to the team, who in turn share this knowledge with Best’s visitors – it’s one skill to be able to describe a wine’s characteristics; it’s an even greater skill to experience the craft of winemaking and share that with Best’s visitors.

Best’s winemaker Justin Purser takes the first step in a project that culminates in the production of a fantastic Shiraz, as well as the unification and education of our cellar door team. First up, Justin reserves a special area of Shiraz, called James Block in our Salvation Gully Vineyard at Rhymney. At vintage time, it’s all hands on deck to handpick the grapes. Luckily the sun was shining and the hard work resulted in a tonne of beautifully juicy and ripe Shiraz grapes.

Second step sees the cellar door team “foot stomp” the grapes – a fun and fruity task with a bit of mess thrown in. Then for the next week, the team members take turns plunging (to extract colour and tannin in the wine) while the grapes are fermenting. They even enlist the help from cellar door visitors (we’re nothing if not resourceful).

The next, even messier stage is pressing the grapes, using a basket press. It’s incredibly satisfying to watch the grape juice flow through the press and move one step closer to magically becoming wine. 

The juice is then “racked” into barrels where it sits peacefully, until instructions are given for the next steps.  

September 2015

The next phase of the project sees the wine racked off its malolactic lees into tank and analysed in the laboratory, where small adjustments and additions are made before returning to barrel for further maturation.

The cellar door team approaches the tasting component of this practical experiment with grand enthusiasm – and they are all happy to put on their science coats and watch the chemistry in action.

April 2016

Time to check the wine’s maturation process! Thankfully, it’s looking good with rounded, supple fruit characters, yet retaining wonderful freshness. The maturation journey is occurring in second-fill French oak, where monthly topping is undertaken to ensure the wine is kept off ullage (any amount by which a barrel is left unfilled).

December 2016

The wine has reached its optimum maturation point in barrel and put into bottle with a release date pegged for early 2017. The cellar door team have been dedicated participants in this project, taking in every morsel of fact and nuance in this caper that is called winemaking.  Their approach to learning about the winemaking process has been inspiring.

March 2017

It’s time to release the cellar door team’s labour of love. The 2015 Cellar Door Project Shiraz is made from fruit grown in a special plot of Shiraz called James Block in our Salvation Gully Vineyard at Rhymney. The cellar door staff handpicked the grapes, foot stomped, basket pressed, racked, matured in oak, blended and bottled the wine, to present it to you in their place of work – the cellar door. This corner of the world is the only location from which this drop is available. And a mere 30 dozen cases were produced so if you want to stock your cellar, come and visit, or call the cellar door and purchase over the phone – 03 5356 2250.

 

What’s does the 2015 Cellar Door Project Shiraz taste like?

Delicious! It’s dark red with a garnet hue, and lifted herbal peat-like characters. Its rich, mid-weight palate displays dark fruit flavours with a long savoury finish. It will soften and become more complex over the next 10 years.

Keen to try it but can’t make it to the cellar door? No problem, give the friendly cellar door team a call on 03 5356 2250. They’d be very happy to talk you through the entire project and help you purchase a few bottles over the phone. 

 

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