Holly’s Garden ÜberBrut
In 2OO7 I started making sparkling base from Pinot Noir fruit from the Holly’s Garden vineyard. At that stage I had no idea how I’d get it to bottle but believed the vineyard might produce extraordinary sparkling base (it does). These days we are reducing the volume of dry red Pinot Noir and increasing the volume of Blanc de Noir produced. The dry red is at best good and occasionally disappointing. I strongly believe we make fabulous, distinctive sparkling wine from the same fruit every vintage (to date).
Kate Goodman assisted with the pressing cycle, which we still use. The early vintages were tank fermented using EC1118 (safe yeast). The dry wine was sent to small old oak with no added sulphur to go through malolactic fermentation.
These days the free run juice is allowed to oxidize and is fermented mostly in large old oak with a small proportion in tank and inoculated with ~ 5% of the recommended dose of QA23, a vinho vherde isolate which produces a delightful ‘tang’. The low dose is used so that we get a long slow fermentation with a large number of generations of yeast. This way the yeast begins to find the ethanol toxic and produces ‘mucyl poly proteins’ and ‘gucyl poly glycerides’ as a response. I think this is the ‘magic’ of ‘natural’ or ‘wild’ fermentation but I get to choose the specific characteristics of the yeast.
The components in larger old oak are inoculated with small amounts of fermenting juice from the tank fermentation.
We run a ‘solera’ of sparkling base in large old oak which contains wine from each vintage going back to 2OO7. This gives important complexity to the final wine.
I met Mal Stewart in the intervening years. He’s a guru sparkling producer and the tension between his precise technique and my alchemists instinct has resulted in Holly’s Garden ÜberBrut.
I buy in a little post ferment Hoddles Creek Chardonnay to add to the blend these days and typically each bottling contains 25% current vintage Chardonnay, 25% one year old BdN, 25% two year old BdN and 25% from our solera.
The Chardonnay adds some grapefruit sourness to the green strawberry flavours of the BdN and adds tension and shifts the balance and length on the palate in a nice way.
For topping the barrels I use lees from tank fermented Chardonnay wine. This adds ‘umami’ through the autolysed yeast and sourdough/brioche type aroma.
I’m trying to produce an aperitif style and dosage varies from O.O to 1.O g/L. the current NV #5a is O.25 g/L.
I’m trying to get time on triage out to two years, but it varies between a year and eighteen months. We get fabulous complexity from the oxidised solera, which lets me make our ‘complex aperitif style’ with this reduced time on triage. The numbers on our bottlings represent the bottling number (currently 5) and the letters the disgorgement (currently a). Extended time before disgorgement adds richness to the wine and thus requires less dosage.
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