A couple of exciting new lines arrived from Paxton Wines recently. You may have spotted them out and about at Grapest Hits, but if not, be sure to contact your account manager to arrange a tasting.
These two wines sit very nicely with the existing Paxton range, and as ever, they are all made from estate-grown fruit that is fully certified Organic and Biodynamic.
Paxton’s got a brand new Hive
Many of you will know the original Queen of the Hive. This label was created to salute the bees and the vital role they play in maintaining natural balance and eco-health. Paxton’s biodynamic approach means their vineyards are entirely chemical-free, which allows bee colonies to survive, prosper and pollinate to their hearts’ content.
The first QOTH – a juicy, expressive, contemporary McLaren Vale blend – now has a companion. This sister wine is a Shiraz Mataro, a historic South Australian blend made famous by Penfolds in the 60s. Bin 2 put Shiraz Mataro on the map, even though it was confusingly called ‘Australian Burgundy’ in the early days.
Back to the Future
The Shiraz for QOTH comes from the Jones Block vineyard, which was planted in 1965. The Mataro is sourced from bush vines at Landcross Farm, where the historical Homestead and Paxton’s Cellar Door are located. In the winery, the team uses a combination of whole bunch and whole berry fermentation along with a portion of carbonic maceration to capture a range of expressions from the Shiraz. The Mataro undergoes whole berry fermentation before the wine is aged in oak puncheon and French barrique.
This combination of techniques, which Paxton calls a ‘Back to the Future’ approach, makes for an approachable and complex wine. The aromas start with bright notes of raspberry, cherry, and cranberry before hints of earthy spice and delicate floral notes emerge. The palate is elegant and smooth with silky tannins. As the wine opens up, there’s a subtle smokiness that accompanies the red fruit flavours.
Vino Nobile di McLaren Vale
McLaren Vale was Sangiovese’s first adoptive home in Australia, planted by Mark Lloyd of Coriole Vineyards in the 1980s. The variety has been wholeheartedly embraced by the region’s winemakers and the wider community, not least because of the strong Italian presence in the area. It’s a fit that makes viticultural sense too, as McLaren Vale’s climate and landscape have much in common with the Mediterranean.
Varietal adventurousness is lauded in Australia, where winemakers aren’t bound by appellation regulations. Competitions such as the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS), which started life as the Australian Sangiovese Challenge, have done much to vindicate those giving it a ‘red hot crack’ and bring these wines to a wider audience.
In Ashleigh Seymour, Paxton has a winemaker with a special affinity with Sangiovese. A vintage stint in Montepulciano turned into an 11-year Tuscan sojourn with Avignonesi before Ashleigh returned to her Aussie roots. She has settled in quickly at Paxton. A thoughtful winemaker with great knowledge, flair, and a passion for biodynamics, Ashleigh has already started winning awards and gaining recognition.
Paxton planted Sangiovese in their Gateway vineyard, which sits atop a hill outside McLaren Vale township with views of the Adelaide Hills in one direction and across the Gulf of St Vincent in the other. Unusual outcrops of limestone rock make this a distinctive site in Paxton’s estate.
In the winery, Ashleigh uses a small parcel of early-picked grapes to kickstart an indigenous yeast fermentation which is used to inoculate the whole berry open ferment when the rest of the fruit arrives. Delicate hand plunging extracts the featherlight tannins before transfer to used French puncheons for 6 months.
Tom’s take 📢
“This wine is an absolute belter. Ripe red berries on the nose, which follow on with a savoury herbal note on the palate and smooth, soft tannins. A tiny hint of oak, and roundness from malolactic fermentation make this a really moreish wine”