Why was Malbec planted at Ballandean?
Estate owner Angelo Puglisi says,
“Experimenting with varieties that fit our unique climate and terroir is what gets me excited. I first spotted Malbec at a wine show nigh on 40 years ago with our first ever winemaker Rodney Hooper. We were drawn to its distinctive dark purple colour, which is similar to our Saperavi. It has a similar weight to Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon, berry-driven with a robust structure and moderately firm tannins.”
An Argentinian success story
Malbec can be a difficult grape to grow, but in Argentina, Malbec produced at higher altitudes of 800m to 1000m delivers world-class wine. Malbec vines adapts at high altitude with a darker skin, incredible structure, and bright acid. This fruit forms the basis for intensely-coloured wines that express granitic terroir.
We decided to give it a go on the Ballandean vineyard—same altitude, same climate. After 30-plus years, we are reaping the rewards of our aged vines with a low yield and intensely-flavoured fruit,” says Puglisi.
Widely grown throughout Argentina, Malbec offers a plush alternative to Shiraz, Australia’s most-consumed red varietal. Demand will outstrip supply quickly, as just XX cases were produced for the 2017 vintage. This is Ballandean Estate’s second varietal vintage—the first straight Malbec was produced in 2002. Prior to that, Malbec was only used in small quantities for blending and finessing.
Viticulture and history
In 1985, Angelo Puglisi planted one and a half acres of Malbec on the Ballandean vineyard.
We originally used Malbec for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon. Since its recent explosion of popularity in Argentina and California, the future for Australian Malbec is looking brighter than ever. Our winemaker Dylan Rhymer has applied a unique approach to this great Bordeaux red. A rich bouquet of ripe berries and violets guides you to an intense palate of blackcurrants with the varietal herbaceousness that is so typical. The French oak is beautifully integrated and soft tannins give this wine a plush mouthfeel, smooth and lingering finish.
Argentina’s most highly rated Malbec wines originate from Mendoza’s high altitude wine regions of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Set to thrive on the Granite Belt, Malbec has a good tolerance of cold winters, early frosts and windy sites.
How was it made?
“Our winemaker Dylan Rhymer has applied a unique approach to this great red. We handpicked picked the fruit in late March 2017 at optimal ripeness, then crushed, destemmed and cold soaked the grapes. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was racked to reserve French oak barrels and aged for just over a year. Once emptied, the wine was minimally filtered and bottled — no finings needed.
“The French oak is beautifully integrated and soft tannins give this wine a plush mouthfeel, smooth and savoury lingering finish—an ideal wine to enjoy with food. Drink it now, or enjoy the complexity that cellaring can bring over the next eight years.”
For all media enquiries please contact: Robyn Puglisi-Henderson or Leeanne
Ph: (07) 4684 1226
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