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Hailing from New Zealand the Clonal Brothers are Matt and Steve Harrop and together they are a lethal winemaking combination. Steve lives in the Waitaki Valley in north Otago, a short (and very beautiful!) drive from the vineyards that supply Pinot Noir for Amen Break. Matt lives in the Macedon Ranges, north of Melbourne. he grows grapes for his family winery Silentway, he will be a familiar name to most as the long-time winemaking brains behind the Shadowfax wines and more recently the newly installed winemaker for Curly Flat. His easy-going nature belies a profound winemaking talent that combines an innate understanding of his craft with equal parts accessibility and intellectualism in his wines. Steve also has a couple of decades of vineyard development and wine marketing behind him and his ability to root out the right parcel at the right price is legendary.
The wines in the range currently come under the Amen Break (music nerds will recognise this as a 6- to 7-second (4-bar) drum solo performed by Gregory Sylvester “G. C.”. Coleman in the song “Amen, Brother” performed by the 1960s funk and soul outfit The Winstons.) and currently features wines made from grapes sourced from their respective backyards including the award-winning Chardonnay off the Quarry Vineyard near Kilmore and a Central Otago Pinot Noir close to Steve’s home.
Quarry Ridge Vineyard is planted on the site of an old bluestone quarry, 550m above sea level near Kilmore, 100km north of Melbourne in the beautiful Victorian Highlands.
These vines are now nearing 30 years old and produce a small crop of concentrated fruit each year. This is a cold place, so crops must be low, and farming must be exact. Vineyards are monitored daily in the weeks leading to harvest, then picked at the moment acidity, sugar and flavour are in balance.
All harvest is done by hand, the winemaking is simple but precise. Fermentation is in used French oak hogsheads. Naturally occurring vineyard yeasts conduct the fermentation, and the wine matures in contact with these same yeasts for up to 12 months before bottling. No fining is used and the wine is minimally filtered.
The palate is very concentrated, with fig, pear, wet stones, and a hint of mealy phenolic at the finish. Acidity is bright and frames the palate beautifully. This is a totally modern, thoroughly authentic expression of cool grown, high-altitude chardonnay.
Roast Chicken with a creamy mushroom sauce.
Will continue to improve with careful cellaring for 5-8 years.