2011 Ashton Hills Blanc de Noirs—90 pts
A complex and intriguing sparkling of medium straw hue with a blush tint, contrasting the restraint and acid line of a cool, wet season in the coolest, wettest site in the Adelaide Hills with the generous red fruits of pinot noir (100%) and the savoury, charcuterie and toasty character of French oak fermentation. The accord produces a spicy style of body and breadth that juxtaposes tense acidity and grapefruit pith grip, finishing with good length and subtle, well-integrated dosage of 6g/l. Disgorged July ’14.
Stephen George doesn’t mince his words: “Importantly, while 2011 was crap for most table wines, the coolness of the year produced excellent sparkling wines.” Ashton Hills is justly respected for the class of its sparkling wines, which are only produced when the vintage conditions allow. This, then, is only the fourth time George had produced this wine style after the 2010, 1997 and 2004. The fruit was gently whole-bunch pressed and the resulting juice was fermented in 300-litre French hogsheads. The wine spent two years on its lees before being disgorged and dosed with a low 5 g/l. It’s deliciously mouth-filling, sappy and fresh, with attractive biscuity notes, very fine bubbles and a tapering finish. Proper Estate-grown fizz. It’s a much more satisfying drink than many Champagnes (and we’re not exaggerating).