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WINES BY REGION

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Bannockburn

bannockburn.jpgWith the first vines planted in 1972, Bannockburn has steadily grown over four decades and is without doubt the Geelong region's pre-eminant maker.  The vision of Stuart Hooper, the estate remains in the Hooper family and has released a continual stream of exceptional wines for decades.

Today there are some 27 hectares of vines planted on three distinct sites (all within a couple of kilometers of each other).  Numerous plots are vinified separately, and there are both estate blends as well as single site bottlings produced each year.  The vineyard is now dry grown (irrigation was utilised in early years) and in this low rainfall area (nominally 500mm annually, but recent reality is considerably less than this) yields are naturally low.

Most interestingly, several of the plots are deliberately planted very densely - most famously the flagship 'Serre' vineyard, at 9,000 vines per hectare of entirely MV6 clone Pinot Noir.  Serre was planted in 1982, and two recent plantings in 2007, named 'de la Terre' and 'de la Roche' to Pinot Noir and Shiraz respectively are at some 10,000 vines per hectare, with the fruiting wire low to the ground. bannockburn-barrels.jpg

Winemaking is very considered, and Michael Glover (winemaker for nearly a decade now) is continually innovating, tweaking, looking for purer expressions of site and added complexity to his wines.  Since 2008 virtually all Pinot Noirs have been 100% whole-bunch fermented, he has introduced extended ageing on lees for the Chardonnays (currently two years for the estate and three years for the SRH, with further trials looking at potentially extending these further).  The Sauvignon Blanc has had some Riesling and Chardonnay blended to it, and fermenting on skins (a la red wine production) for additional texture and complexity.  Whilst you would call Michael a natural winemaker at your own peril, he is a believer in balance and minimal additions, adding only what is necessary, when necessary.  Filtration is being reduced and eliminated where possible, yet not at the expense of potentially faulty wines.

Bannockburn has always created some of Australia's most exciting and frankly best wines.  Yet for many, they fly under the radar or are overlooked when it comes to recognition of the top handful of makers in this country.

Underestimate these wines at your own loss.

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