Traditional winemaking values with modern efficiencies
Montvalley has a largely easterly exposure, freedom from frosts, protection from late afternoon sun and afternoon sea breezes. This combined with its rich dark red soil and premium irrigation systems means that the vineyard produces excellent fruit.
The fruit is hand selected and harvested. Each vineyard is carefully monitored to ensure harvest takes place at the correct time to ensure optimum flavour and quality.
Montvalley has its own unique microclimate. It is cooler and greener than other parts of the Hunter and harvest is several weeks later than most other vineyards.
Once the grapes have reached their optimum ripeness, they are hand-picked. The picking process is closely watched by John and the team and every single grape is checked before going into the bins to ensure the highest quality fruit is selected. They are then transported the short distance from the vineyard to the winery, where they are sorted by hand prior to being de-stemmed and "crushed" as they go into the fermenters.
Harvesting usually commences in the first week of February with Semillon, however as the grapes are picked on flavour for all varieties this start time is greatly determined by the season. Shiraz is the last harvested usually in early March.
Free run juice only is used for the Semillon as the pressings add unwanted phenolics to the final wine. Racked juice is fermented by neutral yeast at 20°C in stainless steel. The wine is then left on lees for six to 10 weeks depending on the vintage. The wine is then prepared for bottling with gentle finings used.
This is usually harvested in two parcels with the early harvest parcel fermented in stainless steel and the ripper parcel in oak.
Neutral yeast is used to ferment both parcels at 20 °C. The parcel in stainless steel will remain on lees for 10 to 14 weeks. The other parcel is fermented in 100% French hogsheads (300litres) of which 30% is new. This parcel will remain in oak for six to eight months. Then both parcels are blended together, fined and then bottled.
- Semillon Chardonnay
An Australian innovation - bringing together the best of two classic white varieties. The juice is cool fermented under controlled temperature conditions in stainless steel and then matured in French Oak for 10 months before blending and bottling.
Hand-picked fruit is crushed into open two tonne fermenters. These are then plunged three times a day during fermentation. The tubs are tipped into the press when fermentation is complete. The wine is then transferred to French hogshead of which 25% are new for 14 to 16 months. During this period the wine is racked and returned to oak three times. The wine is egg white fined prior to bottling.
A selected parcel of Shiraz is held on skins for six to eight hours prior to pressing. The racked juice is fermented by neutral yeast at 14°C in stainless steel. The wine is then left on lees for two to four weeks depending on the vintage. The wine is then prepared for bottling with gentle finings used.