''My Mum and Dad grow grapes, amongst many other things. In 1998 They planted what is now known as the 'Eminence' vineyard on their property in Whitlands, North East Victoria''
We make the sparkling and the pinot noir under the Eminence label, while the Nimbostratus label is a
collaboration between the Burder family and winemaker Dominic Valentine. We don’t make wine every
year and when we do its in pretty tiny quantities. It’s most definitely for the love!
Like bugs to bright lights, the dilemma with growing contracted grapes for other companies is that eventually you become compelled to try and see for yourself what the site is about.
This is how we started, having some wine to be made by local winemakers in 2005 & 2006. When it arrived back in bottle 12 months later we knew what many already know: that wine connects people to places and our place on the Whitlands High Plateau is quite extraordinary.
So, we continued, without really any strategy or method, using the expertise of people around us. That’s what ‘The Assembly’ is all a out involvement. Eight years from our first ‘on purpose’ vintagewe’re still learning but our intention has been honed: we’re chasing balance between fruit and winemaking influence; we are carefully the effect of variety, clone, ripeness, yeast ageing variables and dosage.
We make the Assembly Sparkling and the Le Peche Mignon pinot noir under the Eminence label, while the Nimbostratus Chardonnay label is a collaboration between our family and winemaker Dominic Valentine. We don’t make wine every year and when we do its in pretty tiny quantities. It’s most definitely for the love! Feel free to give me a call (0433 277 211) or email email@example.com if you have any queries.
For all trade enquires contact myself or Bertie Stevens & his team from Havelock Wines – who handle our Melbourne stockists. Our online purchasing service is secured by Eway and all online orders are freight free Thanks for supporting local winemakers – we appreciate it! Clare.
2012 EMINENCE ‘THE ASSEMBLY’ SPARKLING: This wine is indeed an Assembly: the individual parcels of fruit, the blending after the first ferment, the blending of the dose prior to disgorging – not to mention the amount of people who came together to help me bring this wine out into the world. An incredible effort over the last four years. A heartfelt thanks to everyone involved – this is the most exciting wine to date.
This wine is made entirely from 2012 fruit grown on our vineyard and has spent 41 months on lees. The fruit was handpicked and fermented in old pinot noir barrels with wild yeast; a couple of barrels went through malo. The base wines were blended to 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir & 10% Pinot Meunier and dosed with 5 grams per litre. It’s pretty delicious & a little bit fancy!
2015 EMINENCE LE PECHE MIGNON PINOT NOIR: Our Le Peche Mignon range is all about good times, great wines and midweek frivolity! Like curling up in front of an open fire with a great book and a slab of dark chocolate, the 2015 Le Peche Mignon Pinot Noir is all about life’s little guilty pleasures. Perfumed, supple and preposterously drinkable, the 2015 shows loads of raspberry & red fruit with a hint of savoury spice from 8 months barrel age. Drinking well now until 2020. This wine is made solely from MV6 clone grapes, which were hand-picked and open fermented with wild yeast. This little beauty is aged in Seguin Moreau French oak for 8 months, giving the wine time to integrate without giving too much oak character. A great value Pinot Noir, made with love!
2016 NIMBOSTRATUS CHARDONNAY: A collaboration between the Burder family and winemaker Dominic Valentine of Valentine Wines, Nimbostratus is a special project wine that seeks to capture cold climate chardonnay at it’s finest. We hand picked half from the bottom block (the least ripe) and half from the top – (the most ripe), three tons in total. Whole bunch pressed & barrel fermented with wild yeast, the wine matured on lees for 9 months in French oak puncheons & barriques (25% new); with no stirring or malolactic. In the emerging modern Australian style, the 2016 is a true reflection of the Whitlands region: a finely tuned, all natural acid core, seamless oak & true cold climate flavour intensity. Lees derived texture fleshes out the palate. We think it’s pretty delicious! See the dedicated NIMBOSTRATUS website here. And read the review by Liam O Brien in the Saturday Paper
NV EMINENCE ‘THE ASSEMBLY’ SPARKLING: We finally made a NV wine! NV stands for non-vintage meaning that this wine is a blend from a few different seasons – in this case, 2013 and 2015. It was hand picked from our high altitude Whitlands vineyard and is a blend of Pinot Meunier 45%, Pinot Noir 40%, Chardonnay 15% . This wine was made in the same way as the vintage – with full barrel ferment, however the yeast ageing is less, at two years (opposed to four). This keeps the wine bright and more fruit focused. As it says on the label, it’s really quite charming – nice and dry, bright strawberry flavours with a nice savoury kick to it.
PINOT X 3 WINTER ROSE BLEND: Bottle shot coming soon! This is a super small batch experiment that has everyone around here a bit excited. In 2017, on the last day of harvest there was about two bins of grapes left (about 100 buckets). The rough breakdown was 40% pinot meunier, 30% pinot gris and 30% pinot noir. It was foot stomped (100% whole bunches – stalks, seeds, skins, the whole lot) and fermented slowly. Pressed to old oak for a 6-month rest and bottled. It’s essentially what I like to call ‘Winter Rose’ – half way between red pinot noir and rose, it can be chilled or room temp. It’s got loads of savoury, stalky flavours that are wrapped around the meunier derived strawberry/sour cherry notes. Its delicious and won’t last long, only 40 dozen made.
The Explainer: RoseOctober 28, 2017
Rosé is the sexy red head who shows up first, leaves last and entertains everyone effortlessly in the middle with their perfectly seasoned guacamole & pop hits playlist. Safe to say we have a crush. Seriously, what’s not to like? Generous, supple, delicious. Loves gossip. And kittens. Best find yourself a verandah and settle in. Rosé is generally made by bleeding ...read more
A region with no formal identity, high up in the hills, in the middle of nowhere: Whitlands High Plateau
Our Vineyard + Family
My Mum and Dad planted grapes in 1998, when I was 14. As luck would have it, just old enough to work – and so I was roped into help plant 20,000 sticks in the ground and spend summer making sure they didn’t die. What a job! Almost twenty years on they’re doing pretty well – we’ve had some catastrophic vintages, and some epic ones – which is what farming is all about I suppose. We now have a fantastic vineyard manager to take care of things while Dad runs his manufacturing business Whitlands Engineering -while Mum does God’s work in the health sector.
Our wines, as much as possible, are made to reflect where they are grown, but also to represent great value and great drinking. The Le Peche Mignon range (which translates as ‘The Guilty Pleasure’) is all about great drinking wines that punch above their weight in terms of value. Our Sparkling range, ‘The Assembly’ is named for the sheer amount of people and resources it takes to make sparkling wine, indeed an ‘assembly’ of sorts! It’s pretty fancy!
More About Whitlands
You’ve probably never heard of Whitlands until now, and unless you’re fond of driving through the middle of nowhere, you’ve probably never been there either. Officially Whitlands is a sub region of the King Valley GI. This is misleading however, since the King Valley is a valley, and Whitlands is the high plateau on one side. Viticulturally , they are different regions: 500m altitude difference, vast differences in soil and slopes and the valley – especially towards the Milawa end is much, much warmer. The valley specialises in the Italian varieties of Sangiovese, Prosecco and Nebbiolo plus more common varieties of Riesling, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Whitlands is a 9km stretch of plateau 40km from Mansfield and 15km from Whitfield. There are about 700 acres of grapevines here, but no wineries; it is quite rare to see Whitlands on a label. The grape varieties are typically limited to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling & Pinot Gris – all of which are able to ripen in the cool climate. Most grapes are destined for sparkling base made by producers such as Domain Chandon, Brown Brothers, Yalumba and Treasury. Whitlands fruit is in high demand; bolstered by the healthy thirst we have for high quality sparkling wine in this country!
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