New Releases, November 2014
Two new releases at Ciavarella Oxley Estate are, we think, perfect matches to the warmer days ahead. The 2014 Pinot Grigio ($18) is a crisp, dry style with apple and pear aromas. The 2014 Rosato ($20) is full of raspberry, cherry flavours, clean and dry, with a little more colour and presence than most rosé styles, making it an easier match to foods, but equally for sipping on the porch as you watch the sun set. We call it rosé’s bigger brother. Both have just been released at cellar door.
The 2012 Shiraz Viognier, which recently picked up Bronze medals at both the Australian Small Winemakers Show and the Dookie Wine Show, is also just released.
Winter Activities and Queen’s Birthday, June2013
Winter sees a change in activities in the winery and vineyard. As the last of the leaves drop from the vines, we sharpen up the secateurs for pruning. Some of our red wines from 2012 are not far from bottling, and are getting a final racking and of course tasting to sort out label notes and so on.
The last days have seen snow on the mountains and hopefully a good start to the ski season, and we are sending wines up to restaurants and outlets at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek as they prepare for the opening weekend. If you are on the mountains and want to track down our wine, check our listing here.
Our tasting rooms are open all days of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend and we look forward to showing off our range to those visiting the wineries. There is plenty on in the King Valley, Milawa Gourmet Region, Rutherglen and Glenrowan and their close proximity allows people to visit more than one area over the weekend.
News of the 2013 vintage, April 2013
The last red wines have just been pressed out at Ciavarella Oxley Estate, in what has been a great vintage. Our spring and summer were dominated by dry and not overly hot days, with often cooler nights – all great for development of great flavour in ripening grapes and fantastic colour in our reds.
This year saw the first little crop from our recent planting of zinfandel. During fermentation, it showed amazing berry/raspberry aromas and vibrant colour – lively zin and looking promising indeed. The reds in general look great with parcels of durif, cabernet, merlot, zinfandel and shiraz all due to go into barrel in coming weeks.
The chardonnay again looks the goods and should follow in the footsteps of previous vintages.
We also made a small volume of fortified white, since the season’s weather was so kind and allowed us to ripen grapes well for the style. All in all, a vintage typified by small yields of high quality grapes, giving us the chance to make wines which should shine in the glass!
2010 Viognier released, April 2013
The Ciavarella Oxley Estate 2010 Viognier is now available. It shows all the hallmarks of viognier, full of flavour with aromas of banksia, violets and musk ahead of ripe pear and melon. A great match to richer fishes like salmon, trout or perhaps lemon chicken. It was rated in Winestate Magazine’s “Top 40 buys under $20″ and has two bronze medals. For more info, check out our wine notes here.
Release of 2009 Durif, January 2013
Durif is a great variety that found a home away from its French origins in the North East region of Victoria, where it boldly expresses itself. The 2009 Durif has ripe, dark berry/cherry/plum aromas with durif’s signature earthiness. It is rich and elegant, with ripe berry fruit characters and silky tannins. For more information take a look here.
The 2009 Ciavarella Oxley Estate Durif was rated 90/100 in Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion 2012 and awarded a bronze medal at the Victorian Wines Show, Class 31, 2012.
Release of 2010 Noble Aucerot, November 2012
We have been growing the variety aucerot from the mid-1980s. Initially just a few vines were grown from cuttings rescued from a nearby vineyard that was being worked over to another variety. These were maintained to save the variety from disappearing from Australia completely and allowed us to develop our small planting of the variety.
We have made various wine styles from aucerot since our first crop in 2000. The first was a dry wine, and thereafter a number of late harvest dessert wines, which have gained a good following. These have typically had some noble botrytis (a fungal infection that dessicates the berries and sweetens the fruit, leading to remarkable dessert wines) but not at levels enough to call them a ‘noble’ style. In 2010, we again crossed our fingers and left the grapes on late to ripen and for the first time were lucky to get substantial noble botrytis.
Noble infections dry the fruit, and so quantity is sacrificed for quality. Tiny shrivelled bunches take much effort to pick, and it took four of us six hours to harvest the 265 kg of precious grapes. This resulted in 302 bottles of 500ml. The economics of making such a small quantity of wine would possibly make an accountant cry, but sometimes we winemakers lose sight of all that when presented with special grapes that can lead to wines like this.
This is a wine that needed some time in cellar before release. At last, here it is – a small number of bottles of a special wine. The current Halliday Wine Companion (2013) rated it at 93 points, and Master of Wine Nick Bulleid described it as:
“Mid gold. Perfumed, concentrated, excellent botrytis on nose. Luscious palate with great apricot flavours. Crisp acidity. Excellent length. An excellent wine.”
This is not an everyday wine. It is a great gift for someone special, but only if they’ll share!
Reserve Shiraz 2010 released, August 2012
Ciavarella Oxley Estate has released the 2010 Reserve Shiraz. This is the first release under the reserve label, under which we will bottle wines that we regard as stellar examples. The 2010 Reserve Shiraz typifies the fantastic 2010 vintage, and is a big, full-flavoured wine with ripe fruit flavours, hints of pepper and chocolate/coffee bean aromas. It won a gold medal at the Victorian Wines Show in 2011 and was rated 92/100 in James Halliday’s current (2013) Australian Wine Companion.
Success at Winewise Small Vignerons Awards 2012
Results of the Winewise Small Vignerons Awards released in July see Ciavarella Oxley Estate awarded a silver medal for the2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (current release) and bronze medals to two future release wines in the 2010 Viognier and 2010 Durif.
The Winewise Small Vigneron Awards are open to wineries crushing less than 500 tonnes and are conducted under full show conditions with high calibre judges such as Nick Bulleid, Ian McKenzie and Lester Jesberg.
The cabernet adds the silver to a bronze at last year’s Dookie Wine Show; the 2010 Durif previously got gold at the Victorian Wines Show and 90 points from James Halliday and the 2010 Viognier got a ‘Top 40 buy’ rating in Winestate Magazine.
Release of Zinfandel 2009
After the rave response we had to the 2008 Zinfandel, at last here is the release of the 2009. This is a limited release too – only about 50 dozen – so for fans, we advise you to act sooner than later to secure a bottle or two.
In Puglia, the province in Italy from where the Ciavarella family emigrated, Zin is called Primitivo(meaning ‘early’), and it is regarded for its ripe flavours and great tannin structure. A great food wine, full of ripe fruit flavours and earthy notes. Here is the tasting note. $28 per bottle at the cellar door.
Durif is a variety that has long had a loyal following, and the last decade or so has seen more folk discovering it. Recently, there are as many people coming to our cellars saying “I came ’cause I heard you make a durif” as there are reading our cellar list and asking “Durif, what’s that?”
Originally propagated by Dr. Durif, a Frenchman, in about 1880, it never found great favour in France, and is not widely planted there. However, in California, it is widely known under the synonym petite sirah and in Australia has made North East Victoria its home for the last 100 years, where it produces great reds under our sunny skies.
Ciavarella Oxley Estate have just released the 2008 Durif. It is a great red for winter, full of ripe fruit flavours, and plenty of weight and tannins to match it up to full on winter fare. You can check out the full tasting notes here.
Vintage is well underway as this is written (29 March). Despite that heavy rain (350mm or 14 inches ‘in the old money’ of rain fell over 5 days in early March), we have seen some good quality grapes come in this vintage. The chardonnay is into barrel now, and undergoing a periodic lees stirring. Riesling has been fermenting slowly, slowly at low temperature and is ticking away and nearly dry. The viognier is fermenting and a portion will go into barrel in the coming days. Cabernet sauvignon is pressed out and looks great – the berries were pea-sized little things and the colour is inky black-red. This wine possibly isthe standout so far and it seems to defy the rainfall it saw. Of course patience is the order of the day with cabernet, but we are already talking it up.
The season has certainly presented some challenges, but the varietal flavours are showing through and what we have thus far picked looks the goods.
Our facebook page has plenty of images and news of the goings on in vintage, if you want to take a look.
Release of 2010 Chardonnay
We have just released (Jan 2012) the Ciavarella Oxley Estate 2010 Chardonnay. The wine follows in the footsteps of previous vintages and has already picked up some great reviews. It was awarded a bronze medal at the 2011 Victorian Wines Show and 4 stars by Winestate Magazine, where it was described as follows:
“Great style with lovely, full rich barrel ferment characters, toasty oak and beautifully presented elegant varietal fruit with hints of burnt match.”
For more info, check our wine notes here.
Essentials Magazine features Ciavarella family history
The latest Essentials Magazine (issue 2, Summer 2011) features a story detailing the tale behind the arrival of the Ciavarella family in Australia, and how it all hinged on the toss of a coin! Keep your eye out for a copy at tourist venues. As usual, lots of great imagery and insights into the good things in life. If you check the photos closely, you can see what was for dinner in camp in 1927.
Winestate reviews – viognier and chardonnay
The just released (Dec 2011) Winestate Special Edition 2011 gives some glowing reviews – the Ciavarella Oxley Estate Viognier 2010 made it into the “Top 40 Best Buys under $20″ listing for 2011. The Ciavarella Oxley Estate Chardonnay 2010 gets 4 stars.
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon release
Our newest red release is the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine recently picked up a bronze medal at the Dookie Wine Show. It is a classy wine at a good price ($20 at cellar door). If you are out and about, drop in for a taste. Here is our tasting note:
‘Typical cabernet flavours abound with red berries, ripe capsicum, cherry, hints of dark chocolate and black coffee, cedar/cigar box. The tannins are silky but with that signature cabernet backbone, making it an excellent match for tender/rare meats such as lamb roast or venison.’
Success at 2011 Victorian Wines Show
Ciavarella Oxley Estate has had great success at the Victorian Wines Show, judged from 18-21 October. The show is held annually in Seymour and is an important wine show for Victoria, drawing entries from all over the state.
GOLD medals were awarded to two Ciavarella Oxley Estate wines – the 2010 Shiraz (Class 21) and the 2010 Durif (Class 23), both receiving 55.5 points, only half a point behind the “Top in Class” wines in their respective classes. The 2010 Chardonnay was awarded a BRONZE medal (Class 16).
The durif and shiraz fruit was superb in 2010 and we recognised that some special wines would come from them. It is great have that endorsed with these medals.
These results are fantastic given that the wines have only been bottled recently, and are yet to come into their own. The Chardonnay, certainly, shows at its best with a couple of years in the bottle and the reds should be long-lived wines. It is a reflection of the great fruit from the 2010 vintage, and I guess feedback that we are on track in the winery!
Medals at the Dookie Wine Show
Ciavarella Oxley Estate was awarded two medals at the 2011 Dookie Wine Show. Our 2008 Durif and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon were both awarded bronze medals. The cabernet is due for release in coming weeks.
Dookie had significant vine plantings 100-odd years ago, but many of these succumbed to phylloxera and were not replanted. In the last 20 years, the area has seen the resurgence of vines and wineries. The Dookie Agricultural Society resurrected the wine show a number of years ago, and it has gone from strength to strength. This year’s show was judged by Lester Jesberg, Simon Killeen and Ruth Ellis.
New Oxley Estate Fortifieds
Winter of 2010 saw two stunning new release fortified wines that are both extremely complex and beautifully clean in their approachable and very modern design.
The brilliant, glistening rose-magenta Oxley Estate NV Muscat is a whole lot of fun with its lifted and fragrantly exotic nose of raisins, rose petal and orange peel. Made from small parcels of carefully selected premium fruit it is quite simply a breath of fresh air, a wholly new direction for the Ciavarella family.
The Oxley Estate 2009 Fortified Durif boasts a fat, rich nose of cooked dark forest berries, fresh cherries and spice. It is a beautifully layered, easy drinking wine with silky-soft tannins to boot. Take a decent mouthful and allow the abundant flavours to linger: dark chocolate, licorice, cooked cherries, blackberries, plums and mixed spice – they’re all there. Having all the hallmarks of a great Rutherglen styled fortified (it’s big), this wine somehow manages to also effortlessly streamline itself. It has a cleaner, softer, more silky feel on the palate and is so, so easy to put away. That can’t be a bad thing!