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  • Weather

    13° C Overcast clouds
  • Time

    11:57 AM
  • Wine average?

    96 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    5
  • Region Ranking?

    1
  • Popularity ranking?

    223

History

The Berliner family make three quite extraordinary wines at this Margaret River property. By Australian standards the wines are not bargains, however by contrast with some premium wines from California and elsewhere they are not excessive. The vineyards are all dry-farmed, resulting in deep rooting vines and viticulture is biodynamic. With naturally low vine vigour through close planting the vineyards produce low yields of intensely flavoured grapes. Per- haps the most intriguing of the trio is the Malbec.

There are few examples in Australia and one would have to argue this is the best. It has a tremendous spicy, tobacco quality with structured but very supple tannins and great intensity and balance. For all the quality of the Malbec, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay have just a touch more depth and dimension.

The Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the great examples from the Margaret River. There is a balance of dark berry fruits, blackcurrants, and a cedar quality, all of which are balanced by sturdy but very well rounded tan-nins. It’s also worth noting that while alcohol levels are generally going higher and higher in Australia both these redstend to weigh in at just over 13%. That fresh edge certainly adds to their appeal. Finally, while one wouldn’t say it’s a spectacular value the Chardonnay is the best value of these three. Initially restrained and elegant there is an intense citrus quality with very well judged oak. (DM)

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Vineyards

The Margaret River region, in the southwest corner of Australia, is a biodiversity paradise.

Our farm is located on rich bushland connecting to the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, which extends down to the edge of the Indian Ocean. We work within the sound of the sea whose influence on the grapes is tangible. Cooling maritime breezes mitigate warm daytime temperatures, allowing our grapes to ripen slowly and to gather flavor.

Animals of all kinds live in or visit the vines. Our practices consciously integrate the wild into what we cultivate. Everything we do is interrelated with the cycles of nature

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Winemaking

Our practices of careful observation begins in the vineyard and continues in the winery. We work with nature, and offer only minimal interference with natural processes. Utilizing wild ferments and intervening as little as possible, we let the grapes fully express themselves as they transmute into wine.

The biodynamic approach considers the whole farm as an integrated, living system, with its foundation in the soil. 

A healthy soil retains moisture, is nutrient rich and alive with beneficial organisms supporting the vitality of the plants. We use homeopathic preparations, fish and seaweed emulsions, biodynamic composts, rock dusts, mulches and cover crops.

Each vine is the purest expression of its particular variety. Because our grapes are grown on their own roots, developed from cuttings of the finest specimens available in our region, they have varietal purity and natural vigor.

The vines are dry-farmed and never irrigated. They have found their own water and have thrown down deep roots. Self sufficient and deeply connected to the seasonal water cycles and natural processes inherent to our area, the vines are integrated expressions of this bio-diverse place.

Utilizing wild ferments and intervening as little as possible, we let the grapes fully express themselves.

We prune and trellis by hand and do not employ machinery. Our vines are on vertical shoot-positioned trellises and are closely planted in short rows.  The vigor of an entire plant concentrated in a tiny space allows for a finite low volume of intensely flavored fruit.  We believe this close-planted arrangement best brings out the inherent flavor of the land. We pick by hand to prevent damage to the fruit, and transport small quantities at a time to the winery to insure freshness and viability.

Our practices of careful observation, working with nature and offering only minimal interference with natural processes, begins in the vineyard and continues in the winery. 

 

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Inside information

Im a species of birdbrain, I admit it. Encircled by so many birds I sometimes fancy Im thinking bird thoughts, mostly concerning food.  With guinea fowl, chickens, ducks and geese populating the orchard, whose unnetted fruit trees attract in turn a massive population of non-domesticated birds, birdsong is the dominant tune on the farm radio. Even now, in the belly of the night, the magpies serenade the full moon, a young rooster boasts to his jaded harem and a whole collection of geese honk a glorious chorus, all in counterpoint to distant wave crash.  From a nearby hollow, a steady whine from a machine harvester shudders across the night.  And still its quiet.

I patrol the vineyard in maximum moonlight.  The kangaroos are here again, pilfering their quotient of grapes. Two clump off and pound into the fence where Ive repaired it.  One tears a hole through the wire and scrambles through, but the other spins back, heading my way.  I zap him with my flashlight, causing him to lope back into the vines.  Sisyphus R Us, comments my little tweet-brain.  Here we go again, again.  I suppose the whole "chase the animal out of the grapes” routine would be really annoying if everything werent so beautiful, the moon engorged to fullness, bobbing in the perfect clear purple charcoal sky, relentless waves resounding, restless birds clattering, kangaroos appropriating their tax of Cabernet Sauvignon.   

And then it clicks in my birdbrain.  Its a tithe exacted in exchange for all of this.  I am paying for the privilege of being here on this land with these grapes.  And then it clicks over again  they are animals and they are hungry and my fence is in disrepair.  Nice try birdbrain.   Time to fix the blasted fences.

by Will Berliner

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