Our current release wines from 2019 are under a different label and called One Monkey, which are sourced from different vineyards around the state due to the bushfires in the Huon in 2019 and the loss of fruit from our own vineyard.
One Monkey refers to a refrain in a Gillian Welch song that we used to sing our daughter to sleep with. She sings, “One monkey don’t stop the show” and for us it’s about surmounting the difficulties life throws at you. Mike Bennie hosted a panel discussion at Rootstock a few years ago in which various winemakers talked through what was happening in their lives as the wines were being made. Someone read a poem. It was so instructive and a reminder that each wine we drink involves the weight of people’s lives outside of the day-to-day growing and making of the wine. It’s a human process and a human experience and occasionally it’s good to look at wine in that context. For the other 98% of the time it’s nice not to think and just revel in that warm, fuzzy feeling.
2019 was gearing up to be an epic vintage in the Huon. Great growing conditions, warmer than average and delicious looking bunches! But the environment was quite dry which always makes us nervous and whilst we were in Cygnet one afternoon in January, dry lightning strikes swung in from the west. As we drove home and over the hills, we feared the worst and out to the west from on top of those hills we could see the plumes of smoke in the forests. Columns rising. “It’ll be ok if they get onto them quickly.” Days later we watched as the Riveaux Road fire across the Huon escalated. Time seemed to stand still. Rabbits in the headlights so to speak. Refreshing the Tasmanian Fire Service website. Most events you can plan for in the wine-growing game – frost protection, bird nets, spraying, etc. With smoke and fire, you feel helpless, you just watch it happen.
A month of thick smoke blanketed the vineyard and we knew harvest was over before it had begun. In some ways we were lucky. We didn’t lose the vineyard, we didn’t make wine that would only start to show taint later and we could plan.
So plan we did. We talked to some friends who took pity on us and offered fruit to make a wine that could fill the gap between our 2018 and our 2020 releases. We bought some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and it proved an interesting harvest. With your own wines that you’ve grown it’s about finetuning, the one percenters. Here we were working with fruit with different flavour profiles, different acid structures, different ripeness. Fascinating. Challenging.
The vineyards we sourced Chardonnay from in 2019 were Ghost Rock (23%), Tolpuddle (30%) and Clover Hill (47%) with two Burgundy clones (95 and 76).
The wine was whole-bunch pressed to a mixture of barriques, hogsheads and a puncheon with a small amount of new oak. It was then barrel-fermented with some parts going through malolactic fermentation. After sulphuring and being left on full lees for a year, the wine was filtered but unfined and we produced about 3300 bottles.
There is a delicacy and fine acid line to this wine that makes it tight and poised. It isn’t a Chardonnay for the more traditional ‘sunshine in a glass’ lovers.
Our 2019 One Monkey Chardonnay is now available at $45/bottle and available in 6-packs or mixed with our Pinot Noir. Please ensure your total order is in multiples of 6 for ease of shipping.