Vineyard of Dreams

Lobethal Road’s Bacchant Chardonnay 2012 trumped the recent Adelaide Hills Wine Show winning the Best Wine in Show and Best Chardonnay gongs.

With the Adelaide Hills currently riding high as a vibrant wine region, Lobethal Road owner Dave Neyle says the win is pleasing as the awards are a “vote of approval for our approach to winemaking, which has at its heart a desire to allow the distinctive fruit flavours to express themselves in a sustainable and pure way”. Adelaide Hills’ wines have won the last two Adelaide Review Hot 100 South Australian Wines shows and featured prominently in James Halliday’s recent top 100 list. Neyle believes there is enormous promise for the region. “The Hills have always had a reputation in the industry for producing high-end fruit. But we’re still a young and emerging region, with some way to go before we reach our full potential. As with all regions, we have a few poor sites that should never have been planted so our challenge is to address this in future and to keep on improving. “It is positive to see that we are starting to gain the recognition we deserve as a vibrant region that’s home to some of the country’s most distinctive premium wines,” Neyle explains. “That said, the mood is somewhat tempered by the fact that we’re not quite out of the downturn yet, there’s still something of a wine glut and the Aussie dollar remains high.” Lobethal Road entered six wines in the wine show, winning six medals and two trophies. Neyle says the Bacchant Chardonnay 2012 is a wine that “elegantly delivers a sophisticated nose with a complex palate of citrus, white peach and biscuit cream tones and is ready for drinking.” Neyle and his wife Inga Lidums established the boutique winery in 1998 and are joined by winemaker Michael Sykes. Their wines require minimal intervention, as their philosophy is that wine is all about the vineyard. “That’s where it starts, that’s where most of the activity takes place and you therefore need to choose the right site if you’re to succeed. We’re fortunate in this regard, with our five-hectare vineyard nestling on a northeasterly slope at the foot of Mt Torrens, in rich soils that produce wines with an abundance of cool climate characteristics. After that, clonal selection, pruning, irrigation, canopy management, yield, harvest timing and balanced use of oak are all equally important.” Lobethal has always used an environmentally sustainable approach to vineyard management and lifestyle. “We are not on the electricity grid so rely on solar power and generator backup, something we’ve been doing almost since inception back in 1998. In the vineyard, we use copper and sulphur only in a good season.” Lobethal Road will be taking part in the Hills’ annual celebration – Crush. “Crush is all about great wine, great food and great music… and that’s what’s on the Lobethal Road menu for Crush 2014. We’ll be showcasing our award-winning white and red wines, we’ll have renowned Adelaide Hills chef Ali Seedsman attending to all things culinary, and those great musos, Nikko and Snooks (Nik Karidis and Snooks La Vie) will provide the sound.”

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