There is an old saying that the wine is made in the vineyard (ie. good fruit makes good wine). Most of our Cabernet vines are now more than 50 years old. This means that over the years, the vines have ‘self-regulated’. This natural low cropping gives the grapes better consistency of flavour. The terroir, which is a rare combination of volcanic hill, alluvial creek flat, and south-easterly aspect, is ideal for the production of fine wines.
The vines are pruned heavily for low production high quality fruit, and trellised with vertical shoot positioning, which gives us more reliable flavour even in difficult years. Maintaining a true ‘Estate’ philosophy (ie. grown, vintaged and bottled on the Estate) allows us to fully express the terroir of this particular site.
Crop levels are also critical in achieving complexity (not to mention canopy management, irrigation etc.). Needless to say growing all our own fruit at the Folly enables us to be super diligent in achieving these goals, the weather having the last say on the fruit intensity for a particular year. With the old vines, low crop levels, and good canopy management, we are consistently presented with above average fruit. Throw in some traditional winemaking, French oak and you have a unique distinguished single site wine.
There are no secrets with our winemaking. As stated, the most important aspect with quality wine is to have quality fruit. The wines are hand made with attention to detail, technology never obscuring art.
Our two flagship wines are made from fruit grown on the Estate. A White (100% Chardonnay) and a Red (a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Shiraz, Merlot and Petit Verdot). We have structured the vineyard to make a more complex wine. The style is restrained and elegant showing finesse and complexity. The wines have clarity of structure, and a great length of flavour.
Our reds are open fermented, with gentle cap management in the most traditional manner. This gives softer, more subtle tannins and allows for early access to the wine. After fermentation, the wine goes directly to old casks for natural settling. In the spring, it is transferred to small French oak barrels for approximately one year before bottling.
In the warmer climate of the Hunter, we have no trouble achieving mature tannins in our red grapes. So you won’t find any herbaceous/capsicum characters so common in many cool climate Cabernets. Red wine is as much about how it feels in your mouth. Its texture, ripeness and maturity rather than the quantity of the tannins.
Our Chardonnay is barrel fermented and aged on its yeast lees for around eight months in small French oak. There is no secondary malo-lactic fermentation.