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STOP PRESS: Our Nullo Mountain, Rylstone and Mudgee Blue vineyards are now ALL 'Organic under conversion'.
Here's the latest edition... It's hot and dry here, a bit like last year. However this weather has made it somewhat easier for our biodynamic and organic certification...
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The Latest News...
OCTOBER 2015: NEW TINJA WINES RELEASED
Mudgee’s Lowe Wines has released two new wines as part of their continued theme of innovation. The new 2015 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Low Alcohol Verdelho ($22) joins the new 2015 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Preservative Free & Organic Shiraz ($22).
The Lower Alcohol Project is a three-year collaboration between Lowe Wines and Charles Stuart University PhD candidate Rocco Longo. With demand for lower alcohol wines being driven by a number of factors, the project’s aim is to improve overall sensory attributes and reputability of lower alcohol wines by a natural approach called ‘sequential harvest regime’.
This is the first year of the project. We are aiming to produce a wine that naturally contains less alcohol and more flavours by blending ‘unripe’ and more ‘mature grapes’. In this instance, the 2015 Verdelho from our Rylstone vineyard was harvested twice; once at 14.60 brix and then at 180 brix. The vineyard is under organic conversion.
The two harvests were separately inoculated with AWRA 796 and fermented for an equivalent period. The two wines, one with an alcohol of 7.5% and the other with 11% were blended to make a wine of approximately 10% alcohol.
Lower alcohol is a reoccurring theme of my wines. However, this project has seen innovation and challenges as I usually harvest on flavour profile. This project saw us pick the grapes on percentage of alcohol, to come up with a wine that is full-flavoured; a wine that is in keeping with the quality acceptability of Australian palates.
We are taking a proactive approach, as there is continued pressure on the industry to counter concerns about alcohol abuse. We have had excellent feedback on this particular wine at the cellar door, so we’re confident in what we’re doing.
The partner wine is the 2015 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Preservative Free & Organic Shiraz. This is our sixth vintage of the Preservative Free red wine. Whilst making these wines without sulphur compromises its ageing prospects, the wines drink well now; they are lovely and fresh and appeal to the market that we are making them for.
With no added sulphur and making the wine from organic fruit, it becomes crucial that the grapes must be of highest quality. The only weapons that you have in the growing and winemaking process is the grapes’ own ability to fend off disease. This comes about through vine health achieved through soil health and complexity and a grapevine with a active and competitive leaf surface biology that crowds out disease causing organism.”
April 2015: Power and elegance, the hallmarks of two different Mudgee reds
We have released two new reds from our Mudgee vineyards; organic Shiraz from the winery vineyard and Pinot Noir from the high elevation of the Nullo Mountain vineyard.
The 2012 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Shiraz is made from the organic vineyard* on Tinja Lane, adjacent to the winery. There are two Shiraz blocks planted in 1995, both organic, dry grown and untrellised. The ‘Block 8’ is planted on clay on the lower eastern facing hill near the Lowe cellar door.
The grapes were handpicked and fermented in wax lined open fermenters prior to two years’ maturation in 4500 litre American oak casks. The idea is to make a modern Shiraz style, with longevity and no overt oak influence. The larger format oak helps soften the strong natural Mudgee tannins.
The 2012 vintage was lighter than usual with yields somewhat lower than average. A cooler year, with rain and some humidity resulted in an aromatic and spicy wine with a peppery background; still very typical of the style that doesn’t rely on long and aggressive oak maturation.
At Nullo Mountain 2013 was once again one of Australia’s coldest vintages. Cool nights, high sunshine hours and consistent rainfall put the onus back on the winemaker to obtain the best results.
Whilst sitting in the same GI as the Shiraz block, the Nullo Mountain vineyard is a completely different site. It is really quite unique. It has maritime influences, being around 100 kilometres from the eastern seaboard, as well as continental characters, due to its inland nature. The vineyard sits on deeply fertile volcanic soil and has a mountainous elevation of 1100 metres.
The 2013 season saw us change our vineyard management techniques in this vineyard. We removed shoots to advance maturity and provide better sunlight interception and commenced organic and biodynamic vineyard management as a trial prior to seeking certification.
The 2013 Lowe Nullo Mountain Pinot Noir fruit was harvested on a fruit day by the biodynamic calendar and fermented from cultivated natural yeast from the vineyard. Ten per cent of the blend was fermented as whole bunch, uncrushed fruit in open fermenters.
I have worked with this system since 1980, when Stephen Hickinbotham was commercialising carbonic maceration methods. There was a brilliant Shiraz wine made by Peter Lehmann and Andrew Wiggan at Saltrams with the same method. I tried to emulate the carbonic maceration style and with Pinot Noir I have always had great success due to the lifted aromatics and pristine varietal character, particularly from Nullo Mountain.
The wine then had 12 months maturation in French oak. This is something we had not done before as we were nervous the fruit would be dominated. It’s oaky, but we believe that it can handle it and it will integrate well with time in the bottle.
February 2015: Organic winegrowing continues lift in quality
Growing organically results in better fruit. It’s a complex argument, but one I explain every day at the winery to visitors.
Conventional agriculture removes or kills interlopers, whether they are animals or minerals. Organic practices however fight without weapons and, as a result, the vine crop compensates. The plant works in its own measure. The plant draws on, and is reliant on, the factors around it for the annual cycle.
It means that the fruit load is balanced and the ripening and flavour development is not interrupted by interference. Logically the fruit behaves itself, self manages and will be better.
Two newly released vintages are the 2014 Lowe ‘Headstone’ Primitivo Rosé ($28) and the 2014 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Chardonnay ($22).
The Lowe ‘Tinja’ wines are made from grapes grown on the Lowe vineyards as well as from vineyards in the cooler reaches of Orange. The 2014 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Chardonnay comes from an organic vineyard* in the Orange wine region
The 2014 Chardonnay is a style that I have been making for over 34 years. I’m not looking at ‘over the top’ wines, but a style that is more mild and less ‘overt’. It’s an ‘anytime of day’ wine that needn’t be super cold.
The new Lowe ‘Headstone’ Primitivo Rosé is made from grapes grown on Lowe’s ‘Block 7’ vineyard and is a genuine rosé. Primitivo is the same as Zinfandel but is morphologically different in that the bunches are smaller and the flavours darker. The vines are young and at this stage provides ideal rosé material.
These styles don’t have the acidity of white wine, and are textured in the salty spectrum (to draw a long bow). This gives an indication where this wine works; wine with texture, more white than red, and with a flavour that is not acid backed nor sweet.
New vintage Single Vineyard wines released
The 2012 Lowe Mudgee Blue is the second vintage from this famous Mudgee vineyard. Blended wines, of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are Australia’s indelible stamp. No other country has it or even attempts it.
Cabernet Sauvignon is often minty, with deep colour and strong finishing tannins. It can be a very dominating variety. It stands out, is singular and is slow ageing. Shiraz on the other hand varies from pepper and spice to anise and chocolate. It is strong in colour, capable of great concentration, weight and has a sweetness that doesn’t involve sugar. Blending the two adds consistency and, with Australia, smacks of colour and flavour, and gives us the edge on the international market.
The 2012 Lowe Mudgee Blue Shiraz Cabernet has a softness and richness that comes from Mudgee’s Shiraz. Coupled with the fragrance from the cooler ripening of 2012 and matured for two years in 500 litre puncheons, the Mudgee Blue is an approachable wine now, with potential for continued development and improvement with medium term cellaring.
Joining the Mudgee Blue in Lowe’s Single Vineyard Series is the 2013 Lowe Nullo Mountain Late Harvest Riesling. I recently had a visit from some distinguished German winemakers, who claim this is the closest wine to a German style they had seen in this country. Nice praise.
With its long ripening season, grown at the Nullo Mountain vineyard (1100 metres elevation) the fruit was harvested in Autumn with about 15 per cent botrytis. The grapes never fully develop the fungus as it is too cold at this time of year, so acidity and sugar are the primary drivers.
Having analysis of 92 g/L sugar, and 12% alcohol, the wine is leaning toward the Auslese category. It shows lime, lemon and citrus with a ground orange peel finish that mitigates the sweetness. It certainly works with fresh fruit, but well chilled it would suit as an aperitif. If you decided to cellar this wine it will benefit both the wine and you, since the first one that was made in 2004 is now at its peak ten years on.
Lowe takes his Wine School on the road @ Kitchen by Mike
David Lowe is taking his Wine School on the road in July and October, when he’ll join renowned Sydney chef Mike McEnearney for Lowe Wine School @ Kitchen by Mike.
The Lowe Wine School forms part of a series of yearly events at the winery, with the aim to provide an entertaining, no nonsense hands-on approach to learning the basics of making and tasting wine.
“We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously,” commented owner and wine educator David Lowe. “But we are serious about increasing the awareness and knowledge of Australian, NSW, Mudgee and Lowe wines. Whilst our wine schools are a bit of fun, we have seen that there is a real hunger for knowledge about the region and about wine in general.”
“We start with a few white wines and work through grape growing, winemaking techniques, how to taste and what to look for in various varieties. We then move to some of the local red varieties, and of course our Zinfandel.“
“We concentrate on the fun of discovering each other’s capabilities, by showing some masked wines and benchmarking against identified wines. I was involved from 1979 to 1991 with the ribbon dinner concept at Rothbury Estate, the techniques taught to me by the grand master of Australian wine the late Len Evans OBE.
“The level of technical detail offered during the lessons is dictated by the questions and interest of those participating. Some ‘students’ are already very knowledgeable, whilst others simply want to get some tips on what characteristics they should be looking for in certain wine styles and varieties.”
David Lowe will be mixing and matching wines with Mike’s ‘candid cooking and responsible food’. “Our philosophies on winemaking complements Mike’s approach to food. He is a great proponent for seasonality, simplicity and freshness. Above all, it will be an enjoyable night, with nobody taking themselves too seriously.”
There are limited spaces for both nights, with the ticket price including wine and nibbles.
Date: 30 July 2014 & 29th October 2014
Time: 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Bookings: Bookings are essential and can be made at online here or by calling Lowe wines on 02 6372 0800
Venue: Kitchen by Mike, 1/85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery NSW
Further information about Kitchen by Mike: http://kitchenbymike.com.au
June 2014: Mudgee comes of age with Nullo Mountain wines
Lowe wines has recently release two new single vineyard wines from its Nullo Mountain vineyard, one of the highest and coldest vineyards in the country.
The new wines comprise the 2013 Lowe ‘Nullo Mountain’ Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Lowe ‘Nullo Mountain’ Pinot Gris and represent a maturing of the Mudgee wine region.
There are three stages to the maturing of Mudgee as a winegrowing region since its inception in the 1850s. These are relevant to the whole nation. The region’s wine, beer and spirit’s beginnings stemmed from the large influx of gold miners from 1852 to 1864. This is similar to other regions including Rutherglen, Geelong and Bendigo. This also happened in California.
The second stage is the European winemaking influence from 1856 through to the 1900s. Other cultures spread out into the inland regions, and wine was their background. The third stage is homoclime. This is the investigation of new areas based on climate modelling with traditional European cool climate based wine regions as the reference. It was pioneered by Drs Richard Smart and Andrew Pirie from 1977.
Nullo Mountain is based on the latter and, at 1100 metres elevation, is regularly one of the four coldest vineyards in Australia.
Cold temperatures don’t guarantee good wine. Temperature is only one part of the equation. The charm and the value of these adventurous mesoclimes is in the risk variation and diversity of the sites. It provides great opportunity for experimentation and boundary pushing.
Lowe’s Nullo Mountain vineyard is part maritime (being approximately 100 kilometres from the eastern seaboard), sub alpine, virtue of its elevation, and part continental due to the mountains and inland influences. The deep, fertile soil is volcanic and, with the vineyard sitting next to the Wollemi National Park, agricultural diversity is assured.
The vineyard is under biodynamic conversion (BFA) and has been operated this way since 2012 with varieties (planted in 1998) including Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The label is a commissioned watercolour by Georgia Mansur of the view from the vineyard across the Great Dividing Range.
May brings the start of the winter cycle for the vineyard but also heaps of events and initiatives for you to absorb about our organic winery and farm in Mudgee.
We start pruning the vineyard by the biodynamic calendar, sheep are in the vineyard and all the compost has been applied.
If you are visiting the cellar door, platters are available every day, using all local food.
We also recently released the 2013 Lowe Late Harvest Riesling and 2012 Lowe Mudgee Blue. You can order it by calling us on 02 6372 0800 or visiting our store here.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
The Zin House
FOOD BY KIM CURRIE | WINE BY DAVID LOWE
Weekend lunches are the ultimate full stop in a busy week. We’re talking family, friends, laughter, good food and wine. A walk in a vineyard. A stroll through a garden. Taking time for the things and people that matter most.
The Zin House overlooks Lowe Wine’s Zinfandel vineyard and the Tinja farmlands of Mudgee. There’s an organic garden where much of the produce is grown, the balance coming from neighbours and other regional producers.
Owner/chef Kim Currie is designing weekend lunch menus based around six classic courses. There is an optional wine flight to match.
Tables are communal and a long leisurely approach to lunch is smiled upon.
2011 Lowe Block 8 Shiraz Released.
Lowe Wines has released their 2011 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Organic Shiraz ($35), made from grapes grown on Lowe’s biodynamic and organic vineyard in Mudgee.
This is the first of our biodynamic releases. We have made our own compost and used preparations to improve the biodiversity of the vineyard’s soils. With the move to biodynamics we’re seeing significant improvements in soil and vine health which in turn is increasing wine quality.
The 2011 vintage was also a cooler one for Mudgee. In terms of heat degree days, it was the same as Frankland River in Western Australia and Coonawarra in South Australia.
Due to this cooler ripening period the wine has more spice, a hint of pepper and fine tannins. Despite this cooler influence, there is typical blueberry and anise characters that we expect from this vineyard.
The Lowe ‘Block 8’ vineyard was planted in 1995 and is organic, biodynamic, dry grown and untrellised. The harvest, along with various viticultural practices, follows the astrological calendar.
Once in the winery, the grapes were fermented with natural yeast from the (reserve) Block 5 vineyard in open, wax lined concrete fermenters. The wine was then matured for two years in older, large American oak cases.
We are looking to soften and integrate the strong natural tannins of this Mudgee fruit without an overt oak influence. This is a wine that is built for cellaring and will take up to ten years to really reach its peak.
The new 2011 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Shiraz was released at the recent ‘Tunnel of Lowe’ dinner in the Lowe vineyard, beneath the bird netting. This was our third Tunnel of Lowe. We’ve had a fantastic response to it, with visitors getting the chance to literally sit within the vines that the wine comes from.
Lowe Wines is becoming renowned for its events that include ‘Ninja @ Tinja’, ‘East vs. West’ as well as ‘Tunnel of Lowe’. These events offer guests the opportunity to enjoy the wines within the environment intended; long communal tables offering plentiful dishes of local produce, matched to wines made from the region.
NSW’s Tourism silver medallist releases new Tinja vintage
With our new Tourism Award in hand, we've released two 2013 wines, the 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Pinot Grigio and 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Riesling.
We were awarded Silver at the 2013 NSW Tourism Awards last week. The award comes on the back of winning Gold at the 2013 Inland NSW Tourism Awards earlier in the year.
Our cellar door is not just about the wine, it’s about showing the history and the culture of the Mudgee region. It’s all about offering our visitors an experience; all that is good about our region.
Education plays a big part of this as well. For example, I often field questions from customers about the differences in naming of the Tinja Pinot Grigio, and I am always careful to state that it is one of style.
My interpretation is one of heaviness versus lightness. The European differences were skewed towards alcohol and extract, but in Australia, heaviness and lightness is a better way to explain it to consumers.
The 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Pinot Grigio is from Orange vineyards planted at 700 metres, not from the higher 1000 metre sites, and this elevation has a major difference. There is more bronzing colour in this and loads of bush honey and cut pear. I have always chased delicacy in my whites and this is why I consider it to be Grigio.
The new 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Riesling is from Mudgee and Nullo Mountain. The objective is to get aromatics; lime lemon and citrus from the high cold vineyard and the weight from Mudgee. The style has been refined for the last ten years so the wine always carries some residual sugar 6 grams per litre.
It’s influenced by my main export market, Japan. For foods of Asian influence, which it’s ideal with, I try to get aromatics and delicacy which elevates the senses.
The core Riesling vineyard is the Poet’s corner vineyard planted in Mudgee in the late 1960’s.
The Lowe ‘Tinja’ Pinot Grigio and Riesling join the Tinja range, which also includes the ‘Tinja’ No Added Preservative Chardonnay Verdelho, Preservative Free Organic Merlot, Late Picked Riesling, Organic Shiraz and Chardonnay.
Winery wins silver in tourism awards
Lowe Wines have helped put Mudgee on the map as a premier tourist destination , winning silver at the 2013 NSW Tourism Awards.
This was the second year the winery had entered the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category and placed within the top three of NSW’s best.
“Last year was the first time we entered and we received a bronze then. This year we won in our category at the Inland Tourism Awards and now we’ve been named second in the State,” Mr Lowe said.
Mr Lowe said the award meant that Mudgee had been recognised as an area that provided a tourism experience to those that visited the region.
“The award shows that we’re able to stand by areas like Shoalhaven and the Blue Mountains shoulder-to- shoulder and give our guests a tourism experience,” he said.
Mr Lowe said the fact that the winery had a diverse range of good experiences had helped Lowe Wines claim the silver in 2013.
“It’s not just about the wine, it’s about showing the history and the culture of the Mudgee region,” he said.
Mr Lowe said the judges looked at the increase in tourism numbers, the fact the winery had identified their market and the fact the winery was all about educating and improving the wine knowledge of those who visited the cellar door.
The increase in tourism numbers came from the fact that Lowe Wines,and the entire Mudgee region, had seen more people arrive in town for a mid week visit instead of just coming on the weekends.
“Weekend visits are sill extremely popular but we have seen more people coming to town on a Wednesday and not leaving until Sunday. Mudgee isn’t just about short term stays anymore,” Mr Lowe said.
“The experience is just really diverse, it’s not just about coming along, tasting wine and then leaving,” he said.
Mr Lowe said the winery would nominee for a few categories in next year’s awards including events and sustainability.
The NSW Tourism Awards provide the benchmark for best practice within the tourism industry, offering the opportunity to publicly recognise and showcase the State’s finest tourism operators.
SOURCE: Mudgee Guardian, By LAUREN STANFORD Dec. 2, 2013, 4:30 a.m.
Lowe Wines named best organic winemaker
Lowe Wines has been awarded best organic winegrower at the recent 2013 Mudgee Wine Show.
The announcement comes as Lowe Wines received two trophies and 13 medals in the awards ceremony on Friday night in Mudgee.
It is always a great reward to receive these types of accolades from your industry peers.
We have taken a great deal of care in developing our vineyards on Tinja Lane and Nullo Mountain. We feel that the organic systems we are using and the move to biodynamic techniques has lifted the quality of our grapes.
The results of the 2013 Mudgee Wine Show comprised:
- The Gil Wahlquist Perpetual Trophy for the Best Organic / Biodynamic / Preservative Free Wine of the Show: 2011 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Shiraz;
- Best Museum White Perpetual Trophy: 2005 Louee Nullo Mountain Riesling.
To receive a Trophy for our 2011 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Shiraz was particularly pleasing. This vineyard on Tinja Lane consistently produces some of our best grapes. The vineyard is organic and this wine offers us assurance that we are heading in the right direction with our viticulture and winemaking.
The Nullo Mountain wines also fared well, showing the quality of Mudgee’s highest and coldest vineyards. Nullo Mountain is a unique vineyard and often records the coldest vintage in Australia. The wines develop a beautiful structure due to the natural acidity and are proving to be particularly long-lived.
The 2013 Mudgee Wine Show was judged by Chairman Lester Jesberg, winemaker Samantha Connew, Master of Wine, Rob Geddes, wine journalist Patrick Haddock and winemaker Duncan Lloyd.
Further information on the Mudgee Wine Show can be found at www.mudgeewine.com.au.
Lowe Wines wins 2013 Inland NSW Tourism Awards
Mudgee’s Lowe Wines has been named the winner of the 2013 CountryLink Inland Tourism Awards in the category of Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries.
The CountryLink Inland Tourism Awards are held annually to acknowledge excellence in tourism in the four NSW regional tourism areas of Central, Inland, Murray and Riverina.
Lowe Wines was announced the winner from a list of finalists at the award night in Moree. This is a great surprise. There is an extremely high calibre of tourism operators in inland NSW. We were happy to be named a finalist, let alone winning. It’s fantastic.
Lowe Wines winning submission hinged on the winery’s ability to offer distinctive differences from their fellow wineries, successfully promoting the winery, offering and maintaining the highest quality customer service and Lowe’s ability to demonstration their commitment to environmental sustainability.
We are very conscious of delivering a quality offering. This is paramount to building a successful business, especially in the very competitive wine industry. To be awarded this recognition is justification that we are doing the right thing at the cellar door. Whilst we are seeing substantial growth in visitation to our winery, its very humbling to gain this recognition.
It is a huge result for the Mudgee region as a whole. There were a number of finalists from Mudgee, which shows the variety and quality of the region’s tourism offerings. The wineries, artists, accommodation houses and producers all work very well together to increase the level of tourism in the region. Without everyone working together, we would not be in the great position we are in.
Lowe Wines will now progress to the NSW Tourism Awards, which comprises the winners from each of the regional awards. This is the largest and most prestigious event on the New South Wales tourism calendar and will culminate in the Awards Ceremony and Dinner during November in Sydney.
About the Awards:
The Awards commenced in 2004 to evolve into a major tourism industry event for Inland NSW. CountryLink has been the naming rights sponsor since 2005, with this partnership moving forward to support development of tourism in inland NSW through until 2017.
The Inland Tourism Awards provide tourism organisations and individuals the opportunity to gain an insight into their industry, their business, achieve recognition for their success and promote tourism within their region.
One of the main focus points of the awards is to develop quality regional tourism products and provide businesses the opportunity to benchmark their business with similar businesses in activity and size and also have the opportunity to identify their own personal and professional development within the tourism industry.
Entrants are made up of tourism businesses, events, marketing organisations, clubs and individuals all aiming for excellence in their industry. Winners of the Inland Tourism Awards gain finalists status upon entering the NSW State Tourism Awards, and if successful, go onto the National Tourism Awards.
Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine
The latest Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine has been released, listing Australia's Best Cellar Doors.
The magazine wrote, "Join a group of our top wine writers on a cross-country escapade as they reveal the greatest cellar doors this wide brown land has to offer. Whether the highlight is a line-up of rare museum wines to taste or a picture perfect country country cafe in which to linger over lunch, they're found the very best."
Lowe Wines was named as Mudgee's Best Small Cellar Door.
Other cellar doors to be awarded include Logan, diLusso, Huntington, Robert Oatley and Robert Stein.
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