Castagna wines in Western Australia

A lovely write-up Ray Jordan from The West Australian. Here are a few excerpts, or check out the full review here. Ray Jordan review

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2013

Deep opaque colour, sensational aroma. Violets and chocolate, with a savoury anise character. there is a smidge of viognier. So rich and textured, yet so smooth and well balanced. A stylish wine with a dryness more akin to European wines. 96/100

Castagna La Chiave 2013

This has a lovely floral and slightly peppermint character. It’s Sangiovese as you’ve never tasted in Australia. A thoroughly beautiful medium-bodied wine with grainy, savoury tannins and excellent fruit. Gets 20 per cent new oak but the fruit really hits home. Has moved away from the 50 per cent new oak used in earlier vintages. A real mouthful of flavour. 95/100

Castagna wine Beechworth biodynamic

Adam Castagna at Castagna Vineyard Beechworth

 

‘Castagna 13 Reds Rock Batman’s Arse’ by Phillip White

The exceptional Phillip White has once again used his amazing literary skills to write some wonderful reviews of our 2013 Castagna Reds. Here are some snippets to tantalise you…

It takes you away from where you were going. Absorbing these wines together is like moving to another room. It is one of the best rooms in Australia. Drinking a glass from each bottle each day til it’s done is like attending a magnificent exhibition.

On the Castagna Beechworth Genesis Syrah 2013

By Bacchus and Pan this wine’s a sweet and delicious thing rhythmically, like prunes and peat and liquorice and figs and fennel and aniseed and black fruits that haven’t evolved yet but already ooze the nectar of some midnight bloom that teases bats.

castagna open day genesis beechworth wine

On the Castagna Beechworth Un Segreto 2013

This blend is more it than the sum of its parts. It is an individual alive and happy unto itself: a ravishing, drop-dead challenging and enticing wine of a new style. Previous vintages have already given it authority.

It really is worth reading Phillip’s amazing write-up at his blog Drinkster.

Syrah grapes at Castagna vineyard

Castagna Harlequin – part of our amazing range of wines

A recent review of our Castagna 2013 Harlequin, from WineGenius.com.

Castagna harlequin wine beechworthJulian Castagna is an imposing figure, both physically and with the wines he produces.  He is not afraid to take a chance and his range of amazing wines reflects this. The ‘Harlequin’ is a Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier blend that has been fermented on skins.  This wine is full and textural with a honeyed spicy savoury overtone. This wine certainly surprised me as it doesn’t drink like a typical aromatic white, it has more structure, texture and complexity. Drinking Range: 2013 – 2018 Score: 90

Head to our WINES page to read our tasting notes for this amazing and complex wine.

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Julian Castagna at Castagna vineyardJulian Castagna at Castagna vineyard

Sarah Ahmed’s Castagna visit

In March this year Sarah Ahmed, The Wine Detective, paid us a visit at Castagna to taste our full range of wines, after experiencing our cru wines (Genesis, La Chiave and Un Segreto) at a Beechworth Vignerons tasting. Here are just a few snippets from her blog post.

Castagna La Chiave 2004 (Beechworth)

A burgundy hue, this is showing nice development, but has a ‘Sangio-ness.’  Sweeter and broader, with a soft ‘edge’ of chocolate the cherry fruit still retains a juiciness and I particularly liked the backdrop of black tea – a savoury and textural reminder of provenance.  14%

Castagna Growers’ Selection Harlequin 2013 (Beechworth)

Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Viognier grapes are sourced from the Indigo vineyard over the road.  It spent 30 days on skins in stainless steel where it was fermented, prior to pressing into barrel and concrete egg for ageing. Initially round and soft, very textural, it assumes a weight in the mouth and yet the apricot fruit is very much on the backfoot.  This is no mid-palate wine.  Rather in tempo and structure it builds in the mouth, a conundrum of freshness with (attractive) alcohol warmth and a stole of spicy tannin which steals across the palate.  Bids you to break bread.  I liked this very much.  13%

Castagna Classic Dry Vermouth (Beechworth)

Amber with salmon pink flashes this delicious dry vermouth is pungent,  bitter but fresh – the ultimate saliva-inducing aperitivo designed to awaken the palate for dinner. It’s awash with pink grapefruit,orange peel, aniseed, angostura bitters and earthy sandalwood.  Let’s just say I wouldn’t want a tank of this a stone’s throw from my back door – it’s way too dangerously drinkable! 17%

Beechworth wine Castagna vineyard

At the kitchen table with Adam and Julian Castagna. Photo credit Sarah Ahmed

Click here to read the full article, including reviews of all the current Castagna wines

Ten Questions with Milton Wordley

Julian and Adam met with Milton Wordley Photographer earlier this year, to chat about all things Castagna, as part of Milton’s ‘People of Wine: Ten Questions’ project.

Covering everything from biodynamics and viticulture, to Julian’s personal history and wine making views, this interview is well worth a read. Click here to get a fascinating glimpse into the history and philosophy of Castagna, as well as some delightful images.

Castagna vineyard. Adam and Alexis. BrothersPhoto by Milton Wordley

Castagna 2007 Sauvage – a vineyard blend

When one believes that the best wine is made with the least intervention, nature seems able to throw in a few surprises. 2007 was such a year. A complex vintage, a vintage where the fruit we grew was atypical, so I made the decision that the fruit would be best served by not keeping the varieties separate but by making a vineyard blend. This blend was bottled in November 2008 and although really good and extremely interesting, was like the fruit at harvest, atypical. The tannins especially, were quite different from what we have come to expect of Castagna wines – it needed time in bottle.

Sauvage in barrels at CastagnaBarrels at Castagna Vineyard

We thought two years should do the trick. The wine was put into cool storage for probable release in late 2010 or early 2011. Then vintage 2011 happened. The blend, which we labelled Sauvage, assumed a different importance we made a decision to hold onto it and release it instead of 2011 – thus ensuring that we would have at least one new wine to release at the end of 2013. The wine sat quietly in a cool dark place for five years and was released in 2013. The tannins are now typically Castagna – firm and fine, simply delicious. So No Genesis, No La Chiave nor Un Segreto in 2013, instead a vineyard blend, with five years bottle age, and because it was labelled Sauvage it was incredible value. It still is. The wine is delicious and I am very proud of it.

Castagna 2007 Sauvage tasting notes

A Perspective on Biodynamics

Adam_flowform

Adam Castagna and the flow form

I have, generally, been a bit hesitant to write about our biodynamic stature as biodynamics for us is a process of work rather than a method of selling wine.  I have often been asked to explain scientifically what biodynamics is, and this, too, I have found difficult to do:   Not that biodynamics doesn’t have a basis in science, but rather that I am really not competent to explain it well.  Biodynamics for me is intuitive;  a craft rather than a science.  However, I have recently come across what I think is a wonderful, simple explanation of the biodynamic compost preparations by Professor Stuart B. Hill, previously of the Department of Entomology McGill University, Canada, now Department of Social Ecology, University of Western Sydney-Hawkesbury – and I would like to share his take on biodynamics with you. Professor Hill is one of the few people who have conducted formal research into the mechanics of biodynamics.

“Biodynamics tends to be presented with a high level of mythology and talk of etheric forces and so on, but if you analyse the preparations you find they are in fact, if properly made, highly concentrated inoculums containing high levels of trace elements and a variety of micro-organism.”

The starting point for the compost preparations are the flowers of several plants which Rudolf Steiner specified should be picked on the first day the flowers opened.

“Each of the specified flowers has different characteristics that makes them ideal substrates for specific groups of micro-organisms and picking them on the day they open ensures they contain the most concentrated levels of trace minerals. Different flowering plants use different trace minerals as catalysts to produce odours that attract insects for successful pollination. The plant pumps the minerals, which can be in short supply in some environments, up into the flower on the day it opens to maximise its attraction to pollinators while the receptor are fresh. It then recycles them by translocating them to the next flower that opens and so one;  repeatedly re-using the minerals to the plant’s maximum benefit. So picking fresh flowers ensures maximum trace mineral content in the preparations”.

Biodynamic preparation

Biodynamic preparation

When the mixtures of flowers and other components are buried, as prescribed by Steiner, they are colonised by micro-organisms from the surrounding soil and the microbes continue to multiply and build up on the substrate provided by the flowers until the material is broken down.  At that stage they produce spores, so the preparations dug out of the ground are concentrated inoculants of trace minerals and spores of a range of micro-organisms:  everything needed to trigger a high level of biological activity in the compost or soil, depending on the particular preparation. There are undoubtedly other factors or forces at work, but that is at least part of the scientific explanation for that element of the process.”

Castagna Sparkling Genesis at Juveniles

Some lovely candid shots of Tim Johnston and friends enjoying some Castagna Sparkling Genesis at Juveniles Wine Bar in Paris.

Castagna 2008 Sparkling Genesis

Tim Johnston with a bottle of Castagna 2008 Sparkling Genesis

Castagna 2008 Sparkling Genesis

Tim Johnston and friends at Juveniles in Paris, sharing a glass of Castagna 2008 Sparkling Genesis

To read the tasting notes for this amazing wine please go to our Wines page at www.castagna.com.au

On Innovation

adam_egg_captionI am continually looking for ways to further help the fruit complexity from our vines, shine through in our wine. Even the highest quality, finest fine-grain French oak, needs very careful handling. I was therefore very excited when last year I tasted a Pinot Noir which had been matured in an egg-shaped food-grade concrete tank. The wine from the egg tank had bright Pinot fruit characters with really fresh expressive complex aromas – to my mind a better wine than the same wine matured only in oak, although both were wonderful.

The egg shape has been referred to as ‘the most perfect shape in physics’.

I couldn’t help searching out these tanks and buying some, to add them to the mix of container types we use for maturation. They hold 900 litres and are the most beautiful wine tank I have ever seen. Their shape reduces pressure on the lees and also deposits the lees over a larger surface area which should eliminate battonage.