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.
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.
Barrels 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.
The pressing part of Vintage 2016 is nearly done. It’s sticky, grapey work but someone has to do it! Adam has just pressed one of our whites fermented on skins. For those of you curious to experience whites with skin contact, head to our Wines page for tasting notes for our yummy 2013 Grower’s Selection Harlequin.
Adam Castagna celebrating the last white press (and yes, he has pants on!)
Adam getting out the last of those beautiful grapes, ready to be pressed.
What an incredible vintage 2016 has been. Here we are in a cool climate Beechworth yet everything is off before the end of summer. Shiraz, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo all picked in the same week – quite unthinkable yet the flavours seem really, really good with fantastic beguiling aromas; time will tell.
Checking out what’s in fermenting in the egg with Mr Piphare.
Another heavenly day for Open Day. This time of year shows Beechworth at its very best. Why would you be anywhere else? It’s really lovely to have so many of our long-time customers all together. I guess Open Day has become a bit of a tradition as it is now in its 5th year. Here are a few photographs as a memory of the day.
There has been much talk and discussion within our industry since harvest about the quality or otherwise of vintage 2011 on the eastern seaboard. I’ve read reports which range from ‘fantastic all that water was just what the vines needed after all those years of drought’ to ‘dreadful we won’t be making any of our top wine’. I have no idea which of those two extremes is true. What I do know is what we grew in 2011 is awful and I have decided that we will release no wine at all, of that vintage. The actions needed because of the disease pressure, and the excessive amount of water which was taken up by the vines, changed the very character of the wine we made – the wine does not taste or smell like a Castagna wine – so I would prefer it not to be released under our label. The upside is that both the 2009 and 2010 vintages are excellent, but it does mean that the 2010 Allegro, which becomes available with this release – there isn’t very much – will be the last until after vintage 2012, in about November 2012.