Fighting Gully Tempranillo 2021


Mark Walpole has graduated from being arguably one of Australia's greatest viticulturalists to become one of its greatest vignerons. His interest in cool climate viticulture led him from his home in the Ovens Valley to the elevated Beechworth plateau at the top of the Escarpment above the Murmungee basin.

The site was planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Merlot in 1997 on the lower North West facing slopes, followed by Pinot Noir in 1998 on the upper North East facing slopes at an elevation of 570 meters. In more recent years after working with fruit from this block small areas have been grafted to Shiraz, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Chardonnay and Petit Menseng.

In 2009 he gained access to the Smith Vineyard, located only a few minutes away from the Fighting Gully Road site. This small vineyard was planted to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1978, making it the oldest vineyard in the region.  

Whilst many Australian Tempranillo's are made for immediate drinking, the Fighting Gully Road examples are modelled on the wines of Ribera del Duero in Spain, and have the capacity to age for well over ten years. Fermented using indigenous yeasts the wine spends two years in 40% new French barriques from the forest of Never. Firm, fine grained powdery tannins coat the mouth with rich black fruit. Released as a Riserva wine after four years of aging.

No insecticides are used and fungicide selection is careful made to protect predatory mites and other beneficial insects. Soil structure is maintained through minimal application of herbicide; soil cultivation is not practiced. The inter-row is sown to a permanent sward of grasses and legumes, which are seasonally slashed and thrown onto the ground immediately under the vine, to preserve moisture and increase organic matter. Vine prunings are mulched back into the ground to degrade naturally. 

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