Ravensworth Shiraz Viognier 2022


For twenty years, Bryan Martin has been making some of the best and most highly regarded wines in the country. For fifteen of those years, he was Tim Kirk’s right-hand man at the iconic Clonakilla, crafting exceptional, standard-setting cooler-climate Shiraz that, one could argue, rivalled the best the Northern Rhône had to offer. During his tenure at Clonakilla, Bryan started the Ravensworth label. What started out as a highly regarded side hustle, in 2018, morphed into a full-time commitment. 

Home for the Martin family is in Murrumbateman. Here they organically farm 3.3 hectares of predominantly own-rooted vines on soils rich in decomposed granite and red, loamy clay. The region’s star varieties, Shiraz and Riesling, hold the lion’s share of acreage, closely followed by Bryan’s passion project, Sangiovese (on which The Wine Front has written, “Bryan Martin and sangiovese should be shouted from the rooftops”).

The estate is also home to small plots of Nebbiolo, Gamay, Chardonnay, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Savagnin and Ribolla Gialla. Martin is unflinching when it comes to farming: the site is certified organic; no synthetic chemicals are ever used; and he uses under-vine cultivation, cover crops and green manure. His soils are rich in organic material, his vines and vegetable garden are thriving, and the biodiverse vineyard is filled with bees and birds – it’s a site humming with energy and life.

“It’s loaded with spice and florals, not overtly viognier-flexed but there’s pretty, sweet elements and a glossiness to texture that gives you an idea about the white grape inclusion. The perfume, cinnamon-clove-cardamom brown spices on red cherry, dark plum, green olive and some bergamot tea and alpine herb notes. Flavours roll similarly, quite rich in a way but a brace of tightening tannins, dusty, powdery, do well. A succulence and depth in tow. It feels premium, fine, good, concentrated, complex. A richer expression from Canberra District would be the other comment. It does the trick and well.”  94pts | Mike Bennie | WineFront

Organic Farming

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