COVID contemplation May 14, 2020 14:00

Are you a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty kind of person? I suspect the ideal time to find the answer to this question is during a global pandemic.

It’s hard to be optimistic when the powers-that-be tell you to shut your cellar door down and stop doing what you love to do – welcoming visitors to our lovely vineyard, letting people taste the fruits of our labour, chatting about the wines and, yes, actually selling some. After the great strides we have made over the last six years all of a sudden, we are treading water.

But then again, there has been time to think. And we’ve actually had the time to re-do our website and launch our long-delayed wine club. There has also been the opportunity to conduct some vertical tastings of our wines, just to see how they have developed in the bottle. Our pinot noirs have been a revelation, developing slowly and well. If you have some of our 2014 Estate Pinot Noir in your cellar pull it out and put it on the dinner table tonight.

Such simple pleasures have escaped one of our daughters and her husband who experienced full- blown COVID-19 in New York. Her account of the illness sent shivers up the spine, but with youth and healthy lifestyles on their side both have come through okay.

One daughter too far away; the other close at hand. With the COVID lockdown in prospect we invited our other daughter, her partner, their toddler and their dog to see out the pandemic at Colmar Estate. Our quiet and ordered household suddenly became a riotous assembly! But with all the hustle and bustle came that wonderful feeling of having the family, gathered together around the dinner table, safe and well. And yes, we opened a few nice wines. My glass is half full.

Our sparkling star shines again March 9, 2020 13:53

Our premium sparkling wine, the 2015 Chardonnay-Pinot Noir, has shone at this year’s Winewise Championship.

This wine has hardly been hiding its light under a bushel – over the last year it has starred in the sparkling classes at Australian wine shows, winning no fewer than five gold medals and taking out the trophy (top gold medal) on two occasions.

But the Winewise Championship is different. It’s intended to be a prestige, best-of-the-best competition – to even enter the Championship wines need to have won a gold medal at selected wine shows. So standards are high and the competition is fierce.

In 2020, the judges considered that the sparkling wine class “was the best, most keenly contested category of the Championship”. Again, our 2015 Chardonnay-Pinot Noir was awarded a gold medal score, the judges’ commenting “The nose is impressively fresh, showing a subtle bready complexity. It’s an intense, long-flavoured wine with a fine mousse and lovely acidity.”

Two other sparkling wines from Orange were also awarded gold medal scores in the Championship, a wonderful hit rate considering the locals were up against leading wines from Tasmania and some of Australia’s top sparkling wine producers.

What’s our secret? Not surprisingly, it’s the climate we experience in the high, cool vineyards of Orange. At Colmar Estate, elevation 980 metres above sea level, our chardonnay and pinot noir grapes show the desired combination sugar, acidity and fine flavours for top quality sparkling wines, especially in the cooler years. And that’s when we make sparkling wines.

Also, at Colmar Estate we exclusively hand-pick, which ensures our wines have the necessary delicacy and finesse. There are no shortcuts in the quest for premium quality sparkling wines.

The 2015 Chardonnay-Pinot Noir was no flash in the pan. We have three more sparkling wines in the pipeline (and they are really, really good).