The Flaxman Valley is where these grapes grow, and incidentally, it’s also where Callum lives and makes wines. The valley is at about 1650 feet in elevation, which is some of the highest grape growing land in South Australia. The land was formed by a meteorite impact some 35 million years ago, which is now the “Flaxman Crater” made up of steep granite and quartz hillsides and shallow loam topsoils. This valley receives about 28 inches of rain per year, which is considerably more than the Ebenezer vineyards. While these two sites are just 20 miles from each other, they have considerably different growing season conditions. The cooler, wetter climate of the Flaxman Valley gives a lot of elegance to this wine. Callum likens its provenance to Les Bessards in Hermitage, which gives savory aromatics and bony tannins. In 2022, due to low yields in Flaxman Valley after a particularly devastating hail storm, this has become a very neighborly wine of small picks from Chris Ringland’s ‘Three Rivers’ vineyard to the left of Callum’s cellar, Nathan Burley’s ‘Hill’ vineyard to his right and ‘Naimanya’ a little further up the hill.
The grapes were all harvested by hand on various picking dates, and brought back to the cellar to ferment spontaneously in stainless-steel tanks as whole bunches with carbonic maceration. After 3-4 weeks depending on the lot, the wine was pressed off the skins and racked to old puncheons, where it remained for 12 months of aging on the lees. At this point the wines were blended, and they went to the bottling without fining or filtration and just a touch of sulfur.