It is rare to hear a new world winemaker admit the only grape they really want to make is Nebbiolo…and it involves not relocating to northern Italy. Luke Lambert is that man and he has firmly established himself amongst the best Nebbiolo producers in the world. While he waits patiently for the recently planted Nebbiolo vines at his ‘Sparkletown’ estate north of the Yarra to mature, he continues to work with the Denton’s ‘View Hill Vineyard’ just east of Yarra Glen. The six-acre parcel is planted to seven clones of Nebbiolo and the granitic soils of the northwest facing site bring a mineral drive to the wine, coupled with a ‘traditional’ handling, produces an ethereal Nebbiolo. Nebbiolo is the first grape to bud and the last to be harvested at this vineyard. The 2021 vintage was an excellent growing season and gave a long, slow finish to the Nebbiolo harvest with very good hang time. Coupled with improved farming, the 2021 Nebbiolo carries riper and darker fruit than previous years.
The fruit was handpicked in early May and was fermented in open-top stainless steel tanks with ambient yeasts. After 16 days on skins, with frequent hand plunging and foot stomping the wine was pressed to old French and Slavonian 20hL foudre for aging, with frequent drumming and guitar sessions early on to ‘shake it up’ a bit, settling the lees. The wine was left to age, and after 20 months en foudre, the lots were racked to tank to settle and bottled without fining or filtration and just a small addition of sulfur.