11 vintages in of Nebbiolo and Steve thinks he is beginning to gain an understanding of the grape. Steve’s love for Nebbiolo runs deep and took him on the magical mystery tour d’force of relocating his family and life to the motherland, Barolo. Steve worked alongside Giuseppe Vajra and they learned a lot from one another. When Steve returned home, he wanted to make Nebbiolo but getting the right clones and site was going to be key. He found the Protero Vineyard, planted in to five different clones in 1999 near Gumeracha. Steve says that getting skin contact right is the key to expressing the characteristic of this notoriously finicky grape. He has set out not to replicate Barolo in style, but to produce world-class Nebbiolo that happens to come from Australia.
The 2016 vintage was a vintage of two distinct halves. Winter & Spring were exceptionally dry and warm and budding was spotty. A number of rainstorms quickly changed everything, making 2016 one of the wettest and mildest ripening vintages. The grapes were hand-harvested in late March, destemmed, and spontaneously vinified in small, open top fermenters. After 23 days the wine was gently pressed off of the skins and transferred back to steel to complete a natural malolactic fermentation. Post-ML the wine was lightly sulfured and racked to old Hungarian oak puncheons and 25hL casks to age for 14 months. It was bottled in August of 2017 without fining or filtration and only another small hit of sulfur.