In 2004, Vigneron wannabe Brian Gilbert thought it was time to make the shift from the city to finally become a member of the wine community, wine being a passion from an early age. By chance he had stumbled on a Pinot vineyard (Whisson Lake) and discovered it was a mere 30 minutes from the Adelaide CBD. He located a property even closer (25mins) in Ashton (near Uraidla/Summertown) and purchased it. It was large, had a liveable house, and old stone cottage, a creek and consisted of approximately 32 acres with 7 acres suitable for vines. Suitable is a word used loosely as it is quite rugged, steep, and slippery and blackberry infested in the main. So he moved in, and is still there!
It was decided that the terroir suited Pinot and Chardonnay vines almost perfectly, so planting began early 2005. Chardonnay (I10v1 and Burgundian clones) was thought to best occupy the eastern slope under the house, and this was planted first, 4 acres in total. Two years later in 2007 the Pinot vines went in, a mix of 114,115,777 and MV6 clones. This occupied the far side of the valley and the rows face north, an exact replica of Burgundy as it turns out(but in reverse of course). The actual site is deep in the valley which reduces the morning and afternoon sun exposure and increases the variation in the grapes’ temperature.
There are 4 acres of Chardonnay, and almost 3 of Pinot, the average slope is about 26 degrees which is massive and aids night cooling. It is all handpicked, hand pruned, minimally irrigated and fussed over regularly as it is truly a tiny vineyard, even the word boutique is hardly applicable.
So far, the efforts have been rewarded with the following results:
2008 Chardonnay: Silver Medal Adelaide Hills Wine Show
2012 Steeped Pinot: Number One wine SA Hot 100 Wines (Adelaide Review)
2011 Altitude Sparkling: Silver Medal Tasmanian Wine Show
2013 Collins Class: Bronze medal Melbourne Wine Show & Adelaide Hills Wine Show
2014 Ascent Chardonnay: Best White in Dreamer’s & Believer’s Class SA Hot 100 Wines (Adelaide Review)
Halliday Points: Collins Class Pinot: 2012 95; 2013 95; 2014 93.
Lani’s View Chardonnay: 2012 96; 2013 93
Ascent Chardonnay 2010 94; 2011 93; 2012 94; 2013 91; 2014 87. (Ascent added to label after 2011).
All Lofty Valley table wines spend time in oak, usually 30% new French and Lofty is always looking ahead to find the best ideas and oak to compliment the fruit which is of amazing flavour…..there just never seems to be enough fruit!