Nepenthe Wines has unveiled a new premium collection from the Adelaide Hills, with the Apex range, created as a means of expressing the region at its finest.

Comprising a Chardonnay and a Shiraz from the 2016 vintage, Nepenthe Wines’ Senior Winemaker, James Evers, said that both wines had been made using single clones and that the idea was to give the purest possible varietal expression.

“We’ve been working for a number of years on the idea that we wanted to produce a range that showcased what the Adelaide Hills is to us,” Evers said.

“It’s been quite a project over a number of years and we have come up with a Chardonnay and a Shiraz.

“The Chardonnay came about because I think that Adelaide Hills is one of the premier Chardonnay regions in Australia and rightly so. We get beautiful sunny days, cool nights and the altitude makes all the difference for us to get beautiful acid retention.

“For a couple of years we’ve been looking at site selection and clonal identity and seeing what gave the purest expression of Chardonnay for the Adelaide Hills.

“What we found with this Rathmine Vineyard site that we’ve been working with the grower on for a number of years, and the Bernard 76 clone, which is an old Burgundy clone, it seems to fit and work best for us. What we were trying to achieve was absolute fruit purity with a really lovely acid line and just having things like oak and complexity as a support system.”

The Apex Shiraz comes from the Charlston Vineyard, which has persistent sunlight resulting in an intense natural acidity with fruit and spice on the palate.

Evers said: “We took about 10 years ago when we bought Nepenthe, and we saw this Charlston Vineyard and we just felt it would be a fantastic place to plant Shiraz.

“So we planted half the block in a known clone 1654, and then we took a punt on a block that I’d been working with for a few years in the Barossa and it’s a wonderful vineyard that produces really bright Shiraz.

“We took cuttings from that because we thought it might work in the Hills, but we have no idea what the clone is, and planted that at the same time as the other half of the block. So these vines are only 10 years old, however since 2015 it has just jumped out at us, it has been fantastic. The ’15 was fantastic, we waited until the ’16 to make sure it wasn’t a one-off and since then the ’17 and the ’18 are equally as good.

“It is a bit of a story of taking a bit of a punt and it worked and it really blew us away, with the power that the wine has but holding its elegance at the same time.”

The Apex range has an $80 RRP and will be available at top-end on-premise accounts, leading independents and through the Nepenthe cellar door.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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