This was the real clincher when we decided to take on Steve's wines - I mean who knew that Nebbiolo was even being grown in Australia, let alone what would it be like? The answer is a gloriously appealing take on this tricky variety, that is at once completely recognisable and at the same time also undeniably Aussie and not Piedmontese. Lovely dry richness and fullness allied to the grippy tautness that is so familiar from the better bits of Alba. Drinking range: 2019 - 2022 L&S (Mar 2019)
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Fruit was hand harvested in early April. Chilled over night and tipped to 1.5 tonne open fermenters. 60% of the fruit was gently de stemmed with 40% (predominantly from the second pick) fermented as whole bunches. All ferments ran wild and were kept below 28 deg. Ferments were punched down 2 times per day to 6 baume, then reduced to once daily. Once ferment was complete the cap was kept wet with hand stirring and the wine protected by a CO2 blanket for a further 45 days. Basket pressed with solids to seasoned French puncheons (500 litre), the wine was racked and returned after 6 months, then matured in these puncheons for a further 18 months. Bottled in May 2017 without fining or filtering. The fruit is sourced from a mature low yielding vineyard at Colbinabbin. Bedrock is comprised of Ordovician quartz rich meta sediments. Overlying soils are lean, have moderate clay and silt levels and are riddled with ironstone pebbles from the adjacent Cambrian greenstone belt.Winemaker's notes(Jun 2019)
Wild-yeast fermented with 40% whole bunches, 45 days on skins and aged 2 years in used French Puncheons. Given all that considered extraction, it’s surprisingly light on it’s feet. The tannins are abundant, chalky with some grip, but the palate is medium weighted and bouncy with sweet and sour red cherries, pips, wood smoke and spice; fresh acidity on the finish keeps everything in check. Drinking range: 2019 - 2028 Rating: 93 James Halliday - winecompanion.com.au(Jan 2018)
The Hairy Arm
The Hairy Arm Wine Company came about when Steven and Natalie Worley started producing small parcels of Shiraz from a carefully selected site in Sunbury, Victoria in 2003.
In 2001 Steve had left his career as an exploration geologist to study viticulture and oenology. This was a long held dream of applying his love of earth science to the crafting of exclusive batches of premium wine from special sites.
The first vintage was in 2004 and consecutive vintages with the exception of 2006 have led to Hairy Arm reaching a 5 star rating in the number one Australian Wine guide in 2014.
Focus in the vineyard and minimal intervention in the winery ensure these wines tell a real story of provenance. Steve selects small parcels of fruit from long-term lease vineyards in Sunbury and Heathcote for the Hairy Arm Wines. In 2010 a small patch of 4 rows of Heathcote Nebbiolo was secured too, on a long term basis and it was this unusually fresh style of Nebbiolo that first caught our eye.
The vineyards are fully managed by Steve, using his professional and academic geological background in soil management he not only selects the best plots but also knows how to maximise the land depending on its specific geological make-up.
Using crushed Abalone shells over the topsoil provides a clever, naturally reflective surface to bounce the suns rays back to the vines, to enhance ripening in the cool windswept vineyards of Sunbury.
Small batches of Shiraz and even smaller amounts of the Nebbiolo are made and the wines are extremely limited, but a natural wine making philosophy is adhered to, with minimal intervention and only very limited filtration. The wines are raised only in Burgundian Remond Oak Barrels and then an extra bit of time for bottle ageing too before release. This patience and attention to detail is just another factor in making the Hairy Arm Wines quite so unique and individual. We are delighted to have these great wines on the list!
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