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Prices do not include Consumption Tax. RRP= Recommended Retail Price.-8-Matt Harrop (Chief Winemaker)◆Matt, how long have you been in the Macedon area?The first vintage I made in Macedon was in 2005 at Shadowfax. My wife and I bought a little farm here about 15 years ago, and we planted our own small Chardonnay vineyard. We moved up to our farm full time 10 years ago, and I started working at Curly Flat in October 2017 when Phillip left. When I arrived the ’16 and ’17 Pinots were in barrels, and we finished maturation and bottling, so 2018 onwards has been under my control. For me, to be able to jump into a job where there is an established vineyard, planted in a great place has been a real treat. I’ve loved the last 3 years and look forward to the rest of my life here. ◆What makes Macedon and Curly Flat ideal for Pinot Noir?The farm ranges between 500 and 550 meters in altitude. It is 7 degrees now and the high will be 9 degrees ‒ it is the middle of winter. But in summer we rarely get temperatures in the 30s, in January you might get a short heatwave, but nothing is happening in the vineyard, as veraison hasn’t started. And every night the temperature drops and the vines switch off, so we get this longer, slower even ripening which Pinot Noir loves. We can hang things out, get good alcohol and still have high natural acidity, with pure, striking fruit characters. A hallmark of Curly Flat over the years is a beautiful, aromatic presence and lovely even ripening on the palate with wonderful natural acidity and tannin structure, so they age very well. ◆What are you changing in the vineyard?We are not doing anything dramatically different, we are just keeping an eye on a wonderful vineyard that is a perfect site for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. We do things traditionally, trying to step lightly on the land.We did an extensive soil survey in January 2018, digging holes to analyse the different soils throughout the vineyard which was valuable. It gave us the confidence from 2018 to bottle a couple of parcels of separate wines from distinct parts of the vineyard, that we labelled Western and Central, making just 100 dozen of each. The Western bottling is from the western boundary, which has an easterly aspect with deep red, very fragrant soils. The wine is very fragrant as the vines don’t get any sun after 3 in the afternoon, and enjoy a longer, slower ripening which gives red characters, and supple, soft tannins. The bottling from the Central planting is from the oldest vines on the property, the first Phillip planted. They are north facing with more sun exposure, on very degraded basalt soils, have a lot more tannin which suits a higher percentage of whole bunch in fermentation, creating a savoury, spicy wine with greater aging potential than the western block fruit. Both wines go into the Estate blend as well, creating a balance which displays the aromatics of the Western block and the power of the Central block. One of the things we all love about wine is we are seeing a theme from those blocks just as we are seeing from the Curly Flat estate, and the added complexity of vintage variations. It is an on-going journey for us as we keep learning and understanding more about the vineyard, to make a more genuine expression of Curly Flat. And we continue to change our farming based on soil type and vineyard aspect. ◆What is your philosophy in the winery?My first vintage was in New Zealand in 1998, working at Nobilos. Every year since then as I went through university and worked all over the place, and in every job in the winery, I’ve gone through phases where the more you do the better things are, exploring different ideas on extraction and oak type. Only in the last 5 to 10 years a light switched on in my head that ‘the vineyard is the arbiter of quality’. Today, a large part of winemaking is knowing when to do nothing ‒ you can only think that way if your fruit is very good and all the processes in the winery don’t impinge on that quality. One of things I bought to Curly Flat is a more consistent approach in the winery. We still do experiments and try different coopers, times on skins and pump-overs and bits and pieces, but our overriding philosophy in the winery is to be very simple. Doing this for 5 to 10 years will give a very clear ‘sense of place’ of a mature vineyard in the Macedon Ranges. 80 per cent of what we do is consistent every year ‒ gentle extraction, natural ferments, 16 months in fine-grain French oak, and everything else comes from the vineyard. We assume we are not going to have big crops and big swings in crops. Curly Flat has always been a masculine, structured Pinot, and we enjoy the high-quality tannins and tannic structure grown in this vineyard, so we will continue to do more pump overs and less plunging, more whole berries ‒ extracting gently. There has been a bit of fear of tannin in Australia, backing away from tannic Pinots over the last decade, people looking for florally, bright, aromatic, spicy, soft, slurpy styles of Pinot which are wonderful to drink on release. But the greatest Pinots have one thing in common which is a ‘wonderful structure’ that can only be got from tannins. So we will continue to grow tannins, and be very careful extracting them.◆How do you approach individual parcels in the winery?We are lucky to have a deep heritage to look back on. Phillip kept very detailed records of where fruit was picked, how the wines were made, which barrels treatments he used, so we can look through the cellar and our library of wines and explore in detail the ways wines we really like were made to produce the flavours they present. In 2018 we had 23 different parcels and pickings of Pinot, selected down to the rows they come from, which we fermented separately. In 2019 we modified that because of the soil survey. For example, in one block we identified a patch of 400-million-year-old Ordovician soil which is the oldest on the estate, and picked the 7 rows that grow on it separately. It is no surprise the wine tastes very different ‒ it still gives us a buzz as we learn and better understand these complexing factors. In the winery it is a cliché that once you blend a wine you can’t unblend it, so it is all about keeping parcels in smaller quantities, big enough to generate the thermal mass required for fermenting ‒ our smallest fermenters are about 1.5 tons and our largest 5 tons. In 2018 we had 18 ferments, in 2019 we had 20, and in 2020 we had 12, because the yield was so low. It is part of our quest to make better wine and a purer expression of Curly Flat. In the winery things are pretty basic. Everything is hand harvested, every berry goes over the sorting table to pull out the odd imperfection, we press it gently, we don’t have a crusher so nothing is crushed. We are aiming for as much whole fruit as we can, depending on the part of the vineyard we will sort out some fruit to go on top of the fermenter in whole bunches. Partners Phillip Moraghan and Jenifer Kolkka began development of Curly Flat in 1989 on a greenfield site in Macedon that they identified as ideal for growing the early ripening varieties of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They planted their first vines in 1992 and made their first vintage in 1998. Jenifer became sole owner in 2017, and under her leadership the winery’s reputation for high-quality winemaking continues, with a growing focus on Pinot Noir. We spoke with winemaker Matt Harrop who joined Curly Flat in 2017. Our Feature Story : Part 17Curly Flat (Macedon Ranges, Victoria)Australian Pinot Noir expresses a new terroir ― Matt Harrop (Chief Winemaker)

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