Country, Region: South Australia, McLaren Vale
With warm dry summers, and cool wet winters, the Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale is a very happy home for the Iberian varieties native to Spain and Portugal. Mencía ('Men-thee-ah') hails from in and around Galicia in North West Spain, in particular Bierzo, Valdeorras, and Riberia Sacra where low yielding schisty hillsides are producing deeply coloured, medium bodied, but deliciously aromatic wines.
100 % Mencia from the ancient rocks at the Chase Vineyard at Onkaparinga Gorge. Hand picked, with 12% whole-bunches retained, the balance lightly de-stemmed to whole-berries, then cold soaked for 3 days to capture aromatics. Fermented wild in a traditional open vat, with very gentle plunging twice daily, then basket pressed after 9 days on skins to old French oak vessels for 12 months maturation. 13.9 % alc/vol.
‘Deeply purple in colour, this wine has the lifted floral aromatics of Mencía showing sour cherry, pomegranate, and black liquorice. On the palate, the layered succulent fruit characters that Mencía is known for come to the fore, showing mid-weight blackcurrant and raspberry fruit, built upon a bedrock of mineral laced tannin.’ Bernice and Julian.
After almost three decades shared experience in the wine industry, Bernice Ong and Julian Forwood decided to have a crack at their own (ad)venture. For them, Ministry of Clouds represents the relinquishing of past security and structure for the beguiling freedom and independence inherent in this, their own voice.
They seek fruit from distinguished vineyard sites mostly in McLaren Vale, but also in the Clare Valley for a crystalline expression of Riesling and across the Bass Strait for a flinty and somewhat wild expression of a Tasmanian Chardonnay. Their reds revel in Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro and Tempranillo fruit from a variety of mature vineyard sites through McLaren Vale, some up to 90 years of age.
Ministry of Clouds produce classic wines that show careful attention to detail, wines that speak of the land, that reveal the essence of the season; wines with perfect ripeness yet showing some tension, restraint and poise complete with crunchy texture, delicate balance and a somewhat modest built. They are wines that beg to be shared on a convivial table consumed with various foods, flavours and textures.