Country, Region: South Australia, McLaren Vale
2022 was a relatively cool vintage which allowed gradual flavour development and incidentally the longest period between flowering and picking since the famed 2002 vintage. We combined four separate picks from our own Onkaparinga Rocks vineyard, and two sandy dry grown Blewitt Springs sites. Approximately 17% whole bunches were retained in the total blend, the rest gently destemmed to preserve whole berries for balance. Of the 12 separate ferments all were wild, caps were wet twice daily to assess flavour and colour extraction. Maceration on skins was extended up to 6 weeks for some parcels to build complexity and tannin line. After a gentle basket press, the wine was matured for 6 months in a combination of French oak hogsheads, puncheons, demi muids, foudres, and a concrete egg.
'An exercise in slender power, bringing early picked McLaren Vale Shiraz characters exhibited by cool blue and red fruit with layers of coal dust and earth to entice, supported by a gentle oak creaminess, which progresses to the palate exhibiting a deep fruit weight kept bright, nervy, and fleshy and filed down nicely by a fine and mineral tannin line.' 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.