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Tasting Reviews

Prophet’s Rock Vin de Paille 2016


Prophet’s Rock winemaker Paul Pujol makes wine with his experiences close to his heart and mind. The Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris and Riesling wines of Bendigo reflect his experience at Kuentz-Bas in Alsace, the wine he makes being complex, textural and minerally. One of the wine styles that he has been mulling over for some time is vin de paille, or wine made from grapes dried on straw. In Alsace, sweet wines were high on the agenda, but the Central Otago climate at the end of the growing season is not especially conducive to making them, with long hang time not practical with the weather, and with little botrytis appearing. However Paul has surmised that the vin de paille style would be feasible. In addition to trying a number of different straw wines, Paul visited a venerable producer of vin de paille in the Jura in 2014. He was the father-in-law of Francois Millet, who is best known as winemaker at Comte se Vogue in Burgundy, who Paul has worked with in France and in New Zealand. There, Paul learnt much more about the production of the vin de paille style, and tasted older bottlings. In 2016 Paul produced his interpretation of the style. I offer my impressions here.

Prophet’s Rock Central Otago Vin de Paille 2016
Light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the edge. The nose is softly full and voluminous with decadent aromas of honey with tropical fruits, hints of marmalade and nuances of caramel, unfolding an array of exotic fragrances. This is fresh and expressed with lovely clarity and purity, and beautiful poise. Very sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate possesses flavours of ripe yellow stonefruits, pears and tropical fruits with honied and marmalade notes, suggestions of raisins and nuances of caramel. This has a refined, concentrated core with piquant and vibrant acidity, and the wine flows with excellent energy and drive along a fine, phenolic-textured line. There is an underlying firmness and the wine carries to a very long and sustained finish with yellow stonfruits, honey and a touch of savoury straw elements. This is a beautifully vibrant and lusciously rich vin de paille with luxurious stonefruit, tropical fruit and honied flavours on a refreshingly taut palate with acid cut and a fine, textured line. Match with fruit and baked desserts over the next 10+ years. Pinot Gris fruit from the ‘Home’ Bendigo vineyard, dried in the loft of the vineyard barn for 45 days, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented over 13 months, two-thirds in seasoned oak and the remainder in keg and carboy to 11.5% alc. and approx. 170 g/L RS, the wine aged on gross lees and bottled 6 September 2017. 763 bottles made. (375 ml) 19.0/20 Dec 2017 RRP $60.00 TBC Release date: January 2018

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