Ada River 2019 — Chardonnay
A Wine That
opens a new chapter for Patrick Sullivan. Known in the wine world for his bonkers blends and rulebreaking winemaking, suddenly here's a really serious Chardonnay that can break bread with all the other top Chardonnays of the world, no problem. With pithy lime zest, pineapple and almond notes and a shimmy of honey, there's a little more body here, as the site it comes from is surrounded by forest, allowing the fruit to ripen undisturbed.
▼ Scroll for More Info
- Delivery: Delivery and gift wrapping options available at checkout.
- Winemaker: Patrick Sullivan
Where & How?
From rural Gippsland, the Ada River cuvée comes from the Manilla Vineyard in Baw Baw Shire, which is farmed biodynamically by Patrick and Bill Downie. It is tucked away, isolated and surrounded by forest, meaning it is very protected from wind. In turn, this creates what Patrick describes as pretty perfect fruit, which in turn makes a very pretty wine.
The grapes were hand harvested and fermented naturally, and the wine was aged for 12 months in oak barrels, with 1/3 new. To emphasise the natural prettiness that this vineyard creates, Patrick touches up the lees a bit on occasion for this wine, as he feels this accentuates its natural character. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
By the time he was 22, Patrick had worked several stints in vineyards and wine shops (including 18 months on the floor at London’s Selfridges), commenced a degree in winemaking - which he promptly changed to viticulture, and even studied actuarial science for a while.
When he was 24, thanks to a government tax rebate scheme for small winemakers, he set up his own brand on a shoestring budget. Shortly after, he developed an international reputation for making unprecedented bottles of fun: with naturally fluorescent colours, blended from grape varieties that traditionalists would say “aren’t meant to be blended together.”
His cuvée "Haggis" graces natural wine bars’ lists across the globe. It’s a co-fermentation of Moscato, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Malbec, because, why not? It became the flower child of wine: a liquid that tipped everything people thought they knew about wine on its head, and undoubtedly left many winemakers pissed off because it most certainly didn’t follow the rulebooks they'd so dutifully been following. And why should it?
These days, however, there are winds of change for Patrick. He still loves those wines, but there’s a new direction on the Sullivan compass: fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, planted by himself, farmed by himself, on his own land. Here, in the middle of nowhere in Gippsland, he has laid roots with his wife and kids. Surrounded by forest, the task at hand is no longer one of rebellion or experimentation. Rather, it’s about creating something lasting, leaving as gentle an environmental footprint as possible, for the next generation.