Wine Down

The Drives at Seppelt

The Drives at Seppelt

Cellar envy. It’s a thing, alright. And as WineDown stubs yet another toe on a partially concealed box stashed beneath the bed, thoughts fly to the largest underground cellar in the southern hemisphere: A subterranean labyrinth of cool, dim tunnels... thousands of ancient, crusty bottles... hand-hewn hidey-holes with secret stashes of wine locked behind ornate, impregnable, wrought iron gates. These are the fabulous Drives that snake for more than 3 kilometres beneath the expansive operations at historic Seppelt, in Great Western, Victoria.
The Wines of Summer

The Wines of Summer

Happy New Year Wineheads! After back-to-back stinkers, WineDown was overjoyed to ring in a new one – right up until someone pointed out that it’s pronounced 2020 too. But we refuse to be drawn into gloomy retrospection or apprehensive expectation. After all, it’s still summer! And that means long lazy days, steamy arvos, southerly busters, cicadas, storms, books at the beach, kids at the pool – and cricket and tennis everywhere you look. It’s a lovely, sticky season of relaxation and renewal, and whatever you’re doing – there’s a wine for that!
Merry Quizmas from WineDown

Merry Quizmas from WineDown

We’ll be back with bells on in ’22! In the meantime, here’s a little something to test your wine wits. No swotting required – the only thing you may need to cram is another piece of shortbread into your mouth...
Humbug!

Humbug!

WineDown is nothing if not even-handed. After last week’s rapturous homage to Christmas with all the trimmings, it’s time for some balance. This one’s for you, Scrooge: straight up and tinsel-free.
Your PRACTICAL Guide to Christmas Food and Wine Matching

Your PRACTICAL Guide to Christmas Food and Wine Matching

The family is assembled, resplendent in their Christmas clobber, humming tunes of comfort and joy, and united in their resolve this year not to argue.
James Halliday AM Part 3

James Halliday AM Part 3

In the 1980s, Australian wine was on the ascendancy. The groundwork that had been laid by a new wave of pioneering vignerons in the 60s and 70s was yielding dividends. Exports had quadrupled, and Australian wine was finally getting international attention – for the right reasons. In cool-climate Yarra Valley, a renaissance was underway – thanks to the achievements of Bailey Corrodus at Yarra Yering, John Middleton at Mount Mary, and Guill de Pury at Yeringberg. In 1985, these legendary vignerons were joined by recusant corporate lawyer – and winemaker in search of his Burgundian Holy Grail – James Halliday.
James Halliday AM Part 2

James Halliday AM Part 2

The son of wine-loving parents, James Halliday was born, it’s said, with Semillon running in his veins. Raised and schooled in the self-same street in which he was born, he graduated in law from the University of Sydney in 1961, completing his education the following year in camping sites from Spain to Norway. Back home, and practicing law, he was introduced by a famous friend to the mysteries and marvels of the wines of France. Inspired to recreate them in the Hunter Valley – and humbled in the attempt – James came to the dismaying conclusion that nothing resembling his beloved Burgundies could ever be made anywhere in Australia. Then he tasted Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley...
James Halliday AM Part 1

James Halliday AM Part 1

He’s been a successful corporate lawyer, merchant banker and business entrepreneur; a prodigious writer, pioneering winemaker, astute wine judge and celebrated critic. Astonishingly, he performed most of these roles more or less contemporaneously. For those of us in the industry, his pronouncements are gospel; his approbation, coveted. Much like his old friend, the late and great Len Evans, he declines to suffer fools; and, like most octogenarians I know, he’s leery of timewasters. All the more extraordinary then, that – on a soggy springtime afternoon in Yarra Valley – James Halliday graciously submitted to 90 minutes of gentle interrogation from WineDown.
Light and Low

Light and Low

It’s easy to get carried away sometimes. When we are so smitten with aromas of berries, fruits, flowers and nuts; so taken with sumptuous flavours reminiscent of a thousand delectable comestibles; so entranced by texture, mouthfeel, weight and grip; so captivated by lingering after-flavours... and when we are as delighted by their stories as we are by the wines themselves, it sometimes comes as a shock to realise that the object of our fascination, when it all boils down, is actually just a bottle of booze.
St Hubert's Day

St Hubert's Day

If we say muddled strawberries with a gentle brush of velvety tannins, and you say Pinot Noir... If we say Pinot Noir, and you say Yarra Valley... If we say pioneering Yarra Valley winery, and you say St Hubert’s... If we say medieval nobleman who had visions in a forest, chucked in his wealth and status, and became patron saint of archers, dogs, forest workers, trappers, hunters, mathematicians, opticians, metal workers, and smelters, and you say What the...??? Then, gentle reader, this WineDown is for you.
Terror in the Vineyard

Terror in the Vineyard

At Seppeltsfield, in the heart of the Barossa, spooky things are said to happen. Although the current owners deny it, locals have for years claimed to hear the sound of machinery long since decommissioned... footsteps on floors that no longer exist... a mysterious glow at the top of the winery, and moans, groans and whispers in the old dining hall (mind you, that last one suggests that something far more worldly may be going on there).
Barossa

Barossa

Oi WineDown!! South Australia called – they want their crown back! Fair enough. After back-to-back issues extolling Victoria’s innumerable charms it’s understandable that the country’s largest wine-producing state might be feeling a tad overlooked. But rest assured SA – we’ve got you! And just to prove it, we’re going big this week. No obscure regions or emerging pipsqueaks. This week, WineDown is going straight to the top...