“We are still learning to read back our hill. We try to look after it and to listen to what it has to say. We’ve worked hard to help make the soil healthy and we’ve waited. This wine is brighter and clearer, more open and better defined. We can feel the bones of the land and see the sky.”
This wine came about when William Downie was asked to make a wine that speaks of the best of what Australia can do. He has full control of the process from the vineyard to the final packaging. The wine is from one vineyard in the Yarra Valley and is a blend of Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The blend came about because Bill and the team felt that on their own they had three OK wines, but together they had a wine that offered “Truth in the Glass”. The wine spoke of where it came from. The wine making process was simply “Whole bunches in a vessel.” No destemming, no yeast additions, no crushing, no punched downs or pump overs. Even the Sauv Blanc was made with full stems and skins. In fact it spent almost a year on skins which would be considered almost heresy in most peoples winemaking manuals. Speaking to viticulturist Stuart Proud recently he said all the hard work is done in the vineyard. Then Bill waltzes in and claims the credit for almost literally doing nothing to the amazing grapes he receives.
Thousand Candles caused quite a stir after its first release vintage 2011. It is certainly a departure from traditional Australian wine making but one that has and pushed the boundaries and I feel in time this will be considered a classic. 2012 has received a lot more positive feedback and not more than a few “I prefer the 2011” comments.
A different beast to the 2011, it is mainly Pinot Noir this year. It shows a great deal more oak, dark fruits and is a lot more robust in the mouth too (surprisingly). At the moment this wine is a lot more compact and tightly wound than the 2011. It offers a more seamless and less challenging wine that will definitely blossom with time.