From the rolling elevations of our home at Rising Vineyard in the Christmas Hills, small parcels of exceptional fruit are selected for a new collection of wines. Inspired by the quiet achievements of Sticks, Rising is a new expression of the Yarra Valley.
Since 2000, Sticks has quietly gone about producing award winning cool climate wines reflective of the true regional characteristics and diversity of the Yarra Valley.
Fruit is blended from a large number of the best vineyards in the region with the renowned Rising Vineyard as our foundation and a winemaking team empowered to push the boundaries. Our mission is to produce varietals that express the very best of the region and our focus is Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Riesling and Gewürztraminer were fermented together on skins and left for a week of maceration. The Semillon was direct pressed with barrel ferments. The Mendoza clone Chardonnay was direct pressed with natural ferments. All saw full malolactic fermentation and were left to mature till the end of winter in old French oak barrels, The wine had no yeast, acid or enzyme additions or fining. Some SO2 was added before being lightly filtered and bottled.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Colour - Straw yellow.
Aroma - Distinctive aromas of lemon and beeswax jump from the glass with creamy notes and white flowers threaded through.
Palate - The palate has a mouthcoating richness, texture and waxiness counterpointed against its core of saline crispness. Overall the feel is a harmonious balance that gives density and structure without excessive weight, so typical of this area of the Yarra Valley.
The Shiraz bunches were hand harvested with one component was 100% whole bunch carbonic macerated, and a second component destemmed. The Pinot Noir was also hand harvested then all destemmed before undergoing whole berry maceration. Both components were all natural wild ferments, with no yeast added. It was pressed and then transferred directly to old 500L French oak puncheons to complete fermentation and then left to mature. It was blended and bottled without filtration or fining at the start of December 2018.
44% Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Colour - Ruby purple
An expressive and dense nose of spiced plums, crushed red berries, cloves, cinnamon, and wood charcoal.
Palate - The palate has a purity and fineness enveloped in a silky and soft generosity all finishing with a savoury cocoa feel. The fleshy fruits, warm spices and vegetal threads really shine through. It is tasty and flavourful.
This single vineyard Chardonnay comes from three blocks at the Rising v ineyard; BIBS, Birdwood, and House.
The grapes were all hand-picked and direct pressed, settled overnight and then transferred to hogsheads and puncheons for natural ferment. It was about 25% new oak, all French. It was aged w ithout S02 for a few months and most went through malolactic fermentation. The w ine was matured in oak on lees until November with no stirring or battonage and no added yeast, bacteria, enzyme or acid. It was filtered and bottled w ith some S02 added.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Straw yellow in colour.
Rich stonefruit, citrus fruits, green fig, grilled nuts and and sweet oak are amongst the aromas of the compact and complex nose.
The palate is fine, detailed and neatly textured. The rich flavours come through with a light touch and a length that has crispness within the wine’s quiet generosity.
Rising Wines is a new Yarra Valley outfit Sticks winemaker Tom Bedford seems to have split off as a sort of premium small batch showcase of wilder beauties.
I’ve just escaped the supermarket which is a scarce enough misadventure for a hermit and attempted salving some of this freak heat with a couple Asahi 3.5s, whose hoppy tannin burrs the tongue and sets it looking for fats so maybe I’m over-reacting to this calming Chardonnay unction action.
Umami. Mother’s milk. Fatty: the first acids to hit the newborn tongue. Those fatty acids you find around isolvaleric aromas, which are often presignallers for calming human pheromones which then don’t come. You need a real human mother to get real pheromones.
But the very anticipation of them often leaves a frisson if not your actual fru-fru - you get these subliminal precursor signals sometimes as sidelines of secondary, or malo-lactic ferment, when bacteria, not yeast, convert the metallic natural grape acid, malic, to lactic, the softer acid of milk.
All that - with oak-smoked bacon or cashews or something in the pan - wraps the aroma around me, by which time the acid of the end of the lovely thing starts to build. Which it does smooth and slow, drawing real fine chalky tannin with it. This is one fine reassuring wine.
This Pinot Noir is taken from two blocks at Rising Vineyard in the Christmas Hills; the north facing Hill block and the north-east facing 425 block.
The parcels harvested were about 30% whole bunch ferment with the remainder destemmed aiming to maximise the amount of whole berries in the ferment. The whole bunch ferments were gradually crushed by hand and finally foot trod to break the grapes open throughout the three week ferment. The destemmed ferments were plunged once a day, no more.
The wine was naturally fermented and following pressing went straight into French oak hogsgeads, approximately 40% new. It aged on lees for six months was racked and then back to oak for a further three months before being bottled in early decemebr without filtration or fining.
100% Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley, Victoria
The aromas of this wine flow easily - neat red fruits are delicately laced with more complex characters. Red cherry, plum skin and raspberry characters are abundant, bay leaf and tea-tree aromas are woven throughout with touches of spice and woodsmoke complementing the fruit.
This baby’s real deep and dry after a good airing: I prefer it with these ravens in its dark piny boughs.
That’ll be some of the colour of its smell. It gets a wee bit sooty, which is also cool. Because below those prickly crarky topnotes come dark juniper and blackcurrant, even that whiff of tiny grape currants. Real deep framboise and crème de cassis pressings. Yum.
The palate’s sinuous and juicy. The velvety tannins here are more active than the acids, until way back in the very end when they rise like a rapier.
This is no royalty among Burgundies: it’s more of a country type with birds in its hair. At least it’s had a look around the court to see what all the princes are wearing.
This 100% Gamay is grown in classic Yarra Valley soils of clay-loam over a deep clay base.
Approximately 20% of the whole bunches were put into an open fermenter and crushed by foot. The remainder of the whole bunches were placed on top without crushing, the fermenter was sealed and it was left for a 10 day maceration without any further crushing, pumping over or plunging. At the end of this period it was pressed and transferred directly to old puncheons to complete its fermentation, then left to mature without sulphur dioxide until the end of winter, approximately 5 months. The barrels were then racked and sulphured and the wine was lightly filtered prior to bottling.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Colour - Pale ruby colour
Aroma - Opens shy and closed, and with air reveals a dense and compact aroma of cherry and raspberry fruits woven through with spice rack, tea leaf, celery stalk and forest floor complexity.
Palate - The palate is medium bodied, velvet textured and taut.
Here’s a rare Australian go at the juicy indigo Gamay of Beaujolais. The Mornington Peninsula’s Eldridge has had some success with the same tricky, but rewarding, if frivolous beast.
Ripe heady raspberry and dark strawberry well away, cheeky and unabashed. It’s a swoony, swirling experience seasoned with dark gunbarrel anthocyanins from the skins: it’s like juniper with its scented hint at tannins to follow.
This is dead honest wine of no obvious sophistry: a comforting drink with no pretention but a really lush and luxurious bed of squishy flavour.
Eventually those neat little tannins creep in, tidying up your baby dribbles with its corrective pucker.
I want an aged crumbly Blue Wensleydale - with all its natural acid - on an oatcake, please
It’s about this time of year that I start waffling on about ‘autumnal wines’. For me, at least, it’s about characters in a wine that seem to align with the seasons. For this time of year, when it seems that the earth us drawing breath to store energy for the cooler months, those characters fall in the earthen category: those of leaf litter, damp earth, game and mushroom notes. Pinot Noir fits this bill as does this little wine made from Gamay.
It gladdens my heart to see new Gamay wines appear on Australian wine store shelves. It is a variety that, as we mature as a wine growing nation, seems to fit in well with the certain soils and climatic conditions prevalent in some wine regions and its light, airy gait certainly pairs well with the cuisine we enjoy eating. Plus it can take a bit of a chill in the fridge on those warmer days and that will always score bonus points with this particular wine hack.
It is produced by Tom Belford in the Yarra Valley. I’ve written about this cat before. He is of Bobar Wines fame, where he forged a reputation for producing food-friendly delicious wines. Well he’s at it again with his new project Rising Wines.
Light purple/red in colour with pure, bright aromas of red cherry, cranberry, macerated raspberry fruits, spice, forest floor and a light wash of Amaro herbs. Sprightly and spacious on the palate with great clarity, purity and a sense of juiciness and slinky allure hat beckons the drinker towards a second glass. It’s a cracker, as is the Chardonnay from the same range.
Sourced from the Roundstone Vineyard in the narrow Steels Creek Valley on the western side of the Yarra Valley, this 100% Cabernet Franc is grown in classic Yarra Valley soils of clay-loam over a deep clay base.
Whole bunches were put into a fermenter and left to carbonic macerate for 10 days without any crushing, plunging or pumping over. It was then gently pressed to a small tank, the ferment was allowed to complete, then the wine was racked to a single old puncheon (500L) for maturation without sulphur dioxide for 5 months, until the end of winter.
The wine was then racked from barrel, received a small amount of sulphur dioxide and was bottled without filtration.
100% Cabernet Franc
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Colour - Deep pink colour.
Aroma - Crushed strawberries, kirsch, raspberry leaf and bay. With complex notes of turned earth, brambles and cured meats woven through the fruit elements.
Palate - Soft and comforting, with good detail and a delicate light structure. Sweet fruit sitting on the forest floor.
Any lighter in colour and it would be confused for a rose, the nose has a sweetness of stem with cranberry and capsicum. 94pts
The palate is a mirror image of the nose with a brightness of fruit, and the weave of capsicum giving a suppleness to the wine that is pulled back into line by framing acidity. I think ‘smashable’ is probably one of the best words to describe what is an incredibly enjoyable wine. This will be well and truly best in it’s youth.
This wine is all sourced from Rising Vineyard in the rugged Christmas Hills on the western side of the Yarra Valley. It is grown in mudstone gravels and clay-loam over clay and shallow bedrock.
Semillon (95%) and Gewürztraminer (3%) were handpicked, destemmed and left on skins for 7 days. It was plunged a couple of times in the first two days and then left untouched for the remainder of this period. It was then pressed and put into old hogsheads and puncheons to complete fermentation. At the end of the ferment a small amount of Mendoza clone Chardonnay from the same vineyard was added (2%). It was left to mature till the end of winter then racked, lightly filtered and bottled.
Semillon (95%) Gewürztraminer (3%) Chardonnay (2%)
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Colour - Straw yellow
Aroma - Gently aromatic and layered nose, with aromas of lemon blossom, almond meal and acacia honey. Some higher notes of frangipani and vanilla are in the background.
Palate - Counterpoints of crispness and softness. Lanolin and citrus pith are layered over a powdery texture and gentle, subtle depth.
This is grown on a picturesque north-east slope at Rising Vineyard in the Christmas Hills. The low fertility of the gravel soils, altitude and generous sunshine of this area of the Yarra Valley combine to create the ideal place to grow Shiraz with a balance of restraint, generosity and complexity.
The Shiraz fruit was hand-harvested and sorted into a fermenter as 100% whole-bunches. Except for a small amount crushed by foot on the bottom of the fermenter, the bunches were left entire and unbroken. The fermenter was sealed up and left for two weeks without any sort of pumping over, plunging, or other interventions.
At the completion of this period it was pressed and transferred directly to old 500L French oak puncheons to complete fermentation and then left to mature until late Spring. It was blended and bottled without filtration at the start of December 2017.
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Colour - Ruby/purple in colour.
Aroma - A densely packed aroma of bright berry fruits with threads of graphite, tar and spice running through it.
Palate - The medium-bodied palate has restraint and brings an edge of seriousness to the generous fruit.
Here’s a rare thing loose in South Australia: a soupy rich Shiraz syrup without gloop. Goodness me.
Somehow, it’s not all berries, but somewhere near a bortsch made with ripe sweet beets with a swirl of good fresh yoghurt or sour cream. The best one I had was on a Russian ferry that got loose in these austral waters: somebody in Vladivostok had welded her bow doors shut and filled the cargo hold with stifling cabins. The officers’ beets had been downstairs even further in some great fridge, ripening slowly since the revolution. Because we had no blazers, we could not not sit at the Captain’s table, but we were afforded his top vittles. I wish I had a bottle of this to send across in return.
Got off the track ... coming back to it, I reckon I can smell pomegranate ... that soft long velvety tannin ... yep, bortsch, a smoked strout on the side with a worried cornucopia of sprouts and capers; sourdough rye ...
The grapes for this wine were machine harvested during the evening from two vineyards in Yarra Glen and Healesville then loaded directly into the press. The cloudy juice was racked within 24 hours and inoculated with selected yeast. Approximately 5% of the wine was fermented in old oak. The combination of cloudy juice and a small barrel fermented portion adds richness and texture to the palate. The wine was then managed on lees for approximately 5 months prior to blending and preparation for bottle.
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Pale straw with lime hues.
Aromas of stone fruit, citrus and jasmine with underlying floral complexity.
Textured entry gives way to a precise, lively palate with flavours of grapefruit, white stone fruit, currant leaf and snow pea.
Hand harvested fruit from Coldstream, and machine harvested fruit from Seville went into this wine. The fruit was loaded directly into the press with no additions for overnight settling, before ‘hard’ racking the cloudy juice off to tank for wild ferment. The wine was then managed on lees, with some lees stirring, for between 5 and 7 months post fermentation and then prepared for bottling.
100% Pinot Grigio
Yarra Valley, Victoria
White gold with a green tinge.
Attractive white floral aromas with nashi pear, apple and a hint of beeswax.
Crisp yet generously textured with crunchy nashi pear, white stone fruits, spice and a cleansing long finish.
This wine is comprised of a variety of fruit parcels and a number of different clones, sourced predominantly from Upper Ngumby vineyards located on the foothills of the Christmas Hills range, and Rising Vineyard located in a high valley in the Christmas Hills. A mix of hand and machine harvested fruit was used, all of which was loaded directly into the press. The juice was coarse settled and racked to a combination of tanks, and 300L and 500L French oak barrels for ferment. Both selected yeast and wild yeast ferments were conducted, with a quarter of the wine going through the secondary malolactic fermentation. The solids included in fermentation contributed complexity and savoury notes on the palate. All wine was matured on lees with some limited stirring. The blend was assembled and prepared for bottling after approximately 9 months maturation..
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Pale yellow with flecks of green.
The nose is perfumed; white flowers, jasmine, stone fruit, candied melon and citrus rind aromas are abundant. Layers of subtle grilled nut and biscuit notes give depth and interest.
The palate is textured, crisp and flavoursome.
The Sticks Pinot Noir is made from fruit grown in the Dixons Creek, Yarra Glen and Coldstream sub-regions of the Yarra Valley which provide rich fruit and generosity, a vineyard in the cool Yarra Junction area which brings precision and fine body to the wine, and Rising Vineyard in St Andrews, a gravelly elevated farm which lends firm structure and complexity. Each vineyard is made and matured separately to allow them to express themselves fully. A variety of winemaking techniques are employed from open fermenters and high temperatures to give complexity, depth and power, and cooler ferments in closed fermenters to maintain freshness ad fruitiness. After approximately 10 months maturation in barrels and tanks, the wine was blended, lightly filtered and bottled. We seek purity, expressive fruit and subtle complexity in the Sticks Pinot Noir.
100% Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Deep ruby red colour.
The 2018 Pinot has a dense nose of spices and fleshy red fruits, cherries and berries, cloves, some smoke and tea-leaf notes also.
The palate has a velvety feel and delicate balance with a firm acid spine that running through it, focusing the palate and driving a long and fruity finish.
2017 was an excellent growing season in the Yarra Valley. Fruit for this wine was machine harvested from Yarra Glen. The fruit was destemmed and crushed into static fermenters and inoculated straight away at low rates to promote a slow start fermentation slowly. One tank remained ‘on skins’ for a month post ferment. Post pressing, wines were racked exclusively to 300L French oak for secondary, malolactic fermentation (MLF). After maturation for 15 months, the naturally settled wines were then racked and blended in preparation for bottling.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Colour - Bright crimson red with purple hues.
Aroma - Classic nose of cassis, plum, blackcurrant, pepper and earthy notes.
Palate - Pure plum and cassis flavours are supported by notes of bramble, chocolate and cigar box.
Cellaring - Drinking beautifully now, it will reward cellaring beyond 2020.
From his formative years at Yarra Ridge Winery through to notable stints at Curly Flat and De Bortoli Wines, Tom has amassed the diverse range of skills required to make exceptional premium wines.
A 15 month sojourn in France, dividing his time between Champagne, Beaujolais, Provence, Cahors and Sauternes, allowed Tom to finesse those skills and develop a keen interest in alternative wine varieties.
In late 2008 Tom returned to the Yarra Valley and the winemaking team at Sticks. Now he heads the team and brings with him the ethos that by intervening less the resulting wines are more expressive and authentic. His intimate knowledge of the picturesque region and unwavering focus on sub-regional expression and fruit purity are key in achieving his mission for Sticks; to produce varietals that express the very best of the region.
Rising Vineyard is located in the Christmas Hills sub-region of the Yarra Valley. The vines at Rising have long produced wines of note, respected and revered for their quality and expression of terroir.
High altitude and Silurian mudstone rubble deliver power and minerality to the wines, giving this pocket of the Yarra Valley a personality all its own.
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