Winery Notes: "RUGGABELLUS – ‘rugged beauty’ - pertaining to the ancient & enchanting nature of our land.
I have no recollection of life before this place. I moved here when I was two. I was about to experience the bouquet of my first wine cellar. It was Penfolds and it was the vintage of 1975. My father contributed to many vintages here and it was my good fortune to have the culture of this place woven into my childhood. Indeed since then my life has been filled with privileged experience working with and observing some great winemakers each with their own unique way of crafting wine. ‘Respect and history’ was learned at Penfolds, ‘craft and tradition’ at Rockford, ‘intellect and detail’ from Chris Ringland, ‘perfume and texture’ from Charlie Melton, ‘layers and length’ from my father at Gibson and most recently and very importantly ‘precision and belief’ from Pete and Magali at Spinifex – without their encouragement Ruggabellus would in all likelihood have remained an idea to this day.
Emma and I love drinking wine with food. We love wines with grace and intrigue. We live in the Barossa valley in southern Australia. This is our home. We have taken great pleasure in exploring its strengths – an ancient landscape with a phenomenal resource of young and very old vines in a variety of nooks and crannies, remaining constantly aware of the most significant local challenge – an abundance of sunshine.
For a few years now we have been dabbling with small parcels of Grenache, Mataro, Syrah and Cinsault. We are keen to understand the uniquely Australian character of our wines. We use no new oak and are attracted to vineyards that allow us to pick earlier, hopefully preserving vitality, crunch and intrigue. Our wines range from 10% to 100% whole bunch – gently released late in ferment – aspiring to marry an appropriate level of tannin to fruit in each of the wines, most importantly preserving a high level of natural perfume. The past vintage has been our fourth without the aid of pumps – all wine movements done using gravity. The vineyards are nearly always harvested on ‘fruit’ or ‘root’ days and wine racking/bottling is carried out on, or near to new moons. The only additions are small amounts of the preservatives sulphur and tartaric acid. All ferments are unseeded and allowed to progress naturally. All wines are bottled under screw cap. We sincerely hope they become a valuable contribution to the evolving nature of Australian wine.
TIMAEUS (honour) – inspired by Grenache
EFFERUS (untamed) – inspired by Mataro
ARCHAEUS (soul of a place) – inspired by Syrah
Ultimately we would love for these to become collectable propositions and so they must stand up after a few years in the cellar, a motivating consideration during blending!
FLUUS (flow) – contains those wines remaining after blending the above, along with new vineyards being explored. It is lighter in weight and a great introduction to the style of wine we make.
We have purchased small parcels of fruit from carefully selected vineyards within the Barossa. They range from 220m to 510m in elevation, range from 12 to 100 years old and most importantly contain an interesting array of soil types. Late in 2013 we managed to secure 7 acres at 480-510m elevation in the hills surrounding the Barossa. We are now the proud custodians of 4acres of 60-80 year old Riesling, Semillon and Syrah. We look forward to this vineyard providing valuable parcels of fruit for Ruggabellus for many years to come.
Emma and I have also leased a small acreage from good friends. It is in the Penrice/Moculta area at 350m and contains a quite unique make-up of soils. We continue to establish a small vine garden containing Mataro, Grenache and a little Shiraz and Cinsault. We hope it will ultimately give us a pretty good crack at a single vineyard wine in the years to come!"
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