TASTINGS: by Ben Edwards, The Age
Saturday June 14 2003
We make big reds!" says Roger Milner of
Berrys Bridge in the Pyrenees, two-and-a-half hours'
drive north-west of Melbourne. He and partner Jane Holt
don't bother messing around with the white stuff when
the demand for the gutsy reds is so big. They can also
plainly see that the region is set up for growing red
grapes - shiraz and cabernet sauvignon - for which the
Pyrenees is famous.
They bought their 22 hectare property
near the town of St Arnaud in 1975 and divided their
time between the city and the country until they settled
down full-time in the Pyrenees in1998. The land has
developed into a six hectare vineyard producing wines of
exceptional richness and density.
The planting of the first vines in 1990
was based on a lifestyle choice, like so many others
Today they are part of a formidable
partnership with Ian Macdonald, who bought one-third of
the business in 1998 and is now in charge of the
marketing and sales of Berrys Bridge brand.
Jane and Roger look after the vineyard
and the winery and the three are only interested in
producing wine from fruit off their own estate.
"This is what gets my clock ticking,"
Macdonald says. "So few wines in this country are
actually estate-grown and produced."
Their passion is obvious, especially for
the small quantity of merlot grapes they are growing,
wit the result being a wine of great power and one of
the few merlots in the country that exhibits complexity
The crimson and purple-hued 2001 shiraz
exhibits aromas of blackberries, mint, spice and a hint
of earth. The medium to full-bodied palate is full of
dark fruits, spice, leather, well-handled oak and chewy
tannins, yet for all this has a lightness that speaks of
terrific balance. This wine needs time
The slightly lighter-coloured 2001
cabernet sauvignon shows appealing aromas of violets,
cassis, cedar and just the merest hint of mint and oak.
The palate is layered with flavours of black olives,
dark fruits, minerals and fine grained tannins. The
flavour is very persistent and the structure and balance
remarkable. These wines are worth their price on
cellaring potential alone. Keep for up to 10 years or
and should start to reach maturity in three years, wit
another 10 years of enjoyment to follow.