Tempranillo often plays second fiddle, third or fourth for wine lovers and growers alike, so it is a delightful surprise to discover an Australian producer focusing on the Holy Grail that is Tempranillo and, as it turns out, crafting the country’s finest example – Mayford Wines.


Cool climate viticulture

Mayford began in 1995, planting only Shiraz, before adding Tempranillo and Chardonnay in 2002, and more recently Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard is dry grown and managed along sustainable lines, with all the work being done by hand. Located near the town of Porepunkah in Victoria’s Alpine Valleys, this is genuine cool climate viticulture. The climate is continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The soils are not vigorous, ensuring low yields of small, concentrated berries. Tempranillo in particular is known for its excessive vigor, a vigor that is naturally tamed by the site. Tempranillo’s other problem is its high pH, which can result in unstable wines if the site isn’t well situated. Mayford’s site is cooled by what’s known as the Buffalo Breeze, ensuring wine of incredible fragrance, complex flavours, rich tannins and high natural acidity, without the need for pH adjustment.


Rare, wonderful

With a very crowded wine scene in Australia, we are to a degree spoilt for choice. But it is harder than people think to narrow the focus, and block out the noise of so many producers clamouring to sell their wares. Further, many of the best or benchmark producers have pushed up their prices, often to the point of offering very little in the context of value. Cheaper is almost always cheap for a reason, and genuine bargains are rare, but Mayford Wines are that rare wonderful producer whose wines are so obviously better than almost all their peers, offering up extraordinary quality at ridiculously low prices.


Pure and bright

The reds are lavishly perfumed, deep, concentrated and savoury, with a wealth of rich textured tannin and driving freshness. The Tempranillo brings to mind Ribera del Duero, rather than Rioja, due to its volume of flavour, dark fruits and rich tannins.

Mayford’s Chardonnay is tightly wound, luscious and rich, with immense detail, finesse and great precision, reminding me of the great Burgundy wines of Hubert Lamy. The wines of both colours are bright and intense, with pure fruit profiles; the flavours holding in the mouth for minutes. Nothing seems forced, all poise and balance, ensuring wines of a very long life and years of drinking pleasure.


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