The grapes are vinified at Pikes Clare Valley winery facility and the wines are made using a combination of traditional and modern techniques. The focus is on capturing the essence of the vineyard without trying to manipulate the wines too much.
Capturing the essence of the vineyard.
The Gaelic Cemetery Vineyard Rieslings are made very much in the modern, dry Australian style. Our aim each year is to pick earlier rather than later with the emphasis on retaining good levels of natural acidity and capturing freshness of fruit. The grapes are both machine and hand harvesting depending on the season and the block.
The grapes are for the most part de-stemmed, crushed and chilled prior to being drained off through a membrane press. Some smaller parcels of fruit may be handpicked and whole bunch pressed depending on the season. While the pressings are usually discarded the free run juice is partially clarified by cold settling for a number of days. After racking off solids the juice is then inoculated with a pure yeast culture and fermentation is carried out in stainless steel, temperature controlled tanks.
Some solids may be retained in the “Premium” Riesling fermentation for additional texture and complexity, however we prefer to ferment the “Celtic Farm” Riesling as clear settled juice.
Fermentation lasts on average for 25-30 days and we usually look to retain a small amount of residual sugar in the wines – stopping the ferment somewhere between 3-5 g/L. From here the wine stays in tank on yeast lees for 4-5 months before clarification and finally bottling.
As far as the Gaelic Cemetery Vineyard Reds go, the vineyard naturally produces quite powerful wines and our challenge is to harness that strength to make wines of balance. We encourage the wild yeasts of the vineyard to carry out the fermentation which is typically 10-12 days – the first few days being a cold soak prior to the yeast kicking in and starting the ferment.
Pressing towards the end of the primary fermentation is followed by filling into new and used French oak 228L casks to finish off. The secondary or malolactic fermentation is also natural and occurs in barrel. The wine is racked several times during the maturation process and will stay in barrel for an average of 18 months before final selection, blending and subsequent bottling.
Finings are only added when necessary and little or no filtration is carried out prior to bottling in an attempt to protect as much of the vineyard character as possible.