In 2011 we managed to secure a small parcel of Chardonnay which was grown behind the Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens. The vines are some of the oldest in the Adelaide Hills and were planted by a former CSIRO scientist. The researcher, Bernie Swaby, made that clonal selections and determined the ideal soil conditions when he helped the region establish itself. Bernie wisely secured the best site for himself and has been growing some spectacular fruit ever since. This wine was hand-picked and whole bunch pressed into old French oak barrels where it was allowed to undergo wild fermentation. The wine received 10 months lees stirring every second week before it was allowed to naturally clarify for 4 months. The wine received a small amount of sulphur prior to bottling and was neither filtered nor cold stabilised which allows the vineyard and season to fully express itself.
Due to the hands off manner that View Road wines craft their wines, our wines are slow to mature and evolve. Each wine that is deemed to be given the View Road Wines label has been assessed for underlying structure and approachability of flavour profile. The View Road Wines team want these premium wines to age gracefully for long periods yet be able to drink close to release. Upon release this wine was a little murky in colour but with another year of age it is now very light with little colour at all. We suggest that customers should cellar each wine for a minimum of a year or leaving the bottle open for one to two days before tasting to achieve the best results.
The Swaby vineyard was a 35 acre property first owned by the Curtis family in 1846. Until 1979, when the Swaby family took ownership, the property was used for the production of fruits and summer vegetables. In 1979 the Botanical Gardens compulsorily acquired 29 acres of the Swaby property. The 1983 bushfires nearly burnt the house and the 3 sheds. Mr Swaby borrowed a generator from work so they could pump water up to the remaining shed and the house. In 1984 Swaby planted 1 acre of Bernard clone chardonnay which was destined for family consumption. Once it was established that the quality was too good to keep for themselves they planted the remaining 4 acres to the same clone and variety over a 4 year period. Most of the grapes went to Petaluma in the early days but now is divided up between Yalumba, Michael Hall, Brendon Keys and View Road wines. The chief viticulturist for Yalumba, Ashley Radcliff, says that the flavour and acid profile is similar to their Tasmania fruit.
In 2001 Swaby purchased a morning facing slope from their neighbours. Due to the high cost of land in Piccadilly, this vineyard will be the last to be planted by Swaby family. The vineyard was established with good quality water but has been dry grown since 2010. The micro climate in the Swaby vineyard is characterised by mild days and cool nights as the vineyard is directly under the protection of Mount Lofty. These conditions allows for a slow maturation for the grapes and allows for excellent flavour development and an abundance of acidity.