Sixty Second Swirl

by Brent Lello, Yass Valley Times Wine Columnist

Wine lovers in the Yass Valley region know that the local-grown superstar red variety is Shiraz, closely followed by Cabernet Sauvignon. When the two varieties are combined, they produce a uniquely Aussie blend, and often a ‘best of both worlds’ experience is the result. There are a few such blends doing the rounds in the Yass Valley region but add a measure of Merlot into the mix and I’m not sure you’ll find a similar wine to this week’s ‘swirl’ – the Joshua’s Fault Amorelle Dry Red 2014. With their vineyard situated towards the Gundaroo end of Murrumbateman Road, the Joshua’s are producing a ripping range of expertly crafted, cool climate wines. Winemaker Chris Joshua describes the physical features of the area as a result of the uplift of portions of the Mesozoic landscape by movements along fault lines during the Cainozoic period, some 40 million years ago.

Joshua’s Fault Amorelle Dry Red 2014

This wine is a deeply, dark red with flashes of bright purple. A swirl invites aromas of dark cherries, blackberries and mulberries with a slight edge of char-roasted red capsicum and a crack of white pepper. The palate is smooth and luscious with vibrant black fruit flavours, a lovely lick of well-integrated acid and fine tannins leading to a long and lingering finish. For eight years old, this wine is drinking at the top of its game.

We enjoyed our bottle with a chargrilled eye fillet with sauce béarnaise and rocked on as a great food and wine combination and would go equally well with a roasted rib of beef or lamb shanks, slow cooked with tomato and a hint of chilli and red wine. I sourced my bottle from a large chain bottle-o in Canberra, but you can also buy it for $45 online.

HISTORY & BACKGROUND
Joshua’s Fault is located to the west of Gundaroo on the NSW Southern Tablelands, north of the ACT. The physical features of the area are the result of uplift of portions of the Mesozoic landscape by movements along fault lines during the Cainozoic period, some 40 million years ago.

Joshua’s Fault is positioned between two such fault lines, where the land has been lifted and tilts to the north and east. Gently sloping, with sedimentary clay loams, the site provides a perfect aspect for quality wine production and this terroir distinguishes itself in the wines. The vineyard was planted down to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1995, with the first few years of production sold to premium wine producers. Subsequent plantings included selected Shiraz and Merlot clones which feature in the Amorelle Dry Red.

Chris Joshua started his career in the wine business in the early eighties working vintages with several of the original Canberra region wineries. In 1991 Chris graduated from Charles Sturt University with an Associate Diploma in Grape and Wine Production. There then followed a stint in premium and ultra-fine wine sales and distribution which took him to every major wine region in Australia, as well as Italy and France. Tasting the great wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux, and observing their climate and viticultural practices, Chris knew that the varieties of these regions would translate perfectly to the Canberra District.

Wine-making in progress

WINEMAKING APPROACHES

Winemaking at Joshua’s Fault uses traditional techniques with minimal intervention, allowing the wines to express the natural flavours of their particular terroir. Red wines are crushed into open fermenters allowing skin contact for up to two weeks. They are then gently basket-pressed into French oak barrels for extended maturation. Post bottling, the Cabernet Sauvignon is cellared for 18 months to 2 years prior to release. Handpicked Chardonnay is gently foot-pressed into a selection of new and older French barriques for barrel fermentation with regular lees stirring. The wine is bottled after 10 months in oak and then cellared for a further 12 months prior to release. These single vineyard wines are hand-made in small batches with great attention to detail, using only the best French oak. Consequently, production is limited, with the wines selling out every year. Private seated tastings are available by appointment. Please call Chris on0407 077 663 to arrange a booking.