Curlewis Winery is on the Bellarine Peninsula in the Geelong wine region. Located just 500 metres from Corio Bay it enjoys a mild maritime microclimate. The vineyard consists of two blocks - 1.6 hectares MV6 Pinot Noir vines (planted in 1982) on a north facing slope and 1.2 hectares of Pommard Pinot Noir clone (planted in 2005). There are also small blocks of Chardonnay and Arneis.
The soil is black cracking clay over limestone marl, which gives richness, depth of colour and minerality to our pinots. The vines rarely produce more than 1.5 tonnes per acre. The result is premium fruit of low yields which produce complex, well balanced wines.
In addition to the estate-grown grapes, Curlewis purchases grapes from several other growers in the Geelong region, on both the Bellarine Peninsula and the Bannockburn region. The different microclimates of these two sub-regions allow for different flavour characteristics, which when combined add to the complexity of the Bellarine Selection or ‘Bel Sel’ wines and incorporate the flavour characteristics of the Curlewis range, but with less oak treatment. Their point of difference within their price bracket is the combination of pronounced cool-climate characteristics with old-world winemaking techniques. This produces a flavour profile that we at Curlewis call ‘curluiture’.
The grapes for the Reserve are predominantly from our own vineyard. In the main, they are picked from a section of the vineyard which is drier and produces smaller bunches and berries. Yields for this wine are in the order of 0.75-1.5 tonnes per acre.
The vines are hand pruned and the grapes handpicked. The old vines are in balance, producing small bunches and berries. Annual yield is around 1.5 tonnes per acre. The lower-than-normal yield and the cooler ripening conditions result in grapes with considerable intensity and complexity of flavour. The grapes are sometimes picked at different stages of ripeness in order to increase complexity and to enhance varietal characteristics.
We absorb the old-world wine-making styles of Burgundy in particular, but set out to take advantage of our more consistent climate and some of the better new techniques to create wines of greater concentration and flavour ripeness yet still with the full length of palate that goes with ultra premium wines the world over.
We specialise in Burgundian-style Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays and Rhone-style Syrah (Shiraz). The winemaking specifics can vary from year to year to adjust to the variations in vintage. Our objective is to maintain continuity of style in preference to reflecting vintage variations.
All of our wine is basket-pressed and cold soaking, hot fermentation and post maceration are some of the techniques employed in the winery. Fermentation is allowed to occur naturally on the wild yeasts from the vineyard. Our Pinot Noir spends up to 18 months on coarse lees in new and old French barriques. The wine is unfined and unfiltered at bottling.
The Reserve Pinot Noir is made in the same manner as the standard Pinot Noir. However because of the higher fruit intensity and skin-to-juice ratio, a higher percentage of brand-new French oak is used (up to 70%). The Reserve has greater fruit concentration, length and grip than the standard Pinot Noir and is made for cellaring. The quantity of Reserve Pinot Noir produced varies from year to and is dependent on the quality of the vintage.