Reviews

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general Reviews

James Halliday Australian Wine Companion

Pondalowie Vineyards has achieved a 5 Star Winery rating consecutively since 2006, with 5 Red Star status being awarded in 2008, 2010, and 2012 -  indicating an “outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity.”

BEN CANAIDER, Hidden Treasures, Sydney Morning Herald, August 25, 2009

Ben Canaider shares some of his favourite wineries from off the beaten track.

There are 2300 wineries in Australia with 1600 cellar doors and yet the top 20 wineries account for 80 per cent of all wine sales.

The big companies do dominate our wine-drinking landscape and that can lead to a little bit of same-sameness.

This is why we need, every now and then, to go off-piste, so to speak. We need to drink wines that are outside the square, wines that have a personality rather than a market-research-group-tested flavour profile. Here’s a double-handful of such wineries; their wares can be found either at the cellar door or online – or both.

PONDALOWIE – Dominic and Kystina Morris bring a Portuguese and French angle to their wines – that’s where they studied and trained in the secret wine arts. Tempranillo – the red wine grape of Iberia – is something they seem to have a natural affinity with. It’s unwooded and a good expression of the seductively aromatic, fruity-flavoured, yet tannin-structured nature of tempranillo. 2006 Pondalowie MT Tempranillo ($25).

“New World Icons of Today and Tomorrow” Decanter Magazine, September 2007

The term icon is often bandied about in the New World by wannabe superstars, regardless of their heritage. So which are the wineries whose reputation really does put them in the same league as the giants of the Old World, and which are those on the way there?

“PONDALOWIE – ICONS OF TOMORROW” Max Allen – Australian report

“It’s only in the last 10 years that Spain’s Tempranillo grape has been grown seriously in Australia, and no one has a better handle on the sheer deliciousness of the variety than Dominic and Krystina Morris at their Pondalowie vineyard at Bridgewater, north of Bendigo in Central Victoria.
All the Pondalowie wines are dense, impressive, firmly structured – reflecting the wartmth and red soils of their terroir – but the Tempranillo is the star – complex, generous, spicy, slurpable.”

Jane Faulkner, The Age, October 27, 2007

When Dominic and Krystina Morris talk about wine, they see red – especially tempranilio and shiraz. That’s why their Pondalowie vineyards at Bridgewater on Loddon up Bendigo way are mainly planted to those varieties. And while they keep their production small, about 2300 cases, their wines continue to impress. They make four – MT tempranillo, a shiraz, a vineyard blend and a shiraz viognier. They do produce a special release wine when unique parcels of fruit turn up from time to time. So why the fixation with shiraz and tempranillo? These two young winemakers met in the Barossa in the mid-’90s, so shiraz was their first love; then Dominic did vintage in Portugal in1995 and fell for tinta roriz or aragonez. We know it by the Spanish name, tempranillo. He goes back three times a year after snaffling the winemaker’s position at Quinta do Crasto winery in the Douro. Just think, an Australian winemaker producing fresh and vibrant table wines in Portugal. It didn’t go down well with the locals at first. Now everyone there seems to be copying the style. In Australia Krystina and Dominic work well together because there’s no argument. “We don’t often disagree on reds but we disagree on whites.” Dominic says, “It’s probably the reason why we don’t make a white.” Krystina says that while Tempranillo is alluring, they initially took a punt planting it at Bndgewater as the Douro’s terroir is drastically different. “The flavours of our tempranillo are more similar to Spain’s in Ribera than the Douro,” she says. And while neither has worked in Spain, they like the Spanish idea that tempranilio
can be served slightly chilled. As they suggest in warmer weather for the MT, which stands for minha terra, a lovely Portuguese phrase that encompasses terroir. ”When the vineyard workers looked a bit down, we’d say what’s wrong,” explains Krystina, “We miss our minha terra, they’d say, that is they miss where they are from. We have played on that varietally and regionally with the wine. The MT is 100 per cent tempranillo and unadulterated – there’s no oak.” Tasting the MT, you might think there’s oak but its density and richness comes from picking at the right time and its ripe tannins. Tempranilio can be quite tannic but the Morris’ want soft tannina for an early drinking style. The vineyard blend comprises shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo, and vintage will dictate how much of each is blended; the ‘05 being shiraz dominant.

PENGUIN WINE AWARDS 2006
“BEST NEW PRODUCER – PONDALOWIE”
The Penguin good Australian wine guide 2007

Pondalowie is based in the Bendigo region and run by the team of Dominic and Krystina Morris, who have both worked in a number of wineries in Australia and Portugal.  They planted their own small vineyard at Bridgewater in the mid-90’s.  Pondalowie has wowed us these past couple of years with a bevy of impressive red wines.  Tempranillo, various bottlings of shiraz, reserve shiraz and shiraz viognier, the MT unoaked tempranillo, which is also an award winner this year, and the vineyard blend of shiraz, cabernet and tempranillo all have considerable merit.  Their hallmarks are deep, rich colours; fully ripe but not overripe fruit (nor unbalanced alcohol); soft tannins and generosity of flavour.

Jamie Goode, The Wine Anorak, February 2006

Aussie Dominic Morris is a flying winemaker who for some years has been responsible for the wine at Quinta do Crasto in the Douro, as well as working widely elsewhere. Together with his wife Krystina (also a winemaker), he’s now doing his own thing at Pondalowie in Bendigo (Victoria), in addition to the consulting work. Dominic and Krystina now have 25 acres of vines spread over two different vineyards.  First, there’s a 10 acre property owned by Dominic’s parents which was planted in 1996 with Shiraz, Cabernet and Malbec. Then, a year later they planted their own property with Shiraz, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Viognier. Everything is done by hand, and the vineyards are trained on a vertical shoot positioning system with moveable wires. Vine spacing is closer than usual in Australia in order to help restrict yields.  These are wines that are made in an unashamedly forward style that emphasizes fruit quality, and with the more ambitious bottlings is bolstered by generous oak. Quality is pretty high across the board.

“Best Primary Production Business” – Loddon-Powercor Business and Tourism Awards 2006