Bird in hand, digging for gold
BY DR MICHAEL RYAN
The Adelaide Hills, some 30 minutes north of Adelaide, is one of the most picturesque and accessible wine areas in the world. The warm climates of Barossa and McLaren Vale hover nearby but swelter in the summer, resulting in big bold super Aussie wines.
Ranging 400-600m above sea level, places the Adelaide Hills in to the cooler climate category but still allows the fruit to ripen. Andrew Nugent and his Father Michael, founders of Bird in Hand winery, recognised the desirability of a slower ripening process thus leading to elegance and structure. The Bird in Hand vineyard derives its name from the old gold mine formerly on the 80-acre site.
Andrew studied agriculture at Roseworthy and was drawn to viticulture. He had a clear vision of wanting make world class wine. With a methodical metred plan, the family owned company is an internationally award-winning winery. Massive export trade, a wonderful onsite restaurant and other facilities including a concert stage featuring rock, jazz and classical events makes this a truly a 5-gold star industry leader.
The Nugent family is close, encompassing all involved with the winery. While some have found their calling in medicine, Andrew and Justin Nugent help the flight path of Bird in Hand. Justin has shone in his brief of marketing and sales export. Justin believes that one of the keys to success of Bird in Hand was the development of olive production in the early days. Restaurants became familiar with the superior product of olives and olive oil. He believes this imprinted the Bird in Hand brand in the gastronomic circles and facilitated the insertion of the wine portfolio.
Grapes grown include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Italian varieties such as Montepulciano, Nero D’Avlo, and Arneis. Riesling is grown in the Clare Valley and Pinot Grigio/Gris is sourced from around the Adelaide Hills region.
Four tiers of wine exist. Two in Hand for every day drinking, Bird in Hand for that higher end occasion, The Nest Egg for cellaring and long-term maturation. The Tribute series is made only in certain vintages and represents the crème de la crème of the portfolio.
Kim Milne MW is the master wine maker. A graduate of Roseworthy, he travelled to New Zealand and was instrumental in the international development of Villa Maria. He is a Sydney Wine Show judge and was Australian winemaker of the year in 2014 and 2015. Dylan Lee and Jared Stringer with multi regional and international experience round out this formidable wine making team.
The Bird in Hand team excel in clonal selection for grape varieties, appropriate use of new and vintage French oak and have the uncanny knack of expressing many facets that make up the local terroir. When you drink Bird in Hand, you are tasting the passion and vision of the whole family.
Wines Tasted (Plenty of them)
Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Sparkling Pinot Noir 2017- Light Salmon pink in colour with nice bead. Strawberries and cream in a bottle. Enjoy as an event starter.
Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Pinot Rose 2017- Pale pink colour, with strawberries into cherries. Balanced fruit and acidity with very fine tannin from a few hours skin contact make this a great Rose’. Enjoy with Gravlax salmon.
Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2017- Pale yellow. White peach, lemon citrus and slight yeasty notes. Wonderful fruit, acidity and restrained oak make this a cracker.
Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2016- dark garnet colour, plums, olive, spice on the nose, abundant fruit supported by restrained tannins. Cellar 10 years
Bird in Hand Adelaide Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2016- ruby with purple hues. Savoury Cassis notes with tobacco and violet notes. Voluptuous fruit integrated with bold tannins that create an outstanding wine. Cellar 12 years.
Published: 14 May 2018