A SECOND generation of Davises is making its presence felt in the Hunter-based, multi-regional wine venture begun in 1983 by geologist and oil exploration company director father, John.
Daughter Jaclyn Davis is owner and general manager of the Briar Ridge vineyard, winery and cellar door in Mount View Rd, Mount View. And son Tim is owner and vigneron of the Orange-centred Carillion operation.
With a top-flight production team of chief winemaker Gwyn Olsen and winemakers Andrew Ling and Alex Beckett, 72-year-old John and his offspring have preserved the group’s high standing for its familiar shiraz, semillon, chardonnay and riesling varietals. They have also added innovative wines from new plantings of the Italian-origin sagrantino and aglianico red varieties and the Italian white verduzzo and fiano and Corsican vermentino varieties.
That adventurous touch evidenced in the $25 Briar Ridge 2018 Shiraz-Verduzzo released last September. According to Jaclyn, the blend of 70% red shiraz and 30% white verduzzo was the first of its kind in Australia.
New releases I’ve recently received from Carillion include a $30 Lovable Rogue 2018 Lees-Stirred Fiano and the $30 Lovable Rogue 2018 Apassimento Verduzzo sweet dessert wine made from grapes dried Amarone-style for four weeks on wire mesh.
Tim Davis says the Lovable Rogue brand is a “cheeky side project” to showcase alternative varieties. A 2019 sagrantino-aglianico pétillant naturel bubbly is in the works and nero d’Avola and montepulciano reds are planned from new plantings of these Italian varieties.
Although involved in wine growing and making in his youth, Tim had a circuitous passage into the family firm.
After school he gained an agricultural economics degree at Sydney University and followed up with a 2007 PhD on the economics of wine markets. From there he worked in the Reserve Bank finance markets group before deciding in 2012 his heart belonged in wineries and not behind a city desk.
The Davis wine saga began in 1983 when John bought the 40ha Pokolbin Creek vineyard planted by the South Australian Seppelt company. That property was ultimately sold, but today John and his family have 189ha of vines in the Hunter, Orange, Wrattonbully and Coonawarra. They have two Hunter wineries, and in the Mount View area there are 28ha of vineyard at Tallavera Grove and 39ha at Briar Ridge. On the slopes of Mount Canobolas at Orange there are 30ha and in South Australia 12ha at Coonawarra and 90ha at Wrattonbully in Limestone Coast zone.
THE Hunter-Orange mix Carillion 2017 Expressions Shiraz-Pinot Noir has 13.5% alcohol, ruby hues and potpourri scents. The front palate shows spicy cherry flavour, the middle palate raspberry, licorice, cloves and mocha oak and a chalky tannins finish. Today’s three wines are at carillionwine.com.au and Tallavera Grove Mount View cellar door.
DRINK WITH: pasta.
AGEING: six years.
FROM the cool-climate Carillion vineyard at Orange, this refreshing Carillion 2018 Expressions Pinot Noir Rosé is salmon pink and has jelly bean aromas. The front palate introduces crisp blueberry flavour and the middle palate has strawberries and cream characters with nuances of mint. The finish shows steely acid.
DRINK WITH: prosciuttto, rocket and egg tart.
AGEING: two years.
ACE HUNTER SHIRAZ
THIS excellent 13.5%-alcohol Carillion 2017 Fenestella Hunter Valley Shiraz is bright garnet in the glass and has berry pastille aromas and intense Satsuma plum flavour on the front palate. Cassis, spice, Turkish delight chocolate and savoury oak display on the middle palate and the finish has smooth earthy tannins.
DRINK WITH: honey and soy glazed pork fillet.
AGEING: 10 years.