The first ten years of operation was a rolling battle to carve out a piece of Beechworth amidst bushfires and severe drought. Established in 2000, the winemakers at the aptly named Fighting Gully Road never gave up and have won out. The wines they produce are today among the best value to be found in the region.
This Beechworth Shiraz shows classic cool-climate characteristics of red fruit and white pepper. Fermentation is part whole bunch (about a third) and part crushed/destemmed (about two thirds) and very small portion of Viognier skins. The result is a bright, fresh medium-bodied Shiraz that will develop well over a decade.
"50/50% from the estate vineyard and Smiths Vineyard, wild-fermented in Italian-coopered French oak and matured for 10 months. Has that distinctive Beechworth chardonnay flavour, pitched precisely in the midpoint between stone fruit and citrus, and the polished mouthfeel that follows." 95 points, James Halliday
"Light yellow hue, with restrained and slightly smoky, charcuterie-like and citrus fruit aromas. The palate is delicate and tight, crisp and lively, with a lean profile and prominent acidity. Reserved flavour, subtlety and plenty of legs for the future. Mouth-watering chardonnay." 93 points, Huon Hooke
Located in the foothills of the Victorian Alps, Beechworth is a small cool climate region with high continentality. The vineyards enjoy a large number of sunshine hours and are generally planted at altitudes of 400m. A variety of soil types are found with the two dominant ones being ancient sandstone gravel and clay and granitic loams over decomposed gravels and clays. While north or north-easterly slopes are generally favoured, the best sites are located away from higher altitude, cold-air drainage channels, with the risk of frost high in both spring and autumn. Restricted water availability means most vineyards are dry-grown. A region of small boutique producers, Beechworth is best known for premium Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir, although plantings of Italian varieties including Sangiovese and Nebbiolo also show great promise.