La Maison de Ong The Hermit is a blend of fruit from two Upper Yarra Valley vineyards (in Seville East and Yellingbo) that was hand-picked, and then went through a natural yeast fermentation with 40% whole clusters and 40 days maceration. Matured in a combination of seasoned oak and 30% new Francois Freres puncheons and bottled with minimal sulphur additions, then end result is a medium to full bodied wine with mainly blue fruits and gently grippy tannins which means that while approachable now, this is assured of a long life in the cellar.
Hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard and winery, open-fermented with 40% whole bunches and 60% whole berries, 40 days on skins, 14 months in French oak (30% new). This was a first class vintage, the wine reflecting that vintage with the power and length of its fruit. There's a lot of meat on the bones, even if mainly in a sombre spectrum.
95 points, Wine Companion (February 2019)
A thrilling wine with lots of personality. It's blue-fruit driven with abundant notes of blueberry, blue plum and sweet spices. The palate is full-bodied and fruit forward with firm tannins and a long, chalky finish. Great development potential.
97 points + Platinum Medal, Decanter World Wine Awards 2019
Yarra ValleyThe Yarra Valley was first planted by the Ryrie brothers who explored a way through the Snowy Mountains to the Yarra Valley, planting grapes in 1838 just three years after the foundation of Melbourne. A wine industry (developed by Swiss Settlers particularly Hubert de Castella and Baron Guillaume de Pury in the 1850s) thrived during the gold rush era and heyday of the 19th century. However, the end of the gold rush brought the wine industry into decline and it was not until the 1970’s that the modern wine industry started up again. The region is probably Australia’s best-known cool-climate area, yet it is really a patchwork of meso-climates. This varied topography creates an incredible set of variables. Vineyards are planted on elevations of 50 to 400m on varying aspects and management programmes. The more exposed sites are subject to severe spring frosts and winds. Overall, the area experiences a relatively high rainfall pattern and is known for its temperature extremes during ripening. Site selection is crucial, with the best vineyards often located where the original vines were once planted, generally on sandy clay loams and gravels. The Yarra Valley is well known for high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Blends with Shiraz increasingly garnering attention. Sparkling wine production is also extremely important, with many of Australia’s finest examples produced in the region.