James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2022
"This wine, as we all know at The Winefront, is a modern legend. One day, one fine day, far in the future, this label should win a medal for Services to Australian Pinot Noir." Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front
Led by winemaking guru Franco D'Anna, the team at Hoddles Creek produce wonderful pinot noir year in, year out that seriously overdeliver at the price-point. The wines are made from fruit grown on their family vineyard in the Upper Yarra Valley. The Hoddles Creek Estate Pinot Noir is always perfumed, elegant, beautifully structured, varietal to the core and a ridiculous bargain. It is the gold standard for quality, affordable pinot noir. Back up the truck.
"This release jumps out at you. It's fragrant and lively, blessed with bell-clear varietal fruit flavour, blossomy, tannic and sure. Woodsmoke and oranges, red cherry and woodsy spice, mint and meat. It feels dry and tight but there's enough here to suggest generosity; this release feels more eager to please than usual, and yet it still feels tight, and the lines of acidity are perfectly threaded. In short, if ever there was a no-brainer Hoddles Creek pinot release, this one is it." Campbell Mattinson
"Red berries and dark cherry dominate the nose, firm mid palate tannins lead to pleasing acidity on the back. All fruit is hand-picked in the morning and immediately de-stemmed with no crushing. In tank the fruit will have a small addition of sulphur. Some batches were left to cold soak for approximately 4-5 days, whilst others started fermentation immediately. Natural and cultured yeasts were used on different ferments. Pigage and delastage were used for cap management. Some ferments will undergo post maceration, depending on the tannin structure and the style of the wine. On completion of fermentation the wine was gently pressed and transferred to 30% new, 30% one year old and the balance in two and three year old oak, After 11 months of barrel maturation, the wine was assembled and bottled without filtration or fining." Hoddles Creek Estate
"Fortuitously, in 1960, the D'Anna family had purchased a steeply forested 25ha property which in 1997 they set about planting. Almost overnight, glorious pinot noirs and chardonnays started to flow at prices that were irresistible – and still are." James Halliday
"The 2021 Hoddles Creek pinot release is simply sensational. Possessing a sweet core of cherry fruit, it has an impressive depth of flavour and is beautifully balanced with soft, fine grained tannins and balanced acidity. Beautifully varietal. Exceptional value for money." Nick Munday, Canterbury Wines - 96+ points and Special Value Wine ★
"Vivid deep crimson hue. Cherry, raspberry, strawberry all populate the intense but perfectly created pinot, each reflected in a Catherine wheel of pinot noir essence. Hoddles Creek does it again and again. Australia's best value pinot? Drink by 2031." James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 96 points and Top 100 Wines of 2022 and Special Value Wine ★
"This wine, as we all know at The Winefront, is a modern legend. One day, one fine day, far in the future, this label should win a medal for Services to Australian Pinot Noir. I wrote the above, I should add, after having tasted the wine. Truth is that before I started tasting it I was a touch nervous; the Hoddles wines are released young, almost rudely so, and in general need a little time to both sort themselves out and reveal themselves properly; reviewing them when they're still super-young isn't the easiest task, oftentimes. But, alas, not so this year. This release jumps out at you. It's fragrant and lively, blessed with bell-clear varietal fruit flavour, blossomy, tannic and sure. Woodsmoke and oranges, red cherry and woodsy spice, mint and meat. It feels dry and tight but there's enough here to suggest generosity; this release feels more eager to please than usual, and yet it still feels tight, and the lines of acidity are perfectly threaded. In short, if ever there was a no-brainer Hoddles Creek pinot release, this one is it. Tasted: May 2022; Alcohol: 13.2%; Price: $25; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2022-2030." Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front - 94 points
James Halliday Top 100 Wines of 2022
Special Value Wine - Canterbury Wines ★
Special Value Wine – Halliday Wine Companion ★
In 1960 Tony and Bruno D'Anna purchased their future vineyard in the upper reaches of the Yarra Valley at Hoddles Creek, chosen due to the presence of a small creek which provided a natural water supply. Ironically the property was bought completely without vineyards in mind – merely to grow vegetables and run some cattle – and well before the potential of the Yarra Valley as a wine region had re-emerged after a long hiatus.
It was not until the nineties, when interest in small wineries exploded around the country, that the D'Annas made the logical leap to plant vines at Hoddles Creek. Mario Marson, who was viticulturalist and winemaker at Yarra icon Mount Mary, assisted in the planting of traditional varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the surprise addition of Pinot Blanc, which has turned out to be one of the star wines. With their now highly successful Boccacio Cellars wine business behind them, all the pieces were in place to return to serious winemaking and again follow in the steps of their forefathers.
For Tony's son, Franco D'Anna, the path into the family business was almost a foregone conclusion. On finishing a commerce degree at the University of Melbourne he moved straight into a buying role for Boccacio Cellars but never quite settled. "I did this for a few years but never loved it. I went out to the vineyard to help out after planting and never left. I loved being outside, not enclosed within four walls and working flexible hours. On the vineyard I'll start work at 5am and then go play golf in the afternoon. What's not to love about being a farmer?"
But Franco still lacked the technical knowledge and he knew it. So Franco went back to university – this time studying Applied Wine Science – which was followed by vintages with James Halliday at Coldstream Hills as well as overseas in Burgundy, Sicily and Piedmont. What those experiences have given him, combined with a lifetime surrounded by wine, is a unique take on classic Yarra Valley styles which centers on fruit quality. "Without good fruit it's impossible to make good wine. I have four staff members, and we spend 90 percent of our time in the vineyard."
Winemaking is also relatively natural and in true Italian style concentrates as much on mouthfeel and structure as the more traditional Australian flavour-oriented wines. "We are lucky enough to grow grapes in an area where additions aren't really necessary. We don't add acid, enzymes, filter so there isn't much manipulation in the winery." And what stands out is that these winemaking philosophies are imprinted on each and every wine under the Hoddles Creek and Wickham Road labels which are unique, characterful and savoury expressions of the modern Yarra style. They are also delicious and generally made to age.
The above text was taken from an article by Angus Hughson published in Winepilot
About the winery
"Hoddles Creek Estate was established in 1997 when the D'Anna family decided to establish a vineyard on the property that has been in the family since 1960. The vineyard sits astride Gembrook Road and adjacent to Hoddles Creek. Its steeply sloping blocks prohibit mechanical harvesting, with both vineyards being hand pruned and harvested.
All our wines, which are single vineyard, estate grown, are made in our 300 tonne winery, constructed for the 2003 vintage. The split-level winery has a barrel store located three meters underground. Hoddles Creek Estate is planted with 10ha of pinot noir (five clones), 6 ha of chardonnay, 1ha each of sauvignon blanc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, and 1.5ha of pinot gris.Hoddles Creek lay a serious claim to being one of the best value producers in Australia.
Our mission is to produce a terroir driven Yarra Valley wine of the highest possible quality sourced from impeccably farmed old vines with a focus on balance, complexity, concentration and ageability." Hoddles Creek Estate
Victoria is home to more than 800 wineries across 21 wine regions. The regions are Alpine Valley, Beechworth, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, Glenrowan, Goulburn Valley, Grampians, Heathcote, Henty, King Valley, Macedon Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Murray Darling, Pyrenees, Rutherglen, Strathbogie Ranges, Sunbury, Swan Hill, Upper Goulburn and Yarra Valley.
Victoria's first vines were planted at Yering in the Yarra Valley in 1838. By 1868 over 3,000 acres had been planted in Victoria, establishing Victoria as the premier wine State of the day. Today, the original vineyards planted at Best's Wines are among the oldest and rarest pre-phylloxera plantings in the world.
Victoria's climate varies from hot and dry in the north to cool in the south and each wine region specialises in different varietals. For example, Rutherglen in the north is famous for its opulent Muscats and Topaque and bold reds, while the many cooler climate regions near Melbourne produce world class Chardonnay and pinot Noir. Victoria is truly a wine lover's playground.