Led by winemaking guru Franco D'Anna, the team at Hoddles Creek produce wonderful chardonnay 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. In addition, they also source fruit from their own vineyard in Gippsland which goes into the chardonnay under their Wickhams Road label. This wine is generally a bargain, pure and simple, none more so than in the wonderful 2022 vintage.
"Fruit from Gippsland but made in exactly the same manner as the Estate range, this Chardonnay has a purity of fruit and a beautiful line of acid. We have managed our Gippsland vineyard since 2011, with an emphasis on balanced vines. The Gippsland climate is similar to Hoddles Creek, hence the juice requires no acidification or fining." Hoddles Creek Estate
"The best Wickhams Road Gippsland Chardonnay to date by a country mile. Fresh and vibrant with a purity of fruit seldom found in chardonnay at this price point. More than a passing nod to Chablis. Outstanding value." Nick Munday, Canterbury Wines - 95 points and Special Value Wine ★
Special Value Wine – Canterbury Wines ★
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.