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. Their Estate 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 pinot noir under their Wickhams Road label. This wine is generally a bargain, pure and simple, none more so than in the wonderful 2021 vintage. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it is probably the best value pinot noir I have come across.
"Bright and youthful in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, sap, spice and brambly fruit. Textured, layered and long, plenty of dark cherry, earthiness and spice. There's real weight and flesh to the fruit flavour. Textured, chalky tannins and lively acidity make for a very complete, complex wine that is outstanding value." Aaron Brasher
"The fruit is sourced from our own vineyard in Gippsland. We travel down to Gippsland once a week to tend the vines. The wine is destemmed without crushing and left on skins for 25 days. We use a mixture of natural and cultured yeast to achieve a balance between fruit and complexity. The wine is bottled without filtration or fining." Hoddles Creek Estate
"A ravishingly fragrant bouquet of flowers and red and purple fruits, morphing into fruits of the forest. Spice and dried berries share 50% of the palate, rose petals et al the other half. The fruit attack on the tip of the tongue is of surgical precision. Drink to: 2031." James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion - 95 points and Special Value Wine ★
"A gorgeous pinot with oodles of varietal flavour, from an outstanding vintage at a great price. Waves of red and black cherry flood the fresh and juicy palate, which has good length and a long lingering aftertaste. It is probably the best value pinot noir I have come across. A veritable bargain." Nick Munday, Canterbury Wines - 95 points and Special Value Wine ★
"Bright and youthful in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, sap, spice and brambly fruit. Textured, layered and long, plenty of dark cherry, earthiness and spice. There's real weight and flesh to the fruit flavour. Textured, chalky tannins and lively acidity make for a very complete, complex wine that is outstanding value. Drink: 2021-2028." Aaron Brasher, The Real Review - 93 points
"Cherry and spice, a little sweet earthiness, and a pleasing amount of fragrance. Medium-bodied, cherry and raspberry, fine dense powdery tannin, a gentle sort of succulence and long fleshy finish. Really good. Tasted: Nov 2021; Alcohol: 13.5%; Price: $20; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2022-2026+." Gary Walsh, The Wine Front - 92 points
"Charmingly fresh and vivacious, this spotlessly made pinot delivers bucketloads of varietal flavour into your glass. Spicy aromas of dark plums and cherries reveal just a hint of earthiness and charcuterie meat. Its plush, approachable core of juicy flavour extends with softness and length down a very gentle spine before a lingering and brightly lit finish. While there's a faint savoury aspect, it's clearly made as a primary, uncomplicated pinot intended for early drinking. Astonishing value!" Jeremy Oliver
Special Value Wine – Halliday Wine Companion ★
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.