To the southeast of Mount Macedon is the less well-known but equally picturesque Mount Towrong, home to a beautiful vineyard of the same name. George and Deirdre Cremasco commenced planting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 1994, with Nebbiolo following in 1999, Prosecco in 2003, and Pinot Bianco in 2019. Wines are made by Adam Paleg and now also include Ribolla Gialla, Vermentino, and Lagrein.
Mount Towrong Macedon Ranges ‘Vivace’ Rosé Sparkling 2022
‘Fruit from estate vineyard. Sustainably farmed vineyard. No herbicides or pesticides used. 600m above sea level. A co-fermented blend of 50% Nebbiolo and 50% Chardonnay. Bottle fermented spending 12 months on lees before disgorging. Dosage 8g/L. 300 dozen produced.‘
I love the varieties Nebbiolo and Chardonnay, though I honestly never thought I’d see them together, even in a sparkling. Nevertheless, the blend really works, with Nebb taking the place of Pinot Noir and imparting charming red-fruit characters of strawberry, rose and raspberry, with some added prettiness of violets, and complexity of yeast and pastry. It’s zippy and refreshing, with vibrant fruit and a creamy mouthfeel, factors which are heightened with food.
Mount Towrong Heathcote Negroamaro 2022
‘Fruit sourced from Chalmers vineyard in Heathcote. Certified organically farmed vineyard. 80% whole berry ferment in open vats. 30 days on skins then pressed to French oak for 7 months. Unfined with minimal sulphites added.’
Negroamaro is a variety we don’t see often enough in Australia. The Mount Towrong version leans heavily towards bright aromas and flavours of red fruits (very ripe strawberry, raspberry, red cherry), while having a touch of earthiness and violets, and with a bit of breathing, it becomes spicier and more peppery. The palate is silky, juicy and zippy, going very well with a wide range of foods. A lovely drop.
Mount Towrong Heatchote Nebbiolo 2022
‘Fruit sourced from Chalmers vineyard in Heathcote. Certified organically farmed vineyard. 80% whole berry ferment in open vats. 30 days on skins then pressed to new Hungarian oak puncheons for 7 months. Unfined with minimal sulphites added.‘
This wine is quite reminiscent of Nebbiolo from the Alto Piedmonte subregion, being light and fruity, but also incredibly tasty. It’s immensely perfumed, with a pronounced, ripe strawberry aroma filling the room as soon as you pour a glass. I liked it on the first night but really liked it on the second, when it became almost Pinot-like, and had more depth, roundness and elegance, its tannins integrating effortlessly. Also expect bundles of red cherry, raspberry and rose, and a dainty truffle note popping up for added complexity. Delicious.