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The Trapeze Artist

You may know Brian Conway as one of the founders of Barossa-based winery Izway, started in 2003. After selling his half of the business, he established Trapeze, the name being a tongue-in-cheek reference to the wine game often seeming like a circus, and dealing with Pinot Noir requiring the same kind of mastery as a trapeze artist. Brian sources his fruit from trusted growers in the Yarra and Yea Valleys, crafting stunning wines from Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gamay and Pinot Noir.

Bottle photography as refined as your wine by CSP Creative

Trapeze Yea Valley Chardonnay 2022 – $49 – 94 points

Handpicked 20th March. Chilled overnight then bag pressed to tank, overnight cold settle before racked with fluffies (fine lees) to tank and then French hogsheads. Stored in temp controlled barrel hall for cool ferment. 25% new French and three older French hogs, one hogshead 50% MLF.’

This is a delightful Chardonnay coming from a 26-year-old vineyard. The nose presents a charming mix of savoury and fruit: straw, almond meal, lemon, peach, white flowers, and creaminess, which are echoed on the palate. The fruit shows great energy and brightness, with a smooth, saline edge. It goes really well with cheese, chicken and spice, and you’ll likely get through a bottle very easily.

Bottle photography as refined as your wine by CSP Creative

Trapeze Yarra Valley Gamay 2022 – $55 – 94 points

Handpicked 17th March, whole bunches put into open fermenters, dry iced and locked up for four day carbonic maceration. Destemmed to fruit bins, foot stomped then back into open fermenter. Plunges AM and PM 21st-25th then gentle plunge once a day to keep skins fresh till 27th. Pressed to VC PM 27th/Racked from tank 28th then into Old French Hogs for malolactic fermentation. February: racked to tank, light filtration, bottled on 14th.’

It’s amazing what a difference a year can make. The slightly older sibling to the 2023 Gamay, it’s less “in your face” and more contemplative, the acid sitting more in the background but still keeping things fresh. It starts very fruity (strawberry, confectionery, raspberry, red cherry) but after some air, spice and savoury characters (herbs, pepper) reveal themselves. It’s a great wine to sip by itself but I found that pairing it with something hearty and rich was a great way to dine.

Bottle photography as refined as your wine by CSP Creative

Trapeze Yarra Valley Pinot Gris 2023 – $37 – 93 points

Handpicked 19th March. Chilled overnight, pressed to VC for primary fermentation to dry. SO2 addition to halt any malolactic fermentation and lees stirred. On lees for four months. Stabilised, Filtered. Bottled 14th July.

Coming from a vineyard planted in 2000, the Pinot Gris is a very pleasant drop with lots of verve. Fruit and florals are pronounced and enticing: pear, apple, blossom, grapefruit, lemon. The nervy, salty and silky palate is mouth filling and unctuous, with resonant fruit that lasts and lasts. This is a very enjoyable Pinot Gris which could even benefit from some cellar time.

Bottle photography as refined as your wine by CSP Creative

Trapeze Yarra Valley ‘Early’ Pinot Noir 2023 – $43 – 93 points

Handpicked 12th March. Destemmed, plunges twice daily during peak ferment, 7 days on skins. Pressed to separate VC to finish ferment, then rack/splashed for malolactic fermentation. August: Racked, vegan fining, light filtration, stabilised to avoid cloudiness of early bottling. Bottled on 17th August.’

A highly ripe and fragrant Pinot, with a complex bounty of characters: red cherry, strawberry, confectionery, stewed fruit, earth, and violets. All the Trapeze wines show a brightness of fruit, and that’s certainly evident here, as the fruit sings, with a purple colour signifying that it’s quite young and intense – but not over the top. Will be very interesting to see how the wine develops over the next few years, as it’s already incredibly tasty.

Bottle photography as refined as your wine by CSP Creative

Trapeze Yarra Valley ‘Early’ Gamay 2023 – $44 – 93 points

Handpicked 26th March. Destemmed and chilled overnight. Three day cold soak, plunges AM and PM 29th April 1st.Pressed and racked to VC PM April 2nd. Post Primary Fermentation, splash racked 26th then back to VC for malolactic fermentation. August: racked, 10% addition of Pinot Noir, cold stabilised, vegan fining and light filtration to avoid cloudiness of early bottling. Bottled on 15th August.

According to Trapeze winemaker Bri Conway, Gamay is a ‘bloody tricky grape’, at least in the Yarra Valley, but it’s great to see more of this wonderful grape emerging. The nose is incredibly perfumed, with beautiful aromas of strawberry, strawberry topping, raspberry, red cherry, and pepper. On the palate, the acid is off the charts, giving it a mouth-puckering sourness which can be tamed quite easily with food – or with time – and the fruit is vibrant and delicious.

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