Regions >New South Wales > Southern NSW zone >Canberra region

: Lark Hill


Lark Hill

521 Bugendore Rd, Bungendore, 2621

Cellar Door: Wed - Mon (10 -5)

Ph: (02) 6238 1393

Lark Hill was established by Sue Carpenter (a Riverina College graduate) and her husband in 1978 although son, Chris, is doing a lot of the wine-making now.

The vineyard is one of Australia's highest (860m) and overlooks the mysterious vanishing Lake George. This coldness of the location defied conventional thinking about quality wine-making but has produced excellent Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and good cold-climate Rieslings, Shirazes and Cabernet Merlots.

From the beginning they have used organic practices, without really promoting the fact. The vineyard was used as gathering point for a CSIRO survey on predator mites in the 1990s, as pesticides had never been used and the vineyard was regarded as having one of the highest population of beneficial mites and predators in Australia.

A minimum of herbicides had been used in order to control under-vine weeds and an attitude of minimal intervention was maintained. In 2004, Lark Hill began the step from 'organic practices' to fully fledged biodynamics. Sue Carpenter said at the time :

"Over winter, we will be constructing a massive compost heap, in order to mulch under the vines. This will choke out competitive growth and reduce moisture loss. The hardest part to get used to in the process has been leaving weeds growing - the vineyard doesn't look neat or kempt, instead it looks alive, thriving and a little like a jungle! We have encouraged a range of native grasses to grow in the sward of each row and will look at sub-sowing this area with nitrogen-fixing lupins this winter...In recent years, we have been working on reducing dissolved oxygen in the wine and reducing the amount of preservative used through the winemaking process, therefore reducing the 'bound' preservative levels and, as a result, the likelihood of allergy responses in the consumer.

An exciting new adition to their portfolio is Australia's first commercial release of Gruner Veltliner. The Shiraz Viognier is also a standout.

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

New reviews

Lark Hill Biodynamic Riesling 2017

Purchased: Not ($39)

Drink: 2027

(GXY) Tasting: Jan 2018, lightly textural green apple, lime zest and white peach with a touch of honeysuckle sweetness and citrus blossom florals, zesty acidity with some wet stone on the finish (****)

Lark Hill Riesling 2015

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink:  2017 or 2024 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting:: Dec 2015,  floral, spicy and concentrated granny smith apple, white peach and lime with orange blossom and jasmine florals, fleshy with goof acidity, the extra 200m altitude allows a more Germanic expression than typical for the Canberra District  (****1/2)

Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner 2014

Purchased:  Not ($45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Apr 2015, survived the frost and difficult flowering conditions that hit the region in Spring, wild yeast ferment in seasoned French oak, funky and a touch more austere than usual but shows varietal poached pear and melon with celery and apple blossom, talcy with a modest dusting of white pepper, steely lemon acid finish (****)

Lark Hill Mr.V 2013

Purchased:  Not ($35)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Apr 2015, funky ‘orange’ wine blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier, another example of the recent trend amongst local biodynamic producers where white varieties (in this case the Marsanne) are kept in contact with the skins during ferment, the fruit is sourced from the warmer Murrumbateman sub-region more suitable to the white Rhone varieties, quite viscous with fairly neutral peach, poached pear and citrus flavours, the focus is on the textural, savoury elements, there’s touch of honey and musky spice as well, a work in progress but an innovative direction  (****)

Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner 2012

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting:  Nov 2012, wild fermented with some lees maturation, slightly fuller and fleshier than previous releases, varietal with white peach and melon with celery and jasmine nuances on the nose and a dusting white pepper,  I would prefer a bit more acid drive  to take it to next level (****)

Lark Hill Shiraz 2002

Purchased: BWS, Kingston Shops, Canberra ($26)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, creamy medium bodied palate shows bottle age smoothness, medium bodied red cherry and plum with caramel and anise notes, the palate is infused with the rich charred coffee-dark chocolate-vanilla oak with a line of dusty tannins and gentle stemmy acids (***1/2)

Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier 2009

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, Trophy for Best Canberra District Shiraz at Canberra Regional Wine Show 2010, perfumed, expressive and richly flavoured blackberry and dark plum with liquorice, ginger and herb notes, medium bodied with savoury roast meat nuances, slinky and lingering powdery tannins (****1/2)

Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner 2009

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, price reflects the tiny quantity of Australia’s first commercial release of this Austrian staple, wild fermented with some lees maturation, convincingly varietal with pear and melon with fig nuances, celery and white pepper, well balanced acidity, hopefully this variety will soon become more common in suitable areas like Canberra and Adelaide Hills (****)

Lark Hill Cabernet Merlot 2009

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, supple medium bodied blueberry and blackcurrant with violet and spice notes, fine powdery tannins with mocha-coffee oak (***1/2)

Lark Hill Exhaltation Pinot Noir 2006

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2010, spicy redcurrant and red cherry, fairly light bodied and earthy with a touch of forest floor, fine grained tannins with restrained oak, respectable length but a bit study (***1/2)

Lark Hill Cabernet Merlot 2000

Purchased: Liquorland, Civic, Canberra ($28)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: June 2010, something pulled out from my cellar from a long ago visit to Canberra in my other job as a lobbyist, this medium bodied wine has developed nicely showing silky black cherry, and blackcurrant with mint, olive and black pepper notes, the French and US is infused through the palate bringing toasty cinnamon, clove and vanilla aspects, acids are still bright enough to keep the wine fresh and lively, bottle age has allowed the fine grained earthiness to become more prominent (***1/2)


Lark Hill Cabernet Merlot 2000

Purchased: Liquorland, Civic, Canberra ($28)

Drink: 2009

Tasting: Not Reviewed Yet