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chain of ponds



Chain of Ponds

Adelaide Rd, Gumeracha 5233

Cellar Door: Daily (11 - 4)

Ph: (08) 8389 1415


Chain of Ponds was established in 1985 with the first wines coming out in 1993. The name commemerates the little town that used to exist close by since 1864 on the banks of the River Torrens until it was swallowed by the Millsbrook Resevoir in the 1970s.


It is one of the largest growers in the Adelaide Hills, producing over 1,000 tonnes, mainly sold to other wine makers but a small amount is set aside for its own label. The main varieties used are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Semillon, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc with some alternative varieties such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Pinot Grigio and Nebbiolo. The domestic ranges are Novello, Pond, Tribute and the Icon.

The most famous wines the Amadeus Cabernet Sauvignon and The Ledge Shiraz. It has also had a long association with local growers on Kangaroo Island and produced some of the first KI indentified brands.

Until 2007 the chief winemaker was Neil Falkenberg worked for 26 years at Penfolds and his family was making wine in South Australia as far back as 1850. Young Winemaker of the Year Finalist in 2008, Greg Clack (ex Haselgrove) is the current winemaker.

The Vineyard Balcony is open for a lazy long lunch from 12 noon to 4.00pm on Sundays with a cafe for light meals on other days. There is also some luxury B&B accommodation in an 1860s stone cottage.

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

Chain of Ponds Black Thursday Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Purchased: Not ($23)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, 8% Semillon, four months on lees, fragrant passionfruit, melon and guava with grassy notes and a touch of blackcurrant, long and minerally with vibrant citrus acid finish (****)

Chain of Ponds Novello Amelia’s Letter Pinot Grigio 2016

Purchased: Not ($16)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, six months on lees, crisp and light pear, apple and nectarine with a light dusting of musky spice and white florals, lean and linear with a chalky finish and fresh lemony acidity (***)

Chain of Ponds Novello Pinot Rose 2016

Purchased: Not ($16)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2016, portion left on lees for six months, salmon blush colour, delicate strawberry and white peach with hints of white flower, and spice, bright citrus acidity with some cream on the finish (***)

Chain of Ponds The Ledge Shiraz 2013

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink:  2024

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, from a single Kuipo vineyard, perfumed and focussed plum and blackberry with pepper and violet notes, medium bodied with some cured meat complexity, charry, sandalwood and spicy mainly French oak, grainy tannins (****1/2)

Chain of Ponds Andreas Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink: 2026

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, includes 6% Merlot and 4% Shiraz, 10% left on skins to build texture, intense blackcurrant and blood plum with a firm acid spine,  medium-full bodied and dusty palate with a streak  of graphite minerality (****)

Chain of Ponds Black Thursday Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, moderately intense passionfruit, melon and guava with snow pea, blackcurrant and cut grass notes, chalky with bright citrus acidity and good persistence (****)

Chain of Ponds Corkscrew Road Chardonnay 2014

Purchased: Not ($36)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, 95 and 410v1 clones from Gumeracha, 25% malo, 100% barrel ferment, rich and ripe style showing rock melon, peach and apple with fig and toast notes, creamy and savoury mid-palate, the making is balanced with powdery phenolics (***1/2)  

Chain of Ponds Sunning Hill Sangiovese 2013

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink:  2017

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, juicy and fresh red cherry and redcurrant with savoury bayleaf aspects discrete nutmeg and chestnut oak characters, tannins are open and chalky, open tannins (***1/2)

Chain of Ponds Innocence Rose 2015

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink:  2016

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, a bone dry Pinot Rose smelling of strawberry, peach with a whiff of apricot blossom on the nose, creamy with balanced acidity (***1/2)

Chain of Ponds Pinot Grigio 2015

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, delicate and linear pear, white peach and melon with yellow flower notes, slightly creamy lees notes and a crisp citric acid finish (***1/2)

Chain of Ponds Novello Rose 2015

Purchased: Blackheart and Sparrows, East Brunswick ($16)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting:Jan 2016, made from 76% Sangiovese and 24% Pinot Noir, verging on off-dry at 6.6 gm'l residual sugar refreshing blood-orange, cherry and strawberry, slightly creamy and savoury and chalky notes on the finish, fractionally short (***1/2)

Chain of Ponds The Ledge Shiraz 2012

Purchased:  Not ($38)

Drink: 2024+

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, blend from Kuipo at the cooler southern end of the region and Forreston in the north, 20 months in a variety of French oak treatments, highly perfumed and focussed blackcurrant and blackberry with black pepper, violet and herbal game complexity, medium bodied despite the relatively low 13.1% alcohol, firm acid spine with a touch of dark chocolate, char and spice from the savoury vanilla/sandalwood oak (****1/2)

Chain of Ponds Amadeus Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Purchased:  Not ($38)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, quite perfumed showing the violet/blackcurrant cedar characters you would hope to see in a five year old Cabernet, the linear, medium bodied palate also shows some boysenberry juiciness and the unfolding olive/bayleaf savouriness, there is some mintiness, mocha and tobacco leaf as well, the grippy chalky tannins and acid  spine are still quite firm, needs more time (****)

Chain of Ponds Corkscrew Road Chardonnay 2013

Purchased:  Not ($38)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, partial malo, linear and focussed lemon butter, honey dew melon and peach with pineapple and honey notes, toasty cinnamon/vanilla French oak, fresh lemony acid spine, balanced example from a warmer vintage (****)

Chain of Ponds Amelia’s Letter Pinot Grigio 2013

Purchased:  Not ($22)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, 7% barrel ferment, from a single vineyard at Gumeracha, clean and lean pear and lime with modest white flower florals and a touch of honey , some subtle leesy textural nuances but fairly straightforward (***1/2)

Chain of Ponds Morning Star Pinot Noir 2010 

Purchased:  Not ($55)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, made from three clones (G5V15, MV6 and D4V2), now showing smooth, mellow tertiary characters, linear and light-medium bodied plum and black cherry with earthy beetroot undercurrents, some mintiness and a touch of vanilla/nutmeg oak spice, the fine grained tannins are rounding  (***1/2)

Chain of Ponds Grave’s Gate Shiraz 2013

Purchased:  Not ($22)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, moderately perfumed herbally nose, medium bodied plumcake and black cherry with violet, sage, pepper and leather notes, toasty cinnamon/cedar oak, the tannins are fine and supple (***)

Chain of Ponds Stop Over Barbera 2010

Purchased:  Not ($22)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: June 2015, Bronze Medal at Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2011,  aromatic herbally nose, medium bodied plum and black cherry with some raspberry, bay leaf and sage nuances, its shows the varietal high acidity and minimal tannins but shows too much mentholly green fruit characters for me (***)

Chain of Ponds Black Thursday Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Nov 2014, Gold Medal at Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2014, fairly intense guava, melon and passionfruit with snow pea, citrus blossom and cut grass notes, bright lemony acidity on the minerally finish (****)

Chain of Ponds Sunning Hill Sangiovese 2008

Purchased: Lygon St IGA, Carlton ($20)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, Sunning Hill celebrates a historic vineyard now submerged under the Chain of Ponds Reservoir, confectionary, medium-full bodied and rather ripe black forest cake and raspberry with 24 months in seasoned French oak bringing cinnamon and nutmeg, fine savoury tannins with a fresh cut of acid, the 15% alcohol is rather evident on the finish (***)

Chain of Ponds Novello Sangiovese Rose 2009

Purchased: Dan Murphys Melb CBD ($14)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, fuchsia pink colour, fairly straightforward strawberry and raspberry although not too cloyingly sweet, well judged acidity with some savoury notes on the finish (***)

Chain of Ponds Purple Patch Riesling 2004

Purchased: Prince of Wales, St. Kilda (bin end), retails at $18

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: June 2007, takes name from the purple Salvation Jane (Patterson’s Curse) flowers that grow around the vines, vibrant floral nose showing apple blossom, lemon rind and lime with lavendar and cinnamon notes, the palate shows green apple, lime and lemon with chalky mineral undercarriage, balanced acids and phenols are rounded and integrated with bottle age (****)

Chain of Ponds The Ledge Shiraz 2002

Purchased: Not ($32)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Sept 2006, fragrant black cherry and plum aromas with black olive, mocha coffee and liquorice features, medium bodied savoury palate, well integrated cedary vanilla oak doesn’t get in the way of the fruit, fine tannins (****1/2)

Chain of Ponds Nebbiolo 2003

Purchased: Not ($27)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, smooth red cherry, nutmeg, tar and liquourice bouquet, very savoury and medium-full bodied palate with dark chocolate, mocha coffee and charry oak features, chewy tannins (****)

Chain of Ponds Pinot Grigio 2006

Purchased: Not ($17)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, rich pear, dry hay and honeysuckle aromas, minerally, slatey backbone, with mid-palate spiciness and nuttiness, crisp finish (***1/2)

Chain of Ponds Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Purchased: Not ($17)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2006, clean bouquet showing lychee and passionfruit, more restrained style with some grassiness, crisp finish (***)