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Castagna

www.castagna.com.au

88 Ressom Lane, Beechworth, 3747

Ph: (03) 5428 2888

Castagna is a small 4 ha biodynamic vineyard and winery managed by winemaker, Julian Castagna. Castagna is one of the four Australian wineries admitted as full members of the Return To Terroir group, which is made up of about 176 of the world's leading bio-dynamic producers.

Julian says that he places faith in the Biodynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar (in particular Brian Keats southern hemisphere version, Antipodean Astro Calendar).

The unfiltered wines include: the Genesis Syrah, Un Secreto (Sangiovese/Syrah), La Chiave (Sangiovese), Allegro (Syrah Rose), Ingenue (Viognier), Adams Rib The Red (Pinot/Syrah) and Adams Rib The White (Chardonnay/Viognier). The, Un Secreto, in particular, impressed me as a national benchmark for what is possible with this blend. A recent addition is the Genesis Sparkling Syrah with 2 years on lees. Next in the pipe-line is a Chenin Blanc.

Like a couple of the other more famous Beechworth producers (such as Giaconda and Sorrenberg) it now has a loyal following as an iconic producer for those in the know in Melbourne (and the small band of biodynamic afficiadnos outside of the state).

As the vines mature we can expect the wines to become even more interesting as the vines bring what Julian describes as adolescent nerviness to the wine making process.

Julian has strong views on the dominance of the large South Australian wine corporations on the overseas promotion of the Australian wine industry that leads to the perception "by many people who think Australia is incapable of making anything other than non-gastronomic, sweet, high alcohol wine" and are surprised "when I tell them of the very many other wonderful small producers making wine which is real ­ how it used to be" (Castagna newsletter, July 2009).

Julian’s son, Adam, is producing the second Adams Rib label while he is studying his winemaking degree at Charles Sturt University via distance education mode.

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)

Castagna La Chiave Sangiovese 2013

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2023

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016,  a little riper than the 2012,  perfumed morello cherry, blackberry and plums with dried herb, black olive, anise and leather notes, focussed and medium-full bodied with bony savoury tannins and moderately charry creamy cinnamon/cedar oak (*****)

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2013

Purchased: Not ($80)

Drink: 2024

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, perfumed and slippery black cherry, redcurrant and plums with musk, violet and white pepper notes, deep set, savoury and medium-full bodied with roast meat, mushroom and oregano notes,  graphite minerality with firm layers of powdery tannins, milk chocolate/cedar oak (*****)

Castagna Un Segreto Sangiovese Syrah 2013

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2023+

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, juicy blend of Sangiovese and Syrah, floral and focussed black cherry and plums with fennel, anise and white pepper notes, medium-full bodied with slaty mineralogy and firm acidity, cinnamon/cigar box oak and dusty tannins (****1/2)

Castagna Adam’s Rib White 2015

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: June 2016, Chardonnay and Viognier blend, waxy white peach, melon and lemon with ginger and butterscotch notes, softly textured with hint of brine on the phenolics, gentle acidity (***1/2)

Castagna Sparking Genesis (Syrah) 2008

Purchased: Not ($80)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting:  July 2014, 2 years on lees, garnet colour, fine bead, black cherry and blackberry with flashes of redcurrants with lifted violets and peppery spices, creamy palate with some dustiness and underlying graphite minerality, discrete sandalwood/vanilla oak presence,  the dosage is well integrated with the acid/tannin structure to prevent a cloying finish, very good example of this style (****1/2)

Castagna La Chiave Sangiovese 2010

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2013, firmish structure but has a lovely supple core of black and morello cherries that drive the medium-bodied palate, there’s some dried oregano, anise and eucalypt alongside the gentle smokiness, wrapped up in lingering, bony tannins and charry cedar oak also brings some creamy chocolate, the end of the drought after 2009 has lifted this biodynamic wine, wine writers are polarised by this wine but I rank this only behind Pizzini’s Brunello clone Rubacuori in the Australian Sangiovese pecking order  (*****)

Castagna Un Segreto 2010

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2013, perfumed and ethereal blend Syrah and Sangiovese, earthy blackcurrant and dark plum with complex fennel, leather, black olive, anise and mint notes, savoury with a spine of firm, sappy acidity and graphite minerality, spicy roast coffee oak, dusty tannins, swirl, sniff and enjoy (****1/2)

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2010

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2012, fragrant, deep and complex redcurrant, dark cherries and plums with herbal roast meat, black pepper and dried oregano notes, palate is underpinned with sheets of powdery tannins, very long graphite mineral finish with milk chocolate/cedar/nutmeg oak, powerful but never feel heavy with a modest 13% alcohol (*****)

Adam’s Rib The White 2010

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2012, this is a rich 60:40% Chardonnay/Viognier blend, fermented on skins and full malo, spicy white peach, melon and apricot with some ginger and fennel notes, rounded with a soft, chamomile mouth feel rather than the butteriness associated with full malo, there is a spine of fine phenolics with a touch of brine and cinnamon on the finish, nice to see such a carefully crafted example of this blend (****1/2)

Adam’s Rib The Red 2010

Purchased: Not ($35)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2012, this is an unusual blend of 60% Nebbiolo and 40% Syrah, slightly tarry black cherry and plum with rose petal, fresh leather, pepper, mint and anise notes, minerally granite medium bodied palate, the Nebbiolo tannins have some grip but nothing too scary, rather firm acid with rich dark chocolate/cedar oak (****)

Castagna Un Segreto 2008

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, fragrant and complex medium-full boded blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Sangiovese, tangy blackcurrant and dark plum with ethereal savoury and spice complexity that includes flashes of fennel, leather, black olive, cherry, anise and mint, shows a spine of firm acidity and handsome minerality, spicy roast coffee oak, a wine that changes with every sip, the benchmark for this style of blend in Australia (*****)

Castagna Genesis 2008

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, a Syrah with a 2% Viognier input, fragrant with a deep, brooding and brambly core of blueberry and blackberry with herbal roast meat, anise and Asian spice complexity, chassis of firm powdery tannins and twitchy stemmy/citric acidity, very long minerally finish with milk chocolate/cedar oak, terrific balance (****1/2)

Castagna La Chiave 2008

Purchased: Not ($75)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, this is a Sangiovese, deeply flavoured core of morello cherry and plum with toasted cinnamon, mint leaf, leather and pepper notes, medium bodied with undergrowth and a touch of mentholly acid on the long, savoury finish, long bony tannins with creamy chocolate/coffee/vanilla oak (****1/2)

Castagna Allegro 2009

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, savoury Syrah-derived Rose, stylish barrel fermented style with a strawberry and cream flavour profile, long and slinky with dried fennel and rose petal notes, a dry finish with chalky phenolics, well poised (****)

Castagna Ingenue (Viognier) 2008

Purchased: Not ($55)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, highly perfumed and clear varietal expression showing orange rind and lime with intense ginger and quince spiciness and a touch of creamy hazelnut, chalky textured palate unfolds with plenty of length and crunchy acidity, some light oak spice on the phenolic finish (****)

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2005

Purchased: Not ($95)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, complex and vibrant blackberry, red cherry and blueberry with roast meat and black pepper notes, the medium-full bodied palate combines silky ripeness with sour and minerally graphite nuances that build up the complexity, the savoury finish shows charry cedar and creamy milk chocolate oak inputs and very fine tannins, a hedonistic pleasure (*****)

Castagna Allegro Rose 2008

Purchased: Not ($37)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, derived from Syrah, a serious, dry Rose reflecting Julian Castagna’s personal passion for the style rather than a left over from the production of another red wine, complex, silky plum and blueberry with dried herb and savoury lees notes, lingering bone dry finish (****1/2)