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: Sutton Grange

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Sutton Grange

www.suttongrange.com.au

Carnochan's Lane (off Bendigo-Sutton Grange Road), Sutton Grange, 3448

Cellar Door: By appointment only

Ph: (03) 5474 8277

Sutton labels
Suton Grange's wine are crafted by their Burgundy born and trained wine-maker, Giles Lapalus

Sutton Grange is situated on the granitic foothills of Mount Alexander. The 400-hectare Sutton Grange property is one of the most picturesque in Victoria and is renowned for its thoroughbred racing facility.

In 1998, under the guidance of local winemaking legend Stuart Anderson, the first vines were planted. The property now boasts 11 hectares of vines comprising Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Viognier and Sangiovese.

The wines are labelled as Fairbank, the original name of the property in the late 1800's. The Fairbank wines are handcrafted by their Burgundy born and trained winemaker, Gilles Lapalus, and combine his distinctive style and interpretation with the estate grown fruit. Since 2002 the vineyards have been run along biodynamic lines.

The Syrah (Shiraz) can be quite elegant but the standouts for me are richly textured Viognier and complex, bone dry Rose.

The most recent drought or flood vintages have been very challenging for winemakers such as Giles (and the viticultural team at Sutton Grange) who pursue biodymanic practices. Sutton Grange was recognised by the Return To Terroir Group (the world's 176 leading biodynamic producers) with a guest spot at their March 2011 Australian expo.

Avenmore Tastings
Sutton Grange at the 2011 Return to Terroir biodynamic expo (photo: genxywines)
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)

Sutton Grange Ram’s Horn Block Syrah 2012

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2025+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2016, partial whole bunch fermentation from a single block on the estate,  bold and slightly blocky blackberry and mulberry with bright violet florals and some rosemary, cracked black pepper, anise and olive tapenade notes, medium bodied with firm grained but slippery tannins needs tome to further blossom (****1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Fiano 2015

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2018 

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2016, barrel fermented with rich lees notes, lemon curd, orange peel and pear with hints of almond, quince and fennel, powdery phenolics, a lemon sorbet finish with some brininess (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2015

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2016, derived from Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot, a light copper hue, quite savoury and minerals with cherry and strawberry notes leading to a chalky savoury phenolic finish, has a pleasing dusting of garden herbs and a crisp finish (****)

Sutton Grange Ancestral Sparkling Rose 2016

Purchased: Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne ($30)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2016, a rare natural sparkling made in the old methode ancestral style without dosage addition or the use of SO2 and the wine finishes primary fermentation in the bottle, light disgorgement to remove heavy tartrates,  quite dry showing some apple peel and pear with flashes of red fruit, there is some bready lees texture and crunchy acidity but should be drunk soon due to lack of sulphur preservative (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2014

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: April 2015,  derived from Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot, pale salmon pink colour,  dry and glycerolly with peach and cranberry flavours with chestnut, herb and rose petal notes, becomes savoury with refreshing underlying minerality, the acidity seems particularly vibrant and fresh this vintage (****1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Viognier 2013

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: April 2015, modestly creamy texture but shows brightly lit orange peel, nectarine and apricot skin flavours,  has a slightly glazed fruit aspect, gingery spices and fresh lemony acidity, the fruit is wrapped in soft talciness and fully ripe phenolics, a neatly balanced refreshing style that had me wanting a second glass, a rarity with this too often blowsy variety (****1/2)

Sutton Grange Fiano 2013

Purchased: Not ($60)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, barrel fermented with natural malo, waxy lemon butter, yellow peach and orange peel with rich honey, cinnamon and matchstick aspects, quite varietal with bitter almond and savoury phenolics on the lingering finish (****1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2013

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, pale salmon pink colour, dry style derived from Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot, glycerolly peach and chestnut with some cranberry sweetness with herb and rose petal notes, vibrant acidity and good length (****)

Sutton Grange Viognier 2011

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, a little lighter than usual, fresh lemon curd and apricot with gingery spices and a touch of flint, modestly viscous with a spine of lemony acidity, the powdery phenolics have avoided bitterness (****)

Sutton Grange Estate Syrah 2008

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting: May 2014, some whole bunch inclusion and Viognier co-ferment, reductive mulberry and dark plums with lavender florals, leather and savoury olive undertones, medium-full bodied with some graphite minerals, persistent powdery tannins, charry cedar/nutmeg oak (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Viognier 2011

Purchased: Bendigo Winemakers Festival ($30)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2013, long and brightly flavoured,  lime, glazed pear and apricot with gingery spices, glycerolly but not oily with the usual well controlled phenolics, vibrant acidity (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2012

Purchased: Vintage Cellars, Albert Park ($22)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting:  Nov 2012, derived from Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, pale salmon colour, good aromatics, reductive and minerally cranberry and strawberry with subtle herbal, rose petal and chestnut nuances, long and dry finish and zesty acidity (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2011

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: June 2012, pale salmon colour, aromatic, off-dry, textural and silky cranberry and strawberry with subtle herbal, rose petal and chestnut/vanilla nuances, long and dry minerally finish and zesty acidity (****)

Sutton Grange The Rams Horn Syrah 2007

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2020+

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, 30% whole bunch, leathery and minerally redcurrant and blackberry with the dusty herbal aspect from the whole bunch inclusion, long and savoury with a firmer tannin/acid structure than the estate (****1/2)

Sutton Grange Viognier 2010

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink:

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, fermented in a concrete egg and two ellipses, rich entry showing pear and estery apricot, leesy with some emerging honeysuckle and nutmeg, fresh orange rind acidity with fine chalky phenolics, better controlled phenolics than the 2008 vintage (****)

Sutton Grange Fiano 2010

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, the third release of this Italian variety, some barrel ferment and full malo, leesy and creamy pear and nectarine with a backbone of bright lemony acidity, finishes with savoury flinty phenolics and a whisper of cinnamon/vanilla oak, nicely balanced (****)

Sutton Grange Giove Sangiovese Cabernet 2009

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, firm and dusty core of savoury black cherry, raspberry and plum fruit with mint, dried herb and warm cinnamon-nutmeg notes, medium bodied and earthy with lightly charred cedar oak, good length and acid balance , will benefit from medium term cellaring (****)

Sutton Grange Estate Cabernet Merlot 2008

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, first release, equal proportions of Cabernet and Merlot, plump entry showing plum, raspberry and cassis fruit, mid-palate shows more earthy savouriness, with aeration it shows mint and tomato leaf notes, medium bodied with chewy savoury tannins, cedar-cinnamon-nutmeg oak (****)

Sutton Grange The Hog Syrah 2007

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2018+

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, only 1 barrel, 100% whole bunch then de-stemmed, dusty, savoury and briary core of redcurrant and blackberry with herb, white pepper and black olive notes, supple mid-palate with seamlessly integrated cedar-cinnamon oak, good acid with fine powdery tannins (****)

Sutton Grange Estate Syrah 2007

Purchased: Not ($40)

Drink: 2018+

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2011, has a very small Viognier co-ferment and 10% whole bunch inclusion, firm, minerally and concentrated blackberry and redcurrant with herbal, cinnamon, leather and black olive notes, medium ­full bodied with mid-palate silkiness, dusty texture with fine, chalky tannins and charry cedar/nutmeg oak (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Rouge 2010

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2011, juicy carbonic macerated light-medium bodied blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Merlot, a spicy bowl of black cherry and blackberry fruit with iris floral notes, some graphite minerality with minimalist fine tannins, think Beaujalois without the Gamay, must be drunk as fresh as possible (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2009

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2009, derived from 50% Syrah, 40% Cabernet and 10% Merlot, pale salmon colour, stylish and focussed as ever showing blackberry and strawberry with subtle apricot, herbal and chestnut nuances, long and dry minerally finish (****)

Sutton Grange Giove Sangiovese Cabernet 2007

Purchased: Not ($38)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2009, there is also a bit of Merlot in this wine that has a contemporary Italian ‘super-Tuscan’ feel to it, well defined and savoury cherry, plum and cassis with liquorice and mid-palate brown spices, light-medium bodied, lingering fine grained tannins, zesty acidity and controlled cedary oak, a rather good food wine that will reward medium term cellaring (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rouge 2009

Purchased: Not ($22)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2009, a blend of biodynamic Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot, fresh carbonic macerated fruit left to do the talking apart from a small sulphur preservative input, savoury and vibrant blackberry and redcurrant with attractive minerality (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Syrah 2006

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, very much in the light-medium bodied and savoury ‘Syrah’ interpretation of Shiraz, core of blueberry and redcurrant with violet, cinnamon and bay leaf notes, roast meat nuances come into play later on, fine chalky texture with the fruit become enmeshed in a grid of finely grained savoury tannins (****)

Sutton Grange Viognier 2008

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Sept 2009, the first release on the premium estate label rather than the second Fairbank label, canned apricot, pear and orange rind with ginger, honeysuckle and cinnamon notes, savoury with a lingering citrus finish that is rather phenolic with a stalky and metallic feel, perhaps a little more depth and spice than the previous Fairbank releases but the phenolics of its precursors were better controlled (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Estate Syrah 2005

Purchased: Not ($50)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2008, definitely a Syrah not a Shiraz, elegant and floral style despite the rather lifted nose, blueberry, blackberry and elderberry with nutmeg, cinnamon and white pepper, light-medium feel although the mid-palate is heavily textured by the Viognier input, talcy mineral finish, toasty oak, linear savoury tannins, will polarise Shiraz drinkers (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting:Oct 2008, rather austere elderberry and cassis with anise, tobacco and mint notes, the palate is rather powdery and heavily textured and over-worked, for me it is a triumph of wine-maker technique over varietal expression but plenty of wine lovers these days equate heavy texture with sophistication (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2007

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2008, derived from Cabernet and Shiraz, dry aperitif style, softly textured and elegant showing blackberry with apricot nuances, some chestnut and almond notes on the finish presumably from some brief oak contact, crisp finish (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2006

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: July 2007, copper coloured, derived from Cabernet, Syrah with a bit of Sangiovese and Merlot, elegant and bone-dry showing blackberry and black cherry flavours with light herbal and spice complexity, crisp finish (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Syrah 2004

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: July 2007, restrained and tightly wound core of blackberry and black cherry fruit with nutmeg and black pepper nuances, medium bodied with subtle cedar-vanilla oak (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Viognier 2005

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2008

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, classy well structured wine with apricot, ginger and honeysuckle features, building to mid-plate climax and a crisp, minerally finish, good intensity without the cloyness of many Australian Viogniers (****)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Rose 2005

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2006

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, striking copper colour, with citrus and strawberry flavours and fresh herbal notes, light, soft palate, crisp minerally finish with a twist of acid (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Syrah 2003

Purchased: Not ($45)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, blackberry, black cherry and raspberry flavours are complemented with nutmeg and liquorice features, light-medium bodied, sweet and spicy palate, subtle vanilla oak and fine tannins (***1/2)

Sutton Grange Fairbank Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: June 2006, soft and restrained but highly textured style, even the varietal mintiness is turned low to emphasise the floral and spicy features plus a hint of capsicum on the blueberry and blackberry fruit, subtle vanilla oak with a touch of leather on the austere mint finish, dusty tannins (***1/2)