30 Roddas Lane, Musk, 3461 (Postal: PO Box 517, Daylesford, 3460)
Cellar Door: Unknown
Ph: (03) 5438 5550
Passing Clouds wines from The Bendigo
Passing Clouds wines from The Yarra Valley
Passing Clouds has recently moved from Bendigo to the Macedon Ranges.
Passing Clouds was founded in 1974 by one of the legendary characters of Victorian wine-making, Graham Leith, and journalist Sue MacKinnon, after they decided to leave the Melbourne rat-race.
They noticed a spot with excellent terroir, sheltered by hills of ironbark forest in the Kingower Valley (a gold prospecting area since the 1860s).
The name Passing Clouds was quipped by Leith in response to the impact of the nearby huge pile of rocks called Melville's Caves that seemed to trigger thermals that split the banks of summer clouds.
The main varieties planted on the fifteen acre vineyard are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. Passing Clouds is a small hands on operation using traditional winemaking techniques.
Their most well known wine is the Angel blend where the small amount of Cabernet wine that disappears during fermentation (ie taken by the angels) is topped up in with Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
After picking by hand, the juice is fermented in open stainless steel vats and hand plunged. No pesticides or insecticides are used although a bio-degradable herbicide (glyphosate) was used for a while but is now being phased out.
The Bendigo vineyards struggled during the long drought years since 2002. Their son, Cameron, has taken over the wine-making, and Sue passed away in 2009. During 2010 the decision was made to shift the wine-making operations to Graham's "retirement" vineyard at Daylesford in the Macedon Ranges.
The new Daylesford vineyard is located at 771 m and is dedicated to cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Lagrein. The tradtional reds will still come from Bendigo growers.
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)
Passing Clouds Syrah 2015
Purchased: Not ($47)
(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2016, organic vineyard, perfumed but light-medium bodied red fruits, blueberry and dark plum with violet notes, savoury with a dusting of brown spices and white pepper, linear with fine tannins (****)
Passing Clouds Fool on the Hill Chardonnay 2013
Purchased: Not ($50)
(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2016, debut release, funky and rich barrel fermented white peach, lemon peel, melon and lime with a touch of honeysuckle and linear grapefruit spine, restrained cashew/cinnamon French oak and powdery phenolics (****)
Passing Clouds Fools on the Hill Pinot Noir 2014
Purchased: Not ($47)
(GXY) Tasting:: Sept 2015, sourced entirely from estate vineyard at Musk, quite aromatic, supple and foresty red cherry, cranberry and plum with rose petal florals and musky spices, earthy and medium bodied with a touch of flat sarsaparilla on the back end, fine grained tannin (****)
Passing Clouds Macedon Ranges Chardonnay 2015
Purchased: Not ($27)
(GXY) Tasting:: Sept 2015, partial whole bunch pressed, 80% malo, fresh unbaked style showing pear, apple and lemon grass with some nutty lees texture, lively acid spine (***1/2)