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2016 vintage white wine Spring release


2016 was certainly different to 2015. The dry winter and warm conditions in Spring created an early bud burst. Although conditions remained warm, once again we did not experience any heat waves. In terms of the vintage, we had a very good crop and it ripened to perfection, coming off in late February. This of course was earlier than we normally pick but considering bud burst happened three weeks earlier than normal, the actual growing season was of similar length to past years.

We decided that we would not make St Blaise in 2016 as we did not have sufficient Viognier to make our normal blend. The Viognier went into a blend with some barrels of chardonnay that I thought were richer and more suited to making the style of wine we made back in 2013. So Blanche is back, full of flavour and yet still refreshing.

The Estate chardonnay continues to pursue my desire to let the vineyard speak through a light hand in the winery. Much has been written about so called "natural wines" be it good or bad. I struggle with such terms. For me, the issue is about creating wines of complexity and balance through the use of "wild, indigenous or free range" yeasts that live in the vineyard and winery. I take the same approach with malolactic ferment allowing this to happen without introducing commercially available bugs that have been created to by-pass the natural process. Oak is something that should enhance a wine through "seasoning" but the last thing I want to see is overt, stringy, dried out wood having a detrimental impact on the vineyard identity.

I am always fascinated when it comes to the issue of colour in wine. How strange it is when some people, confronted with a strong green-gold colour in chardonnay, are startled. Pneumatic air bag presses that press off whole bunch fruit are much quicker, require less labour and certainly can reduce the skin contact time on juice which all aid in reducing the colour. These are now the standard stock in trade tool of most wineries and they do a great job if you have a lot of fruit to push through. Conditioned of late to this paler style of chardonnay that comes from using a pneumatic press, it seems some people have forgotten that wines with depth and a strong colour, can and constantly do, age gracefully.

At Paradise IV our processing centres round the traditional use of a dual basket press (first used by Gary Farr back in 1970s) that allows for more skin contact whilst helping to sensibly hyper oxidise the juice, so that when it becomes wine, it will be more stable and less likely to oxidise in bottle. Our warm, wild ferments that occur in barrel also add to the depth of colour.

In short, we use traditional winemaking techniques that were once the hallmark of white Burgundy when they made chardonnays that did not suffer pre-ox and lasted for 20 plus years in bottle. Using this old technique also delivers subtle phenolics that are important in wines with depth of fruit. Structure in white wine is not just about acid.

I prefer to use a traditional basket press. The outcome is, in my opinion, superior. This is one example of where history and tradition are the better option, assuming that is, you like making chardonnay full of flavour, colour, texture and length. And you don't mind hard work, and have the extra time it takes to process and then clean up the press cages!

Needless to say, Paradise IV wines are made for us and our supporters. It is important to stress that what makes a brand successful requires integrity and a steadfast willingness to stay true to a style. Following the latest thought bubble trend or trying to win medals in wine shows where the latest fad is being championed is not what interests me. Our 2016 chardonnays wines reflect my passion for creating wines that are satisfying, balanced, complex and individual. Above all they must reflect Paradise IV Vineyard and the Moorabool Valley, Geelong.

Douglas Neal
Ruth Bonney
Graham Bonney

Chaumont 2015 blend cabernets and shiraz

We are especially proud of the 2015 Chaumont. The conditions leading up to harvest were ideal, and the fruit was harvested in prime condition. It almost made itself. Hue of blood magenta. Deep and full to the meniscus. Mulberry and raspberry fruit: typically cabernet with dried bay leaf, tobacco, cedar notes and hint of violets. Rich and rolling with savoury, silky tannins running through the wine. The flavour spectrum is red berry fruit with a finely tuned acidity bringing great freshness and nerve to the wine. The wine has a rich texture with all the elements of fruit, oak, tannin and acidity in balance. A long lingering finish - the hallmarks of its finesse and complexity.

Destined to live a long time, this wine is without question the most complete Chaumont we have made to date. It will age gracefully over the next 10 - 20 years developing even more complex secondary and tertiary characters with time. Like past Chaumonts, the best way to enjoy this wine in its youth is to decant a few hours beforehand.

Douglas Neal


The release.

Last year there was such a frenzy of demand for the wines that many people missed out. Much of this was based on the hype created by wine reviews and the quality of the vintage. The 2016 release sees us with a very small production of Dardel and Chaumont. The lowest since 2007. I have decided to try and give our regular followers greater opportunity to purchase these wines and as such have not yet shown the wines to any reviewers. They will receive the wines in March just before the Trade release.

The vintage.

As previously reported this vintage came early due to the warm winter and early heat in spring that induced the vines to come to life three weeks before the average start of the growing season.

Smaller berry size and reduced yield was the result of the dry spring and unstable weather conditions during flowering.

This vintage certainly produced wines of colour, intensity and higher tannin levels. In contrast to the lacey 2015s these wines are more a tour de force with enhanced structure and great depth. Over the past 12 months it has been fascinating to see the way these wines have evolved. Slowly but surely the perfume and complex aromatics have emerged, albeit less flourishing than 2015 but certainly there. Both Dardel and Chaumont are tremendous wines full of depth, power and complexity and all at alcohol levels well below 14%. In essence they have the power of 2013 with the finesse of 2015.


Douglas Neal
Paradise IV

Loading Paradise IV on to The World

Loading Paradise IV wine on to 'The World'

Loading Paradise IV on to The World

Paradise IV Travels The World In Style

Three years ago Doug Neal sailed on the ship 'The World' to host a series of tastings and a black tie dinner for the residents. He was joined by Nathan Kinzbrunner of Giaconda to showcase Paradise IV and Giaconda wines. 'The World' was back in port just after Christmas 2016 to stock up on Paradise IV and Giaconda during its Australian tour. Both wines are popular with the residents of this luxury, privately owned cruising liner that spends most of the year circumnavigating the globe.

It  has taken ten years of dedicated hard work to refine our wines.

Ignoring the latest trends, here today gone tomorrow fashions, we have remained firmly fixed on our vision – wines that are complex, perfumed, accessible yet capable of ageing and above all, textural and round.
Paradise IV is its own style – neither an imitation of others nor a follower.
Our commitment is to create wines that reflect our beautiful, historic site and my passion for harmony and elegance.

It is my belief that Shiraz, grown in the right conditions is more than capable of producing similar ethereal qualities to those of pinot noir.
I believe Geelong, especially sites in the Moorabool Valley, is a natural home for spicy, complex and highly aromatic Shiraz.

Chaumont continues to gather structure and depth with each vintage and it is certainly resonating well with the public.
Now others in the region are starting to see the inherent beauty in Bordeaux varietals grown on the right sites in and around Geelong.

Doug Neal