Fighting Gully Road Chardonnay 2015
"Close to Fighting Gully is a jewel in Beechworth's crown, the Smiths Vineyard. It's the oldest in the region, planted in 1978 to cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay. In 2009, Walpole secured a long lease and, with Adrian Rodda's assistance, began caring for the vineyards, slowly returning them to their glory.
It's now the home of Fighting Gully wines - previously they were made at the Pizzinis' in the King Valley - as well as being home to Rodda's eponymous label (he buys all the cabernet and some chardonnay from the Smiths Vineyard, but that's a story for another day).
Walpole and Rodda are an impressive, if seemingly laid-back duo, each bringing their own expertise and philosophy. The recently released Fighting Gully chardonnay 2010, for example, is a tribute to the terroir of that vineyard and the pair's sensitive winemaking. At $32, it's also a bargain.
''There are grape growers who only look at what they do as a commodity, no different to whether you have a truck of grapes or a load of cows,'' Walpole says. ''To me, you can't appreciate how grapes best grow unless you understand the drink at the end. I regard myself as a vigneron and so I grow the grapes, pick them, drive them to the winery, make the wine - and sell it.’’ --Jane Faulkner, The Age, May 8, 2012.