As many will know, Sang de Pigeon (pigeon’s blood) is a nod to my former life as a jewellery valuer and the trade term for the finest rubies, invariably from the Mogok stone tract in Myanmar. First used for my long-lost rosé, a wine with such a luminous ruby-red colour that I decided to name our sibling label for it. The range has grown to include Barossa Shiraz, the maverick ‘Blanc’, Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir, and now Adelaide Hills Chardonnay.
Sang de Pigeon are my more accessible, region-specific wines and a creative space for me to harmonise small parcels from different vineyards with distinct terroir. Responding to the vagaries of vintage, I generally blend fruit from warmer sites with a small percentage of grapes from cooler, higher vineyards providing structure and complexity to more approachable, persuasive flavour profiles.
The 2020 vintage was characterised by low winter rainfall and cold weather during flowering, delivering yields below 60% of average. After a hot December temperatures cooled with welcome rain in late January setting up ideal ripening conditions. Small harvests throughout the Adelaide Hills delivered fruit with an unusual degree of intensity. Mild conditions during the final weeks retained bright minerality, precise aromatics and gave us tiny volumes of alluring wines.
Due to very low yields the 2020 Sang de Pigeon Chardonnay is the beneficiary of all fruit normally destined for the Michael Hall Chardonnay. There will be no Michael Hall Chardonnay in 2020.
Sang de Pigeon Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills 2020 $32.00
2850 bottles produced
Grown at the Garden Block below Mount Lofty and the Hill Block in Piccadilly’s Summertown. Bernie Swaby’s Garden Block lies next to the Mount Lofty Botanical Gardens, established to benefit from cool air currents that descend from Mt Lofty. It lies on soils of humus and sandy loam over clay and ripens late due to cool summer nights and chilly autumns. The Hill Block lies 4kms to the north at an elevation of 550m. Its steep south-facing aspect produces low-yielding, taut and intensely aromatic fruit.
Hand-picked on the 18th, 26th and 27th of March, destemmed and pressed, wild yeast barrel fermented, 25% malolactic, matured on yeast lees for 11 months in French oak puncheons and barriques (21% new). Filtered and bottled.