"Realising the potential of diverse terroirs across
Barossa Valley, Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills"
In a model traditional in France and championed in Australia, I am now part of a growing movement of small batch vintners, without vineyards of our own,
but able to collaborate with talented grape growers and source the finest parcels available for each variety.
Terroir is the French term for the natural characteristics of a vineyard that determine the taste of its produce. Or more simply the taste of the place! The expertise and dedication of the growers is vital in producing outstanding fruit with an individual character, free from routine sprays and interventions.
As Jamie Goode suggested, I’m a micro-negociant, having sought out a handful of single vineyard sites in the Barossa Valley, high in the Eden Valley and in the Adelaide Hills that borrow from my experiences in Australia, the Rhône and Burgundy. The Michael Hall label is my flagship focussed on single vineyard wines, while Sang de Pigeon, my second label, is an accessible introduction to region-specific styles.
The core fruit for my Chardonnay comes from The Garden Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, which sits high at 500 metres elevation beside the picturesque Mount Lofty Botanical Garden. Grower Bernie Swaby’s meticulousness in the vineyard is so intrinsic to the quality. The grapes here ripen through cold nights and long cool autumns, with the time to build exceptional complexity, in a fuller style that eschews the trend for leanness.
My Sauvignon Blanc grapes are grown on the steep, east facing Hill Block planted in 1992 in Summertown, at the northern end of the Piccadilly Valley in the Adelaide Hills, arguably Australia’s best region for the variety.
My Pinot Noir comes from a particularly steep block in Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills. At 560 metres above sea level, the southwest facing block is very high altitude and planted to four clones: MV6, 777, 114 and 115.
My Syrah from the Adelaide Hills is planted many kilometres to the west in Mount Torrens. The Fife Road vineyard produces stunning Shiraz in the cool climate style. This hidden block has sub-soil yellow clay and a light dusting of more fertile top soil producing very low yielding, highly spiced fruit.
The fruit for my Rhône-inspired Roussanne is grown on David Materne's vineyard in the Barossa subregion of Greenock. The grape is suited to the warm conditions and sparse soils of the Barossa, producing a dry, delicate and lifted floral wine.
Michael Hall 'Triangle Block' Shiraz comes from Stone Well in the Barossa Valley, planted on the eastern edge of the Seppeltsfield sub-region. Its gentle northerly aspect is coloured terracotta red by the distinct, iron-rich soils over clay found in parts of the northern and western Barossa. While not certified, it is managed under bio-dynamic principles.
The fruit for Michael Hall ‘Flaxman’s Valley’ Syrah (a more floral Shiraz, a nod to Northern Rhône, hence ‘Syrah’) comes from the Naimanya Vineyard, which lies on the south-western lee of the tiny subregion of the Eden Valley called Flaxman’s Valley. This impeccable fruit is grown by Leon and Christa Deans and I’ll always be grateful to Kym Teusner for introducing me and sacrificing his claim to the grapes. North-west facing at 525 metres, it’s one of the highest Shiraz vineyards in the Eden Valley, the wider Barossa region and indeed South Australia. This combined with the soil profile of sandy loam, gravel and quartz over clay make for characteristic spice and floral aromatics.