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The Latest News...
NSW’s Tourism silver medallist releases new Tinja vintage
With our new Tourism Award in hand, we've released two 2013 wines, the 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Pinot Grigio and 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Riesling.
We were awarded Silver at the 2013 NSW Tourism Awards last week. The award comes on the back of winning Gold at the 2013 Inland NSW Tourism Awards earlier in the year.
Our cellar door is not just about the wine, it’s about showing the history and the culture of the Mudgee region. It’s all about offering our visitors an experience; all that is good about our region.
Education plays a big part of this as well. For example, I often field questions from customers about the differences in naming of the Tinja Pinot Grigio, and I am always careful to state that it is one of style.
My interpretation is one of heaviness versus lightness. The European differences were skewed towards alcohol and extract, but in Australia, heaviness and lightness is a better way to explain it to consumers.
The 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Pinot Grigio is from Orange vineyards planted at 700 metres, not from the higher 1000 metre sites, and this elevation has a major difference. There is more bronzing colour in this and loads of bush honey and cut pear. I have always chased delicacy in my whites and this is why I consider it to be Grigio.
The new 2013 Lowe ‘Tinja’ Riesling is from Mudgee and Nullo Mountain. The objective is to get aromatics; lime lemon and citrus from the high cold vineyard and the weight from Mudgee. The style has been refined for the last ten years so the wine always carries some residual sugar 6 grams per litre.
It’s influenced by my main export market, Japan. For foods of Asian influence, which it’s ideal with, I try to get aromatics and delicacy which elevates the senses.
The core Riesling vineyard is the Poet’s corner vineyard planted in Mudgee in the late 1960’s.
The Lowe ‘Tinja’ Pinot Grigio and Riesling join the Tinja range, which also includes the ‘Tinja’ No Added Preservative Chardonnay Verdelho, Preservative Free Organic Merlot, Late Picked Riesling, Organic Shiraz and Chardonnay.
Winery wins silver in tourism awards
Lowe Wines have helped put Mudgee on the map as a premier tourist destination , winning silver at the 2013 NSW Tourism Awards.
This was the second year the winery had entered the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category and placed within the top three of NSW’s best.
“Last year was the first time we entered and we received a bronze then. This year we won in our category at the Inland Tourism Awards and now we’ve been named second in the State,” Mr Lowe said.
Mr Lowe said the award meant that Mudgee had been recognised as an area that provided a tourism experience to those that visited the region.
“The award shows that we’re able to stand by areas like Shoalhaven and the Blue Mountains shoulder-to- shoulder and give our guests a tourism experience,” he said.
Mr Lowe said the fact that the winery had a diverse range of good experiences had helped Lowe Wines claim the silver in 2013.
“It’s not just about the wine, it’s about showing the history and the culture of the Mudgee region,” he said.
Mr Lowe said the judges looked at the increase in tourism numbers, the fact the winery had identified their market and the fact the winery was all about educating and improving the wine knowledge of those who visited the cellar door.
The increase in tourism numbers came from the fact that Lowe Wines,and the entire Mudgee region, had seen more people arrive in town for a mid week visit instead of just coming on the weekends.
“Weekend visits are sill extremely popular but we have seen more people coming to town on a Wednesday and not leaving until Sunday. Mudgee isn’t just about short term stays anymore,” Mr Lowe said.
“The experience is just really diverse, it’s not just about coming along, tasting wine and then leaving,” he said.
Mr Lowe said the winery would nominee for a few categories in next year’s awards including events and sustainability.
The NSW Tourism Awards provide the benchmark for best practice within the tourism industry, offering the opportunity to publicly recognise and showcase the State’s finest tourism operators.
SOURCE: Mudgee Guardian, By LAUREN STANFORD Dec. 2, 2013, 4:30 a.m.
Mudgee’s most famous vineyard; concentration with finesse
When David Lowe first learnt to prune grape vines, it was on a Mudgee vineyard owned by John and Shirley Roth. The vines were Shiraz and Grenache and, according to a young Lowe, they were the longest rows in history, with thick vines that soon strengthened David’s pruning hand to something resembling a baseball mitt.
Years later, with his own winery, vineyard and brand well established, David has returned to this fabled vineyard, releasing the 2011 Lowe ‘Mudgee Blue’ Shiraz Cabernet .
This is blue blood Mudgee terroir. The original vignerons chose this vineyard site on Craigmoor road because of the soil quality and its access to the three wineries around it.
Our philosophy revolves around what is new in wine, while respecting the essential style of Mudgee; concentration with finesse.
The wines should always be aromatic; a modern condition that we agree with having worked with many sommeliers and wine aficionados over the last three years.
Oak maturation is important for rounding the wine but it must be in the background. We have had some difficult years recently and the good vineyards always shine through. This is one of those vineyards.
Many talented and experienced winemakers have made wine from this vineyard and I contacted them all prior to making the first Mudgee Blue. Without exception, they congratulated me on being the next winemaker.
The Lowe ‘Mudgee Blue’ Shiraz Cabernet was made in a combination of open concrete fermenters, with natural yeast derived from Lowe’s Block 5 vineyard, and static stainless steel fermenters. It was pumped over three times daily during fermentation prior to maturation in French puncheons (50%) and hogsheads (50%) for 18 months.
After bottling, the wine had considerable oak character but that has now dissipated and the natural perfume of the blend and cool ripening year now dominate. The palate is soft from traditional winemaking in open fermenters and the avoidance of any additions of tannin since the naturally derived tannin is in abundance.
2013 Lowe Tinja Chardonnay Verdelho released
Lowe Wines has released its new 2013 Lowe Tinja Chardonnay Verdelho ‘No Added Preservative’ ($22).
The No Added Preservative wines from Lowe are an innovative work in progress. These are the hardest wines I have ever made, and continue to throw up challenges.
The first of these wines was the 2009 Lowe Tinja Preservative Free Merlot. Whilst the winemaking of the 2009 wine was difficult, last year’s 2012 vintage of the Tinja Preservative Free White was particularly tough. We pride ourselves on innovation and have learnt a great deal over the past few vintages.
In 2013 the yeast we used ended up with a small residue of bound SO2*. Until we are confident that these wines don’t develop bound SO2 during the winemaking we have chosen to label the wine as ‘No Added Preservative’.
Careful handling of the grapes, minimal winemaking interference and good technical capabilities ensure that the wine remains pure and of the highest quality. The grapes are picked at lower sugar levels and lower pH, which assists in maintaining quality during the preservative free winemaking. This in turn leads to lower alcohol levels.
The wine is kept cold after primary and secondary fermentation with air excluded and natural CO2 retained. No sulphur is therefore required. The wine was then bottled later in May, removing the majority of residual gas.
After continually tasting last year’s preservative free wines, and a few bottles left for later assessment, I am confident that it will still be drinking well in 18 months. The argument that it must be consumed immediately are negated, however once opened we recommend consumed with two days.
The new 2013 Lowe Tinja Chardonnay Verdelho ‘No Added Preservative’ is made from a blend of Verdelho grown at our Rylstone vineyard at 620 metres elevation, and organic Chardonnay from Mudgee, an elevation of 500 metres.
For further information about Lowe Wines, their vineyards and winemaking, please visit http://www.lowewine.com.au.
* Bound, meaning inactive SO2
Lowe Wines named best organic winemaker
Lowe Wines has been awarded best organic winegrower at the recent 2013 Mudgee Wine Show.
The announcement comes as Lowe Wines received two trophies and 13 medals in the awards ceremony on Friday night in Mudgee.
It is always a great reward to receive these types of accolades from your industry peers.
We have taken a great deal of care in developing our vineyards on Tinja Lane and Nullo Mountain. We feel that the organic systems we are using and the move to biodynamic techniques has lifted the quality of our grapes.
The results of the 2013 Mudgee Wine Show comprised:
- The Gil Wahlquist Perpetual Trophy for the Best Organic / Biodynamic / Preservative Free Wine of the Show: 2011 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Shiraz;
- Best Museum White Perpetual Trophy: 2005 Louee Nullo Mountain Riesling.
To receive a Trophy for our 2011 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Shiraz was particularly pleasing. This vineyard on Tinja Lane consistently produces some of our best grapes. The vineyard is organic and this wine offers us assurance that we are heading in the right direction with our viticulture and winemaking.
The Nullo Mountain wines also fared well, showing the quality of Mudgee’s highest and coldest vineyards. Nullo Mountain is a unique vineyard and often records the coldest vintage in Australia. The wines develop a beautiful structure due to the natural acidity and are proving to be particularly long-lived.
The 2013 Mudgee Wine Show was judged by Chairman Lester Jesberg, winemaker Samantha Connew, Master of Wine, Rob Geddes, wine journalist Patrick Haddock and winemaker Duncan Lloyd.
Further information on the Mudgee Wine Show can be found at www.mudgeewine.com.au.
Lowe Wines wins 2013 Inland NSW Tourism Awards
Mudgee’s Lowe Wines has been named the winner of the 2013 CountryLink Inland Tourism Awards in the category of Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries.
The CountryLink Inland Tourism Awards are held annually to acknowledge excellence in tourism in the four NSW regional tourism areas of Central, Inland, Murray and Riverina.
Lowe Wines was announced the winner from a list of finalists at the award night in Moree. This is a great surprise. There is an extremely high calibre of tourism operators in inland NSW. We were happy to be named a finalist, let alone winning. It’s fantastic.
Lowe Wines winning submission hinged on the winery’s ability to offer distinctive differences from their fellow wineries, successfully promoting the winery, offering and maintaining the highest quality customer service and Lowe’s ability to demonstration their commitment to environmental sustainability.
We are very conscious of delivering a quality offering. This is paramount to building a successful business, especially in the very competitive wine industry. To be awarded this recognition is justification that we are doing the right thing at the cellar door. Whilst we are seeing substantial growth in visitation to our winery, its very humbling to gain this recognition.
It is a huge result for the Mudgee region as a whole. There were a number of finalists from Mudgee, which shows the variety and quality of the region’s tourism offerings. The wineries, artists, accommodation houses and producers all work very well together to increase the level of tourism in the region. Without everyone working together, we would not be in the great position we are in.
Lowe Wines will now progress to the NSW Tourism Awards, which comprises the winners from each of the regional awards. This is the largest and most prestigious event on the New South Wales tourism calendar and will culminate in the Awards Ceremony and Dinner during November in Sydney.
About the Awards:
The Awards commenced in 2004 to evolve into a major tourism industry event for Inland NSW. CountryLink has been the naming rights sponsor since 2005, with this partnership moving forward to support development of tourism in inland NSW through until 2017.
The Inland Tourism Awards provide tourism organisations and individuals the opportunity to gain an insight into their industry, their business, achieve recognition for their success and promote tourism within their region.
One of the main focus points of the awards is to develop quality regional tourism products and provide businesses the opportunity to benchmark their business with similar businesses in activity and size and also have the opportunity to identify their own personal and professional development within the tourism industry.
Entrants are made up of tourism businesses, events, marketing organisations, clubs and individuals all aiming for excellence in their industry. Winners of the Inland Tourism Awards gain finalists status upon entering the NSW State Tourism Awards, and if successful, go onto the National Tourism Awards.
School is in at Lowe Wines
We have continued with our creative list of events with the launch of the dates for the 2013 Lowe Wine School.
The Lowe Wine School forms part of a series of yearly events at the winery, with the aim to provide an entertaining, no nonsense hands-on approach to learning the basics of making and tasting wine.
We don’t like to take ourselves too seriously. But we are serious about increasing the awareness and knowledge of Australian, NSW, Mudgee and Lowe wines. Whilst our wine schools are a bit of fun, we have seen that there is a real hunger for knowledge about the region and about wine in general.
We start with a few white wines and work through grape growing, winemaking techniques, how to taste and what to look for in various varieties. We then move to some of the local red varieties, and of course our Zinfandel.
We concentrate on the fun of discovering each other’s capabilities, by showing some masked wines and benchmarking against identified wines. I was involved from 1979 to 1991 with the ribbon dinner concept at Rothbury estate, the techniques taught to me by the grand master of Australian wine the late Len Evans OBE.
The level of technical detail offered during the lessons is dictated by the questions and interest of those participating. Some ‘students’ are already very knowledgeable, whilst others simply want to get some tips on what characteristics they should be looking for in certain wine styles and varieties.
It’s also known as the cheat’s guide to tasting wine.
The Lowe Wine Schools commence on the 19th July.
- Friday 19th July 2013
- Friday 16th August 2013
- Every Wednesday of September
Time: 5.30pm to 7.00pm
Price: $45.00 pp.
Bookings: Bookings are essential. Call the winery on 02 6372 0800, email or book online at here.
Private groups: The winery welcomes enquiries regarding group bookings for the Lowe Wine School.
Annual celebration of the new harvest of Lowe Wines
On Saturday April 27 120 people will be seated in the middle of the Lowe Winery to begin an epic ten courses of food matched to 20 wines.
The Vintage Birthday Party at Lowe Wines is an end of each vintage tradition, reflecting on the harvest while checking out what shape previous vintages are in.
It is a relatively new tradition explains Chief Winemaker and CEO, David Lowe. “I cut my teeth in the wine industry during the heady and extravagant days at Rothbury Estate and whilst those parties were pretty over the top, they were a lot of fun. This is our annual ode to indulgence.”
The first Vintage Birthday Party coincided with a celebration of ten years since Lowe Wines built the winery in Mudgee. Now in its 3rd year, or 13th Birthday Party, there is another significant milestone to celebrate.
It is 40 years since Keith Lowe and 14-year-old David planted the first vines at Tinja, albeit some were ‘apparently’ planted upside down.
“Not to get too sentimental about it, but the real celebration of achievement here is not that Lowe Wines is a year older, but that 40 years ago my father was prepared to have a go at what was for him a new form of agriculture.”
“He innovated, he diversified and he was a conservationist before we even knew what that meant,” said David.
Lowe Wines continues this tradition of innovation and environmental awareness, and is a leader in organic, biodynamic and preservative free wines.
Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine
The latest Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine has been released, listing Australia's Best Cellar Doors.
The magazine wrote, "Join a group of our top wine writers on a cross-country escapade as they reveal the greatest cellar doors this wide brown land has to offer. Whether the highlight is a line-up of rare museum wines to taste or a picture perfect country country cafe in which to linger over lunch, they're found the very best."
Lowe Wines was named as Mudgee's Best Small Cellar Door.
Other cellar doors to be awarded include Logan, diLusso, Huntington, Robert Oatley and Robert Stein.
What’s on at Lowe Winery this MARCH?
After two months of hosting so many locals for Friday night Tapas I had a little withdrawal last Friday, until I walked back into the winery in full vintage swing. This is my 35th vintage and the 13th in Mudgee. Grape growing is my first love and equal pegging with making and drinking wine.
Visitors to the cellar door this month will get a real sense of the fact that we are first and foremost a working winery. If there is crushing, pressing or plunging there’s a very real chance it can be experienced by our cellar door guests.
In between a record harvest we’re squeezing in a few other things like those below - just to keep it interesting!
We’re always open
Lowe Wines cellar door is open every day from 10.00am to 5.00pm. It’s been this way for a long time but we still get calls asking.
Winemakers Table Dinner – March 16
March 16 is still available, tickets are $110. These are held every third Saturday of the month, same day as the Farmers Market. They now always book out but often there are unforseen last minute cancelations so it’s worth giving us a call if you have a late enquiry.
Heroes & Icons – March 23
This event is shaping up to be lots of fun. 16 iconic wines have been chosen by a panel of winemakers and David Cox, Rachael McCarthy, Rebecca Sutton and Shawn Marshall are all working with Kim to put the menu together.
The inaugural Heroes & Icons award for service to industry will be presented and as I mentioned last time, Pete Howard is the MC.
Easter drinking, eating and cellar dooring March 29 – April 1
We will be open all of Easter including Good Friday. Food options are Lunches ($30pp), Grazing Platters all long weekend ($25 per platter, available all day) and daily specials.
Bookings are only required for lunches.
April heads up…
Vintage Birthday Party Lunch - April 27. 13th Birthday, 20 wines, 10 courses, Midday to 5pm.
More to know…
We’re happy to provide more info. Please call the winery on 02 6272 0800, email or go to http://www.lowewine.com.au.
Hope we get to see you, your friends or visitors soon.
David Lowe launches new Heritage Series wines
We have recently launched of new ‘Heritage Series’ range of wines.
The range includes two sparkling wines; the 2009 Lowe ‘Bobby Lowe’ Organic Sparkling Merlot ($30) and 2010 Lowe ‘Gentleman’s Daughter’ Pinot Noir Chardonnay ($45).
This is one of the most exciting new releases for us in the past decade. We’ve been known to tell a story or two at the cellar door. The ‘Heritage Series’ is an extension of this; it captures the stories associated with the wine’s namesakes.
This range of wines is all about small, premium parcels of fruit. The wines may be a trial, something innovative or simply a superb parcel of fruit that is too good to be blended away. Each of the wines reflects a bit of history of Lowe, the region and me.
The Lowe family history holds a number of colourful characters. Robert ‘Bobby’ Lowe was David’s great grandfather.
Much like David, Bobby was a community minded man. When, in 1863, he and his companion were bailed up by a local bushranger Bobby ‘levelled a gun he happened to have with him, the contents of which he lodged in the fellow’s neck and breast, which proved fatal.’ *
It was rumoured thereafter, those within the bushranging trade were heard to cry, “don’t try a Bobby Lowe on me,” when confronted by a target with poise.
Another of David Lowe’s ancestors was Muriel Lowe. Muriel was known to have travelled the world, often leaving her Mudgee home for months at a time. According to Muriel’s passport, her ‘occupation was ‘Gentleman’s Daughter’.
The new 2009 Lowe ‘Bobby Lowe’ Sparkling Merlot is made from organically grown grapes from Lowe’s Mudgee vineyards. The wine did not spend time on lees as it had built enough complexity from the maturation in large oak for nearly three years; the objective to soften tannin and to remove the inherent fruitiness that often happens.
The 2010 Lowe ‘Gentleman’s Daughter’ is a traditional blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Orange region vineyards located at an elevation of 1000 metres. The wine underwent secondary fermentation in the traditional method, followed by nine months on lees.
I have always gone for elegance and lightness courtesy of my Hunter Valley training and I am pleased that the wine is fine and sustained, requiring very little sugar at the disgorging to balance the acidity.
New 2012 Tinja Wines Released
We are particularly excited to release our new 2012 Tinja wines with new labels.
The word Tinja is an aboriginal word, which we understand means 'reedy waterhole'. This is the name of our property, which has been in the Lowe family for a number of generations.
The white is made from a blend of Verdelho from the our Rylstone vineyard and Chardonnay from our organic Mudgee Vineyard.
To make a preservative free wine you are restricted to grapes that are pure, with no damage and hand harvested.
The need for sulpur is only because something is wrong or something may go wrong. It's difficult but not impossible with red wine, are harder still with white wine as it has no colour and no tannins, which are natural preservatives.
For our cheat sheet on preservative wines, please click here.
Also released with the Preservative Free Merlot and White, is our 2012 Tinja Riesling. For our Japanese friends, you will be happy to hear that we are doubling the quantity of the Tinja Riesling being exported to Japan. The wine is being very well received, and we believe that the 2012 is even better than previous vintages.
For more details on all these wines, please visit our wine section here.
Vintage 2009 in Mudgee: Idiot proof
The winemakers of Mudgee are experiencing a resurgence with the region’s wines seeing growth in sales driven by a core group of proactive winemakers who are taking their wines and stories to the market.
This growing interest in Mudgee stems from the natural progression and improvement in quality of the wines from the region. Whilst Mudgee is one of Australia’s oldest winegrowing regions, it has made great leaps in the past ten years. Greater appreciation of the terroir and a more involved winemaking community has been the catalyst to these improvements.
We have recently released our 2009 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Organic Shiraz ($30). The 2009 Lowe ‘Block 8’ Shiraz is made from grapes grown on our organic and unirrigated Mudgee vineyard.
We had a dream harvest in 2009. There was good rain in spring and warm and dry conditions through harvest ensured no disease pressure.
Unlike some of Australia’s southern wine regions, we didn’t experience the extreme heat that caused them so much grief. With good yields and high quality fruit, the conditions were near perfect; you’d be an idiot if you made bad wine.
50 per cent of the 2009 Lowe Shiraz was fermented with wild yeast, cultivated from the Block 5 Shiraz vineyard. We utilised a lot of natural yeast fermentation in the winery in 2009. The resulting Shiraz shows lovely complexity and an aromatic, almost blueberry aroma.
The 2009 Lowe Shiraz is an extension of the Lowe style, with the dark Mudgee fruit still a feature of the wine, however there is a brighter, more appealing aspect to the wines in their youth.
We are aiming for fruit purity without a lot of heavy oak. This style has been applauded by a number of sommeliers that we have hosted over the last few months.
The 2009 Lowe Shiraz joins its red stable-mates, the Lowe Merlot and Australia and New Zealand’s best organic Wine*, the Lowe Zinfandel.
* The 2009 Lowe Zinfandel was awarded the trophy for the ‘Best Organic Wine of the Show’ at the 2011 Australia/ NZ Organic Wine Show.
Mudgee’s Nullo Mountain is Australia’s coolest for 2012
The ongoing debate about what classifies individual winegrowing regions as cool climate comes down to degree-days and, using data from the Bureau of Meteorology, Nullo Mountain within the Mudgee G.I. is officially the coolest for 2012.*
Meteorological data from the ripening period of December 2011 through to February 2012 highlights Nullo Mountain’s 488 degree days, the lowest by far, with Tasmania’s Scottsdale second at 627 degree days, and then Orange in NSW at 630 degree days.
Whilst the measuring of degree days during this key growing period is only one of a number of measures of climate, it gives a fairly clear indication that with the increasing move to more elegant, refined cool climate wines, the Nullo Mountain vineyard has the potential to produce some of Australia’s best aromatic wines.
We have all the resources in this vineyard to make some of the countries best Rieslings, Pinot Grigios and other aromatic wines. The degree days during these key ripening periods, the cool nights, the high sunshine hours and reliable rainfall are near perfect. If the weather during vintage is right, then it will only be my fault if we screw it up.
The data for Nullo Mountain came from a weather station situated at 1045 metres. Our vineyard sits a further 100 metres up the mountain, which would make it marginally cooler.
The degree days from the Mudgee valley floor also showed a decline from 1103 degree days in 2010/2011 to 935 this vintage.
This year is the latest that we have seen in Mudgee for 12 years. There has been a lot of rain, and subsequent humidity.
We will be expecting lower alcohol reds this year, more in the style of Canberra and Sunbury in Victoria, with spicy aromatics and lots of background pepper. Cabernet Sauvignon looks to be Mudgee’s star performer this year.
With the white varieties, the Nullo Mountain Rieslings will be aromatic, austere and slow to age. They will continue to be the performing variety of 2012, along with the lower alcohol Chardonnays.
* Information collated by Stephen Doyle from Bloodwood Wines from data collected from the Bureau of Meteorology weather stations located within the wine growing regions.
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