New wines

The new releases for 2018 are now out. Leading the way is the new 2017 white Ancestral sparkling, this year made from a blend of Tumbarumba Chardonnay and our usual Canberra Savagnin. Pretty, Savagnin-driven aromatics and good acid line and length from the Chardonnay.

There are also two table wines. The 2017 Fiano is the first pick from the new Hilltops vines (grafted onto petit verdot a few years ago). Good fruit weight balances the influence of skin contact. Lemons and pear drops. Creamy, waxy texture too.

The Salita Sagrantino from 2016 is a blend of Hilltops and Murrumbateman fruit. Tiny bottling (one 500 litre barrel, same as the 2013), but shows the benefits of blending the gently-blueberried Hilltops fruit with the more intense Canberra picking. Sagrantino tannins & the dusty cocoa finish I look for in Sagrantino.

All wines $30 recommended retail price and available from the website now.

Almost there with new releases

I expect to have the new release wines out in March. There will be an Ancestral method white sparkling wine, blending Tumbarumba Chardonnay and Canberra Savagnin, alongside two table wines: the 2017 Fiano and 2016 Salita Sagrantino. The Fiano will be the first from Hilltops-grown fruit, while the Salita Sagrantino continues our plan of blending fruit from Canberra and Hilltops. No new red Ancestral this year as the fruit didn't make it.

Also in the throes of vintage. Returning to making a rose Ancestral sparkles this year (first since 2014) with a secret blend of red grapes. Shiraz and Sagrantino, actually, picked crisp blueberried early. The chardonnay for the white Ancestral came off this morning, the savagnin is due to be picked on Sunday. Hilltops Fiano already marching along in tank. Hilltops and Canberra Sagrantino for the 2018 Salita will be the last parcels in. Looking good so far for four wines.

New Ancestral sparkling release

Our first Ancestral method red sparkling wine is now available. This is made from Montepulciano grapes grown at Ricca Terra Farms in the Riverland, and comes from the 2016 vintage. Carbonic maceration technique as per making Beaujolais from Gamay, lots of whole bunches like making cool-climate shiraz... layering up techniques that build the aromatics often lost in making sparkling, all put through our version of the Ancestral method. Like Italian Christmas cake, but dry, not sweet.

Available alongside our 2016 Canberra Savagnin Ancestral and the last boxes of the 2016 Riverland Fiano.

New release Ancestral sparkling wine

Our 2016 Canberra Savagnin Ancestral is now available. Murrumbateman-grown Savagnin fruit from Quarry Hill put through our version of the Ancestral winemaking process in the big shed out at Eden Road. This was about half the crop level of the 2015 and the fruit shows it in concentration and power. Lots of fruit flavour in this Ancestral sparkling wine. A small make, so get in quick if you want some. $155 for six, $290 for a dozen, via the website, delivered.

As for vintage... fingers crossed for the Canberra Sagrantino. It is coming off on Sunday and has been a bit of a dance with the rain. We do have the second year of good Sagrantino from our Hilltops planting at Grove Estate safely in and fermenting away. Some 100% whole bunch, some destemmed and not crushed, some 100% carbonic maceration. Going for layers, as well as testing the fruit out across different treatments.

Riverland Fiano fell through this year - it got too ripe while the refrigerated transport kept not working out, in spite of the best efforts of Ashley at Ricca Terra Farms. But the first pick of Hilltops Fiano will help out. Small volume, but tasty. That ferment is done and sitting on fine lees in tank.

White Ancestral from 2017 is going to be a blend of Canberra Savagnin and Tumbarumba Chardonnay. Riffing off a blend that works well for sparkling wine in the Jura, but done with our Ancestral method. A bit of old-school Australian technique with a partial re-ferment of the Savagnin portion when combined with the Chardonnay too. It's ready for a chill and a sleep before we prepare the tank for bottling.

After this weekend, it is only the Montepulciano for red Ancestral sparkling to come in, then vintage 2017 is dusted. The 2016 Montepulciano Ancestral will be out as soon as the labels get put on, and looking forward to showing that one around.

2015 Salita Sagrantino Nebbiolo now sold out

Deep in the midst of 2017 vintage right now. We have sold out of the 2015 Salita Sagrantino Nebbiolo. For Sydney and Melbourne venues, you can try our distributor (Real Wines) for stock. In Canberra, the wine will be pouring at Aubergine and stock is still available at the Friendly Grocer at Cook. Thanks again for the support.

New releases of Fiano and Sagrantino

Our new table wine releases are now available. We have the 2016 Fiano, made from fruit grown by Ricca Terra Farms, and our 2015 'Salita' which is Murrumbateman Sagrantino blended with a dab of Nebbiolo. They are $155 for a six pack and $290 for a dozen. Orders can be placed via http://www.sassafraswines.com.au/the-wine/

All Sold Out

The last of the 2015 Fiano was sold today and that means we are all out of stock for the moment.

The 2016 vintage is looking good and we will have releases later in Spring.

Almost there...

Vintage for 2016 is just about done. The last of the ferments are finishing off and we are gearing up to bottle the 2015 Sagrantino, as well as the two Ancestral method sparkling wines we have this year.

The 2013 Canberra Sagrantino is now sold out. We still have 2015 Fiano available.

New releases - January 2015

Our first table wine releases are now out. There is a 2015 vintage Fiano made in Canberra from Riverland fruit grown at Ricca Terra Farms and a 2013 Sagrantino from plantings at Murrumbateman in the Canberra District. Both are priced at $24 a bottle.

New releases - December 2015

Our next Ancestral method sparkling wine is now available. This is made with Savagnin grapes grown at Murrumbateman in the Canberra District, from the 2015 vintage.

Also released is our first table wine. The 2013 vintage produced the first crop of Sagrantino for the Canberra District and the wine shows the berries and dark cocoa of the variety.

See The Wines page for more, and how to order.

CT and Winefront Reviews

There have been a couple of reviews of the Tumbarumba Gamay Ancestral in May.

Chris Shanahan in the Canberra Times on 6 May 2015 at Wine review – Sevenhill, Bowen Estate, Yalumba, Penfolds, d’Arenberg and Sassafras

And Mike Bennie at Wine Front on 22 May 2015 (you need to be a member to read the full review) at Sassafras Gamay Ancestral 2014...

"Top shelf pet nat. Never thought I’d say that; usually just guzzle the stuff down and shift on. It’s bright and vibrant in glass. Near the rim and musk, rose water and gentle sweet vanilla whiffs show with a dash of alpine herbs. Foamy mouthfeel, good creamy texture shifts to mouthwatering cranberry acidity. Bubbles are big and friendly, fruit is sweet-sour and there’s a lick of neat bitterness to whip the palate to fresh. Yum. This is fine, fresh and ballistically delicious. Sign up now."

Liquor licence!

Ready to start showing the wines around, starting with the 2014 Tumbarumba Gamay Ancestral sparkling wine. The 2013 Canberra Sagrantino will go to bottle after vintage, with a bit of bottle-ageing before release.