Hot off the heels of the rave 96 point Wine Front review from Campbell Mattinson on the 2016 Fighting Gully Road Shiraz, we thought we would take a moment to turn the spotlight on this unsung hero of the Beechworth region.
If you want to know about growing grapes in North-East Victoria, Mark Walpole is the bloke to speak to.
As viticulturalist for Brown Brothers through the 1990s and 2000s, Mark was one of the most influential voices in the state in championing the Italian varieties so in vogue today. Indeed many of the sexy Tempranillo, Nebbiolo or Sangiovese you will see being produced by the VIC younger-gen crowd would have at some point been touched by Mark's hand.
He's been something of a mentor to many of the hottest names in Victorian wine today. Fighting Gully Road is his baby.
In 1997, Mark planted the first vines on the Fighting Gully Road vineyard, a site high up above the Murmungee basin, to the south of Beechworth township. Since then, he has quietly gone about growing sensational fruit without fanfare, now people are taking notice.
Today, Mark's partner in crime in Fighting Gully Road is former Young Gun of Wine winner and regular Wine Show Trophy-lifter, Adrian Rodda.
Adrian learnt his winemaking chops under Dave Bicknell at Oakridge and since has garnered plenty of acclaim for his eponymous A. Rodda label. The two together are a potent combination.
The Fighting Gully Road wines deliver rare value for the region. They are powerful, complex and imbued with a sense of place.
In a small region stacked with some of the biggest names (and pricetags) in Australian wine, it's nice to find a hidden gem.
Fighting Gully Road is one of those gems.
2016 Fighting Gully Road Shiraz
"The wines of Fighting Gully Road have always been good but in recent times they’ve taken significant steps forward by my reckoning.
Exhibit A. This is a damn fine wine. It’s savoury, stringy and structured but it just provides so much pleasure. Anise and black cherries, white pepper and deli meat flavours are the guts of it, though florals are important here too. It’s a ripper. The price is exceptionally fair."
- Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Front)