Geology lesson reward for climb up to vineyard

During the recent grape harvest, a small window of opportunity allowed me to scamper up the hill to the Prophet's Rock Vineyard in Bendigo, where I met Paul Pujol and Francois Millet.

With the uppermost reaches of the home vineyard at 400m above sea level there is a magnificent view out over the Cromwell Basin.

Paul gave me a geology lesson, explaining that the vineyard is situated at the terminus of the oldest glaciation in the area, with the distinctive topography of younger glaciations clear to see further down the valley.

Thousands of years of weathering of the glacial moraine has created the friable nature of the home vineyard soils, in contrast to the harsh, jumbled rocks of their other vineyard, appropriately named Rocky Point.

Paul has been at Prophet's Rock since 2005, being joined in 2015 by French winemaker Francois Millet from the prestigious Burgundy producer Comtes Georges de Vogue, who visits every year, the two collaborating to produce their Cuvee aux Antipodes from a single block on the home vineyard.

Both men are from the less-is-more camp. Paul expressed the pragmatic side when he spoke of his business card listing "winemaker'', which comes with the expectation that you must "do something'' to make wine, whereas he has had to learn to step back, to let the vineyard shine through.

Francois showed his poetic side when he pointed out the lacy filigree of the Pisa ridgeline across the valley, comparing over-extraction to obstructing the intricate detail of the mountaintops by cloud.

Both are mindful of the powerful structure their vineyards can provide and have pulled back from punching down the cap, using gentler pump-overs instead. The result is wines with marvellous clarity and vividness that are well worth seeking out.


2017 Rocky Point Pinot Noir by Prophet’s Rock
Rating: Excellent

Red and black berry fruits, hints of cherry, florals and a spicy/savoury nuance. A cool, racy freshness invigorates the wine, which offers lovely fruit depth backed by notes of herbs and wet stones. Excellent texture, elegance and length.

Not so much a ‘‘second wine’’ but rather a separate vineyard.



2015 Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard Pinot Noir
Rating: Excellent to outstanding

Fine and elegant nose showing an amalgam of fruit backed by some savoury and earthy touches. Freshness on the palate; there’s lift to the fruit yet a supple, silkiness too with lovely flow through the mouth.

Delightful integration and balance here, poised and complex, adding notes of wild herb, tilled earth and umami as it flows to a long and engaging finish.



2017 Prophet’s Rock Cuvee aux Antipodes
Rating: Outstanding

This moves away from the red fruits into cherry and dark fruits, hints of pencil lead and herb with a brooding savoury note; a little oak spice too. The bright acidity is apparent yet neatly balances the fruit weight, which manages power and intensity without weight. Fine tannins, marvellous texture. The wine just fills every corner of your mouth.

A delight.

Add a Comment