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February 22, 2019
Habits

Moorak and Massey’s favourite new release wines

Ahead of the opening of their dual cellar door, Ferg's, we spoke to Moorak and Massey about the two new release wines they're most excited about - a grenache on grenache blend and a white variety often lost in pronunciation.

CityMag caught up with winemakers (and cousins) Jordan Hein and Bevan Ferguson a couple of weeks ago to chat about their upcoming collaborative cellar door, Ferg’s, slated to open at the end of March.

The duo behind the Moorak and Massey wine labels had not long received the keys to the Stepney warehouse (formerly home to Little Bang Brewing), and much of the work to convert the space was still to be done.

Remarks

Ferg’s is slates to open late March.

In the meantime, find Moorak at:
Sturt Street Cellars
Hutt Street Cellars
East End Cellars

And find Massey at:
Arab Steed Hotel Cellars
The National Wine Centre

Massey’s suburban stockists can be found here.

Ferg’s will eventually operate as a small-scale functioning winery (for blending, bottling and barrel storage) and hospitality venue, with a fit out by Andrew Eden of Frame.

At the time we visit, though, Ferg’s is little more than a storage facility. Jordan and Bevan are packaging up boxes of their latest release wine, and so we took the opportunity to chat to them about each of the latest releases from their respective wineries they’re most excited about.

Moorak’s 2018 grenache is an amalgamation of early-picked and late-picked fruit and multiple fermentation methods, blended together to represent a rounded picture of the variety.

“The idea of this was to be able to capture how grenache changes over its different ripeness as it develops,” Jordan explains.

“So you get red frogs, red liquorice from when it’s earlier, when it’s lower Baumé and more acidic, and then as it slowly develops it becomes more chocolatey and mocha and coffee-like.

“I was originally going to release two different grenaches, and I wanted to make them in as different styles as possible, and that was to show how a winemaker can have influence on the wine.

“But eventually I was sitting at a table with all the different barrels and I blended them together, and it created this layered complexity and density in all of those styles and it brought it into one, and I thought ‘That’s a better wine.’”

L-R: Jordan Hein from Moorak and Bevan Ferguson from Massey.

“So much thought going on,” Bevan remarks. Bevan saw the coming together of the wine in Massey’s Balhannah winery, which Moorak also operates out of.

“Sometimes you have to stand back and think about it. And a lighter wine isn’t less, it’s still gotta have that complexity, things going on, different layers. You’ve got to work almost harder on them.”

Bevan presents a bottle of Massey’s 2018 viognier, which is his first foray back into the variety in almost 10 years.

“I made a viognier off this block 10 years ago, in 2009, and it was such a marketing challenge, to pronounce it and get it out to people,” Bevan says.

“I went back to the same vineyard in Gumeracha 10 years later – the vineyard is that much older, that much better, and I thought Let’s climb the marketing summit again and let’s give it a go. So a moment of weakness, or madness.”

The wine is bright and complex, offering the depth often associated with the variety, without stretching too high in ABV – sitting around 12 per cent.

While little traction has been made in terms of marketing the variety, Bevan hopes that, through the influence of Ferg’s, he can create some familiarity with the variety and its pronunciation (‘vee-ohn-yay’).

“I was up in Mildura, they do an alternative wine show up there, and the young fellow who was the sponsor for the viognier class stood up and he couldn’t pronounce viognier, in front of all of us winemakers, the poor bugger. It’s just got that challenge of the name,” Bevan says.

“This is where having an establishment like this is fantastic. You just pour it out, have a try, talk about it.

“It’s just that chipping away at it. We haven’t planned to have a sauvignon blanc on the list as such, we each don’t make one, so if somebody comes in and says ‘Can I have a sauvignon blanc?’ You just go ‘Well, this interesting one here, give it a go.’”

As a point of contrast, Jordan also used fruit from the same Gumeracha plot to create his 2018 viognier – a skin contact (AKA orange) take on the variety.

Both Moorak’s 2018 Grenache and Massey’s 2018 viognier will be available at Ferg’s when it opens in late March, and you can find both brands at independent bottle shops around the city.

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