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Orange’s ‘group of stars’ continues to shine
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This month Orange winemaker, Dindima, celebrates the release of two new vintages, including the 2005 Dindima Chardonnay and 2004 Dindima Cabernet Merlot.
Dave and Lee Bell and their sons, established Dindima in 2002 with the purchase of a small, underperforming vineyard, winery and cellar door on the outskirt of Orange. Since then, they have worked with enthusiasm and passion to transform this 5 hectare vineyard, with the results now being showcased in their wines.
At Dindima close collaboration and attention to detail are considered essential. From the daily management of the vineyard and winery, to the use of Riedel stemware in the welcoming cellar door, the Bells have a single minded focus on building the quality of their wines and their region.
“Our son James is the winemaker,” commented Lee, “and Dave and I seem to have become the cellar rats. When James decided to barrel ferment the 2005 Chardonnay, we eagerly agreed, however I recall spending most of my time doing barrel work as James reveled in his role of chief winemaker. And I thought that I was supposed to look after the marketing!”
“With a history in education, I was keen to learn the winemaking ropes. We are certainly a ‘hands on’ winery, as most small wineries are. Dave however has a penchant to disappear into the vineyard or winery when there’s cellar door visitors, so some of us are developing some skills faster than others” noted Lee wryly.
The 2005 Dindima Chardonnay is a quintessential cool climate wine with fruit grown just below 600 metres.
“After the fruit came into the winery, we whole bunch pressed and barrel fermented the juice in a combination of new and older French oak hogsheads,” explained James. “Once it had completed its primary ferment we then pumped it into similar French hogsheads to complete its malolactic fermentation.”
The wine stayed on lees, with weekly stirring, for a further 18 months prior to assessing the individual parcels, blending and bottling.”
“This is a great food wine, with elegant stone fruit and grapefruit flavours combining with the creamy, nutty flavours derived from the oak. The acid structure will also ensure that it will cellar well for a few years.”
The 2004 Dindima Cabernet Merlot was made from fruit grown on the Winery Block at approximately 900 metres in altitude.
“We fermented the juice on skins for about a week, pumping over three times a day to develop the maximum colour and flavour extraction. From there we pumped into a little new but mostly one year old French oak,” explained James.
“After racking off lees, we transferred the wine back to barrel for 24 months maturation prior to bottling.”
The Cabernet Merlot is a medium bodied wine with lifted floral, chocolate and dark plum aromas. These flow through to the palate which is balanced and structured with approachable, dusty tannins.