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Giaconda vineyard was established by Rick Kinzbrunner, a mechanical engineer who became interested in wine in the early 1970's. Rick then spent the next ten years working in the industry, travelling and following his passion for wine. After a brief stint in New Zealand, he studied at Davis University in California and worked at some of the most respected wineries in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys (namely Stag's Leap, Simi and Matanzas Creek). In Europe he worked for the Moueix group in Bordeaux, co-owner of the fabled Chateau Petrus.

After returning to Australia in 1980 to take up a position as assistant winemaker at Brown Brothers in Milawa, Rick purchased land in the nearby Beechworth wine region - at the foothills of the beautiful North-East Victorian Alps. Planting commenced in 1982 and the property is now devoted solely to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. A separate planting of Nebbiolo has also been established close to the Beechworth township at Red Hill. Total area under vines at the Giaconda Estate Vineyard is now 4 hectares. Annual wine production is approximately 2,500 dozen bottles.

This wine is made from premium Estate grown fruit planted on the cooler south-facing exposure at an altitude of 430 metres (1,410 feet). The fruit is hand picked, lightly crushed and then basket pressed - before being transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation (approximately 30% new). The resulting wine is aged slowly for up to 22 months, deep underground in our granite maturation cave.

2014 En Primeur Tasting: Presenting cool white stone fruit flavours, grapefruit and nectarine with subtle scented oak spice. Emerging notes of matchstick and complex funky sulphides as seen in recent vintages. The palate is very powerful and textural, round and harmonious with refreshing acidity. Flourishes of minerality and graphite bring another dimension to the palate. A subtle, composed and quietly complex wine [barrel tastings]. Alcohol: 13.5%; Closure: Screwcap only; Cellaring: 3-15 years; Production: 1,000 dozen

I haven’t caught up with Giaconda wines in a while, but tasted a slew of ‘Australian classics’ in a remarkable tasting with Harvey Steiman of Wine Spectator notoriety, alongside Wine Spectator’s new Australia-focussed wine correspondent MaryAnn Worobiec, and Andrew Caillard MW (who put together the incredible ‘classics’ list – I’ll publish full findings soon). Though I haven’t seen the 2013, this 2014 release was on the bench that day alongside the 2010 release chardonnay (94-95 points). Feels like oak has been dialled down in 2014. Powerful wine, intense, spicy, cedary, fruit set to the background but lemony fresh and delicious. So much character, so much intensity. Oak back seat, fruit upfront, seamless and long. Coats the palate lightly in oily, lemon balm and cedar character. It’s wonderful. Closure : Screwcap; Drink : 2016 - 2024+; Rated : 96 Points; Mike Bennie; The Wine Front

Hand-picked, lightly crushed and basket-pressed to French oak (30% new) for fermentation and ageing, up to 2 years in barrel (the barrels are stored deep underground in a granite maturation cave). Has all the opulent complexity this wine is famous for, yet has a fine stainless steel backbone that will ensure its development over 10 years. The flavours run through grapefruit juice and zest, grilled almond, nutty oak and minerally acidity. Drink by: 2025; Date tasted: 19/Jul/2016; Alcohol: 13.8%; Rating: 97 Points & Special Value Star; James Halliday




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