To produce the Nero d’Avola Clare Valley Mount Horrocks the hand-picked fruit was crushed, destemmed and cold soaked before fermentation took place on skins in an open fermenter to improve the structure of the wine. Malolactic conversion took place in stainless steel tanks. It was then racked into barriques and matured for 12 months in French oak, 20% of which was new.
Stephanie planted her Watervale vineyard to Nero d’Avola in 2007 after falling in love with the variety on a holiday to Sicily. The vineyard is northerly facing, soils are red clay over limestone and the low-yielding vines are trained to vertical shoot position.
Mount Horrocks is owned by winemaker Stephanie Toole, who restricts production to approximately 2,500 cases per year in order to achieve her aims of quality and single-vineyard expression. The Clare Valley winery was established in 1980 and purchased by Stephanie in 1993, since then she has made significant improvements to the wines, vineyards and winery. In 2014, the winery and vineyards were organically certified by the ACO (Australian Certified Organic). Stephanie describes her wines as ‘hand-made food wines’ with an emphasis on structure as well as generous fruit flavours. All grapes are estate grown and hand picked from two organically managed vineyards: the ‘Cordon Cut’ vineyard at Auburn close to the cellar door, planted only to Riesling; and the ‘Alexander’ vineyard at Watervale for Riesling, Semillon, Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. She has a total of nearly 10 hectares of vines. Stephanie’s persistence with classic, no-compromise winemaking and a fully integrated organic approach to growing sets Mount Horrocks wines apart from the mainstream.