Nadeson Collis 2020 Releases
The new sparkling wine project from Lethbridge Estate
People talk about playing a long-game in this industry, but few adhere to it like Maree Collis and Ray Nadeson of Lethbridge Estate, and less still can point to a project as patient and committed as the Nadeson Collis range of new wines.
Without even going into their commitment to cause in building their home, winery and vineyards themselves from scratch, I’m referring to the fact that the unmistakably dense, complex and concentrated backbone of these new wines has been a project for over 13 years…
In 2006, Maree & Ray started a solera of some of their finest Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris, with a vision to create a sparkling wine of incomparable style. This is a system where you create a mature batch of wine, and both remove some each year to use in blending, and top up with the same amount of young, fresh wine for the next vintage. It creates a single batch of wine that is made up, in this case, of 13 individual year's wines.
It’s this single foudre (large, oval-shaped barrel, see below) that feeds the new wines at various levels, bringing density and complexity to each bottling, and is topped up each year with the equivalent in current vintage wine.
When I first tried the finished wines, I spoke to Ray and tried to summarise my feelings. It went something like this - “it’s like the best of the small production champagnes in aspiration - intensely powerful wines that are based on oxidatively handled fruit, leading to powerful complexity, with aldehydes that are integrated throughout the palate. A kind of Australian Selosse, I suppose”.
This is a way of saying they are truly unique for Australia.
*Selosse is a Champagne producer of immense fame amongst lovers of a unique style of Champagne. The wines are wildly complex, carry oxidised characters and are as rare as they are expensive.
The 2020 Releases of the Nadeson Collis Range
NV Nadeson Collis Inception
75% of this cuvee is from the 2017 vintage, being Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Drumborg, with the remainder from the perpetual blend. 1.5g of dosage.
“Really full, textural and rich sparkling with honey, toast, nutty and very strong saline characters rolling around. Vinous in a way, but full-bodied, a touch of sherbetty lift and light white vinegar tang, a funky kind of fizz with lots of personality, vivacious feel and gentle bubbles. Lots of complexity and interest here.” 93 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
2011 Nadeson Collis Millesime
Blanc de Blanc. This is 100% the 2011 portion of wine that made its way into the blended wines. Where some of the wine went to the solera, this component was elevaged then aged in barrique until 2017, and then aged further in bottle.
“Strong sea spray, wet fern, lemon-lime and blossom scents with whiffs of grilled nuts in the mix. Brisk across the palate with a lean, racy pulse of salty acidity, crunchy green apple and lime juice. Some richness in oily notes, slightly distracting buttery-soapy, really long and fine finish compensating with a starburst of pulpy grapefruit finishing things. Refreshing, energetic, bright and intense. Works in two speeds, stays interesting in whatever gear you find it in.” 92 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
NV Nadeson Collis Coda
This is 100% the wine from the solera. The equivalent of 30 dozen was drawn down in late 2019 to be tiraged. It received zero dosage.
Wow. This is impressive. Wild. So nutty, savoury, whiffs of fino sherry, dried apple, faint farmhouse cider. Rich in the way it sits in the palate but with bright zing of acidity and very fine, light bubbles. Hugely nutty flavours too, more fino, maybe amontillado even, so complex, so interesting, rich, powerful statement in its way and so very delicious. An experience in the glass. Brilliant.” 96 points, Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
The foudre used for elevage and ongoing storage of the base wines and soler
There are few tales as impressive as that of Lethbridge Estate. Ray Nadeson and Maree Collis were both successful medical researchers before succumbing to their desire to create a vineyard and winery in Geelong. They planted vines on their own rootstocks, built a straw-bale winery and house, and farmed the land according to biodynamic beliefs. Their wines are powerful, structured, pure and long-lived.
"Our aim is to produce natural, savory wines that focus on balance and texture with a real sense of place or terroir. Not surprisingly, the site at Lethbridge was selected based on scientific principles such as soil type, degree days and other climatic indicators, yet when the three partners first explored the property they discovered an ancient old wooden fermentation vat in one of the old sheds. Discussion with the previous owner (Ivor Perdrisat) revealed that his family, Swiss in origin, had planted a vineyard on the exact site back in the 1870's before the discovery of phylloxera in the region. The old wine vat has been reincarnated as a beautiful timber tasting bench in the cellar door. This story is compelling in the connection between traditional wisdom and modern science."