Grosset Polish Hill is produced exclusively from the eight-hectare estate-owned Polish Hill Vineyard (certified organic) in the Clare Valley. The gently sloping site, selected and planted by Grosset more than two decades ago, is comprised of silt and shallow shales over a thin crust of clay and gravel. This overlays a bed of blue slate, estimated to be around 500-million-years old.
This ‘hard rock’ site was originally part of a larger estate but was considered to be of limited agricultural value and so was sold off. The vines here struggle to draw nutrients from the soil, so the bunches and berries are small, and the fruit flavours lean and austere. Indeed, this vineyard exemplifies how old-rock profiles can contribute to a wine’s character.
Relatively close-planted to three clones (two German and one rare local clone), this organic vineyard is completely tended by hand; hand-pruning, shoot and crop adjustment and 100% hand harvesting ensure pristine quality organic fruit is delivered to the (ACO certified) organic status winery at Auburn.
No tillage is employed and no fertilisers are introduced: a mix of natural and introduced clovers and grasses are maintained between the vines and allowed to self-seed.
Since the first striking example of the wine in 1981, Grosset has maintained a winemaking approach which brings out the best of this unique site.
Its challenging rocky profile results in low yields with an average of two bottles of wine per vine being produced.
‘We planted the Polish Hill vineyard in 1996, following years of research into the influences of soil, rock and altitude on riesling. Being a hard rock site overlaid with silty, low fertility soils, the vines struggle and crops are low. While challenging to manage, the result is strikingly different.’ JG