At Willow Bridge, our Gravel-Pit block sits on an area which has been significantly re-landscaped by Man. While this is common in European vineyards, it is a rarity in Australia. It was previously the source of gravel for building the roads to the property, so had received something of a haircut before vines found their way there.
The resulting shallower soil profile leads to a deeply concentrated wine which tends to reflect its rocky name. with a tendency to produce the most macho and mineral style of all our Shiraz blocks. With the goal of softening this into the fresh, medium bodied style we like, and to add perfume and complexity, we used to co-ferment this fruit with a small amount of the white variety Viognier.
In 2013, we decided to make half of the wine off the block without Viognier and instead balance the finished wine by blending in small amounts of Grenache and Mataro we made from a neighbour's vineyard. We ended up preferring the result of this, so we bottled it without the other batch and we imagine that future releases will be similar.
Yes - we know our Estate Series wines are meant to be only from our estate, but we are a couple of years away from harvesting our own Grenache and their vineyard is less than two kilometres down the hill (we can see it from here), so thought it ok to break our own rule as long as we confessed.