The Wine Making
At Bass River we aspire to craft wine to best portray the vineyard and deliver wines with elegance, freshness, purity, balance and length. This demands that we follow a stringent non-interventionist traditional approach to our winemaking, by allowing controlled indigenous yeast to do our fermentation and using traditional Burgundian methods to enhance the expression of our terrior and character of Bass River.
These techniques assist us in producing the wines of great elegance, complexity and length for which the Gippsland region is renowned. Further, to creating Single Vineyard wines the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir clones are fermented separately, to better understand their attribute and influence to the wine as well as seasonal variations.
Our French oak barrels are sourced from the best family coopers in France. Every year we seek out the best combination of barrels to provide the structure, integration and flavours which best support the high quality and character of our fruit. All our wines are bottled under screw cap, to preserve the pristine character of our wines.
Each bottle of Bass River wine holds a memory, each has a unique story that starts in vineyard and ends when you enjoy it. Our wines are fresh with a purity of flavour and balance. As young wines they are almost seamless, nothing appears out of place. With age, our wines retain their freshness and purity but build additional layers of complexity and palate length.
We achieve this level of distinctiveness and excellence because we are both vignerons and wine makers.
Bass River owner and vigneron Pasquale Butera, wine maker Frank Butera and local wine maker/consultant Marcus Satchell create all the wines. They make the major decisions for blending of the Single Vineyard range and for the future aspirations for Bass River.
Single Vineyard Wines
Our wines are a profound reflection of a cool maritime region. Take a moment to enjoy and explore the characteristics of the Single Vineyard range embodying the Bass River style for subtlety, elegance, freshness, purity, balance and length. This can be seen across all our wines such as the power and minerality of our Chardonnay, our powerful and elegant Pinot Noir, our spicy and balanced Merlot, our complex Sauvignon Blanc and delicious Riesling.
Pinot Noir continues to be a standout variety for Bass River and the Gippsland Region. The grape variety lends itself more than any other grape to the influence and expression of the site. Ultimately this dictates the methodology behind our winemaking. It is a respect for the vineyard and for the grape itself that governs our winemaking techniques. Wild yeast fermentation, hand plunging and the absence of filtration all allow the expression of the variety and its interaction with the site to be vividly expressed without intervention. At Bass River our Pinot Noir is a combination of four clones (MV6, 114, 777, G5v15), when combined are the foundation of our unique single vineyard style.
The Bass River chardonnay leans towards a contemporary style, concentrating on fruit with minimal intervention from the winery. Our chardonnay is cooled, followed by whole punch pressing, controlled indigenous yeasts and batonnage all contribute to the development of great complexity, textures and flavours. Our Chardonnay is a combination of four equal cones these are I10V1, I10V5, Penfolds 58 and Mendoza.
Much of what we do in the winery is employed to allow the attributes of our Pinot Gris to be displayed uninhibited. We pick and process Pinot Gris in two batches to preserve the acid without compromising on complexity and structure. We ferment in old oak, batonnage and whole bunch pressing is carried out to enhance textures and flavours reminiscent of an Alsatian styled. The Pinot Gris is bottled early to preserve aromas.
Our Sauvignon Blanc is made with texture and mouthfeel in mind, the wine has equal portion in barrel and tank with extended skin contact and time on lees. This adds a savoury complexity that gives vibrancy to the variety.
The technique used to make our Merlot is similar to our Pinot Noir, we engage extended skin contact to the juice to allow for gentle extraction of tannins. The Merlot is aged in a mix of French oak barriques for up to 18 months on gross lees.
The Riesling is often reserved to produce our Iced Riesling dessert wine. The grapes are picked at optimum acid levels and what follows is a process to maintain purity of the fruit and while enhancing the sweetness of the variety.