It was excellent to see Clive Dougall, winemaker at Seresin Estate, again. His new regime of self-improvement through healthy eating has seen him trim down, and he reports he’s never felt better. I suppose it’s what happens when you work at something you truly believe in, and in an environment which is so positive, supportive and all in a good cause. And that’s what Seresin Estate is all about, not only caring for the environment we live in, but being a responsible living organism in that environment. Being fully certified biodynamic and organic in the vineyard in 2010, Seresin must be a good place to be, and judging by the open, friendly people there – especially those working in the compost on a crisp, cool morning – it really is. Clive says how “you feel about the place you work” is so important.
Clive has been there six years, and has become very comfortable about what he is doing. Not that he is taking it easy, or taking anything for granted. He is inquisitive as ever and improvement is ever on his mind. His viticultural off-sider, Colin Ross, also at Seresin Estate for six years has continually implemented changes and improvements that show biodynamics can operate effectively at the not insignificant 95 ha of vineyards and the other 40 ha of estate land owned by Michael Seresin. Colin’s work has made it easier for Clive to make wine naturally. The 30,000 cases of Seresin Estate and similar amount of MOMO wine are substantial in world terms, according to organic and biodynamic wine world authority Monty Waldin. Yet Seresin’s team make it happen, healthily and happily.
A quick tasting of a selection of wines, demonstrated how the Seresin range seems to have attained a natural state of balance over the past few years. The Sauvignon Blanc 2009 is still tight and restrained in expression, yet with excellent weight. How many other 2009s have such a long way to go? Even better was the ‘Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc 2009, more lively from fresher acidity, combining real finesse with just a touch of funkiness. This has become a classy, complex wine after only three vintage releases. The ‘Leah’ Pinot Noir 2009 has dark floral perfumes with acid tension and raciness, the fragrant fruit showing a sumptuousness. 2008 was a vintage that turned out smaller-scale wines, and the ‘Rachel’ Pinot Noir 2008 is a beauty because of it. Supple, gentle and truly layered in expression, it is near-ethereal. While Clive reckons this wine will never be a show winner, he is absolutely spot-on describing how deliciously drinkable it is.
The last sample that Clive showed us was an unfinished tank sample of Sauvignon Blanc 2011 totally unsulphured in the vineyard as well as the winery. Soft, full, ripe, and showing no undesirable complexities, this could be a wonderful drink, riskily made, but an absolutely natural one, for enjoying this coming summer and autumn if he decides to bottle it separately. I encouraged him to do so. Maybe you should too?