Centennial Vineyards is about cool climate grape growing and winemaking. The vines ripen with lower temperatures than most Australian wine regions. Because the climate is colder, vines ripen the fruit much more slowly and evenly than in warm regions, producing balanced, aromatic fruit.
Advantages of Cool Climate
The reason we get higher natural acidities is because the rate of acid degradation on the vine is directly proportional to temperature. So in warmer climates, at the end of the season, their fruit is significantly lower in acidity than here. These higher natural acidities give the wine balance, crispness, and more lengthy palates with superior aging ability.
The cool Bowral vineyard at 760m in altitude (in winter snow is possible) is greatly influenced by maritime weather patterns and is suited to earlier ripening varietals such as Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Gruner Veltliner, Albarino, Riesling, Pinot Noir (4 clones), Pinot Meunier and Tempranillo. Of particular importance are the traditional Champagne varieties - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. These perform admirably allowing us to make a broad range of sparkling wines which have become very well respected within the industry.
Our Bridge Creek vineyard is located in the sunnier and warmer Orange region at 850m in altitude and west-facing for good afternoon sun exposure. Dry, continental weather patterns allow us to fully ripen mid-late ripening varietals. We have old vine plantings of high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, exciting new plantings of the very rare Mencia, Rondinella & Corvina, and Pinot Noir (Abel clone), Shiraz and Viognier. The vineyard is farmed sustainably and is in the process of gaining organic certification.
Riesling, Pinot Noir and Sparkling varieties do very well in cool climates as their delicate aroma is lost in warmer areas. In addition, the necessary crisp acidity, synonymous with these varieties is retained. Cool climate Chardonnay also makes a definite style which is fine and elegant in comparison to warmer climate styles which are often broadly flavoured.
Warmer climate examples may make good stand alone drinking styles, but lack focus, elegance and food compatibility. Our wines, especially our Reserve reds tend to develop with age and have excellent ageing potential.
By ensuring the crop load on the vine is minimal, and with fastidious attention to vine care and architecture, it is possible to make excellent full-bodied red and white styles that exhibit incredible colour, structure and elegance. Our growers understand our viticultural philosophy, and together we work very closely to produce small parcels of very high quality fruit for our Reserve range.
Many of our wines are from a "single vineyard" reflecting those unique characters and balance that cannot be made from any other site. We also like to trial new varietals (and different clones of the varietal) in a quest to give our customers a wide range of wine styles to choose from, additionally, we have a larger palette to draw from when creating blends.
Sparkling wine varietals suit our climate exceptionally well. With this in mind we planted Pinot Meunier in 2005 to add complexity to sparkling blends. In addition to our successful estate-grown sparkling Brut Tradionelle we will add new sparkling styles to show what this region can achieve.