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Now in its third year, 2022 marks a significant point in Apollo’s evolution. For previous releases, Michael has sourced fruit from one to three vineyards in the Piccadilly Valley’s western ridge. This year, 100% of the fruit for the Apollo was sourced from the family’s recently acquired Lenswood Vineyard. Initially planted in 1989, the Pinot Noir plantings total 35% of the acreage. There are four blocks; two were planted in the early 2000s to Dijon 114 and 115 (facing southwest); and the D5V12 blocks were planted in 1989 in the top corner of the vineyard facing east. Fruit for the 2022 Apollo came from the two 1989 blocks—one of which is very rich in ironstone, giving a deep tannin profile to the fruit—and one of the 114/115 clone blocks. Each parcel was fermented separately in 2.2-tonne fermenters, and the end composition is roughly equal to each block.
Cooler conditions in 2022 saw a decrease in the whole bunch component to 20%. The wine was raised in a mixture of French and Austrian demi-muids, puncheons and barriques (roughly 40% new) for nine months. Downer is working with tight grain, low-impact barrels to build texture and structure into the wines.
With the strength of the Lenswood fruit behind it, Apollo has taken off. From the very first sip, you get an enticing perfume of red fruits and dark berries mingling with savoury spice, tilled earth and a complexing smoky reduction. The palate is a real charmer, with pure and fleshy fruit calibrated to supple, velvety weight and a fine web of fluid tannins and acidity bringing sculpted shape and refreshment. Taking nothing away from the previous releases and forgiving the galactic analogy, it’s on another planet.
We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which we operate in Melbourne, and pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. We also acknowledge and respect the Traditional Owners of lands across Australia, their Elders, Ancestors, cultures and heritage, and recognise the continuing sovereignties of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations.
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