Mount Horrocks was established in 1982 in the Clare Valley by the Ackland brothers, and purchased by winemaker Stephanie Toole in 1993. Since that time, she has also been the partner of Clare Valley Riesling aficionado Jeffrey Grosset. They use the same winery for their different brands, and grapes from separate vineyards. Stephanie acquired the Cordon Cut vineyard in Auburn in 2001, a warm site which helps to produce concentrated fruit, from which she makes her acclaimed Riesling dessert wine. The other six wines in her line-up include Shiraz, Semillon, Nero D’avola, Cabernet Sauvignon, rosé and more. Her riesling originates from the 16-acre Alexander vineyard located in the Watervale sub-region of the Clare Valley, an area renowned for producing superior wines. Both sites are certified organic, and production is limited to 3,500 cases per year, in order to ensure that the highest-quality single-vineyard wines can be produced. It’s hard to believe that Stephanie has no formal training in winemaking, yet it hasn’t mattered at all considering the popularity of her wines.
The ‘Cordon Cut Clare Valley Riesling’ is named after a technique whereby a vine is cut on its non-fruit-bearing cordon (branch), forcing water to flow from the grapes themselves, concentrating the flavours within. This sweet wine has received stellar reviews for many years, due to its intense flavours, acidity and ability to age. The dry ‘Watervale Riesling’, due to its organic fruit, has no additives and is not fined or filtered, yet still retains the ability to age for years. Despite her love for riesling, Stephanie also produces several reds, such as: the ‘Alexander Vineyard Shiraz’, which is fermented and handled in two different ways, adding complexity; and the ‘Clare Valley Nero d’Avola’, a layered wine full of red fruits, liquorice and spice.