Thousand Candles was established in 2009 in the Yarra Valley by renowned winemaker William (Bill) Downie. As the story goes, a wealthy Malaysian businessman was looking to invest in a wine business in Australia, and contacted Bill, wanting his help. When Bill saw a particular vineyard come up for sale (one from which he made wine for De Bortoli), he immediately bought it. The property is situated on a sweeping hillside and floodplains that were, up until it was sold, farmed conventionally with a focus on quantity rather than quality. Bill and Stuart Proud, his viticulturist, then set up ‘rehabilitating’ the soil with a combination of organic, biological and biodynamic practices, though not totally ruling out chemical management techniques, if absolutely necessary. All of the vine and pasture cuttings and other farm waste is composted, made into “tea”, and then sprayed through the vineyard, to give vines nutrients. A range of grape varieties are grown on the estate, such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The ‘Gathering Field SS Shiraz’ is one of Thousand Candles’ cheaper wines, displaying typical cool-climate Shiraz characters, like red berries and violets on the nose, spices, herbs and red fruit on the palate, with gentle tannins. The ‘Single Vineyard Pinot Noir’ is one of their premium reds (alongside their ‘Single Vineyard Syrah’), and is made from fruit isolated early in the growing season, which is then given a bit of extra TLC. The wine has aromas of cherry and herbs and a certain earthiness, with red berries, pomegranate and forest floor characters on the palate, with great acidity, depth and structure, that will help it to age for years.
For more information on Thousand Candles, head to the website.