mitchell harris / pyrenees, ballarat and beyond, victoria
cool climate stylings from one of the most passionate advocates for victorian wine
Famed for an excellent wine bar and cellar door venue in Ballarat, Mitchell Harris is a multi-faced wine business of two families. The affable John Harris earned his winemaking stripes as chief sparkling winemaker of Domaine Chandon before the families launched their own operation in 2008, becoming Ballarat’s first true food and wine destination, underpinned by a smart, small batch wine label.
Long standing relationships with good growers have been maintained, most notably with the Peerick vineyard in the gorgeous Victorian Pyrenees. Winemaking ethos is of contemporary minimal handling, with a leaning to wild ferments, considered use of French oak, and gentle extraction. The wines are stylistically clean and pure, with John Harris a renowned tireless campaigner in the promotion of Victoria’s wines and regions.
70% Pinot Noir, blended with Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Grown at Moonambel in the Pyrenees. Wild fermented and matured in old French oak.
A dry and generous rosé with texture and complexity built by considered winemaking. Wild cherries and summer berry fruit is abound, with earth and dried herbal notes and a long savoury tail.
Wild yeast fermentation in French oak hogsheads on full juice solids. Approximately 10% fermented on skins for 2 weeks. The vineyard delivers ripe grapefruit and passionfruit characteristics, with wild ferment and Fumé-style funk, further complexed by a ferrous mineral underpinning and a tiny lick of creamy texture from the barrel and lees work. A Sauvignon Blanc with complexity, length, texture and zing.
Grown at Moonambel in Victoria’s Pyrenees ranges. Fermentation is open, with maturation in old French oak hogsheads. A seductive nose of sour cherries, with pure and juicy fruit, with a weave of dark chocolate and cocoa. Tannins are perky and with enough firmness to give some real character here. A delicious, bright Sangio in its element with spaghetti and meatballs.
The gentle west facing exposure and red/brown, rocky, free-draining soils, provides ideal ripening conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon. Matured in French oak hogsheads (20% new) for 18 months.
Varietal Cabernet all right – elegant and medium bodied, with a lovely line of cassis, a drop of mint, a savoury edge of capsicum, and ultra dark chocolate/Blackforest cake. Tannins are fine and long, a complex and grown-up iteration of the most noble of grapes.
The inclusion of 25% whole bunches, and wild yeast fermentation, bring added layers to the wine. 18 months maturation in French oak provides a fine savoury edge though the wine’s defining virtue is its structure – the tannins are well described as a scaffold. There’s an amazing textural depth and complexity to the wine, with inky tannins carrying an abundance of herb and spice character, blue and black fruits, and classy, well integrated oak. Victorian Shiraz elegance in full flight.
65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, from Macedon, Henty and Pyrenees, aged 3 years on lees and dosed at 4g/L. This is Mitchell Harris’ flagship wine – based on an excellent stable of red and white, this designation shows justified confidence in the style, given John Harris’ former work at Chandon.