About Blue Pyrenees

Blue Pyrenees Estate was established in 1963 by the French company Remy Martin, and was among the modern Australian wine industry’s first ventures into cool climate viticulture.

Today, Blue Pyrenees is 100 per cent Australian owned and is led by Chief Winemaker Andrew Koerner. Proud of the fact that all of their wines are made from grapes grown in their vineyards and produced in their estate winery, Blue Pyrenees Estate are committed to making authentic, world class-quality wines.

CLIMATE

The Estate is comprised of 150 hectares of vineyards on the edge of an abundant State forest and bordered by the Pyrenees mountain range, about seven kilometers out of the township of Avoca.

Ample amounts of sunshine ensure our grapes ripen to full maturity with the heat moderated by altitude (400 metres above sea level) and southerly ocean winds allowing us to escape the extremes of temperature associated with continental climates. The surrounding mountains and the undulating nature of our Estate see cool air movement down the slopes, preventing the frost devastation which afflicts so many other Victorian vineyards. Essentially, the climate is warm enough to give concentration and power, yet cool enough to give vibrancy and elegance, resulting in remarkable wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

SOILS

The gravel beds on the valley floor no doubt reminded our French forbears of the gravels of Bordeaux and the south of France and are, not surprisingly, best suited to our Bordeaux and Rhône varietals. There are broadly three soil types across the Estate.

  •  a brown sandy loam to sandy clay over a gravelly medium brown clay subsoil which permits good root depth – this wide root prospection offsets the aridity of these soils. The deepness of these soils provide the opportunity for dryland cropping of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. This soil type generally covers the blocks as you enter the main gate, heading towards the Lakehouse. The hill is of a similar soil type, the principal difference being the presence of rocky quartz at depth. Vine vigour is moderate as are yields and both factors contribute to the undoubted quality and strength of the red wines.
  • well drained reddish brown sandy loam over a sandy clay loam subsoil, with sandstone at depth. This soil type occurs in blocks 8 to 12 which support the majority of the vines used for our sparkling base. Good drainage and an excellent aspect (east facing slope) provide the ideal environment for sparkling base.
  • brown loamy sands over a brown light medium clay, with up to 15% quartz at depth. This soil type covers the remainder of the flats.

A diverse range of microclimates and soils across our property result in wines with a complex array of flavours.

Wine Making Process

Blue Pyrenees Estate (then known as Château Remy) was among the modern Australian wine  industry’s first ventures into cool climate viticulture. The Pyrenees (1392 heat degree days) is only marginally warmer than Coonawarra (1365 heat degree days), a key reference for cool climate viticulture in this country.

The breathtaking lake on our Estate, inadvertently formed during the gold-rush when a gold mining dredge struck a subterranean stream and flooded the valley, provides a valuable supplementary water resource for the Estate when required, especially in dry seasons. However, our vines receive minimal irrigation water. Some of them are dry-grown in keeping with the philosophy of Vincent Gere (our French chief winemaker from 1987 to 1996) who once quipped “We are not growing tomatoes”.

Our Winemakers

 

ANDREW KOERNER – CHIEF WINEMAKER & CEO

Andrew Koerner joined Blue Pyrenees Estate in February 2004 bringing a passion for wine cultivated as a youngster growing up in Australia’s wine capital, Adelaide. Working his first vintage in 1987 at Hardy’s Renmano in Renmark and subsequently at Hardy’s Tintara in McLaren Vale, Andrew graduated in 1992 from the internationally renowned Roseworthy Campus of the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Oenology.

The following year Andrew was appointed assistant winemaker with the legendary Len Evans’ Rothbury Group, working at St Huberts in the Yarra Valley. After this group’s acquisition by Beringer Blass, Andrew was appointed winemaker at the historic Saltram winery in South Australia’s Barossa Valley where he worked for four years until he met Rosemount’s Phillip Shaw.

Inspired by Shaw’s approach and winemaking philosophy gleaned whilst show judging with Shaw, Andrew moved to Rosemount in 1999 where he was promoted to senior winemaker with responsibility for premium wines. With the merger of Southcorp and Rosemount in 2001, Andrew was appointed winemaker and winery manager of the Rosemount Denman winery.

Andrew’s accumulated experience across different wine regions, varieties and wine styles has reached its pinnacle at Blue Pyrenees Estate, with one respected wine-writer stating that under Andrew’s stewardship “the Blue Pyrenees wines are the best they have ever been.”

Andrew is a prominent and respected wine judge and panel leader on the Australian wine show circuit.

CHRIS SMALES – WINEMAKER

Chris grew up in the Western suburbs of Melbourne and, after leaving school and trying his hand at several occupations, decided that he wanted to see a bit of the world. His wine industry initiation dates back to London in the early 1990s and the influential retailer Oddbins where Chris spent four years discovering the diversity of the world’s best wines and studying towards the W.S.E.T Diploma.

Inspired by his experiences in London Chris went on to study Winemaking at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and start a career that eventually led him to his current position as winemaker at Blue Pyrenees Estate. Previously, Chris was the winemaker at Virgin Hills and winemaker/ viticulturist at Goona Warra Vineyard, two other eminent central Victorian vineyards noted for their mature vineyards and classic red wines. Prior to that, various vintages have taken Chris to wineries in Coonawarra, and the Hunter and Yarra Valleys. He has been an integral part of the Blue Pyrenees winemaking team since 2002 and lives with his family in nearby Castlemaine.

Chris hopes for world peace, a Collingwood Premiership, and a Jimmy Watson Trophy.

OPEN 7 DAYS
11.00 AM – 5.00 PM

** Bookings for tastings are highly recommended

In 2017 Blue Pyrenees Estate was announced as the Ballarat and Pyrenees region’s best cellar door by Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine.

Media

Join Our Mailing List

Subscribe to Messages ?

RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017