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The RAFI Drop: Castagna Winery
Meet The Maker: Castagna Beechworth Winery
Castagna’s ‘Quasibianco Riesling’ has been hand-selected by Applejack Group Sommelier Amandine Rouviere to be part of The RAFI Drop.
We sat down with the team at Castagna to discover more about the wine makers, the history of the winery and for a closer insight about the 2017 Quasibianco Resiling on offer at RAFI.
About The Maker
How did you get started in wine?
Julian had been involved in the media industry for over 40 years. His journey from filmmaking to the wine business is a fascinating story. And along the way he became increasingly involved in biodynamic viticulture.
“I came to wine because I got to a point in my life where I was becoming bored with what I was doing. I was sitting in meetings where they were paying me outrageous amounts of money, but they weren’t listening anymore.” – Julian Castagna
Julian lives with his family at the winery at an altitude of 500 metres, five and-a-half kilometres outside the beautiful town of Beechworth in Northeast Victoria, high in the foothills of the Australian Alps. His son Adam works with him at Castagna and has his own label ‘Adams Rib’.
Julian is a member of the international group known as Renaissance des Appelations/Return To Terroir. Castagna is one of only five (Jasper Hill, Cullen, Ngeringa, Cobaw Ridge) Australian winemakers who are fully certified by Renaissance.
About The Winery
What Is The History Of The Vineyard?
The vineyard was planted in 1997 on what was previously grazing land. Five different clones of Syrah are grown, all of which are progeny of the original 1850s stock imported into Australia from the Rhone.
The land has been farmed biodynamic from the very beginning and it is this farming method that allows the mineralogy that is in this ancient granitic soil to show through in the wine. The vineyard is fully certified both organic and biodynamic and we are also proud to be one of only four Australian producers invited to be a member of La Renaissance des Appellations. Our soil mainly consists of decomposed granitic-loam with a predominance of quartz particles on a base of clay. The climate is distinctly Continental with hot days and cool nights during the important part of the growing season.
We make wines of terroir. Terroir is not only about soil but the whole eco-system which consists of light, heat, prevailing winds, slope of the land, length of the season and, most importantly, the organisms living and working in the soil – about a billion organisms per gram of soil. It is these micro-organisms which link the soil to the roots of the vine, strengthening and imprinting that particular soil’s authentic character.
Which Grapes Are Grown At This Vineyard?
Shiraz, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Viognier, Chenin Blanc are planted at the estate vineyard but others are sourced as a part of our “growers Selection” which the Quasibianco is a part of.
About The Drop Wine
Tell us about the wine you have selected for the RAFI Drop:
2017 Quasibianco Riesling. This is part of the “Growers Selection” where fruit is sourced from exceptional vineyards in neighbouring regions that are selected by Julian to meet his meticulous standards. The fruit for this wine is sourced from a vineyard in the King Valley. This is a riesling that spends 30 days on skins and fermented in a mix of ceramic egg and old oak.
Review by Winefront
“Pale gold colour. Exuberant perfume riots with tropical fruits, green herb, sea spray, green almond. The palate is tangy, zingy, tart, lightly chalky, sour citrus focussed, a touch of vinegary lift, and yet finishes with a comely tropical fruitiness. It’s an exotic, wild-edged wine. Curious thing, has deliciousness. Good.”
What type of dish would you recommend eating alongside the RAFI Drop wine?
“Everything I make is done with a view to how it goes with food. Australian food made with Asian spices works especially well with our wines.” ( Julian Castagna)