Woodstock: McLaren Vale’s world beating vintners
As the son of the late Doug Collett and proprietor of Woodstock Estate, award winning winemaker Scott Collett believes winemaking is simply a “matter of getting it right”. He indulges his passion in his work, while continuing the tradition started by his father over 30 years ago.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Scott completed a Bachelor of Oenology at Roseworthy College and gained winemaking experience in other regions in Australia, Europe and the USA before returning to the family business.
In 1986, he was crowned ‘The Bushing King’ of McLaren Vale for producing the best wine in the region that year. Tasting success, he bought some neighbouring vineyards in 1988, which included a single vineyard of 110 year old Shiraz vines. He personally tends to these majestic vines, which solely provide fruit for the Woodstock flagship – “The Stocks” Shiraz. Laurence Veale, one of Ireland’s top independent wine bloggers (www.sourgrapes.ie), raved about this red claiming that it had restored his faith in Shiraz.
Although “The Stocks” is not yet certified organic, the vines are treated with minimal impact sprays and no pesticides. All weeds are pulled by hand or with a brush cutter. The vine canopies are tended by hand, and if required the vines are leaf plucked or crop thinned to ensure even ripening and a good concentration of berry flavours.
In 1999, Scott joined forces with Ben Glaetzer, the 2004 Gourmet Traveler Young Winemaker of the Year, and together they jointly create the table wines that capture the essence of the rich vineyard resources of Woodstock Estate.
The combination of Glaetzer’s considerable winemaking skills and Collett’s understanding of the vineyards and those wonderful old vines has produced an exceptional range of terrior driven wines, from delicate fresh whites to rich powerful reds, typified by wonderful fruit flavours.
Of late, the dry 2007 season is of worthy note, culminating in small crops of intensely flavoured grapes. This low yield vintage has produced exceptional quality wines across the varietal spectrum, the 2007 Five Feet Viognier Blend being a very good example.
McLaren Vale is renowned for being the “mid-palate of Australia”, which is very evident in the Woodstock range, and although being mightily accessible, it would have any winebuff go weak at the knees. We opened a bottle of 1998 Woodstock Cabernet Sauvignon over Christmas and were astounded by how well it had held up. So we’re Wood-stocking up for the rest of the year..!