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Young Guns of Wine – Part 3

By Alex Russell on April 22, 2015 in Food

Photo: Sami-Odi Twitter @ozwineguy

Photo: Sami-Odi Twitter @ozwineguy

Welcome to part three of my five part series on the Young Guns of Wine Awards (, which highlights some of the best young winemakers coming through the ranks in the Aussie wine industry.

Nick Farr (Farr Rising)

Nick’s dad, Gary, made a name for himself at Bannockburn, before starting his own label, By Farr, in the mid-1990s. Every wine under that label is pretty incredible, with the ‘Sangreal’ Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay my personal favourites.

Nick has pretty big shoes to fill. He got the opportunity to start filling them when some vineyards became available for him to play with, but Gary refused to help out. He learned a lot through this experience and created the Farr Rising label so that he could make his own stuff without having an impact on the By Farr wines. These days, Nick Farr is doing all of the winemaking at both labels and, from my recent tastings, the wines are just as good as always.

The Farr Rising wines are more approachable, while the By Farr stuff opens up over time. Both are great, but for me it’s the By Farr wines that I crave.

Emily McNally (Jasper Hill, Occam’s Razor)

Most people who appreciate their wine know of Jasper Hill, the Heathcote winery run by Ron Laughton. The famous ‘Emily’s Paddock’ red is named after his first daughter.

Emily (now married) has followed her dad into winemaking. She created her own label (also from Heathcote) called Occam’s Razor. She’s also working at Jasper Hill and is credited as the winemaker, along with her dad. The Emily’s Paddock and Georgia’s Paddock reds are the standouts, but there are some interesting drops like a Nebbiolo, a Grenache and a Riesling, along with a Semillon that was produced for a while and a Viognier that I have not had the chance to try.

The reds are rich and dense, showing the depth of flavour that the region can produce. They will benefit from a bit of air. The whites that I’ve tried are sensational wines too. The Jasper Hill winery has a great future ahead of it.

Fraser McKinley (Sami-Odi)

Fraser is the most recent winemaker to win the ‘Young Gun of Wine’ award. His wines come in bottles with interesting shapes, including a wax seal, which is a lovely touch. He only releases a couple of wines each year.

This year, the 2013 ‘DW-OLD’ Syrah is from the Dallwitz Old vineyard, bottled with as little sulphur as possible (described as a ‘homeopathic’ addition) and no filtration, fining or sparging (removal of natural O2 and CO2). It’s a pretty fascinating wine, with all sorts of interesting flavours evident. It will definitely benefit from time, but still looks great now.

The other wine he produces is the ‘Little Wine’ (now up to number 4), which is a blend of wines from three vintages – 2012 (17%), 2013 (44%) and 2014 (39%). They are super limited, so do jump on his mailing list. You won’t see them in many shops.