Mount Pleasant is very pleased to announce the launch of the new B Side Range, an innovative project which gives the winemakers free reign to follow their instincts and hearts, to take some risks and create some truly memorable wines.

Winemaker Scott McWilliam says that the name of the range speaks of its experimental and personal nature.

The B Side of a record usually held an out of the ordinary bonus track, where artists took the opportunity to record and release a remix or a track deemed too risky or unorthodox for the A side.

“Like musicians in many ways, winemakers regularly combine science and art. These days, for commercial reasons, some winemaking is more science than art. But all great winemakers aspire to make both iconic and experimental wines. The B-Side range is where we can “play” and experiment at a boutique level.”

Indeed the B Side range follows this philosophy of individuality, allowing our winemakers to follow their hearts and create something truly representative of their passion and personality.

The range consists of the CF13 Dry Red (Shiraz, Montils), the Field Blend- Airport Block 3/46 (Chardonnay, Verdelho, Semillon) and the LS8 Semillon.

Each is produced in small batches and is only available through our Hunter Valley and online Cellar Door.

Winemaker Scott McWilliam on each of the wines in the B Side range:

LS8 Semillon

The LS8 Semillon idea was a result of my love for German Riesling. I don’t usually drink sweet wines, however the Moselle Rieslings are close to my heart.

LS8 means the Lovedale Sweet 8 Acre Block.

The Semillon is picked ripe to get a more tropical spectrum of flavours rather than the less ripe grassy notes, and historically the 8 Acre block (second oldest Semillon vines on Lovedale) produces a pretty floral style, suitable for how we wanted the final wine to look.

The fermentation is conducted at a cold, slow rate to preserve all the fresh fruit characters, and was stopped at the desired level of final sweetness. The natural sugar in the wine is balanced with a high acidity. As a result the final alcohol is rather low, making for a light, pretty and delicate wine.

CF13 Dry Red

The CF13 Dry Red concept came about when McWilliam’s Operations Manager Jim Brayne brought up the idea of doing a co-fermentation, similar to Northern Rhone styles. I suggested we trial the Montils variety with Shiraz and the concept was given the green light.

We hand-picked all of the Montils, 50% of which was picked early and held cold for a week before processing. My thought pattern was to combine the white Montils (originally planted by Maurice O’Shea on the Old Hill, the current vines planted from cuttings of these) with the Shiraz from the old block on Rosehill which Maurice planted by hand in 1946.

CF13 stands for Co-Ferment Vintage ‘13, and this particular vintage is 9% Montils.

I decided to make this wine into a light and delicate dry red style, similar to Burgundian Pinot or a heavy Beaujolais. To do this I included about 20% Shiraz whole bunches, and light hand plunging was conducted so as to ensure gentle extraction.

Halfway through the fermentation I got into the ferment tank to do a pigeage (stomping) method, so as to break up some of the whole bunches and mix them in.

The wine was then matured in aged Hungarian oak to accentuate the spice notes in the wine.

Unfortunately, production of this wine was very limited due to the small plantings of the Montils- only 800 bottles could be produced, possibly the smallest commercial bottling run in the history of McWilliam’s Wines. The wine is already almost sold out due to the small run.

Airport Block

The Airport Block is a field blend of the three white varieties planted on the Lovedale vineyard, being 50% Chardonnay and equal amounts of Semillon and Verdelho.

The fruit was picked at the same time allowing each variety to contribute its own characters to the blend.

All the fruit was then whole bunch pressed and the juices were split to different components. Some of the parcels were fermented in new oak in combination with wild yeast, while some components were left in stainless steel.