Fighting Gully Road is one of those smaller producers that we absolutely love. Minimal interventionist winemaking, using premium fruit, and site specific vineyards with distinct soil types and terroir. What's not to love?
Vigneron Mark Walpole bought the FGR site in 1995, and spent 2 years cleaning it of scrub, old tree stumps and rabbits! The first vines were planted in 1997 to Cabernet and Merlot, with Pinot Noir the following year.
From these early years, Mark has expanded his plantings to include several Mediterranean varieties such as Sangiovese, Aglianico and Tempranillo, and has incorporated the Smith Vineyard (the oldest vineyard in Beechworth, planted 1978), which he has leased since 2009.
The 2015 Cabernet is a beautiful cool-climate example, with just a splash of Carmenere to fill the classic Cabernet 'donut hole' on the palate. Cassis, tobacco, and spice are framed by fine-grained tannins in this absolutely delicious wine.
Deep in colour, this Cabernet Sauvignon reflects its cool climate roots; with cassis, dried tobacco and redcurrant on the nose. Fine grained tannins give great length to the palate which is rich and flavoursome; mid palate weight provided by the Carmenere and fragrance and length provided by Petit Verdot.
A wonderfully elegant wine with a savoury, herbal nose of eucalypt, tobacco spice and earth, underpinned by a core of black currant. The mid-weight palate shows great concentration and balance with hints of oak coming in on the long and layered finish. Savoury and moreish.
Fighting Gully Road is the passion project of Mark Walpole. After years working with Brown Brothers, in 1995 Mark found a block in neighbouring Beechworth, a region already known for producing premium boutique wines. The block was a mess and took him two years to clear before he could plant the vineyard. Mark was undeterred as the site was perfect, sitting at an optimum elevation of 550-575 meters on an escarpment that drops away by 200 - 300m. The elevation allows for a climate that is neither too hot nor too cold and the cooling winds keep the vines healthy, ensuring slow ripening during the day. At night, air drainage from the hillside provides milder conditions than the valleys below (similar to that found by the sea). This means that the climate of Beechworth is very similar to that in Bordeaux, resulting in elegant, structured and well-balanced wines.
CAMPBELL MATTINSON - HALLIDAY'S WINE COMPANION
Sinewy cabernet with dried herb, spice and then sweet red licorice-like fruit angling through the palate. It works.