It’s a boutique winery that in our humble opinion offers some of the finest cool climate wines and best Alpine Valley views possible; all within an easy ten minutes drive from The Buckland.
Ringer Reef winery, operated by the husband and wife team of Annie and Bruce Holms, is an Alpine Valley’s icon and this January 8-10, they’re set to celebrate their tenth anniversary with live music, fundraiser BBQs, entertainment for the kids and three days of winery festive fun for the big kids.
For those uninitiated, Ringer Reef winery is situated on Victoria’s Great Alpine Road at Porepunkhah with rows of vines climbing steeply up its hillsides. Half way up the main rise sits an open-plan cellar door featuring a quaint tastings bar area (indoors) and an expansive sun-sheltered dining and BBQ terrace out front. Here views look directly west to the gorge; an impressive vantage point from which to admire Mount Buffalo’s towering granite face. Below the mountain’s foothills you’ll also have a clear line of sight to the meeting point of the Buckland and Ovens rivers. From here views stretch further southwest along the Buckland Valley, presenting a bird’s eye view of the often green in summer lush Alpine Valleys landscape.
The Buckland recently caught up with winemaker Bruce Holm to sample a few of his best summer drinking wines and yet again we were delightfully surprised by the quality and freshness of his cool climate wine product.
Wine #1 (Smashes NZ): The 2015 Ringer Reef Sauvignon Blanc (RRP $20) presents with a crisp, sweet, floral nose – it’s fresh yet thankfully never overpowering. This wine showcases the clear advantages of Bruce and Annie’s cooler climate Alpine Valley’s vineyard location. The fruit was harvested in the third week in February, around month and half later than other regions such as Rutherglen to the north. This far up the valley the fruit is aided with longer ripening times and is able to retain higher acids due to cooler nights, making the final wine rather lean, clean and tightly focused – it’s a very smart wine. Bruce says he likes it as an aperitif, however we think it would work well with some BBQ calamari or simply pickled octopus and olives.
Wine #2 (A new world gem): With its explosive and extremely complex nose, the 2014 Ringer Reef Chardonnay (RRP $24) is a surprisingly beautiful wine from start to finish. Boasting 9-months on lees (skin contact in stainless tank), and 100% malolactic fermentation, most wine aficionados would guess this wine as being an overly buttery, too rich ‘masculine’ old world wine; however this couldn’t be further from the truth. Ringer Reef’s astonishing fruit again provides a seemingly impossible balancing act with retained (reasonably high) acid levels adding a refreshing ‘crunch’. Fragrances of fresh picked cumquats and apricots are present, and deeper layers of marzipan round out its body. On the palate it is clean and luxurious – it’s a joy to drink.
Wine #3 (Simply beautiful): One of the most exciting additions to the summer 2015/2016 collection is the 2013 Ringer Reef Nebbiolo: it’s firm, slightly grippy on the palate, yet very approachable. For those who know their Italian varietals, this Nebbiolo (in our opinion) is made to a lighter barbaresco style, and is aged 24 months in mostly seasoned French oak barrels. At only two years of age, it is surprisingly smooth and easy drinking, with rather soft but grippy tannins. This champion of all food wines showcases Nebbiolo’s classic tar and roses fragrances and gives the Italians a serious run for their money. If you’re one who’s never tasted a Neb, we recommend you start here and strike up a conversation with Bruce about the origins of the grape, and perhaps asking why he decided to grow it in Porepunkah. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll fall in love with this wine, as we, and chef Hamish Nugent did (Hamish operates Tani Eat Drink in Bright, Victoria; a restaurant that often features Bruce and Annie’s handcrafted wines).
Bruce has been making wine since 1972, previously working for companies such as McWilliams, Sam Miranda and Gapsted. While we were able to discern complimentary comparisons of his wines to many world greats, he’s adamant that Ringer Reef has its own style that is a pure reflection of the vineyard fruit.
Tenth Anniversary Celebration Dates: Ringer Reef’s tenth birthday anniversary celebrations take place from January 8 to 10, 2016 and feature music from Joe Davis (Jan 8), Adam Lindsay and Ricki Wood (Jan 9) and Rudi Katterl (Jan 10). On site will be Gundowring Ice Cream, Sixpence Coffee, Trixie the Clown, Wendy’s Spud Train as well as a BBQ fundraiser, bring-your-own picnics are also welcome; wines not BYO of course.
Cheese platters: (available throughout summer) feature Boosey Creek cheeses: Oma’s Favourite – Spiced Gouda, Boosey Soft – a soft creamy camembert, Boosey Blue – soft textured blue, Tungamah Tasty – a traditional handmande cheddar; plus a selection of charcuterie, pickles, dukkah, Anne’s homemade chicken liver pate or frittata (on alternate days) and bread, crackers and dips.
Ringer Reef is open from 12 noon to 5pm 7 days a week, all seasons
6835 Great Alpine Road, Porepunkah, Victoria
03 5756 2805