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01 Mar

Risen From The Ashes

By: SVS Categories: Wines

The hills and valleys that encompass the Mt Bera property date back to 1851 and were developed as commercial vineyards. In the 1990s, the previous owners converted the land to vineyards, but it has been the drive and passion of the Horner family that has transformed the property into what it’s known for today.

In 2008, Greg and Katrina Horner bought Mt Bera, always stating that they didn’t find Mt Bera, it found them. While some people plan out what they want to do, the unplanned events always seem to work out best for the Horners. They weren’t looking to buy, but after a friend sent them a link to the for-sale vineyard, they couldn’t say no. As an aeronautical engineer, Greg will be the first to admit he knew nothing about growing grapes or winemaking at the time, and he’s been on a steep and very successful learning curve.

Only 7 years after the Horners bought Mt Bera, the 2015 Sampson Flat bushfire came blazing through their property, threatening their dreams. After the fires, they were forced to cut around 25,000 vines back to the ground along with replacing posts and wires that fell victim to the fires. The vineyards rose from the ashes after a long restoration process, and only months after the Horners announced the Mt Bera cellar door was once again open for business, the 2020 bushfires threatened to wreck havoc on the vineyards once again.

This time, the winery had better fortune, as firefighters were able to stop the blaze a few short meteres from the vineyards. Due to the intense damage the vineyards faced in 2015, Greg and Katrina had learned the hard way how to rebuild what the fires had taken, and shared this knowledge with other winegrowers who in 2020 were faced with the same misfortune.

The focus of Mt Bera has always been to produce estate grown, single vineyard, natural wines that fully express the terroir- the soil, the climate, the topography, and the biodiversity of their sites, and when managing their vineyards, they want to assist nature instead of fight against it. Despite not being certified, they are extremely committed to using organic and biodynamic practices. Everything they do is aimed toward minimising any intervention and working with nature to produce the most complex, balanced wines possible.

The Wines

2019 Mt Bera ‘Dream Catcher’ Pinot Gris

93 pts – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): The Adelaide Hills is without doubt one the best regions in the country for pinot gris with its cooler climate helping to craft wines with good delicacy plus a fine backbone of acidity. This is a fragrant version with a slight blush colour thanks to gentle skin contact. You’ll find exotic custard apple, pear and citrus fruits that are bright and clean. It’s then quite dry and acid driven, with a creamy texture and some nutty aged elements now starting to come through. There is a real elegance and subtlety too that lifts this wine above much of its competition.

2021 Mt Bera ‘Dream Catcher’ Sauvignon Blanc

A notably aromatic nose showcases passionfruit, mandarin and a hint of white stone fruit. The palate is acid driven with pronounced flavours and intensity. A classic Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc that is best enjoyed tonight.

2018 Mt Bera ‘Gruvee’ Gruner Veltliner

92 pts – Halliday Wine Companion: Gruvee joins a growing list of cute nicknames being attached to gruner veltliner. Time in bottle has seen a deepening of the grape’s wild herb and citrus characters, the former becoming quite pronounced. They are joined by baked apple and spice, presenting a concentrated fruit richness on the palate. Warm in texture- so very gruner – and nicely bright in acidity to close.

2020 Mt Bera ‘Amphitheatre’ Zweigelt

93 pts – Mike Bennie (Wine Business Magazine): The Austrian variety feels rightly placed in the Adelaide Hills, here nodding its hat in the direction of Austrian staples in the lighter weight, spicy-herbal, cherry-juice laden style that has emerged from Mt Bera. It’s very fragrant, somewhat juicy, a little crisp with acidity and has a light pucker of tannin for good measure. Intriguing and delicious.

2019 Mt Bera ‘Amphitheatre’ Shiraz Blaufränkisch

94 pts – Kim Brebach (BWU20): This is a fascinating wine. Blaufrankish is the most popular red variety in Austria, and this blend works really well, with the Austrian adding fragrance and gentle elegance to the Shiraz. Good drinking already, and will open up a bit more over a year or two.

2018 Mt Bera ‘Running With The Cows’ Tempranillo

94 pts – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): A fine Adelaide Hills red. The Temp vines here were originally grafted onto old Merlot vines back in 2011. The following year saw more vines grafted over, given the success of the initial project. This is dark maroon in colour. Deep aromas of dark berries, roast meats, animal skins, spices and chocolate with good focus. This is a really good Temp and has avoided the pitfalls that a lack of acidity, often apparent with this grape, can inflict. This has freshness and a vibrant acid backing, fine tannins and impressive length so six to eight years of fine drinking await here.

2020 Mt Bera ‘Wild and Free’ Pinot Noir’

Dark berries and aromatic five spice dominate the nose denoting a generous vintage for the variety. The palate is structured and complex displaying red fruits and warm spice.

2018 Mt Bera ‘Boundless Horizons’ Gruner Veltliner

95 pts – Halliday Wine Companion: Only made in exceptional years. A fine adaptation, highlighting the inner beauty of gruner veltliner in shades of tropical white peach, green melon, citrus and apple. Not to mention fruit blossom, which casts a lovely aromatic overlay to the wine. Light on its feet but there are hidden depths here, texture, too, not to mention extended ageing ability. Elegance in a glass.

2013 Mt Bera ‘Boundless Horizons’ Merlot

95 pts – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): Not often one encounters a new release with almost a decade of age behind it, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of this absolutely cracking Merlot. Dark magenta in colour, this has plums, chocolate, fruitcake and bergamot notes – classic Merlot characters with lovely richness and length. Spices, herbs and plum pudding notes with dense fruits, a supple palate, good balance and fine tannins, all leading to a very long finish. Drink now certainly, but it will live for many years yet. Stunning Merlot and better still, the team at Mt Bera have done the cellaring for you.


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