Maddens Lane & Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream, VIC
03 9739 1977
An icon of yesteryear's wool industry still stands proud just by Maddens Lane, on the Maroondah Highway. One of the valley's oldest shearing sheds, it marks the site of the Maddens Rise winery and is today surrounded, not by sheep, but sloping rows of vines.
When Justin Fahey started planting in 1996, his philosophy was to enhance this historic and fertile land biologically, so that the fruit could express the terroir naturally. Justin’s belief in letting the land rule the vines paid off from the first vintage in 2001, and the winery has never looked back.
“We try to minimise our impact on the wine making process to allow the wines to express their sense of place,” Justin said. “We hand pick and then sort our fruit before processing it. Our grapes are wild yeast fermented in small batches.”
The winemaking team keeps a watchful eye over the fermenting juice. This, along with the use of yeast from the environment and the grape skins, and a natural (minimal intervention) approach to winemaking, results in wines that clearly exhibit fresh undertones of ripe fruit. Maddens Rise produces a wide range of varietal wines, with testimony to these coming from the winery’s rapidly increasing customer base.
Known as one of the prettiest in the Yarra Valley, the cellar door is a delightful mix of modern and rustic – referred to by the Maddens Rise team as ‘shed chic’. It opened to the public in 2010, five years after the winery was built.
Emma Sanguinetti provides a warm welcome to those wanting to taste the large selection of wines being produced.
Not frightened to play with their fruit, Maddens Rise produces a “Blanc de Blanc” sparkling wine. Exclusively chardonnay, it has tiny bubbles to tease your palate. Other wines include Bianco, an Italian style white blend, and Rosso, an Italian style blend of merlot, shiraz and nebbiolo.
Preserving the natural nuances is a trademark of all Madden’s Rise wines and it particularly shouts in their reds. Their Pinot Noir shows all the delicacy and elegance you would expect from this winery, with a burst of black cherries, plums and Asian spices, yet very refined on the palate. Another fine example is their version of the workhorse of the industry, cabernet, which shows intricate complexity with finely polished tannins that stay in the mouth long after it is swallowed. To understand the full artisanal character of their wines, the Reserve Shiraz stands alone in its exquisite refinement and finesse.
The Maddens Rise philosophy is that the grapes should be tasted and enjoyed foremost and not be masked by other introduced flavours, which is why they do not subject their wines to oak overexposure, but instead rely predominantly on the use of older barrels. The signature Maddens Rise label is simple and to the point. No missing where this wine comes from, with a clear and easy-to-read font, putting the focus where it should be, on the wine inside.
One might think that hand crafted wines such as these would demand a lofty price, but Justin says, “We price our wine to represent great value for the quality, and we aim to produce excellent wines across our portfolio.”
Maddens Rise is certainly not resting on its laurels with testing of varieties like malbec, cabernet franc, petit verdot, chenin blanc, vermentino, gargenega, fiano and sangiovese that will get the same hands-off treatment as the rest. In an area steeped in agricultural tradition, Yarra Valley’s Maddens Rise keeps the interest very much alive.