New Macedon Crew 2018

Of all the regions that surround Melbourne, the Macedon Ranges is the enigma. Peppered with producers of national significance the region seems to have taken longer than most to deliver more fully on it's enormous cool-climate potential. But things are changing in them thar hills and there's a growing band of producers (both young and old) renovating and reimagining the what's possible from the many mature sites across this region.

The stars of course are well known - think Bindi, Curly Flat, Cobaw Ridge and the like - and they have always served as outliers of what was possible in this diverse region. Outside of this elite company though the story is more fragmented with a mixture of passionate amateurs and smaller outfits making it hard to get a firm handle on where the region fits into the cool-climate pantheon. But, as I say these days there many buds of change that make me think that the Macedon Ranges is next to follow in the footsteps of Tassie, whereby the better producers are being joined a fresh group of winemakers with energy, ideas and intellectual capital...if not always the folding kind. They're getting a hold of older vineyards and reinterpreting what can be done with them. At the same time, they are invigorating those who have been carrying the flag for years and they too are now starting to change and improve.

This offer highlights a couple the stars and a similar number of the up-and-comers. I apologise to those not here, but you have to draw the line somewhere! The newbies to the scene are Josh Coopers eponymous label and Wilimee from the talented Galli winemaker, Ben Ranken. Josh is the son of Alan and Nelly Cooper of Cobaw Ridge and his knowledge and passion of and for the region are equally matched by a large talent. He has made wine all over the place and the wines reflect a sensibility to the Ranges and his own personal wine journey.

Similarly, Ben and family have taken over the old Portree vineyard on Mt William; one of the cooler of the cool climate sites. In no time he has extracted a level of quality that we had never seen from here in the past. They are unapologetically restrained but full of intensity and place.

Another winemaker from the "outside world" and doing fantastic things from cool sites in Kilmore and Macedon is Matt Harrop (ex Shadowfax and now Curly Flat). He and his wife Tamara (also a wine professional) come to the scene with a bag of knowledge and talent and the wines that have thus far been delivered show this is spades. Cool labelling and smartly priced, they're another of the new breed to watch.

Without writing a novel it is suffice to say that this is a region in transition for the better. Take a fresh look at these and the many others remaking the Macedon Ranges wine scene.