Joshua Cooper 2019 New Releases

One of Australia’s brightest young winemakers. MIKE BENNIE, Voyeur Magazine

The releases are tiny, so get in quickly. These are classic, medium-weight wines of elegance and purity, with an Old World self-confidence and a carefully measured degree of winemaking input. JEREMY OLIVER

Time flies! It wasn't so long ago that Josh Cooper was showing me some of his first releases and now, in the space of only a few years, his stable of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from a diverse and unique set of Macedon Ranges vineyards have become wines to follow, as well as emblematic of the evolution of a region in transition. The 2019 wines again underline Cooper's unique understanding of the sites he works and how best to balance his winemaking regime and allow the message they convey to be heard most clearly. 

In the Chardonnays (Old Port Righ, Blampied, Cope Williams) the wines present uniformly high quality across the board with subtle site-derived variations providing the real interest. Common to all the wines is a degree of phenolics and textural chew that I think works particularly well in providing lovely "mouthplay" in such cool climate expressions. In saying that, the sites are the main show here with Old Port Righ showing the most austerity - taut, saline, lemon sherbert and white flowers are couched in buffering phenolics and a cool spear of acidity runs the length of the wine. Blampied (near Ballarat) is immediately more generous. Fruit spectrum is cut peach and mandarin. A little complexing sulphide lurks around to good effect and again texture is a feature. The final Chardonnay is off the Cope-Williams vineyard just outside Lancefield always hits with an aromatic of pink grapefruit, mineral and lovely balance. 

The two Pinots are similarly expressive of site and if there is a commonality between them it is that they're marked by lovely savouriness and noticeable structures sitting behind the fruit. Beyond that, Raymonde (South Gisborne) is in the black and blue fruit spectrum, Asian spice and ample structure. By contrast, Doug's (Romsey) is more brusied red apple, Amaro herbs and definitely more in the red fruit neighbourhood. 

If there's no obvious favourite in the Chardonnay then in Pinot I think I would settle on the Raymonde but there's not much in it. 

Finally, I think it's worth noting that these wines are made in a lo-intervention manner and the technocrat wine drinker may find a little funk lurking here and there. The key point for me is that these wines are super expressive of their sites and this trumps any technical transgressions. They are important wines from a thoughtful and talented winemaker and they are helping to expose the huge quality potential of the Macedon Ranges. 

As usual, not much wine is ever made from each site so quantities are not huge. No Chardonnay has been made in 2020 vintage so this is it for a while. Don't miss them.