Vinea Marson - Heathcote Visit Highlight
VINEA MARSON: Established in 2000, Vinea Marson is the inspiration and culmination of the life efforts of Mario and Helen Marson. Mario is now the 5th generation Marson involved in winemaking, his heritage stretching back to Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy. His father, Giuseppe immigrated to Melbourne, where he planted rows of vines in his backyard - continuing his cultural heritage but on a more personal and practical level that no doubt eventually made an impression on the young Mario Marson.
Vinea Marson is located on the eastern facing slopes of the the Mount Camel Range in the Heathcote region of Central Victoria. The vineyard is spread over eight hectares and is primarily devoted to the production of red Italian varietals, that are well suited to the 500 million-plus year old red clay Cambrian soils of the area.
Prior to establishing the vineyard, Mario had been the winemaker at Mount Mary (Yarra Valley). He has also done Vintage at a variety of wineries in Barolo, Tuscany and Burgundy. The couple are now joined today by one of their three daughters Madeleine, as assistant winemaker.
Mario was drawn to Heathcote and in particular to the Vinea Marson site due to its unique characters. The locale/aspect provides the right amount of heat, and in a time measure that allows grapes a unique/long hang time without sugars blowing out. It is crucially important with Sangio & Neb that grape tannins are allowed to fully ripen, as well as providing conditions to allow the adequate development of acid degradation in the grapes - allowing other desirable characters to shine through. The eastern Camel aspect tends to produce distinctive red fruited wines, as opposed to the black characters found in the west and other parts of Heathcote. In short, site selection is so important and Vinea Mason sits on a very special aspect.
Below : Inspecting Nebbiolo with Mario. Camel Range ridge in the background.
Their white wine production also draws on Italian varietals but are grown further east, in the Victorian high country. Many years ago, Mario advised a colleague to plant a selection of white varietals, mainly of Italian origin on recently acquired land near Bright, and agreed to purchase all resulting production. This arrangement has continued. The climate and soils of the Bright area are much cooler and rockier than Heathcote and better suited to producing the subtle and complex characters in the whites that Mario was after.
All wines are purposely held back for release, something that is quite rare in todays wine market, but for Mario its a question of quality, and a desire to allow the customer to experience his wines at the best possible moment - although there is no doubt the reds and whites will develop further with cellar time. In relation to his whites, those familiar with the older vintages of Mount Mary Triolet will delight in Vinea Marson whites capacity to age!
Starting in 2021, wines are now made in their new winery, with gravity being a central theme. No doubt there are even greater achievements to come from the Marson Familia ! TC
Friulano #7 2017
Approx. 43% Pinot Bianco 27% Malvasia d'Istria 24% Friulano & 6% Picolit. Fermented with both wild and inoculated yeasts, 8 months on lees, then the varieties were blended, fined, filtered and bottled.
"Named in honour of Mario's mother 'Grazia, this is quite a wine, with the varietal blending inspired by Mario Marson's north east Italian heritage. Drinking quite fresh a the moment, it’s extremely complex that makes you take another sip to understand its layers and depth. A wine that also screams to be matched with food. Mario shared with me his passion for blending, and how just a few little additions, here and there can make profound changes to a finished wine. The 'Grazia' already has 4 years age on it, but has a track record to age further. Arguably could be viewed as the Australian-Italian equivalent of Mount Mary's Triolet for a fraction of the price" TC
Sangiovese 2016 & 2017
One of the guiding principles to handling Sangiovese (and Nebbiolo) is to attain a level of ‘acid degradation’ of the grapes. This can only be achieved by an understanding of the vine/grape management through to the maturation process. Importantly the site and locale of the Vinea Mason vineyard allows this to occur. The result is reflected in red wines with noticeable ‘digestible acid’ on the palate, that also allows associated earth characters to then emerge.
This wine is crafted through some thirteen different clones of Sangiovese from their Sotto and Sopra vineyards. It truly reflects Sangiovese and is a benchmark that others Australian Sangio’s should look to.
Two Vintages are available. Both recommended with the 2017 a tad more approachable now. The 2016 good to go now with a decant but I’d pop a few away for later.