Clive Hartley

Llew Knight at Granite Hills is one of our regions most well-respected elders. His family vineyard was established in 1970 by his father and given it takes around 3 years to produce a crop then the winery is celebrating its 50th vintage this year. Granite Hills is a quiet achiever and doesn’t go in for some of the more trendy cellar door trappings that are all too common today. Visit his traditional  cellar door and you often get Llew personally pouring the wines for you. However, their selection of wines is anything but complacent and reflects what is so creative about the current Macedon Ranges wine scene. Take his selection of white wines for example.

Granite Hills 2023 Pinot Blanc is exciting and displays punchy tropical, lychee aromas with strong pear notes. On the palate it is light, refreshing and perfect for what we hope will be a warm summer. Pinot Blanc might be new to you. It is a variety that can be made into different styles of wine and is commonly found in Alsace, France. It wasn’t a variety that I have been enamoured by in the past but I’m coming around to it, especially with what Llew has done. It is on the radar of other producers in the region.

Granite Hills Riesling is one of their star attractions. The 2023 is outstanding with floral, pear, apple and mineral notes with a juicy, dry, racy palate. “One of the secrets to the success of this wine is its natural acidity” comments Llew. Other regions must add acid to get the wine in balance. Macedon Ranges should receive more recognition for riesling. Local winemakers Michael Dhillon and Matt Harrop both make rieslings from fruit sourced from the Glenhope Vineyard, which is located down the road from Granite Hills. Also, Lyons Will Estate at Lancefield recently won a gold medal and trophy for their 2023 Riesling.

Wrapping up the ‘Knight’s whites’ the 2022 Gruner Veltliner has a hint of pepper spice wrapped with stone fruits and is another classic example, whilst the 2022 TOR Chardonnay is rich and expressive with plenty of honey and toast and a touch of struck match to add complexity. It is well balanced and textured on the palate with a long finish.

Clive Hartley is an award-winning wine writer, educator and consultant. Check out his fortnightly radio show on Hepburn Community Radio called “put a cork in it”.  Want to learn more about wine? Try his book the Australian Wine Guide (7th ed) – available for purchase from Paradise Books in Daylesford or through his website –