Vic’s stable produces winning Chestnuts

VIC Kordic and the team at Chestnut Grove now enjoy the comforts of a new state-of-the-art million-dollar winery and cellar door facility. Vic and his wife, Katharina, will be able to tell you that the facilities they have now are a far cry from the tin shed they moved into more than 50 years ago.

The road Vic travelled to end up in Manjimup is long, winding and far from his original home in Serbia. After dealing with the interruptions caused by the Second World War and its subsequent complications, an opportunity to migrate to Australia presented itself and Vic took up the offer in 1949.

He worked at a number of different occupations over the next 30 years during which time he bought the 100 hectare property in Manjimup, which was to help keep him active after he retired in 1981. The rest is history, as they say. Vic got bored with playing around with livestock and, having a soft spot for wine, it wasn’t very long into his retirement that the first vines went in.

It was in 1993 that the first wines were released under the Chestnut Grove label, so named after a spectacular chestnut tree on the property. The first wines were a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir, following those first two wines a Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Merlot and the Verdelho and Merlot have been added to the estate grown range. The winery also produces two blended wines - a red called Vermillon and a white called Platinum.

Chestnut Grove also produces olive oil of quite outstanding quality and was rewarded last year with a prize at the Sydney Royal Agriculture Society competition.

To seek out the range of wines contact the winery Chestnut Grove, Chestnut Grove Road, Manjimup WA Tel: 9772 4345 email:

Chestnut Grove Verdelho 2000 18/20 points rrp $18

With such dynamic performance from Chestnut Grove’s 2000 Verdelho, it can’t be long before Verdelho is perched on everyone’s lips and openly invited into Kelvinators around our State. Verdelho this good should stay this side of the rabbit-proof fence and our community should embrace Verdelho and challenge themselves to escape for a time from the world of unwooded Chardonnay. Chestnut Grove have picked up numerous awards and medals with their Verdelho since it burst on to the wine scene and won a trophy for the 1996 vintage.

Tasting Note: You are engulfed by a rush of ripe tropical aromas as you pop the cork, ripe pineapples, peaches, even bananas, with a hint of blossom and some spice. There is a lot that seems to draw you into palate, such is the complexity within this wine. The palate draws on those same ripe tropical fruits, peaches, apricots and touches of pineapple and a hint of spice.

The wine shows integration with acidity, the fruit weight is generous and finished long on the palate. Drink this now, however, it will age and it would be interesting to have a look at it in three or four years. NB: I have to confess that I couldn’t get the cork back in the bottle after I had gone through the tasting process. Beware!

Chestnut Grove 1999 Merlot 17.5/20 points rrp $30

The cool climate conditions of Manjimup seem to allow a long and slow ripening period for the Merlot grown on the vines at Chestnut Grove. Winemaker Kim Horton says this enables the wines to show generous, intense flavour and structure. Chestnut Grove have about 2.5 hectares of Merlot planted but with the results they have had to date my guess is that they will soon increase plantings to help meet the demand. As it is, the 1999 Merlot is available in tiny quantities, but I do know that you can match the wine with the fine cuisine at both Jackson’s in Mount Lawley and Balthazar in the CBD. With a trophy won in Adelaide and another at the Australian Boutique winemakers awards, it won’t be long before the Merlot is knocking on the Verdelho’s door as this winery’s flagship offering.

Tasting notes: This wine almost knocked me off my seat after shoving in my snout and taking a good whiff. Powerful aromas filled the nose with medicinal, plummy fruits, a violet perfume, a hint of smokiness and touches of aniseed. It showed complexity, which then followed through to the palate.

Soft yet generous fruit offers plenty to the consumer of this ripper. Classic flavours of plums and mulberries entwine with other complex flavours such as mocha, cinnamon and other spices. The wine finishes with plenty of spunk, refinement and length of palate. Given a chance, this wine will be around for quite a while. So, if you can, put a couple away to look at again in four or five years.

Next week: The 2001 Vasse Felix vintage.

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