Leaving the sanctuary of the warm Maude Wines tasting room, we made the short drive down State Highway 6 to meet John Montero, owner of Ellero Wines. John was keen for us to see his Pisa Terrace Vineyard so we enjoyed a delicious morning tea, sitting amongst the vines.John and his partner Roberta first started planting their vineyard in 2002, using six different clones of pinot noir. In 2008 riesling was added and though there is gewurztraminer, these grapes are sourced from another Bannockburn producer.
The vineyard is relatively isolated, sitting like an island on the slope of the valley, and is definitely subject to the wind. John has chosen to honour these cooling winds in the Ellero label, a stylised depiction of gusts, and whilst we sat and chatted a definite cool breeze built in strength though the sun continued to shine.
John, former microbiologist, spent the last 30 years growing grapes and making wine in California but it was a move to Central that made him take the decision to establish his own label. Although he still continues to sell fruit to other wineries, he is enjoying the evolution of his own wines. Ellero wines were impressive for their purity and lightness of touch.
2012 Ellero Riesling
Highly aromatic with fresh mandarin and tangerine on the nose. Orange blossom too. Chalky, citrus fruit flavours carried by mouthwatering acidity and just a hint of sweetness.
2012 Ellero Gewurztraminer
A delicate, perfumed style; old bourbon rose and rosewater aromatics. Ripe, with good depth and concentration but subtle rather than blowsy. Good length.
2010 Ellero Pinot Noir
Dried herbs on the nose, thyme and rosemary, not fleshy. Raspberry and red cherry with some cinnamon oak and a lightly spicy, grippy finish. Good length but too young still. Restrained and savoury.