In search of the true expression of terroir in his wines, Param has been a long-time follower of artisan traditional Burgundian wine making techniques. i.e. Natural viticulture, no irrigation once vines are established, low yields, hand harvesting and small batches of handmade wines.
His winemaking philosophy is to produce premium quality wines which meet and exceed his expectations. Paramdeep aims to make the very best wines the land can yield, and feels he is about 75% of the way to his goal.
Pinot Noir: The Ultimate Challenge
Pinot was first produced here in 2001. His passion for Pinot varieties definitely shines through. Known as the ‘heartbreak grape’, Pinot Noir is a fickle variety, unpredictable and the ultimate challenge for a winemaker. Paramdeep fell under its spell long ago, and has seen his Pinots develop in character from a fruitier style to a spicier spectrum with fine tannins and intense, complex flavours. Depending on the quality and ripeness of the fruit varying percentages of whole bunch fermentation is used with different clones. Fermentation takes place naturally in open vats with largely indigenous yeasts. The ferment is regularly plunged to maximise colour and flavour extraction. The fermented “must” is gently hand-pressed in a basket press. The purity of flavour and character of the grapes is perfectly captured. The Pinot Noir is aged only in French oak (new and old) for at least eighteen months and bottled under screw cap. Normally the wine is released after three to four years of optimal cellaring.
The result is award-winning wines of exceptional quality which are cellared before release. Each wine reflects both its individual terroir and the ideal growing conditions of the Mornington Peninsula’s cool maritime climate. Around 600 to 1000 cases of wine are produced at Nazaaray each year.
Nazaaray Estate’s location and orientation encourage a long, slow ripening season which produces exceptional high quality fruit, perfect for producing sensational wines. Wine is made onsite, so the grapes are in perfect condition when they reach the winery immediately after picking. Param’s university degree in electrical engineering and his IT role in Melbourne gave him technical skills to underpin his research and development. Nirmal’s medical background has been a good sounding board.
Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah
Winemaking for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah involves destemming, crushing, barrel fermentation. All white wines are aged in oak with controlled use of new oak. Malolactic fermentation of Chardonnay grapes enhances the richness and texture of this wine.
Paramdeep’s preference is to make the Pinot Gris in a dry Alsatian style and at the medium end of the luscious scale. Nazaaray Pinot Gris shows typical Mornington characters of pear, rose petals and hints of musk. The natural acidity of Nazaaray Estate grapes at picking is high, due largely to their cool exposed site.
About 40% of Nazaaray wine is sold through the cellar door and the Nazaaray website and the rest via select retailers and fine restaurants, including the four hated Attica. Taste yourself and judge the quality and value. Click here for a list of restaurants and fine wine retailers which stock Nazaaray wines.
Paramdeep has made up for lost time, creating superb single vineyard wines totally by hand in one of the Mornington Peninsula’s smallest commercial vineyards.
Our Wine Maker
Paramdeep Ghumman is definitely not your typical Australian winemaker. For starters, he hails from Punjab in India, a region not associated with fine wine. He had never even tasted wine until, aged thirty, he had a glass or two of French Champagne on the flight from Calcutta to Melbourne, when he emigrated with his doctor wife, Nirmal, in 1981.
His interest was immediately piqued, but at that stage he never dreamed that one day his own wines would be served at some of Australia’s best restaurant tables, nor that he and his wife would run a very quirky cellar door complete with vintage railway carriages.
Paramdeep has made up for lost time though, creating superb single vineyard wines totally by hand in one of the Mornington Peninsula’s smallest commercial vineyards. Indeed, Param is one of only a handful of Indian-born winemakers in Australia. He is also one of the few winemakers on the Mornington Peninsula who make their own wine on their own premises. He makes his wine from grapes grown exclusively on the Nazaaray site.
Nazaaray Estate is the southernmost vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula with sweeping views, wildlife and superb sunsets. Its location and largely North South orientation encourage a long, slow ripening season which produces fruit of outstanding quality and high natural acidity.
In 1996, Param planted 10 rows of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris (he was one of the pioneers of this variety in Australia), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, tried different trellising methods and vine spacing, and buried himself in research about cool climate varieties.
Nowadays just six acres are planted to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, and approximately 900+ cases of wine are produced each year.
Param opts not to irrigate the rich red basalt clay soil once the vines reached three or four years of age, wanting to force the roots deep into the ground in search of water and a true expression of the terroir. “That’s what extracts the real flavours from the minerals in the soil and the volcanic deposits that lie under it,” he says. “Our roots go down about three or four metres, but in Burgundy, some of the roots go down 100 metres.”
Pinot Noir is one of the most temperamental of grape varieties and it is Param’s prime focus. Multiple clones have been planted. Due to the vineyard’s cooler location at the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula and its long, slow ripening season The natural acidity of the grapes is usually high at harvest.
|Location corrdinates||38.351°S. 145.064°E|
|Vineyard elevation||150 mt./600 – 700 feet|
|Soil||Fertile red basalt clay soil and mineral-rich volcanic deposits|
|Climate||Cool, with Antarctic maritime influence.|
|Heat degree days||October - April|
|Growing season rainfall||320-386 millimeters / 12.5-15.2 inches|
|Relative humidity, Oct - April, 3 pm||Average 55%|
|Varieties||Pinot Noir (4.2 acres), Pinot Gris (1.1 acres), Sauvignon Blanc (0.4 acre), Chardonnay ( 0.2 acre), Shiraz (0.1 acre)|
|Planting density||900-1100 vines per acre|
|Average vine age||19 years|
|Rootstock||Mixed Telecki and the Estate’s own rootstock|
|Pinot Noir clones||MV6, 114, 115, D2V5, D2V6, D5V12, 777, DL38 (Pommard clone), 667|
|Flowering start date||Approximately 3rd week in November|
|Harvest||Mid-March to mid-April|
|Baume at harvest||3.5-14 Baume|
|Yield||Cropping is less than two tonnes/acre. Low yield of 8 tonnes across the whole vineyard.|