Working as a journalist in the Canberra Press Gallery is enough to drive anyone mad but rather than move onto another bureau, Tim Stevens, and his young bride Connie, upped and left knowing exactly what they were going to do. They were going to buy a vineyard in Mudgee simply “because Mudgee makes the best reds”.
In 1996, with sound advice from renowned winemaker Brian Croser, Tim and Connie purchased a rundown vineyard that had one important ingredient for their plans – it was OLD.
Abercorn contains only old vines.
The clone of Chardonnay in particular is historic and can be traced back to the 1832 importation of cuttings into nearby Sydney by industry pioneer James Busby.
The Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines too are old, producing highly concentrated flavours.
Soils are well-drained and yields are kept low. Previously, much of the vineyard’s fruit was sold to other winemakers however since Tim and Connie Stevens took over the vineyard in 1996, all fruit is now sold under the Abercorn label and production will be limited to 5000 cases each vintage.
The climate is medium-cool, providing fuller flavours than other colder, emerging wine regions in Australia.
Having rehearsed their craft for many decades, the gnarled Abercorn vines produce small batches of fruit that winemakers would kill for.