By Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review (Mar 2020)
A couple of newly released Quartz Reef wines crossed my tasting table recently – both earned an unhesitating gold score from me.
Quartz Reef founder and principal Rudi Bauer planted chardonnay vines in his Bendigo vineyard 21 years ago after encouragement from Felton Road winemaker, Blair Walter. Bauer and Blair had made chardonnay when they worked together at Giesen many years ago. He made a tiny amount of chardonnay (100 dozen) in 2016 to test the market and was encouraged enough by the response to produce and release a second wine (58 dozen) in 2018.
I haven’t asked where the chardonnay went in the years that Quartz Reef didn’t produce a wine, and quietly wondered if that was part of the reason that Quartz Reef Pinot Gris is so good.
The second wine to earn 95 points was a very smart Quartz Reef Grüner Veltliner 2019, the signature grape variety in Bauer’s birthplace, Austria. Quartz Reef has been producing grüner veltliner since 2011, but it didn’t reach Bauer’s exacting standards until 2019. It’s now available in similar quantities to the Chardonnay.
It’s appropriate that Austrian-born founder of Quartz Reef, Rudi Bauer, should make a wine from Austria’s most productive grape variety. It’s a delicious grüner veltliner with wet slate, mineral, citrus and floral flavours supported by soft, seductive acidity and an ethereal texture. (NZD $37)
Ripening was advanced by unusually hot weather in Quartz Reef’s Bendigo vineyard which, by Central Otago standards, is one of the region’s warmer sites. It’s a seductively silken-smooth chardonnay with peach, stone fruit, ginger, nut and subtle spicy oak flavours. (NZD $37)