Established in 2001, Bress winery is quite a bit larger than it appears from the nearby Calder Highway. On the day the walkabout crew visited, we were treated to a guided tour of the winery (at work – the 2019 Pinot Noir was still in the tank, just being transferred to barrels) which was an experience in itself.
What we liked: The Gold Chook Pinot Noir was the standout red wine, although the 2017 (technically about 15% 2016 as well) Silver Chook represents amazing value given the price difference.
More specifically: Gold Chook Shiraz is an excellent wine, but not too easily compared to the Gold Chook Pinot Noir; the fruit is not as forward and there is a slight bitterness caused by the tannins (which will usually mean the wine is not at premium drinking age yet). For a big Shiraz, the clarity was exceptional which is something we always look for as a sign of skilled wine making. The Chardonnay on taste was a blend from the Yarra Valley and Faraday regions and works really well. It is a fruity Chardonnay and the oak is kept restrained. A lighter Chardonnay certainly, but one with exceptional length. Silver Chook Pinot Noir was our pick for best value wine of the day. A blend of Yarra Valley, Faraday and Macedon grapes makes for a light coloured Pinot Noir with a less intense nose but a very concentrated palate with very good length. The Gold Chook Pinot Noir which is made from 100% Macedon grapes has better colour and length of palate with some interesting layering – a truly exceptional wine.
Not so keen: The late harvest Riesling was a bit of a let-down: soft, not much of a nose and not a lot of length. Maybe it was the vintage (2014) but there are so many dessert wines at this price point that are able to deliver a lot more.
Our Verdict: Yes. This is an excellent winery. The red wines are all very drinkable, the whites (Chardonnay, Pinot Gris) are equally so. Some excellent value for money is to be found in the mid-price-level wines and the entire experience is worth the travel.