Tomich Hill Wines
Tomich Hill Wines sits nestled on some 200 acres, between 300 and 400 metres above sea level, and has in one corner the significant river that is the Onkaparinga in the Adelaide Hills.
John Tomich is a well-known ear, nose and throat surgeon who grew up on a grape farm in New South Wales. The pull of the vine is deep in his blood, and this led he and his wife Vicki to purchase the vineyard.
He has two sons, Randal and Damian, that are up to their elbows in schist and soil with old mineralic laterite rock. The third son, Sam, is a chartered accountant and manages the financial side.
The cool climate nature of this site (five degrees Celsius cooler than Adelaide), combined with the soils, makes for fruit of restrained intensity and balanced acidity. John completed a Diploma in Oenology and is finishing the exclusive Masters of Wine degree from the United Kingdom, and I’m sure he realised many years ago that fruit bombs have their place, but the elegant wine leaves a deeper impression.
John and his family have a great wine philosophy: “Give back to the soil more than you take.”
Supreme effort is taken with sustainable farming. Energy efficient machinery, wildlife corridors, water catchment facilities and carbon footprint minimisation strategies are all part of business.
Randal and Damien both had experience in broadacre farming, and Randal has developed soil management techniques which are used by his company Ag Soilworks – techniques now recognised and used in California.
Grapes grown include Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Gewurztraminer.
Having tried all species, I can honestly say that there is a sense of place with the fruit expression and quality. The winemaking techniques are faultless and, in the very competitive sparkling wine range, their cheerful and their high end Method Traditionale shines.
I am grateful that the Tomich family has chosen winemaking as an outlet for their creative passions; the products are inviting and outstanding. They are themselves grateful for their success, and the ability to provide sponsorships for organisations such as the Australian String Quartet and the Croatian Sports Centre – to name but two.
Having met John and Sam recently, I feasted upon their wine enthusiasm and dined out on their pouring generosity. It seems that John has the best of both worlds, with the wonderful collegiate atmosphere that exudes from medicine, and now the fellowship of the grape that goes with winemaking. Make sure you visit if in the Adelaide Hills region, and be prepared for great hospitality.
2012 Tomich Hill Sauvignon Blanc – light straw colour with a tinge of green. The nose is a lively Australian style with lemon, hints of gooseberry, but with distinctive floral and pea-like notes. Great on the palate, with broad quality fruit and a mid-palate finish of good crisp acid. Have with flash-fried calamari.
2012 Tomich Hill Pinot Noir – a nice cherry red colour. For a young wine, there is a lot to like about the nose. Predominately in the red cherry fruit spectrum, notes of brooding complex fruit are emerging, hints of spice and mild stalkiness. The palate is seamless, with a gentle lingering tannin finish. This has been made well with 10 per cent whole bunch for that stalky, funky character and, amazingly, 30 per cent new French oak, that is nicely integrated. Duck rillettes with burnt orange sauce and rocket side salad.
2010 Tomich Hill Shiraz – dark crimson colour indicates its power. Cool climate features with red fruits and plummy notes, well supported by spicy brambly notes with hints of chocolate emerging. Again, a supple, restrained, elegant wine as the palate is well satisfied in all corners. Carpaccio beef through to venison pie. Will cellar seven or more years.
2009 Tomich Hill Family Reserve Chardonnay – this is one of the best. Developing deep straw colour. The bouquet is typical of the new Australian Chardonnay, with initial notes of lemon, vanilla, almonds and then slight yeasty and oak notes. A luscious creamy palate with good acidity makes this a cracking food wine. Have with soft French Cheeses. Cellar for five to seven years.
Image by Kevin Galens on Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence