China Daily wine column #8

Box Stallion is one of the prettiest and most unusual vineyards on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula region. It has probably the widest range of wine varieties in the region, and all of the wines suit Chinese food.

Indeed, Box Stallion has been selling wines into China since 2005 and the company has a Chinese-language web site (

Box Stallion focuses on a range of grape varieties beyond those typically produced on the Mornington Peninsula. Half of the grapes grown on the peninsula are pinot noir. Chardonnay represents another quarter.

The company grows a range of French, Italian and Spanish varieties to produce an international, forgive the pun, stable of wines.

Box Stallion received five stars, the highest rating, in this year’s edition of James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion. That book is the best-known reference for Australian wine.

Halliday awarded 94 points to both the 2008 sauvignon blanc ($18) and the 2006 tempranillo ($36). Another four wines, the 2004 and 2005 chardonnays, the 2008 gewurztraminer and the 2006 dolcetto all received the equivalent of a gold medal.

Earlier this month Box Stallion picked up five awards at this year’s International Wine Challenge in London. It is the world’s largest wine competition with entries from every wine region in the world.

Box Stallion’s 2008 shiraz won a silver medal, the 2008 pinot noir and the 2007 tempranillo received bronze medals, and the 2008 gewurztraminer and the 2008 chardonnay were highly recommended.

Owner Garry Zerbe said he established vineyards on two distinct locations in the region to get different micro-climates. These add complexity to the flavours of his wines. “We believe our fruit-driven styles will appeal to Chinese palates. We are educating our clients about our wines.”

This year is winemaker Alex White’s 38th vintage. White is one of Australia’s most highly regarded winemakers.

He said his aim was to make the most interesting wine possible. “Where necessary we vary the wine-making procedures to achieve complexity and flavour balance with the emphasis on the consumer’s expectations for varietal and regional character,” White said.

The vineyard’s name comes from the fact it used to be a horse stud, and the stallions’ barn now serves as the vineyard’s headquarters. A restaurant, the Red Barn, attracts visitors from around the world. The restaurant is open for lunch and tasting every day of the week, and the menu is affordable for most families.

A brochure in Chinese about the Mornington Peninsula can be downloaded from

* “Complex flavors from award-winning stable” in China Daily 7 August 2010, page 12.

Categories: Not home, wine

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