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Eastern Peake

Eastern Peake

WINEMAKER SEEKS GRAPE GROWER

In 1981 a young winemaker placed an ad in the newspaper seeking a cool, elevated site to plant Pinot Noir. Sitting at a lofty 430m above sea level, Dianne Pym believed the Coghills Creek farm she owned and lived on with partner Norman Latta was just what Trevor Mast needed. Dianne was right.

Of the 40 applicants, their property and one other was selected. So in ‘83, alongside their mudbrick home, livestock and veggie gardens, Dianne and Norman planted their first Pinot vines. Their Pinot vines took like a duck to water, and their fruit went on to form the basis of Trevor’s Mount Langi Ghiran Pinot Noir.

When a change in direction for Trevor presented the Lattas the opportunity to produce their own wine with their five-star fruit, the Lattas did not hesitate. Supported by Trevor’s consultation and the donation of a basket press, barrels and de-stemmer, a winery was built in 1995, and Eastern Peake was born. 

AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE.

Within the industry, the timing was ripe for cool climate wines. Dianne and Norman’s 12.5 acres of pristine, high altitude Pinot Noir and Chardonnay laid a sturdy foundation.

Norman also formed a strong relationship with neighbour Frank Walsh and his lovely Pinot plots, Frank eventually planting Syrah under Norman’s guidance. Today, that wonderfully elegant single vineyard Walsh Block Syrah is a stalwart of the Eastern Peake lineup.

Fast-forward to the noughties, and the second generation has certainly made itself known. At age 15, Owen Latta jumped in to lend injured dad a hand, unknowingly igniting a passion that would have him go on to win Gourmet Traveller’s ‘Young Winemaker of the Year’ award in 2018 for his work across both Eastern Peake and his own label Latta Vino. He now has around 24 vintages under his belt.

The Latta clan’s grape growing origins make it no surprise that their focus is on biology over chemistry. Fruit comes first, and the organic foundations laid in the 80’s (when chemicals were just too damn expensive) hold firm today. A master of natural wines in his own right over at Latta Wines, Owen is accelerating into biodynamic practices and the ethos of Quantum Agriculture, paying the utmost attention and respect to Eastern Peake’s soil.

To make wines “as natural as possible” means making the best of Cogshill itself. All positioned to maximise sunlight, the lofty east-west running rows have only recently been irrigated (cheers global warming), drawing on a bore that taps into an underground water system.

Slow to mature on the vine and therefore developing beautifully balanced and complete fruit, vintage tends to kick off in April. All harvested by hand, it’s this slow burn on the vine that means no additions, filtering or fining is the winery’s philosophy, allowing their Chardonnay, Pinot and Syrah to reveal their true colours.

Indigenous yeast and natural malolactic fermentation mean the wine is allowed to find a natural equilibrium. It means what’s in your glass is as un-tinkered and true to Coghills Creek as possible.

Enjoying an extra long nap on lees, the Tache Pinot Rosé is undoubtedly one of the best Rosés we can get our little hands on, lush in texture and layers of elegant red fruit.

Intrinsic to it all, it’s the Latta family’s exceptional Pinot Noir vines that set up their knock-out wine. This is seriously broody, intelligent, savoury Pinot, worthy of the cellar and your most laborious meal.

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