Bird In Hand is hitting the bullseye
There are plenty of Australian wineries that excel at creating high-quality reserve level wines, and many that hit the mark with their consumer-friendly entry-level offerings, but rarely do wineries seem to be capable of hitting the proverbial bullseye across the spectrum of price points in their range. But the family-run Bird in Hand team in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills is one of those unicorn producers who vintage after vintage seemingly can’t miss the target with consistently excellent wines that represent great value at their price point, no matter where in the pyramid they sit.
Perhaps it’s the vision of founder Andrew Nugent who is a disciple to the aspirational side of winemaking. He loves “the combination of agriculture and science and art – the ability to be creative while pursuing quality and excellence”. Whatever the recipe, it’s one for success as the Nugent Family look to expand their influence across the Tasman Sea as they plant a 400-acre property on the East coast of Tasmania, which is being planted with chardonnay and pinot noir. For now, Bird in Hand relies largely on fruit from their Adelaide Hills vineyards, where it quite obviously benefits from the seaside influence of the Gulf of St Vincent and the cooler temperatures and cloud cover of the Mt Lofty Ranges. The wide diurnal temperature range results in perfect cool climate conditions for Chardonnay, pinot noir and even Pinot Gris. Add to that the natural beauty and ancient soils, and it’s little wonder that the area is a vigneron’s paradise!
There are four distinct tiers at Bird in Hand with the Tribute series in the penthouse, followed by the Nest Egg, Bird in Hand and then Two in the Bush at entry-level. While their premium wares are undeniably good, there’s value across the board.
For lovers of pink, the Bird in Hand 2021 Rose ($23) is balanced, racy and refreshing. The lightness of colour belies the power of the fruit, with strawberry and fuji apple characters dominating through the palate before the mouth-filling texture meets zippy acids in a tightly held conclusion.
For lovers of Pinot Gris, the Bird in Hand 2021 edition is an aromatic style that exudes cinnamon and spice and flavours of green apple, pear and green and cantaloupe. I love the green edge of the fruit and its refined texture — great value at $25.
For fans of Chardonnay (like me), the Two in the Bush isn’t a patch on the (rather expensive) Nest Egg, but for $35, it’s better than most that you’ll find on that shelf. You’ll find hints of nectarine and nuts on the nose and lashings of peach and green apricots on the palate. It’s a leaner style than the more voluptuous nest egg but exceptionally well balanced with a linear structure that finishes with oak-tainted – edges and a gentle acidity. If you don’t want to stretch the budget to the nest egg, this one’s a pretty good compromise.
For fans of fizz, the Bird in Hand Sparkling is a Pinot Noir dominated blend that has long been a crowd-pleaser. I’ve used it at countless functions, and it never fails to impress. Its exuberance is remarkable as lifted peaches and berries jump out of the glass with the first sip. The forwardness of the fruit sucks in your senses, but the medium bead titillates the taste buds. I challenge you to find a better Australian bubble with such wide appeal at the $20 – $25 price point!
The worth of the Bird in Hand range is undeniable – especially in the lower tiers. When it comes to value, the best on ground is probably the sparkling; but the Two in the Bush Rose is a cost-effective alternative to a genuine Provencal pink.