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Boxi-Zhen, winemaker, with his Minimal Intervention Wines
April 29, 2024

Ballandean Estate releases minimal intervention wine collection

Ballandean Estate has released its first minimal intervention wine series, thanks to young gun winemaker Boxi Zhen, who is literally shaking things up at Queensland’s oldest family-owned and operated winery.

Inspired by 2023’s best-in-a-decade Malvasia vintage, Boxi’s  love affair with Granite Belt fruit is a beautiful expression of terroir. Ballandean Estate’s 2023 Minimal Intervention Series includes a Wild Ferment Viognier, Malvasia and Wild Ferment GFM (Giallo Fiano Malvasia).

Winemaker Boxi Zhen explains his minimal intervention inspiration

“Ballandean Estate may be Queensland’s oldest family-run winery, but it built its reputation on innovation and a dash of rebellion,” says Mr Zhen, who started a new chapter in his winemaking career last vintage.

“The fruit produced here is spectacular, the high altitude and cool climate delivering intense flavours and such high acid.

“I treat these grapes as a best friend, try to bring the best out in them, love them with loyalty and the utmost respect for where they came from – terroir!

“Wild yeast is nature’s gift to the winemaker. It is a chance to express your personality, creativity and showcase the unique characteristics of the varietal. Vitality, vigour and fun!

“Minimal intervention protects the highly-prized acidity, gives exotic flavours a chance to breathe, and delivers creamier textures. Complex wines and layered flavours that are unique to the vineyard and the vintage,” says Mr Zhen.

Winemaker Boxi Zhen

Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith speaks to innovation

“These are innovative wines, with great appeal for the emerging under-thirties market.. As  we say, untouched — or few additives — so that the wine evolvement takes its own trajectory, rather than be controlled by its winemaker who underwrites its destiny.

“I am impressed by a cloudy-style Malvasia; finding its natural dryness.

“The Viognier builds on Chardonnay techniques of today’s Australian winemakers: use of multiple harvests, harvest choice that lowers alcohol, short new barrel fermentation; texture extension from harder press fractions, lees aging and skin ferments.

“All point to a multiple input blend getting to be the standard process to make decent textural whites.

Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith

A love affair with Malvasia

Wine critic Steve Leszczynski from QWine says of  Ballandean Estate’s 2023 Malvasia,

“Boxi Zhen gives this cloudy Malvasia time on lees with regular stirring to build texture, bottled without fining or filtration. A new style of wine from this iconic Granite Belt producer, it was harvested in batches and fermented with wild yeast, turning what was done prior on its head. 

“The techniques used are consistent with the other new releases in the range and as a result, there is a fine veil of spice running through the core. It opens with scents of candied ginger, arrowroot biscuits, canned pear, white nectarines and baked apple.

“The veneers of interest keep coming with cut parsley and an ever so soft cinnamon and white pepper spice. Ribbons of fine spices sit at the core of this wine with a delicate creaminess framed by a squeeze of lemon juice. A fine layer of texture is seemingly painted on leading to a long and persistent finish. Considered, curious and delicious – nicely done.”

Steve Leszczynski from QWine

Learn more about Boxi Zhen

Boxi Zhen moved to Adelaide from China at the age of 24 to complete his prestigious Master of Viticulture & Oenology at the University of Adelaide.  He also has a degree in Food Science, which places him in excellent stead to continue the R&D science-based approach employed by Ballandean Estate’s previous winemaker of 22 vintages, Dylan Rhymer.

For all media enquiries please contact: Leeanne Puglisi-Gangemi

Ph: (07) 4684 1226 Leeanne@ballandeanestate.com

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