Winemaker David Lloyd of Mornington's Eldridge Estate is well known for his obsession with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but few knew of his passion for rich, ripe shiraz. In 2002 Lloyd found a vineyard in Victoria's Goulburn Valley that was small, and hand tended, producing nothing but sensational Shiraz fruit. Lloyd selected the Euroa Creeks purely on the basis of quality of the vineyard's fruit. The site is owner operated by Jo and Andrew Gall and is located a little east of the township of Euroa about 5km north of the Hume Highway. Tasting the grower's own Lilys Garden Shiraz, Lloyd knew there was a sensational wine waiting to be made. The result was 300 cases of Euroa Creeks 2002 Shiraz, bottled on 6 December 2003.
The area is subject to both drought and frosts but produces intensely flavoured grapes. The vineyard is very dry and has a very low disease pressure for grapes. Lloyd had made small quantities of locally grown Shiraz for a few years as a consultant, but decided that any Shiraz he would make for the Euroa label not only had to be single vineyard and very, very special, but clearly different from the locally grown product.
Lloyd uses only estate grown fruit, and avoids irrigation unless the season is abnormally dry. The vines have, in some years received no sprays at all and in others a regime that is based on a few sprays of the organic forms of copper and sulfur.
The grapes are all hand picked and crushed in the field on at least two separate occasions although four separate days are required in some vintages. The tanks of skins and juice are then brought back to the winery at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula for fermentation, pressing, oak aging and bottling processes. The wines are always aged in a mix of American and French oak, approximately 50% being new.
The first vintage was in 2002 of which 60 cases were sold in Australia, the remaining 350 were exported to the USA. The 2003 vintage was a drought year and a mere 2 barrels were made from the 7.5 acres, most of which was exported to the USA where it sold out in 15 minutes. 2004 was almost a perfect season and 500 cases were produced, with 400 of these being exported to the USA.
Vintage 2005 was a difficult season and only 120 cases of a Reserve was produced. 2006 was an almost perfect season where three different wines were made, the first release of 140 cases was called Early Harvest contained 1% Viognier grown on the Mornington Peninsula, the second release is of two wines, 270 cases of Shiraz and 110 cases of Reserve. Vintage 2007 was totally wiped out by frost. "I’ve seen David Lloyd’s (of Eldridge Estate fame) Euroa shiraz wines a couple of times and have always been very impressed. I met up with David and Wendy Lloyd yesterday and tasted through the range - all shiraz - and again they were excellent. It made me wonder, as I have in the past, why these are the only Euroa wines that I ever see? They taste fantastic! Answer: because as a region it’s incredibly frost prone!" -Winefront.com.au