Mallaluka is a winemaking business located in Yass, NSW, within the Canberra district. It is a small family operation that grows 5 acres of vines to make wine from, and purchases grapes from many districts across the state and sometimes beyond. Sam Leyshon is the winemaker and part owner of the business, working with his Dad (owner/founder/used to be winemaker) and now Brother (From the Public service wanting a career change. lol). They source fruit from the regions, vineyards and varieties they like and turn them into the most expressive form of wine they can. Wine needs to have personality, so they do not fine, filter or add to their wine, with PMS being the only exception.
John (Dad) has been making wine for over 20 years, mostly as a hobby and for a small operation that he and his mates were involved in. But they did EVERYTHING themselves. They planted, grew, made wine, bottled it and sold it all themselves for about 15 years. Then they got too old and decided to move on. That’s when John reached out to me in 2014 and asked if Sam wanted to make a family label with him, in his retirement from teaching.
Sam landed a job as a cellar hand for the 2015 harvest at Clonakilla and didn’t leave until 4 harvests later. Plus a stint at J.L.Chave in Rhône valley. Working with Bryan Martin and Tim Kirk will be something Sam will hold special in his heart forever, learning what he thinks is 10 years worth of winemaking knowledge in one harvest. Sam was confident from the get go and just went for it back at the family winery. Dad saw his enthusiasm and just stood back and let it rip. What a legend Dad, right?
I only source fruit from vineyard growers who are nice people and give a shit about their soil health. I don’t agree that you have to be certified organic or biodynamic to obtain very healthy soils. There is a very healthy somewhere in between too. Like I said before, I just like to drink wines with personality. I don’t often care as to how that is achieved. It’s a personal journey and I’m taking you all along for the ride. As long as it’s honest, expressive and tasty. My winemaking also follows this mantra.