The ethos of both Yarra Valley’s Thick as Thieves and Thievery stretch further than coincidental naming. At the restaurant we enjoy introducing diners to alternate grape varieties, unfamiliar blending and regional unconformity. So, naturally we were drawn to Syd Bradford’s wines. Small batch and minimal intervention, cool climate wines are the name of the game. The texture, character and smashability are the results of meticulous attention to detail and pristine parcels of fruit. Being a busy one man band we’re lucky that we were able to steal some of Syd’s time to ask him a few questions including how it all started and his experimentation process.

How did you get your start in wine-making?
After studying Horticulture at UTS and travelling in Europe and Asia for a few years, Chris, Robyn and Jen Pfeiffer in Rutherglen gave me my first cellar hand job in 2003. I enrolled in Wine Science at Charles Stuart Uni in Wagga Wagga the same year.
You’ve worked at some of Australia’s premiere wineries throughout your career, what made you decide to go ahead alone?
I fell in love with the idea of tinkering with fermented grape juice and ‘having a crack’. I was desperate to have full creative control of the wine growing and wine making process and be in control of my own destiny. I also love getting out and selling the results of this tinkering and running my own small business.
What was your motivation to experiment with alternative varieties such as Arneis and Slyvaner?
Alternative varieties give me the freedom to play around with different styles without having to conform to what is ‘expected’ from a classic variety. These varieties also give me a point of difference as wine consumers crave something different in a crowded market.
If you could have a drink with anyone who would it be and why?
Kermit the Frog. I reckon he’d be a good laugh…. I did think of sitting down with some world leaders when responding to this question, but they’re a bunch of muppets.

At Thievery, we’ll be featuring the following wines on a Thick as Thieves short list until they run out. Make a reservation via our website to book a table and find out a bit more about each wine below.

2016 Sylvaner

Great attack and energy as the wine fills the palate. Light bodied with incredible finesse. Gentle, chalky phenolic combines with pronounced acid to scrape the palate clean at the finish of each sip. Flavours echo the aromas of lemon pith and rose water with a touch of malt on the finish.

2017 Spring Pinot (Rosé)

Full bodied and savoury with a spider web of fine tannins. Soft, slippery and rustic with red berries and a touch of chocolate on the finish.

2017 Pinot/ Gamay

Light bodied, plush and fine boned but with depth and sufficient padding. Plump and juicy mid palate with a lovely plum and earthy back palate. Beautifully rustic and delicious.

2014 Nebbiolo

A delicate start followed by a dense and chewy mid palate. All this combines with pronounced natural acidity to give great line, body and texture . The palate shows raspberry, rose petal and spice flavours that build on the fine and dusty back palate. Balanced and persistent with subtle oak and dark chocolate on the finish. Great food wine.

-Paul Flynn

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