You may recall that Vanya Cullen, the winemaker of Margaret River’s Cullen Wines, took her winery to a new level of international recognition and excellence by embracing innovations like biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. Little wonder perhaps, that her nephew, Nic Peterkin, has shown a similar drive and talent for innovation.
As the grandson of Cullen Wines founders Kevin and Di Cullen and the son of Mike Peterkin, the founder of another celebrated Margaret River winery Pierro, Peterkin was keen to forge his own path, albeit on familiar territory. A few years ago, he started his own label, L.A.S. Vino, partly because he wanted to show that the Margaret River was also capable of making top quality wines from less familiar varieties.
L.A.S. stands for “Luck Art Science”, and the rave reviews for his CBDB Chenin Blanc Dynamic Blend, Albino PNO and The Pirate Blend NV certainly suggest that Peterkin’s instincts, combined with perhaps a bit of luck, were right. Last year, Gourmet Traveller WINE named Peterkin as the Young Winemaker of the Year, noting that the most recent vintages of his wines had “performed exceptionally well at the most recent Gourmet Traveller WINE panel tasting.”
Like me, you’re probably wondering about the Albino PNO? Peterkin describes the wine as “strawberries and cream in a bottle.” It’s a blend of 8 barrels of pinot noir and two barrels of chardonnay, with one barrel of the pinot noir being given a little extra time on skins to add a little colour and complexity to the mix. The Pirate Blend, a blend of the Portuguese varieties touriga nacional, tinta cão and sousão, comes from low yielding, 40 year-old vines in the north of Margaret River, originally planted to make vintage port. According to wine critic Huon Hooke, “the bouquet is loaded with sweetly ripe blackberry, blackberry, spice, licorice aromas. It’s ripe, rich, full-bodied and bright – a really delicious wine.”
When he’s not making wine for L.A.S. Vino, Peterkin serves as the vintage winemaker and vineyard operations manager at Pierro. He’s also interested in making wines with traditional varieties for the L.A.S. Vino label, and applies the same principles of only sourcing fruit from top quality vineyards and keeping intervention minimal. Interestingly, the excellent Jerusalem’s Grace Chardonnay is offered with a choice of closure – procork or class stopper. The bottle labels and shapes are as creative and different as the excellent wines they hold.
by Merrill Witt, Editor