Tag: Brash Higgins

Apr 04 2015

New Wave of Italian grape varieties capture Australian winemaker interest

Posted on April 04, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Climate change, weak export markets and increasingly worldly local consumers are all trends that have conspired over the past decade to create growing interest from Australian producers in alternative grape varieties.

Having achieved great success with the noble Italian varieties of sangiovese and nebbiolo, rustic Italian varieties from the southern Italian islands of Sardinia and Sicily, for example, are beginning to win favour with smaller producers in particular.

In a recent series of articles on Italian varieties in Australia, Walter Speller of JancisRobinson.com reported that South Australia’s McLaren Vale has become the epicentre of enthusiasm for Italian varieties, noting that McLaren Vale plantings of nero d’avalo, the prized indigenous red grape of Sicily, are spreading like wildfire. (Italian Grape Varieties in Australia – Part 2 by Walter Speller, JancisRobinson.com, 24 February 2015)

McLaren Vale’s Coriole, Beach Road, Brash Higgins, Fallen Women, and Hither & Yon are starting to win high praise for their expressions of nero d’avola. The Hither & Yon Nero d’Avola 2014, made from a hectare six year old vines planted by Richard and Malcolm Leask, won best Italian Red Wine Variety at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. The Wine Front’s Gary Walsh described it as “Bursting with ripe dark berries, raw almonds, fragrant and sweet dried herbs with a handful of black jelly beans tossed in for good measure.” (Wine Front, 12 November 2014)

White Italian varieties like the Campagna region’s  fiano and Sardinia’a vermentino are also popular in McLaren Vale. Oliver’s Taranga Fiano 2014 picked up Best White Wine and Best White Italian Variety at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. Oliver’s Tarango winemaker Corrina Rayment believes these varieties hold up particularly well in McLaren Vale’s often harsh summers.

Ballandean Estate FianoWine critic James Halliday noted that of the … Read the rest

Mar 03 2015

South Australia’s McLaren Vale – Focus on Terroir is Yielding Exciting Results

Posted on March 03, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you think South Australia’s McLaren Vale is all about super rich, high alcohol reds, now is a great time to challenge your preconceptions. According to wine critic Huon Hooke, McLaren Vale is “alive with a new surge of vitality and is making superb wine.” (Red Means Go in the Vale by Huon Hooke, Good Food, SMH, 6 August 2013)

The seeds for transformation were sown around 15 years ago when the region’s top wineries began shifting their plantings to better suited, mainly red wine varieties. But confidence really started to surge about five years ago, coinciding with the release of the area’s first detailed geological map!

First detailed geological wine map released in 2010

In 2010, after decades of research, geologists confirmed what top winemakers like Clarendon Hill’s Roman Bratasiuk had long intuited. McLaren Vale was an incredibly ancient land with an unusually diverse range of soils and underlying rock formations that are capable of imbuing the wines with very individualistic characters.

 

McLaren ValeThe map identified nineteen distinct soil and rock districts within six geological and mesa-climate subregions: Blewitt Springs, McLaren Flat, Seaview, McLaren Vale, Willunga and Sellicks. According to Wine Australia’s regional director Aaron Brasher, no other Geographical Indication (GI) in Australia has been so extensively mapped!

Scarce Earth Project promotes terroir-focused wines

To prove that these subtle and not-so-subtle differences in soil type, climate and elevation can find expression in the wines, a group of the region’s most prominent wineries formed the Scarce Earth project in 2010.

Participating wineries were asked to isolate single blocks of land planted to shiraz (the vines must be at least 10 years old) and produce wines representing a true reflection of their terroir or sense of place. Now in its fifth year, wines are submitted for blind-tasting to an … Read the rest