The Artisans of Australia tasting showcased the innovation that is at the heart of a new generation of Australian winemakers. Despite the many exciting and varied varietals and blends on show, Roger Jones found himself gravitating back towards Riesling that he found to have so many true and exciting expressions.
Four of the top new artisan Australian winemakers as picked out by The Buyer – and ones whose wines are well worth checking out – sampled at the Artisans of Australia tasting.
Having not visited a nightclub for many moons it was interesting to see one in its ‘daylight’ make up, I must say it was not that glamorous and the aromas in the loos reminded me of the The Den in the 1980s. However, the rough and ready venue in Shoreditch was a perfect setting for the hugely popular tasting highlighting the diversity and experimental varieties now coming from Australia.
There were many highlights from this innovative tasting, but looking at my notes it was the fabulous Riesling grape that continued to excite and interest me.
The Chaffey Bros (imported by Negociants) I knew from working with on a food and wine matching project earlier this year but I would single out the Tripelpunkt 2015 from three singular sites in the Eden Valley. Here there were wonderful nuances of tangerine, jasmine tea, Crunchy bar and crisp apples, wet stone and refreshing stone fruit, this is a lovely complete wine that exudes flavour and character.
The Dufte Punkt 2015, a combination of Riesling, Gewürztraminer and the Weiber Herold (Kerner) grape, offers a seamless, textured wine with delicate Turkish Delight, lychees, paw paw and crisp minerality to keep it in check with a kiss of rose petals at the end.
Vinteloper (imported by Red Squirrel) delivered a fabulous cross section of wines, the two Pinots particularly outstanding with the OPN/12 Pinot Noir from Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills delivering pure magic, although the winemaker David Bowley highlighted the more reasonably priced PN/14 from the Adelaide Hills as a better expression of his work.
However it was the Rieslings here again that were the clever wines. First the R/15, Watervale, the minerality and purity of this sub region of Clare clearly coming through, and then up a level to the OD/13 Riesling, again from Watervale but aged in old barrels, not for the oak but for the texture and ‘wow’ this was a beautiful structured focused wine that would be a huge asset to a fine dish of sashimi.
Bellwether (imported by Red Squirrel). Sue Bell, owner and winemaker showcased two perfect examples of regionality, first the wonderful ‘Tamar Valley’ Chardonnay 2012, which had the classic purity of Northern Tasmania, a light style but still with an impressive level of flavour, but it was the purity that shone. And then to the text book ‘Coonawarra’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 that had a classic style with soft, delicate cigar overtones, juicy luscious bilberries, gentle oak – a seamless hugely enjoyable classy Cab.
Smallfry (currently looking for an importer but have some wines at The Sampler). The ‘Eden Valley’ Riesling 2016 was soft delicate, bright and delivered the perfect style to encourage even more love of this grape variety. Then onto the ‘Barossa’ Riesling 2015 that had lime marmalade, buttery toasted brioche, sumptuous and textured but clean and precise, incredible depth from such a young vintage, truly a fabulous wine.
A quick nod to a ‘Rose’ Cinsault, Grenache 2016, that was a beautiful, clean, precise wine with sweet cranberries, delicate floral overtones but also a good masculine backbone. And, lastly, the odd labelled ‘orange’ style wine called ‘Tangerine Dream’ including Semillon, Pedro, Riesling, Rousanne and Muscat from the 2016 vintage. Well, if you are going to be introduced into the world of ‘Orange’ or ‘Tangerine’ wine this would be it. Classically funky but clearly defined with beautiful layers of flavours that mingled well.
Well done to Wine Australia and all the guys behind this great innovation such as Indigo, Red Squirrel, Swig & Knotted Wines a wonderful experience… despite the ‘unusual’ aromas!