Spring is here! To celebrate, here is a mixed dozen that complements all facets of this eagerly anticipated season;- a sparkling for the celebration itself; a pair of crisp, aromatic whites that tie in with thoughts of new growth and rebirth; there’s also a pinot grigio to have over the longer afternoons and a fiano that is all spring blossoms. We’ve included two rosé (it seemed appropriate); one a lean but powerful Austrian and the other an Aussie in the Italian style. If that sounds confusing then ponder it over a glass of classic Yarra pinot, and relax because we have your picnics covered with an Italian sangiovese and a Spanish tempranillo. You can open the shiraz/grenache when circumstances and conversation suggest one more bottle after dinner; and if you find yourself stuck on a cold night early in the season, reason dictates a Heathcote shiraz to hold the cold at bay. We hope you enjoy!
2017 Freeman Prosecco, Hilltops NSW $25
Celebrate the end of winter with this delicous fizz by Brian Freeman, an ex-oenology professor who planted his own vineyard on the granitic western slopes of the Great Divide. Made traditionally, but with a layer of complexity often absent in Italian examples thanks to half the wine being barrel fermented and lees stirred. This clean and fresh sparkling is perfect for ringing in the first hint of warmth!
2017 Stadt Krems ‘Lössterrassen’ Grüner Veltliner, Kremstal, Austria, $23
The ‘City’ of Krems (pop. 23, 992!) owns this winery and its 31ha of vines along the Danube, 80km upstream from that most livable city, Vienna. Fresh, light, and long, with delicate acid and hints of nectarine and pineapple, it’s like the first growth of spring on a cold morning – in a glass.
2017 Thick as Thieves ‘Left-Field Blend’, King Valley, VIC $24
If the last wine represents spring growth, this one is the more amorous side of the season. Citrussy sylvaner blended with a little gewurztraminer for its pretty, rose-like aromatics, this is a style we love at CWS – aromatic, dry white wine.
2017 Montevento Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, Veneto, Italy $18
Having just been recognised as a D.O.C. in time for the 2017 vintage, expect to see a lot more wine using this appellation. This is a perfect example of what the region does so well; mid-weight white with flavours of pears and citrus, and lovely length. Great drinking with vegetable and fish dishes, or on its own over a lengthening afternoon.
2018 Unico Zelo ‘Jade and Jasper’, Riverland, SA $23
Something of a fiano specialist now, Brendan Carter employs a small amount of skin contact to highlight aroma and texture. All the white blossoms of spring along with honeydew and lemon on the nose, leading to a beautiful, textured palate and fresh finish.
2017 Pittnauer ‘Pitti’ Rosé, Burgenland, Austria $25
Spring screams for rosé, so we’ve slipped in two! Recognised by Austrian foodie mag Falstaff as their Winemaker of the Year in 2014, Gerhard Pittnauer makes this blaufränkisch rosé to be delicate and long, with distinct cranberry notes and flavour intensity that belies its weight!
2017 Chalmers Rosato, Heathcote, VIC $27
This second-generation estate and the nursery they started is the reason Australia has such great diversity of Italian varieties. In this dry rosato aglianico, sagrantino, and nero d’avola all give great acid and weight, with each adding its own spectrum of fruit notes, from tart, juicy raspberries through to pretty orange slices. Perfect for cold cuts at a spring luncheon!
2016 Friends of Punch Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, VIC $35
Devastated by the 2009 bushfires, Punch started this label to make up the shortfall by purchasing fruit from friends and neighbours. Coming from the hills around St Andrews, this wine has great drive and the hallmark red fruits and silken texture we all love in Yarra pinot.
2017 Pandolfa ‘Federico’ Sangiovese Superiore, Emilia-Romagna, Italy $23
For us, sangiovese is the spring red par excellence. Mid-weight, with red licorice and cherry notes, enough acid to keep things fresh but not lean, and dusty tannins like newly sawn wood. Equally perfect at a picnic, with provolone, prosciutto or pasta, or just at the kitchen table.
2017 La MaldiCión Tempranillo Blend, Madrid, Spain $28
Still solidly mid-weight here, but a darker, juicier, and more fruit driven style from the surprisingly high hills south-east of Madrid. Unashamedly a tinto para beber or ‘red to drink’, a style made to consume soon after ferment finishes when the wine falls bright – serendipitously, just in time for spring!
2016 De Bortoli Villages Shiraz/Grenache, Heathcote, VIC $22
We’re getting a little heavier now, but the grenache and some whole bunches in the shiraz keep this plummy and perfumed with a wonderful earthy or olive character as supporting cast. Charming, perhaps a wine to help charm another on a late, warm evening…
2016 Sanguine Estate ‘Progeny’ Shiraz, Heathcote, VIC $25
Warm evenings will come, but there will still be some cold nights ahead. So, to hold them at bay we proffer this classic central Victorian. Grown on the famous, ancient red soils of Heathcote, this wine is rich, spicy and aromatic.
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