With winter finally behind us, our thoughts turn to the bright, the fresh, and the frivolous! All spring’s humours covered in twelve wines. Give your cellar a good spring clean, then load up with this lot!
To start, the pleasant surprise of a pet-nat moscato, before the joy of encountering old riesling-mate Fritz. A playful grigio will likely tickle if taken to a picnic in the park, and all this sunshine may have you seeing Marlborough sauvignon in a new light. If you’re uncertain what the weather is doing, the fiano is one for the equinox, while the chardonnay is self-assured, with all the charisma of a young gun. Seriously fun rosé contrasts nicely with the pinot, like a romp through wild berry bushes. The cab franc is a walk through the gardens – plenty of new growth but with a solid path underfoot – and when the road leads you home, you can relax with a glass of malbec, grenache, or Yarra shiraz. All suited to cool nights early in the season, but with a lot to be happy about things getting warmer!
2019 Dhiaga Dry-Hopped Moscato Pet Nat, Swan Hill, Victoria $25
Made as a passion project by Best’s Great Western winemaker (and sometime brewer) Justin Purser, this ancestrale method sparkling has its spring blossoms and dry spritz amplified by the addition of beer hops near the end of ferment. Adding citrus notes and slight astringency, the hops help keep the wine stable, without any additions of preservatives.
2017 Gunderloch Fritz Riesling, Rheinhessen, Germany $22
Dry riesling from the Roter Hang rank among Germany’s finest, and Gunderloch always over-deliver. Dedicated to the late and truly great Fritz Hasselbach, you can almost taste the red slate underneath the stonefruits – fresh as new growth, and with the promise of summer.
2018 Pasqua Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, Veneto, Italy $18
We said last spring to look out for this appellation! Full of lemon scented pears with great texture and zip, this is for lighter pasta dishes, or anything eaten while sitting on a rug! A delicious thirst quencher.
2018 Meltwater Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand $26
In this part of the world, sustainable agriculture, hand harvesting, and lees ageing are hardly regional de rigueur. These are just some of the inspired choices that lift this wine from the savvy hoi polloi. Lifts of basil and mandarin sit over a cheerfully exuberant, lengthy palate.
2018 A.Mano Fiano/Greco, Puglia, Italy $26
The best fianos always seem to juggle a lemon-like line with full fruit flavour. Having both, makes for marvellous versatility at the table. 10% greco here adds a grapefruit zing, balancing the extra weight of a little appassimento richness – much as the Adriatic’s cool evening breezes balance the warm Pugliese days.
2018 Brothers Wine Co. Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia $26
Jono and Damon Koerner were recently awarded the Young Guns of Wine trophy, and wines like this make it easy to see why! From Damon’s own small farm and fermented in big 600L oak barrels, it shows a deft hand in the balance of both power and freshness.
2018 Rameau d’Or Côtes de Provence Rosé, Provence, France $30
It may be a stereotype, but dry rosé on a sunny day really is one of life’s pleasures! Great mouthfeel graduating to a dry finish in stages, this Provençal is a classic. As suited to fried seafood or just as is, on the patio.
2019 William Downie Cathedral Pinot Noir, Upper Goulburn, Victoria $32
Bill’s second release from the cool slopes of the Cathedral Ranges, a wine intended to be made, sold, and consumed in a single calendar year. It certainly supplies the great aromatics, vibrant up-front fruit, and juicy finish needed to make his dream a reality.
2018 Airlie Bank Cabernet Franc, Yarra Valley, Victoria $22
Tim Shand of Punt Road could easily be acclaimed the modern Midas. Whole bunch fermented, raised in huge old oak, this has sappy cab franc highlights that dance around a rhubarby red fruit core. With plenty of dusty tannin to finish, this is a real gem.
2017 Finca Las Moras Reserva Malbec, San Juan, Argentina $24
A package just built for a barbeque – look forward to dark fruit wrapped in light oak, with a neat herbal bow. Hailing from Argentina’s high altitude north and named after the local blackberry bushes, all of which is echoed in the softness and fresh finish of its fruit.
2015 Clos d’Alzan Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Signargues Grenache/Syrah/Mour, Southern Rhône, France $26
The southernmost Rhône village allowed to append its own name to a label, this low plateau is littered with the region’s prized big round stones and herbal garrigue. Giving plenty of fleshy, full raspberry fruit, on a fine-boned frame, this is one you will really want to guzzle!
2017 Luke Lambert Crudo Shiraz, Yarra Valley, Victoria $29
Just outside Yarra Glen there is a lone granitic outcrop giving great views of the valley floor, and equally great Yarra shiraz. Luke Lambert makes this with 90% whole bunches, but you wouldn’t know it, and the 5000l oak barrel it ages in doesn’t clamour for your attention either. Both add to the impression of completeness in this wine. Full but not showy, long but not lean, this is cool climate shiraz at its best.
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