UNICO ZELO Dolcetto ‘Cherry Fields’ 2014
Clare Valley & Adelaide Hills, South Australia
I first came across winemaker Brendan Carter when he was still a student back in 2011. We crossed paths as Italian wine enthusiasts entered into a scholarship for that particular topic. Brendan went on to Dux the course and his prize meant he was able to travel to Italy and explore the exciting varieties the country has to offer. In the following years, Brendan has since put these experiences to their best use with the launch of his own wine label called Unico Zelo run alongside his wife Laura.
Dolcetto is recognized in Italy as a delicious medium-bodied red variety not to be taken too seriously and is suitable for everyday grazing. In fact the back of the label suggests you have this wine when you find yourself ‘eating with your hands’. The Unico Zelo example fits into a similar mould as the Italian verison with a wild ferment and maturation in old oak that optimizes the fruit profile. The nose opens with aromas of fresh black cherries, cola and a hint of vanilla. The palate is a little more liqueured cherries in flavour and shows a delicacy in its texture and balance with its refreshing acidity. My only hesitation with Unico Zelo is that it lacked the tannic presence to slow me down. That bottle disappeared all too quickly.
Stockist: Check Blackhearts & Sparrows stores (all) or be first when the new vintage comes out around October.
CASTAGNA Allegro Rosé 2009
That may be a quote that I stole from the movie Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy , but such a highly intelligent saying could also be applied to the wine style rosé. We are in the midst of a Rosé revolution that hosts events through the month of November. However according to my standards of rosé appreciation and ridiculously good mathematical calculations, it is actually a beverage that has the capacity to be consumed during two thirds of the year, if not more. Melbourne weather permitting, I am referring to the period from the end of October to the start of May. “60% of the time…it works every time”.
On November 10th, I celebrated the beginning of the revolution with this rosé from Castagna called Allegro, which easily confirmed its position as one of Australia’s top rosé wines. What can I say? It is difficult to dislike such a pretty peach, salmon, blush hued wine. Well actually no. That was a blatant lie because if the wine did not perform and do wondrous things in my mouth then I would not speak of it so highly.
Fear not, Julian Castagna has created a wicked rosé mistress of layered complexity like no other.
She beckons you forth by opening with a perfume of sweet pink musk followed by a gentle puff of smoke. Soft and playful on the palate, she kisses you with sugared almond lips dusted with vanilla icing. Texturally, Madame rosé has got curves in all the right places and in the right proportions with that final flavoured flush of rose water pinning you down for another glass. She brings an impressive 14.00% alcohol to the table, but with such a vivacious personality, it is no wonder that you are more than tempted to have a bit of a play with the alluring rosé.
CHALMERS Nero d’Avola 2009
This is a wine of mid-burgundy hue with dusty pink tones that made me seriously want to watch ‘Pretty in Pink’ because I kept picturing Molly Ringwald’s character fabulously suited up for her prom in that garish pink dress…you remember the one!
SORRENBERG Gamay 2009
Sorrenberg’s Barry Morey’s humble offerings earn praise year after year, whether it is for his Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon, or his stunning Chardonnay which I tend to pine for every so often. His latest Gamay continues this strong tradition. Intriguingly it contains a small portion of Pinot Noir to combine two French styles of Beaujolais and Burgundy. The result is seamless but remarkably distinct with red berry aromatics tied to a hint of fresh cherry. For something made in the depths of a cellar underneath Barry’s house, the wine is a true delight said by those who know all about it.
S C PANNELL Nebbiolo 2007
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
In January 2011 Steve Pannell spread the Aussie love with his ‘All for One Wine’ campaign promoting Australian wines. With so many grape variety options here in Australia and to align myself for a moment with SC Pannell’s thinking, why would I venture overseas just for the day?! (Rheotorical question DO NOT ANSWER!).
OK, so be warned. I am a self-confessed Neb-head. For a variety that some would say is more easily misunderstood than appreciated, I am an ardent advocate of the Nebbiolo grape. The 2007 is classic in style from the autumnal colour, to the delicate red fruits that are beginning to edge into a more savoury tone. The picture is completed by the wonderfully high acidity that is balanced by its lashing of tannin and palate weight. Steve Pannell really is an exceptional producer of this complex variety. Share the Aussie love if you wish.
VINEA MARSON Sangiovese 2008
“When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine…” – The dear Dean Martin
As the Best Italian Varietal for the 2011 Good Wine Guide, Mario Marson’s most recent vintage provides the perfect template from which to benchmark great Aussie Sangiovese. A backbone of freshly picked cherries with hints of bramble and a lick of vanilla are complemented by a taut acidity, firm tannic kick and almond meal finish. Get on it.
GROSSET Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Clare Valley, South Australia
For their nineteenth vintage, Grosset has continued to drive for distinction, undoubtedly (and enviably) having one of the best styles in the country. Made from 60% Clare Valley Semillon and 40% Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, this blend never disappoints in its flavoursome offering of tight citrus and pristine stone fruit perfumes. The overall lemon core provides the generous length and mouthwatering texture. A wine of this intensity will further evolve in the glass so don’t drink it too quickly!