2011 Kangarilla Road The Veil
South Australia / RRP $20 (500 ml)
The only things missing from this wine’s epic backstory are the three generations and the lost fortune. It all started about five or so years ago when Australian winegrowers, in pursuit of continued innovation and experimentation, planted vineyards full of the aromatic Spanish variety Albariño. As one of Spain’s top white wines, winegrowers were understandably excited at the vines’ potential in Australia. The only thing to inhibit this potential was that the vines were not Spanish Albariño but French Savagnin, where it is made into an intriguing style called Vin Jaune, or “Yellow Wine”. To achieve this the wine is left in barrel where a film of yeast is allowed to grow over the top of the wine to impart distinct flavours, character and colour. That film of yeast is known as the voile or The Veil. This is a delightful wine made from Australian Savagnin grapes in a style inspired by the Vin Jaune from the Jura. It’s complex, nutty, and textural. This is as exciting a prospect as the original plan, just different.
2012 Brown Brothers Sauvignon Blanc Tasmania
Tasmania / RRP $18
For 123 years the Milawa-based, family-owned, Brown Brothers has made wine with fruit from Victorian vineyards only. This wine, the first wine produced in the Brown Brothers livery but sourced from Tasmania, changed all of that. Well, the change started with the purchase of the Tasmanian vineyards by the Brown family 18 months ago, followed by an excellent 2012 vintage in Tasmania for Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is a very attractive Sauvignon Blanc; with distinct varietal aromas of gooseberry, melon and passionfruit that follow into a textural palate and a lick of enlivening acidity. It finishes crisp, clean and dry. Brown Brother’s Tasmanian debut is an incredibly refreshing and drinkable wine that really makes you wish for another; serve ice cold on a boiling hot day.
2011 Kooyong Beurrot Pinot Gris
Mornington Peninsula / RRP $31
Grapes, like people, have some things they do well, and some areas where they could use a life coach. If you had to zoom in on Pinot Gris’ issues it might be that, if it’s not picked just right, it can be hard to create a wine with flavour and structure; basically it can lack interest. This wine takes that and turns it right around – like what David Attenborough did for nature documentaries. Made by Kooyong’s Sandro Mosele, it brims with interest and complexity – from the aromas of honeysuckle, pear and spice upon first approach, to the textured palate you can feel before you taste, which offers flavour, balance, interest and length. All this complexity and interest, from a variety that is accused of being beige and a vintage that was challenged by the wily affects of La Niña makes it even more special; like a miracle baby born in a hurricane.
2010 Esperanza Monastrell McLaren Vale
South Australia / RRP $35
“You see, all of my most secret inventions are cooking and simmering in here. Old Slugworth would give his false teeth to get inside for just five minutes, so don’t touch a thing!” So said Willy Wonka at the door of his factory’s Inventing Room, a room I suspect has influenced the winemakers at Wirra Wirra over the years as they have turned out an intriguing line of exclusive and unusual varietals as cellar door specials. The latest from the Wirra Wirra winemakers’ Inventing Room is this, the Ezperanza range of Iberian (Spanish and Portuguese) varieties grown in McLaren Vale, which they have decided to share beyond the Inventing Room, sorry, cellar door. The 2010 Esperanza Monastrell (the Spanish name for Mourvèdere) is a heady mix of earthy spice, sweet plum and dark berries followed by grippy tannins, earthiness and tar. Lovely stuff, just like the name Esperanza, which in both Spanish and Portuguese means ‘hope’.
These reviews first appeared in the print edition of the The Melbourne Review.