Bree Boskov is a fresh entrant to the Master of Wine ranks, achieving the title last year. Sustainable wine production and alternate varieties suited to our country's climate are central to her round-up of Aussie wines.
Bree Boskov's ultimate Aussie six-pack
1. 2015 Jauma Chenin Blanc Pet Nat
I believe sustainable wine production is key to the future success and health of the Australian wine industry. Organic farming and growing varieties that are suited to the Australian landscape, allowing winemakers to minimise or forego interventions in the winery, are important. James Erskine works with this philosophy from vineyard to bottle, utilising old-vine, dry-grown, organic and biodynamically farmed vineyards. This high-acid chenin blanc is from 60-year-old vines on sandy soils over schist and clay at Blewitt Springs. It sees four months in old French oak before it’s bottled still fermenting with residual sugar, finishing fermentation in the bottle on full lees. The wine is cloudy, looking much like a sand-filled wave near the shore, and the nose is redolent of summer too, with salty preserved lemon and tequila-spiked ginger beer flavours. The acid is easy and the fruit well supported by a fizz that recedes to a lazy bubble off the light sediment in the bottom of the bottle – an incredibly gluggable and fun bottle of sparkling.
RRP $28 | McLaren Vale | Jauma Wines
2. 2014 Si Vintners Halcyon Chardonnay
Produced from an extremely low-cropping, old-vine chardonnay block planted in 1978 on Margaret River’s loam- and white-clay soils, to me, this chardonnay represents what is exciting about Margaret River today. Combining pure, concentrated, citrussy lemon myrtle and grapefruit flavours, it’s concrete-egg fermented giving it an energetic mouthful of fruit and cool, textural, wet-clay palate with a hint of old-barrel spice on the finish. The charm of Si Vintners’ wines lies in the confidence they have in the fruit they grow, allowing them to apply creativity and playfulness to their winemaking.
RRP $90 | Margaret River | Si Vintners
3. 2015 Chatto Pinot Noir
Tasmania is attracting a number of winemakers from warmer regions, such as Jim Chatto from the Hunter Valley, Sue Bell from Coonawarra and the Brown family from Rutherglen. Pinot noir seems to have found a new expression in Tasmania, the cool climate and long growing season developing excellent structure and layers of complex red fruit with an unmistakably Tasmanian morel mushroom- and forest-floor earthiness. Southern Tasmania’s Huon Valley seems to be an ideal place for Burgundian varietals – an exciting region that is capturing the attention of both Australia and the international wine world.
RRP $50 | Southern Tasmania | Chatto Wines
4. 2015 Sorrenberg Gamay
Biodynamically farmed on high-altitude, granite- and red-mudstone soils, the Sorrenberg Gamay has been a favourite for a number of years now. A dark-mineral gamay made with the inclusion of a little pinot noir, whole-cluster fermentation steps up the savoury, earthy element a notch, but the cool-climate, peppered-cherry gamay fruit always sings.
RRP $49 | Beechworth | Sorrenberg
5. 2016 Ochota Barrels Sense of Compression Grenache
Australia’s old-vine grenache vineyards can produce some of the most intriguing wines in the world, especially when the fruit is handled in a respectful way (i.e. not picked overripe and then heavily extracted in the winery). Again, this wine shows Australia’s playful side. Old-vine grenache picked on the early side gives the nose notes of strawberry, ruby red grapefruit and white pepper. This wine is co-fermented with two per cent gewurztraminer, which delivers a beguiling bergamot and musk note to the fruit. The palate is as the name suggests – compressed and pure with a great tension and recoil. Wines of intrigue and interest are what Australia is about today, and this is an excellent example of that.
RRP $80 | Adelaide Hills | Ochota Barrels
6. 2015 Brash Higgins ‘NDV’ Nero d’Avola
Southern Italian varietals seem to be finding their feet in the Australian wine landscape, which makes sense as they’re less reliant on water than the traditional French varieties. Brad Hickey from Brash Higgins in McLaren Vale goes one step further by fermenting his nero d’Avola, a Sicilian import, in locally made clay amphora. The clay is more porous than wood and stainless steel, allowing the tannins to resolve earlier and giving it an open, generous-fruited mouthful without being weighed down by oak artifact. The brambly fruit and liquorice spices of the variety seem to have more vibrancy and energy, showing a natural affinity for this method of fermentation.
RRP $42 | McLaren Vale | Brash Higgins
The Defining Australian Wine series is produced with thanks to our brand partner Winery Lane, an online marketplace designed to unite wine lovers with independent winemakers. Click here to watch Winery Lane’s Stephen Mobbs tackle the topic of what makes an archetypally Aussie wine.
Halliday Wine Companion reviews are 100 per cent independent and recommendations published here reflect the opinions of the original authors. Unless content is labelled 'Sponsored', you can be assured that advertisers have no influence over what is included.