Fiano clearly works in the King Valley in Victoria. This is a correct varietal expression of fiano from De Bortoli with attractive lemon and almond aromatics. The palate is full bodied, savoury and has a subtle but firm acidity. Delicious and ready to drink now, this is a very good release. Rating: Good. Price: $20s. Abv: 12%. Website: https://www.debortoli.com.au.
This is an interesting Prosecco from Austin & Co in the King Valley in Victoria. I’ve written a bit about prosecco recently, it being the name of a grape variety in Australia and a region in north eastern Italy which has created some confusion. You can read about that here. This is of course an Australian version of prosecco. What surprised me however was that this is bottled in a regular 750ml bottle under screw cap. It had rather expected I was opening a prosecco in table wine format – an interesting thought of itself – rather than a sparkling wine! But sparkling it is. Clearly, the pressure of the wine is able to be withstood by this seal.
As mentioned, I quite liked what’s inside the bottle. The wine has lemon and floral aromatics. Dry with a creamy mousse and medium length, this prosecco presents as a balanced and pleasant sparkling wine.
Vendors and website: http://www.austinsandco.com.au
Shopping for some sparkling wines recently, it rather dawned upon me that the shelves boast both Prosecco from northern Italy and also prosecco from the King Valley in Victoria, a labelling state of affairs seen less commonly these days with our mostly “de-EU’ed” wine labels. I did some short research and found that the EU and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia had recently argued that very point. The key issue seems to be that in Australia prosecco is a grape variety, and in Europe, but only since 2009, it has been renamed “glera” and Prosecco refers to the delimited EU wine region in north eastern Italy. The EU lost the local battle. Here’s what the relevant Registrar said in 2013:
“vines have been imported into Australia, planted and cultivated, and wine has been made, promoted and sold at a time when the name [prosecco] was not only available for use but prescribed by statute as the only available name. Moreover, for the most part, this activity and the business plans behind it took place when the name was available and in use as a variety name, not only elsewhere in the world but specifically in Italy and Europe.”
So prosecco and prosecco can remain side-by-side locally albeit crafted and grown on opposite ends of the planet. Harmonious, yes, but just a little bit “Alice in Wonderland”. But it’s hard to argue with the strict logic or the history.
Bella Riva is a De Bortoli label with fruit sourced from the King Valley. I couldn’t help but think that this blend of pinot gris and vermentino worked. It is perhaps a safe ledge that might tempt those wishing to diversify from sauvignon blanc towards it. The wine itself is water-white in colour, with a pale intensity of expression. Its aromatics are of salt and lemons, and the palate reminds of green mango, lemon and has enough length and mid palate depth to be of interest. This is a balanced blend that provides enjoyment and something a little different at this price point, and is ready to drink now. Acceptable
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
Subscribe: Please enter your email address in the subscription icon on the right of screen to keep up-to-date by email. You will not receive any advertising, nor will your information be shared.
Pizzini is a producer from the King Valley in northern Victoria and their sangiovese is generally a safe bet. But the 2011 vintage was not a kind one in the region, and not in fact the vintage I had ordered off the restaurant list, but that is another story. Significant rain, disease pressure and very slow ripening conditions created difficulties for red wine grapes in the King Valley in 2011. And so it is that the 2011 vintage of Pizzini’s sangiovese falls short of its usual standard. Aromatically, it is more oak than earth, with unexpected popcorn butter notes. The palate too appeared to be oak dominant, with some savoury acid edges. Its ameliorating feature is some quite good length, but overall, the impression is of a struggle to make something out of a lesser vintage. Acceptable
This was the second wine I tried as part of De Bortoli’s recent BellaRiva releases. I’ve not previously tried a vermentino or vermentino blend, which having tasted this wine, is apparently an omission on my part. I really quite enjoyed this offering at $18. Pears and lemon citrus came together on the nose. The charm here was that the typical pinot grigio fatness on the palate was balanced by good acidity and a saltiness presumably from the vermentino. I really felt like drinking this refreshing wine. Good stuff. 86 points.
De Bortoli appear to get new media. This BellaRiva wine, together with a white (my next review to be posted), were released accompanied by a live internet stream from De Bortoli on Ustream and allowed tasters to participate via a captive version of Twitter, including obviously on Twitter itself. The bottle also has one of those QR codes on the back that you can scan with your smart phone and take you to a website with some further information about the wine. It was all quite fun and novel. With the possible exception that Ustream turned out to be incompatible with my iPhone and so the video stream didn’t happen for me.
So, what then of the wine? The BellaRiva vineyard was planted in the King Valley in 1994 – a most scenic and very European looking part of Victoria. If only the region weren’t so darn far away … At $18, their 2009 sangiovese merlot is frankly very enjoyable. Expect a bright, cherry, vibrant, fresh fruit and jubey aroma. And tannins, some length, pepper and rusticity on the palate. There is a lot to like about this well made wine. It reminded me a little of the more lightly styled Toscana IGTs, and while it is more a wine to glug than to pontificate about, it’s certainly enjoyable. Drink over the next few years. 86 points.
I bought this a few years ago now on the way back from Falls Creek. Now, I wish I had a dozen. Immediately upon opening the bottle it was obvious that my choice of the dish washer safe wine glasses (aka “the bad glasses”) was unfounded. Why is it that most good wines can be spotted by smell alone? This is a deeply coloured wine, with a very attractive aroma of plum skins. On the palate, there is excellent length, red fruits, pepper and spice. This, I think, is the best tempranillo I have tasted to date, in Australia or Spain, besting the previous title holder being the excellent Willow Bridge Estate Reserve Tempranillo 2004 from Geographe I tasted 6 months ago. 93 points (7.8/10).
Would I buy it having tasted it? An emphatic yes.
Pizzini is considered to produce one of Australia’s better sangiovese wines. And I happen to like sangiovese. That said, I find the grape variety a somewhat variable performer, particularly in its Chianti Classico guise. I tend to prefer the darker, richer and more fully fruited versions of Chianti Classico with evident tannins, than the lighter styles. Probably this means that I like the modern styles. Terrible. Pizzini’s 2005 vintage is in a lighter style, though it is very good, and frankly is better than most Chianti Classicos of the lighter variety. An aroma of cherries, with a slightly charred note. On the palate, cherries and some real length. Drink now as I’m not sure it will improve from here. It is an enjoyable wine. 85 points. (7/10)
Price: $25 (current vintage)
Would I buy it having tasted it? Yes
I won’t dwell long on this rosé, because it tasted of smoke and ash. I read that in the King Valley a lot of producers did not harvest the 2007 vintage due to bushfires and smoke taint. I don’t know whether this is the reason this wine tasted smoky, but it’s not recommended in any case. 51 points.
Price: $16 (current vintage)
Would I buy it having tasted it? No