Antipodean speed dating
This year we are also making our first Albariño.’ ‘We are blessed in Barossa and Eden Valley.It’s so easy to grow grapes in our beautiful vineyards and there is a wide range of soils and microclimates that give complexity to the wines without the need for any fancy winemaking.
Riesling, Viognier and Semillon are also coming up, with some really appealing wines, and it’s good to see varieties like Roussanne from Yalumba too, showing that Australia can do many different things.The idea was simple: to allow the attending sommeliers and winemakers to ‘speed date’ each other, with the sommeliers circulating around the tasting stations at 12-minute intervals.This meant that sommeliers could spend focused time with each winemaker and just three of their signature wines.Cool breezes blow across the vineyards in the afternoons, which encourages precise and elegant characteristics in the wines.‘We decided very early on to work out what Margaret River does best and so our primary focus is on Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the Cabernet vines being among the oldest planted in the region back in 1967.Eden has very varied soils, which are often shallow and rocky, so the vines have to work harder, but this gives a greater expression of the terroir, plus the higher altitude means cooler night-time temperatures, which imparts more aromatic character in the wines.
‘Our philosophy is based around understanding which grape varieties will naturally work best in the vineyards – not fighting against nature – so our approach is about having the knowledge and confidence to do as little as possible when it comes to winemaking.’ ‘Hunter is one of Australia’s oldest wine regions, and over time it became very clear that Semillon grows fantastically well in the white sands of what is an old riverbed, while Shiraz loves the old red volcanic clays that you also find here.
So whites from white soils and reds from red soils is the rule.
‘The soils give the Semillons a great purity and mineral structure, typically with a fresh lemon-lime streak and a hint of talc-like character, making Hunter Semillon unique for its combination of great acidity, subtle but intense fruit and refreshing finish.
The London leg of this year’s Negociants UK Winemakers Tour included a spot of ‘speed dating’ as sommeliers got up close and personal with the winemakers and their wines. The Negociants UK Winemakers Tour is one of those must-attend tastings for anyone remotely serious about their Australian and New Zealand portfolios.
However, this year saw a new twist with the inclusion of an imaginative sommelier-only event in London that brought together the winemakers with the cream of the UK’s restaurant world.
These are wine styles that are all about pairing with food.’ ‘The Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blancs were much more exciting and rounded than many New Zealand styles, and the Ara Pinot Noirs also had good backbone and persistence.