Home' National Liquor News : NLN AUG 2016 Contents 34 | AUGUST 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
VICTORIAN WINE REGION
here’s a common perception held within each of Australia’s wine
states; NSW is our oldest wine region; South Australia has the
most area of land under vines and a majority of the Australian
grape harvest. In Victoria a new chapter is being added to the
Australian vinous story, where wine, food and family come together as one.
Victoria is where food and wine has become an experience. That
experience stems from an understanding of what the true essence of wine
is, passed down through the generations; that wine is best enjoyed over a
meal, surrounded by family and friends.
Today’s generation of Victorian winemakers are creating wines that are
approachable and drinkable now. They are increasing experimentation
with the varieties they have planted and exploring changes in style to
produce wines with certain cuisines in mind. There has never been a more
exciting time to eat and drink your way through the regions of Victoria.
Both the regions of Milawa and the King Valley have developed from
growing the more traditional varieties of Chardonnay and Shiraz to a
prevalent focus on Italian varieties, which came with the entrance of
many farmers of Italian heritage in the mid-1900s. These wine styles and
grape varieties came to the King Valley, starting with Sangiovese, Barbera,
Nebbiolo to Prosecco, Arneis and now Garganega. This blending of
tradition and innovation is what Katherine Brown, assistant winemaker
and fourth generation family member of Brown Brothers, says is the
evolution of the wine styles they produce on their Milawa property. “The
King Valley now has a number of successful producers, many of whom
have taken on the local history of innovation and doing things differently
to the majority of the Australian wine industry,” she said.
Coming from one of the Italian families who initially emigrated from Italy
to the King Valley, the Dal Zottos know about the blending of history and
modernisation when it comes to wine. Take their Prosecco experiment Col
Fondo (which translates to ‘with lees’) which they released in November
2015. Adding to their ever growing portfolio of wines, the Col Fondo is a
window to the Dal Zotto family history, as Michael Dal Zotto explains:
“This wine is made in a style you would be given if you visited Otto (Dad)
in his hometown of Valdobbiadene in Italy. He would go down to his cellar
and pull out a bottle of Prosecco that he had made using a bottle ferment, he
would rip off the crown seal and decant it slowly into a carafe.”
Having adapted from farming tobacco to viticulture, the King Valley is
proactive in producing new varieties and adept at using new methods to
continually improve and evolve as a region. Brown Brothers is working with
the CSIRO on a number of grape varieties that have great potential for the
future of the Australian wine industry; bred with tolerance of drought, heat,
salinity and unpredictable growing seasons. Brown Brothers released one
of these wines under the name ‘Project Enigma’, and Brown explains it as
“made from a berry with red flesh, giving the wine high intensity of colour
and boldness. The variety is bred to be early ripened with lower typical sugar
accumulation. This allows the wine to be much lower in final alcohol and
harvested before the full brunt of summer could bring the effects of sunburn
or canopy damage. Further releases of these wines are planned for the
coming vintages”. Brown Brothers understands the importance of creating
wine styles with lower sugar and alcohol in line with consumer trends and
also their ability to work harmoniously with food.
FOOD PAIRING BRINGS WINE TO LIFE
The great appeal of Italian varietals is that they maintain good natural
acidity and fine tannins in the face of our hot Australian climate. Dry and
savoury with structure softened by the generosity of ripe Australian fruit,
NEW GENERATIONS OF VICTORIAN WINEMAKERS ARE BUILDING ON THEIR FAMILY HISTORIES TO DEFINE NOT
ONLY WHAT WE’RE GOING TO BE DRINKING NOW BUT HOW WE WILL BE EXPERIENCING WINE IN THE FUTURE.
SAMANTHA PAYNE REPORTS.
Scotchmans Hill vineyard.
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