Wine Reviews: July

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POOLEY Pinot Grigio 2013
Coal River Valley, Tasmania
RRP $30

Brother-sister winemaking-viticulturist duo, Anna and Matthew Pooley, are hardworking Tasmanians taking over the reigns and managing Pooley Wines, which their family established in 1985. Just quietly, they do a damn fine job of it too.

This particular Pinot Grigio has been quick to achieve its status as a fantastic dry style coming from the cooler climes of the Coal River Valley in southern Tasmania. Aromas of crunchy green pear, red apple and salty sea breeze are the predominant characters on the nose followed by a palate with thirst-quenching acidity, similar fruit flavours as the nose and a touch of almond on the finish. A period of extended maturation on the lees has also offered some welcome texture and length to the palate.

Try the Pooley Pinot Grigio with mild cheeses, fried calamari or tempura anything.

Stockist: Pooley Wines website or ask at your local independent wine retailer

DOMAINE LUCCI Sangiovese 2013
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
RRP $29

This wine by Domaine Lucci has one of the cutest labels I have seen with a blue-haired anime character on the front. The Lucci labels fall under the Lucy Margaux umbrella – a property managed in the Adelaide Hills by natural wine enthusiast Anton Von Klopper.

It is fortunate that aside from the eye-catching label, the wine performs just as nicely. This 100% Sangiovese was made without adding yeast, acid or certain other products that are generally used in winemaking. The Domaine Lucci Sangiovese has a high-toned nose with lots of red cherry liqueur, chinotto and plum aromas coming through. I would guess that some old wood has been used for maturation during this warm vintage, with tannins that are ripe yet mild.

It has a definite nod to the Italian styles with softened flavours of winter herbs and earthy notes to the finish.
Drink now and sample with grilled meats marinated with herbs or plates of charcuterie.

Stockist: King & Godfree, Carlton

VIRAGO Nebbiolo 2011
Beechworth, Victoria
RRP N/A

Now you might think you have heard this story before, but bear with me. It’s a little different.

Two women, one a surgeon and one an accountant, purchased a property in Beechworth in Victoria’s north-east that was part of the old Brown Brother’s Everton hills vineyard. Not knowing very much about grape growing and winemaking, the women consulted the advice of their winemaking neighbour, Russell Bourne, who convinced them to plant Nebbiolo vines so he might then make the wine in the future.

So the ladies proceeded to plant 2000 vines in the year 2007 and were ready to make their wine. Then their neighbour left the area. Oh dear. Fortunately they had another local winemaker nearby by the name of Rick Kinzbrunner of Beechworth’s famed Giaconda winery, who held a keen interest in Nebbiolo and agreed to make the wine instead. Phew!

This wine is intriguing – it is made from 100% Nebbiolo yet smells like it has been blended with a bit of Cabernet due to a mesh of tar and bramble character on the nose. The palate has a nice meaty depth and a smokiness that draws any more obvious fruit notes away. There are drying woody tannins and lingering flavours of winter herbs then this pleasing juiciness at the finish, which makes your fingers simply reach for another glass. Cheeky indeed.

If there were an Options game and I had to guess what this wine was without seeing the label, I would fail to guess that the Virago Nebbiolo was a Nebbiolo. It just goes to show what uniqueness is coming out of Australia today. Try this with fatty salami, veal and pork-based ragu.

Stockist: Keep on the lookout at local restaurants and the local wine shop in the Beechworth area

La Donna Del Vino

La Donna del Vino is the pseudonym of this lady from Melbourne with a nose attuned to all things vinous. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, cooking, drinking good vino and is a self-confessed Neb Head (someone who really digs Nebbiolo).