There are some people you meet in life and just go, “Yep, they’re onto it.”
Such was the case when I met Jo Marsh a number of years ago when out at a wine show. At that stage, she was working for Feathertop Wines in the Alpine Valleys and had already built a strong winemaking reputation from prior experience and after winning many an award. Suffice to say that I was often in complete awe of her from afar and was not the least bit surprised when she decided to go out on her own in 2014. Billy Button Wines was born using fruit from the same north-east Victorian region. Jo is specializing in alternative varieties, amongst a handful of classics. The Vermentino is an excellent and balanced example of what you can do with good grapes and winemaking prowess.
Opening with a generous nose of rockmelon, honeydew, celery and banana, Vermentino is a medium-bodied white variety well known in Italy and parts of France. It offers a soft palate with the right amount of crispness to the finish – a characteristic that suits the alliterative ‘Versatile Vermentino’ label. There is a delicate sweetness like cotton candy in there too, which tempered the spicy gingered tofu and vegetable dish I tried it against. My only advice when I find a great new wine like this supported by an equally great winemaker is: “Get on board”.
Stockist: Small Patch Wine Store and Harry & Frankie