The white grape variety Albariño has been around for a long time. It originated in both north-eastern Portugal (where is it called Alvarinho) and the far corner of north-western Spain in the autonomous community of Galicia. Historical records from Galicia mention the Albariño grape back in 1843 and vineyards have even been discovered with vine age ranging from 200- to 300-years. Fascinating stuff.
Fefiñanes is a benchmark producer for the Albariño grape, having pioneered it for nearly 100 years in the Rias Baixas wine zone. The wines are made in a beautiful palace built in the 16th century in the center of Cambados.
This Albariño opens aromatically with green apple, pear and some sweet floral notes reminiscent of the native white frangipani. The palate has a rich round flavour of rockmelon, yellow flowers with hints of rocket and mint. The mineral tones and zippy acidity complemented my dinner of a simple seafood spaghetti marinara using fresh ingredients and loaded with plenty of garlic and parsley. Your romantic dinner date may not approve of all that garlic and seafood, but the wine most certainly will.
Stockist: Boccaccio Cellars, Balwyn
DE BORTOLI Vinoque Nebbiolo 2011
Yarra Valley, Victoria
I met Andrew Bretherton and his bushy beard back in 2011 when we partook in a scholarship for Italian wine aficionados. For two days we sipped the finest the country had to offer and shared our mutual adoration for all things Italiano. Fast-forward a couple of years and Andrew had this bottle of Nebbiolo to share after tinkering away on this project at his workplace, De Bortoli winery. Fruit for this wine was sourced from the Wood vineyard, a warmer site in the Yarra Valley.
The Vinoque Nebbiolo has the characteristic pale red, almost rose’-like hue. Its perfume is intoxicating with a mix of aromas that had me picturing a butcher shop scattered with roses. There is also some spice and smoky elements that blend nicely with the overriding floral aromas. The palate continues with a dominating savoury character: fresh meat flavours, an earthy backbone, moderate acidity, gliding tannins and a flourish of rose petal to finish. The second day saw this wine hold up wonderfully well. To be fair, it lacks the power and ripe tannins of a typical Piedmontese Langhe Nebbiolo, however it is a very smart effort on Australian soil from the De Bortoli team. Bravo.
Stockists: De Bortoli Wines cellardoor or Ritchies, Yarra Glen
SYRAHMI Finesse Shiraz 2011
Mother Nature dictates success or failure for many working in agricultural industries. It’s no different for those in wine. Each morning in the lead up to harvest, grape growers and winemakers look worryingly to the sky, sometimes praying for rain and sometimes for sunshine. In the case of the year 2011, Mother Nature was a temperamental lady and created undesirably wet conditions for many across the nation. Fortunately for modern technology, wineries found themselves able to salvage what good fruit they had left and make a wine that speaks of the vintage. This is important because wine is a product of nature and should not always taste the same.
Finesse is the current Shiraz release by winemaker of Syrahmi and maker of salami, Adam Foster. The fruit was sourced from Heathcote in central Victoria. On the back of the wine label Adam defines Finesse with two possible meanings:
Refinement and delicacy of performance, execution, or artisanship.
Skillful, subtle handling of a situation: tactful, diplomatic maneuvering.
I decided to look at the wine to gain a better understanding. The perfume was intriguingly reminiscent of deliciously grilled vegetables seasoned with black pepper and dusted with crushed minerals. The palate showed surprising depth of fruit, fresh acidity, substantial texture, rounded tannins and lingering spice and cedar notes to finish. The conclusion? Adam has carefully made a delicate expression of a Heathcote Shiraz and Finesse perfectly demonstrates how you can make the best out of a meagre situation.