A number of years ago I used to fill my days helping wineries make their wine. From the months of February to April I would have purple wine-stained hands as I went about my work. These three-month stints throughout Australia and Italy were a pretty fun way to live and travel in my early twenties. It was during my time as a wandering wino in 2008 that I discovered the Piedmont region in north-west Italy. I was introduced to my new boss and with the warm afternoon sun beaming down on us he welcomed me with a glass of refreshing, fruity and spritzy Moscato d’ Asti. This style is the inspiration behind the latest project by De Bortoli. Its Bella Riva label now boasts the wine Moscato del Re (Moscato of the King) – made from aromatic Moscato Giallo fruit from the King Valley.
This bottle of Bella Riva was enjoyed with family and friends, and a plate of fruit salad. Coincidentally, winemaker Andrew Bretherton describes the wine as having ‘delicious exotic fruit salad’ characters. I found plenty of citrus and pineapple tang, aromas of apricot skin, peach schnapps and a finish that leant towards green papaya. The palate engages with a gentle spritz that tickles you with flavours of musk and the racy acidity adds the final flourish. As I sipped away I sat pondering what could beat this perfect summer combination of sunshine, friends and a bottle of bubbly Moscato…not much, I concluded.
Stockists: Fine Choice Liquor, Bulleen and IGA, Yarraville
MARC BRÉDIF Vouvray Classic 2010
Loire Valley, France
My oh my what a wonderful day
Yes, it is true that I had a Walt Disney song whizzing through my head as I sipped the Vouvray by Marc Brédif one cool summer evening. Vouvray is crafted from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes grown in the Loire Valley region of France. It is in this region that the white grape and the red Cabernet Franc rule. Marc Brédif is one of the great producers of the Loire. This particular offering is an off-dry style with plenty of zip and zing, hence my Walt Disney flashback.
I am a big fan of Vouvray, being only too happy to admit that it is one of the white wines I could drink on a very regular basis. It has a nose with enticing aromas of fresh apricots, quince, wheat and a touch of warm lemon custard. The palate flavours err on the greener side of fruit ripeness, which balance out nicely sitting alongside the zippy lemony acidity. A hint of chalky texture provides the final zing. This wine could be enjoyed alongside an array of summery dishes. After a long day of home renovations in the heat, I opened the Vouvray and shared it with the Boyfriend, initially munching on a bag of salted potato chips before moving on to a fresh salad. To be completely honest, it was delicious with both.
Stockists: Cloudwine Cellars, South Melbourne and online at Nick’s Wine Merchant
TEN MINUTES BY TRACTOR 10X Pinot Noir 2011
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
A couple of months ago I did the charitable thing and played a game of touch football for the charity St Mary’s House of Welcome to raise awareness and help the homeless. Melbourne upheld its notoriety on the weather front with Mother Nature deciding to open up the heavens for a downpour midway through the day. Suffice to say that my efforts in wet undies and shoes were pathetic. As a generous thank you gift for my struggles, I received this bottle of 2011 Pinot Noir from Ten Minutes By Tractor (TMBT), our team sponsor.
It is no secret that this Mornington Peninsula winery is producing great wines from the region. The TMBT team even did well to produce this wine after all the trials and tribulations of the 2011 vintage. It automatically appears different with its distinctly pale ruby pink hue. On the nose it is a mixture of classic Pinot Noir and 2011 vintage characters: white peppercorn and strawberry compote, with hints of graphite, mulch and mixed spice. The stark acidity took me by surprise but was weighed up by smoky tannins and a mid-length, juicy finish. Cool and wet conditions have worked for this pretty Pinot Noir, which is more than I can say for my sodden gear.
Stockists: Cloudwine Cellars, South Melbourne and Dan Murphys