Like many of my generation (BB, that is) I’m transfixed by the recent fashion for retro wines. This is my term for wines made in old-fashioned ways, and I’m not talking of Whitehill beater crushers, hand-cranked basket presses, old oak and forked stalks, à la Rockford winery. I’m talking seriously old: clay amphorae and ceramic eggs for fermenters, white grapes fermented on their skins, reds fermented on their stalks, minimal or zero additions (such as yeast, bacteria, acid, tannin, yeast nutrients, sulfites, etc.), and sustainable viticulture – especially organic or biodynamic.
The 2013 Australian riesling vintage appears from my recent tastings to be a very good one, perhaps not outstanding but certainly very worthy – and fairly consistent in that the “usual suspects” performed well. The stars in my recent tasting of more than 60 wines
Clos Clare (tasting), Tim Adams (tasting) and Leo Buring Leonay (tasting) head the list of excellent 2013 rieslings in my latest lot of reviews, proudly waving the flag for the Clare Valley. Clare’s Gaelic Cemetery (tastings), Skillogalee (tasting) and Pikes The Merle (tasting) also shone brightly. Riesling is the
Sparkling wine was the biggest winner at this year’s Tasmanian Wine Show, which I helped judge a fortnight ago in Hobart. Of the 32 gold medals in regular classes, seven went to bubbles, not including an extra one in the museum class. Of those eight wines, four were for House of Arras wines, made by Ed Carr and his team at Accolade (formerly Hardys). It’s a great vote of confidence in the island state’s sparkling wine sector, which is a category for which Tasmania has more potential than anywhere else in Australia, and which has been steadily improving since the first Tasmanian Wine Show 23 years ago.
The Barossa-based Glaetzer family seem to have wine in their genes. Nick Glaetzer, winemaker at Tasmania’s Frogmore Creek and also a producer of his own wines under the Glaetzer-Dixon label, is the second member of his family to win the Wine Australia Medal. This is awarded each year at the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine Winemaker of the Year awards to a younger generation, up-and-coming winemaker. Nick, 31, was born and raised in the Barossa, where his father Colin was winemaker at Seppelt and Barossa Valley Estates before co-establishing Barossa Vintners, and his uncle John (Colin’s twin brother) was Wolf Blass’s right-hand man and chief winemaker for the first 30 years. Nick’s bother Ben won the award in 2004. There is a third winemaker in the Glaetzer family, too: Nick and Ben’s older brother Sam is a senior winemaker for Treasury Wine Estates in the Barossa.