This Weeks Reds is a broad and varied selection. There was a Pinot Noir from Domenica, potentially a one off and never to be seen again...but god it is good. We finally got a proper look at Dave Fletchers release of the Minion Nebbiolo (spolier alert its bloody lovely) and we had a cheeky look at the Terre a Terre Wrattonbully Red 2018...more evidence really that Wrattonbully produces some seriously good wines.
First up, Domenica Wines Pinot Noir 2017. As you would be aware by now, 2017 was a great year for Victorian Winemakers.
Winemaker at Domenica, Peter Graham thought so too, and took advantage of an offer of some Pinot Noir grapes from the Indigo Vineyard in Beechworth. The resulting wine is likely to be a one off, but it truly is a glorious example of Beechworth Pinot Noir.
Deep Red in colour it is a real contrast to the flavours, from a wine this dark you would almost expect something over the top and powerful. The resulting wine is a masterpiece in elegance. The nose offers meaty notes that evolve into raspberries, musk and spices. Notably there is 30% whole bunch in the ferment, but hardly any evidence of sappy twiggy-ness on the nose. The nose is quite complex, the more you look the more you find. The palate is a Pinot Noir drinker's dream offering light red cherries, dark cherries, fine to chalky tannins with a long savoury finish. The tannins offer an elegant structure that manages to contain the rich cherry flavours. Soft and elegant with a long finish. This is a beautiful Pinot that will continue to develop and flesh out with time. I am already looking forward to a revisit.
Sadly because he has been managing two jobs (Fletcher Wines and Winemaker at Ceretto), Dave Fletcher has not been able to produce huge amounts of his Fletcher Wines. This is the case with the Fletcher "The Minion" Nebbiolo, an almost blink and you miss it release. The Minion is Dave's effort at producing an Australian Nebbiolo from 3 vineyards in Central Victoria. And over the last few years it has been amazing.
I am a fan of Dave Fletcher, because in a sense he taught me to fall in love with Nebbiolo and learn to appreciate its nuances. Let me explain the why and the how...
Nebbiolo is a tough grape to offer people, because usually it presents with massive upfront tannins. Unless you have a massive piece of protein nearby which makes the tannins that much more approachable (or you are a fan of big tannins), it can sometimes be like chewing on splinters. But when you try a Nebbiolo at ten years old and often older it is something very special. The tannins have integrated and in this soft velvety wine remains rich fruit flavours that are truly a next level experience.
I was spoilt, my first introduction to Nebbiolo was 10 and 12 year old Barolos and Barbarescos from Piedmontese masters like Luciano Sandrone. It was heavenly. But the younger wines I could not stomach and I am not a) wealthy enough to drink 12 year old Barolo regularly and b) not patient enough to let the young ones age! Then I was introduced to Dave Fletcher, his wines and his Ceretto Wines. He has changed his style of winemaking to make these wines ageworthy but also very approachable as young wines. I now love to drink young Nebbiolo, and its thanks to Dave (and possibly an evolving palate). I love the light ethereal flavours and nuances of the young wines.
Which brings us to Fletcher Wines The Minion Nebbiolo 2018, wow what a wine. I think it is the best vintage of this he has produced (fact not sales pitch). The nose delights with notes of soft peppery red fruit and briar patch. Wonderfully textural, not quite chalky tannins that are really soft and silky and an explosion of red fruit across the palate mingling with some bramble. This wine is seamless and persistant...it goes for days. Right at the very finish are hints of currant. What a delightful experience. And the beauty of this wine is that it will just continue to get better!
Last but certainly not least we had a look at the Terre a Terre Wrattonbully Red 2018. Winemaker Xavier has certainly done some great work here. A blend of Cabernet Franc (46%), Shiraz (42%) and Merlot (12%), its rich and delightful. Luckily there are still quite a few cold nights left to enjoy this wine. Seamlessly in balance, there is no beginning or end to each varietal...they play more of a composite role. The nose present aromas of dark berries, blackberries and mulberries. The palate is a rich textured experience, soft almost waxy then smooth. Raspberries and red cherries are quite prominent, they then resolve into a lovely Amaro like flavour at the very end. Beautifully rich and decadent and the tannins which should be quite prominent on a young red are in fact freakishly soft and inviting. A beautiful wine, worth exploring, roasted meats and char-grilled vegetables would work perfectly.
These are three amazing wines, definitely worth looking at.