Chrismont King Valley La Zona Prosecco NV $22
In 2007 Arnie and Jo Pizzini planted the Italian white variety, prosecco, in their vineyard at Cheshunt, in Victoria’s King Valley. With it they emulate the light, delicate dry sparkling wines made with the variety in northeastern Italy. La Zona starts as a still table wine matured on yeast lees for a few months before being blended with components from earlier vintages then undergoing a secondary fermentation in steel tanks. It’s a unique style – pale, comparatively low in alcohol, at 12 per cent, and with a light, delicious, pleasant, intensely tart, dry palate.
Kingston Estate Adelaide Hills Mount Benson Pinot Gris 2011 $13–$15
Proprietor Bill Moularadellis offers tremendous value in this blend from two South Australian regions – the Adelaide Hills and Mount Benson (in the vicinity of Robe and Coonawarra on the Limestone Coast). Winemaker Brett Duffin writes, “The 2011 vintage in Adelaide Hills saw lower yields than previous years, however, the fruit that was harvested experienced extended ripening which delivered vibrant acidity and flavour profiles”. This probably accounts for the wine’s two gold medals (Rutherglen and Riverina shows). The wine delivers pear-like varietal flavour on a particularly lively, fresh palate, with some of the beginnings of variety’s textural richness and viscosity.
Pizzini Victoria Arneis 2011 $22–$24
Once used to tame Barolo’s fierce tannins, this Piedmontese white variety now makes a unique dry white on its home turf. It also seems to have settled happily in Fred and Katrina Pizzini’s King Valley vineyard, offering an alternative to the familiar flavours of our usual white varieties. The 2011’s pale coloured, medium bodied and bone dry, featuring delicate, lemon and grapefruit-like flavours and a pleasantly sappy, savoury finish. For an illuminating account of the Pizzini family’s arrival in Australia in the 1950s and ultimate shift from tobacco growing to winemaking, see “history” at www.pizzini.com.au
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011
First published 13 November 2011 in The Canberra Times