De Bortoli Yarra Valley La Boheme Syrah Gamay 2011 $18–$20
Research commissioned by Woolworths reveals that two thirds of Australians intend hosting Christmas meals in the backyard, enjoying an ever more adventurous range of fresh foods. This calls for light and refreshing wines of the styles reviewed today. The cool Yarra Valley vintage and use of gamay – the grape of grape of France’s Beaujolais region – deliver a vibrant, light-bodied red. A pleasantly tart, stalky character cuts through the fresh summer-berry flavours. And a combination of crisp acidity and smooth, fine tannins finish off a delightful backyard, summer red. Serve lightly chilled.
De Bortoli Rococo Yarra Valley Blanc de Blancs $19.70–$22
Slightly fuller bodied and more complex than the Prosecco reviewed below, though still delicate, Rococo combines barrel-fermented Yarra Valley chardonnay from several vintages. The barrel fermentation and maturation on spent yeast cells in the barrels adds a subtly rich texture to this dazzlingly fresh, spritely, light bodied, dry bubbly. The elegant, rococo-style, enamel-on-glass label contributes an emotional dimension to the wine – a visual cue adding greatly to its enjoyment and sense of occasion it brings.
Brown Brothers Prosecco NV $12.90–$17.90
Banksdale Vineyard, King Valley, Victoria
Italy’s prosecco sparkling wines offer a pleasing light, savoury tartness. They’re usually low in alcohol with a simple, freshness and purity. Like a number of Australian winemakers Brown Brothers embraced the style, planting prosecco vines on its elevated, cool Banksdale Vineyard in Victoria’s King Valley. With many Italian descended families, the region has become a hot spot for Italian varieties. Brown’s tank-fermented non-vintage style offers crisp, light, pear-like flavours with a little kiss of sweetness in the background. It’s an appealing, unobtrusive appetiser and could sit comfortably with just about any food, or on its own as an aperitif.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 25 November 2012 in The Canberra Times