Neoclassical reds challenge preconceptions of Australian wine
Australia is known for global wine brands that are consistent, predictable and value for money. There is, however, an alternative wine scene worth exploring, and a new breed of winemakers who are challenging established brands with their exciting experimentation. They bring passion, exuberance and an unorthodox approach to winemaking. A blend of tradition and innovation seen in these "neoclassical" Australian reds.
Cherubino Cowaramup Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Larry Cherubino Wines was started in 2005. Founder Larry has a double degree in agribusiness and horticulture, which he later followed up with an oenology degree at Roseworthy College. Cherubino made wines in South Africa, New Zealand, the US and Italy before returning to his roots in Western Australia.
Simplicity can be difficult when making wine, an agricultural product subject to the vagaries of the weather. Cherubino spends most of his time in the vineyard trying to get the highest quality fruit for his wines. He says, "simplicity in winemaking requires great attention to detail in the vineyard, an uncompromising approach to fruit selection and uncomplicated winemaking, all framed by a kind season."
Blackcurrant, with leafy, herbal flavours. Medium body, elegant with firm underlying tannins, spicy oak and a long finish. HK$438
Langmeil Orphan Bank Shiraz 2012
Langmeil winery was established in the Barossa Valley by three friends in 1996 on the site of an abandoned winery. The vineyard also houses the world's oldest surviving shiraz vines, which were cultivated in 1843.
The Orphan Bank Shiraz is named after 10 rows of shiraz planted before 1860 which were saved from the bulldozers. The vines were relocated to the original Langmeil vineyards. After 150 years, the vines have a new home and family.
Rich, concentrated black fruit, vanilla and chocolate notes. Full-bodied, ripe tannins, balanced and elegant with long finish. HK$406
William Downie Thousand Candles Yarra Valley 2013
With his unruly mop of curly hair, William Downie resembles a mad scientist rather than a winemaker. Downie is heavily influenced by his training in the old world — specifically Burgundy. His goal is to produce "wines of purity and detail that reflect their place of origin. They are made in the most natural way possible, not pushed or shoved in any direction. They are not added to or subtracted from."
In his spare time, Downie plays bass in a popular winemaker rock band aptly named the Yeastie Boys.
A Thousand Candles winery is named after a 19th century ceremony conducted by settlers to grant rite of passage.
An unusual blend of pinot noir, shiraz and sauvignon blanc. Fruity, with redcurrants, cherries and strawberries. Some herbal notes. Medium body with good fruit intensity, crisp acidity and long finish. HK$688
All wines from continentalwines.com.hk