by Fergal Gleeson
Milla’s Tannat 2011 & 2014, Hunter Valley New South Wales
Tannat is a red grape varietal native to the South West of France. Like the prop forwards up there, Tannat’s not for sensitive types. It’s gnarly, muscular and truculent. It is also becoming the hero grape varietal of Uruguay, as Malbec has for Argentina. Well it turns out Tannat is also being grown closer to home in the Hunter Valley!
I recently tasted the 2011 and 2014 Tannats from Milla’s Vineyard. Milla’s produce just 200 cases a year so these wines are as handmade as it gets. The 2011 is powerful and savoury with a touch of leather. It’s five years old but feels like it will outlast us all. Those weaned on sweet commercial red wines might baulk at it but I like my reds wines a little edgy.
2014 is considered by many to be the Hunters best vintage in the last 50 years. The 2014 Tannat is a smoother operator with a softer approach and more prominent fruit. It still has Tannat’s characteristic grippy tannins but will be more of a crowd pleaser and won a medal in the most recent Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show.
Australians are increasingly wanting to explore new varietals so Milla’s timing is good. There is so much Shiraz in Australia now it could become a drowning hazard requiring pool fences and CPR signage. If you enjoy a rustic red then don’t pussy foot around the steps with Tannat. Dive right in!