By Fergal Gleeson*
The life of the Winemaker seems terrifically appealing to an office desk jockey. There you are tickling your keyboard, fiddling around with some presentation that no one cares about, sprouting business mumbo jumbo down the phone despite yourself.
Then there’s the winemaker living their life outdoors in a place of natural beauty, getting a sweat going and dirt in their fingernails as they craft something that brings joy to people. That brings people together. That people can get passionate about.
Brian Mullamy, General Manager of Grove Estate might have been thinking some of these or none of these things as he spoke to me from his tractor at Grove Estate Vineyards.
Located in the Hilltops Region near Young, New South Wales, Grove Estate have built an international following for their wines, with an emphasis on Italian varietals.
Grove Estate was established in 1989 and now have over 50 hectares of vines planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Zinfandel, Barbera, Sangiovese, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Semillon and Nebbiolo.
“We planted Primitovo back in 1996 inspired by Cape Mentelle’s Zinfandel. In 2000 we made further plantings of Barbera, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. Back then people had no idea about Italian varietals at wine shows. We were pretty much growing them for ourselves to drink!”
The collection of trophies and gold medals awarded to their Nebbiolo and Shiraz Viognier mean that they now have to share….
Three to Try:
Grove Estate The Italian 2016
Nebbiolo Sangiovese Barbera
The Italian has a light cherry colour and that intriguing nose that is unique to Nebbiolo. This mid weight wine has lovely ripe fruit flavours and light smooth tannins.
While the flavours are different from Pinot Noir, Pinot lovers will get this style of wine immediately. The depth of fruit suggests it’s age worthy and is spectacularly good value for money. A case buy.
RRP $26 Rating 4 stars
Grove Estate Shiraz Viognier 2015
Hilltops enjoys a moderate climate that ripens red varietals reliably but also with refinement. The Shiraz Viognier blend was conceived in Cote Rotie and is deployed with great skill in the Hilltops and Canberra regions of NSW.
This wine is made for Grove Estate by the Australian guru of Shiraz Viognier Tim Kirk of Clonakilla. Sleek and silky, it slides through your mouth with an almost creamy texture and then the surprise. Not ripe fruit flavour but an intriguing savoury counterbalance.
A subtle wine that has won medals galore. Very Rhoneish and refreshing, it gets more and more enjoyable as you spend time with it.
RRP $37 Rating 4 stars
Grove Estate Sommitá Nebbiolo 2015
The most sought after wine in the Grove Estate stable, according to Brian, is the highly awarded Nebbiolo. It has collected a Trophy and 3 Golds so far from wine shows. Considered one of the most difficult varietals to handle, Nebbiolo is not extensively grown outside of it’s native Piedmont.
Sommitá walks the line between ripe fruit flavours and delicacy, with a savoury shade and polished tannins. Also some spice and pepper and bright acid keeping it racy.
Brian says tongue in cheek that he’d like to win a Jimmy Watson trophy (Australia’s most prestigious trophy for red wine) with a Hilltops Nebbiolo. Tongue in cheek because Shiraz and Cabernet dominate. The holy grail?
Well it certainly beats trying to write a killer exel financial model!
RRP $47 Rating 4 stars
Wines available from www.groveestate.com.au
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*Finalist- New Wine Writer of the Year 2016- WCA /Gourmet Traveller WINE