By Fergal Gleeson
Margaret River is just 50 years old but there are already second and even third generation winemakers, who are making their mark on the scene.
Nic Peterkin is the grandson of Kevin and Diana Cullen, pioneers of Margaret River and founders of the internationally renowned Cullen Wines. His parents are Shelley Cullen and Dr Michael Peterkin, founder of Pierro Wines another leading producer in the region. Nic was awarded Young Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Gourmet Traveller Wine.
What are his earliest memories of wine? “I think the earliest memories were going for Sunday Roasts at my Granma’s (Diana Cullen) and smelling the wine to try and guess what it was and where it was from. After that, working in the vineyard pulling weeds in the summers and cleaning the tanks in the winery.”
His biggest learn from his parents is that “‘the little things matter’. “There is not one big secret to making great wine. There are 1000 things that you have to care about in the vineyard and the winery and all of those determine the wine in the glass at the end of the day. “
“There is a lot of risk in wine, you never know if people will like it until after you have spent a year of hard work and money making it. Winning Young Winemaker of the Year” gave the team and I affirmation that we are moving in the right direction.”
“We want to explore different flavours and create wines and tastes that people wouldn’t normally experience. However, we want to do this at a high quality level, so that friends won’t just drink a glass and say ‘hmm that’s interesting’ (then buy a different bottle) but say ‘wow that’s interesting, give me more’. So the mantra is Different and Delicious.”
LAS Vino currently have four wines on release. “Each has a place, depending on the situation and the food. The Chardonnay is a classic and is a gateway drug to the others. The others are a little bit more experimental, but we have made them with a lot of love and care.”
“This year’s CBDB Chenin Blanc has amazing complexity and life in it. The Albino PNO (Pinot Noir/ Chardonnay) is funky, lively, fresh and interesting and goes really well with oysters. The Pirate blend is interesting as it has the same structure and a Margaret River Cab Sauv Merlot, with a completely different taste profile. “
The soon to be released “F*ck Him” Chardonnay features the familiar profile of Donald Trump on the label and the funniest wines notes I’ve read on the website:
We pressed the grapes using a Swiss press, and a Mexican winemaker and Dutch girl transferred the wine into French oak. It was then sealed with a cork from Portugal, with wax from the Czech Republic. The wine was bottled with the help of a lesbian, and put into boxes made in Indonesia.
It goes on from there …
“The ‘F*ck Him’ Chardonnay was a way of saying that wine is a culmination of many hands from many different countries. If you oppose trade and immigration you really oppose quality wine.”
“This was a small way of expressing that. I don’t think it will be served at The White House in the next few years!”
Nic’s a winemaker with no small ambition. “We shouldn’t just be focusing on being the best in Australia, our aim should be to be the best in the world. We have the climate, we have the skillset, and now our vines are of age the time is ripe to push forward and achieve it. “
More at www.lasvino.com
This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the spring edition of Your Margaret River Region Magazine. Drink and be merry. More at http://www.greatwineblog.com