I was really pleased to try these wines (thanks to Christina Rasmussen for getting these samples to me). They’re from a relatively new project, Vanguardist, which is a collaboration between three people, Alexandra Maurisset, Edouard Maurisset-Latour and Michael Corbett. Corbett is the winemaker, and is based in the Clare Valley, but he’s a Kiwi: the three originally met and hatched their plans in 2012 in Hawke’s Bay. Production is small: 150 cases in the debut vintage of 2014 has grown to 800 in 2016, and there are plans for limited growth in the future. The wines are really lovely.
This is what they say:
In an industry that is awash with overly commercialised wines produced by corporates who take up all the elbow room, shout noisily across the table and flood the market with mass produced wine that are often guised as ‘boutique wines’, we wish to make a humble stand and be vanguardist in our methods. V is a nod to the small guys looking to keep it real, forever striving to unlock the imagination and inspire those with curious palates.
There are two tiers to the range: there are the more simple, but smashable C’est Facile wines, and then the top, wax-sealed bottles with initials as their names.
Vanguardist Wines C’est Facile Riesling 2016 Clare Valley, Australia
11.3% alcohol. 80% stainless steel and 20% barriques. This is really pure, lemony and dry with a lovely delicacy. There’s some mineral character here, with an almost spicy undercurrent to the citrus fruits. Lovely detailed finish. 92/100
Vanguardist Wines CVR 2016 Clare Valley, Australia
11.7% alcohol. 100% Riesling. One third was fermented in an open top fermenter, like a red wine, and then basket pressed. Full yellow colour with a slight haziness. Lovely fresh, mineral, spicy citrus fruits dominate. It’s dry and really textural with a hint of green tea and a bit of tannin hiding under the fruit. A hint of apple and wax, but the driving force is a lovely lemony purity. Nicely complex and long. 94/100
Vanguardist Wines C’est Facile Grenache 2016 McLaren Vale, Australia
13.8% alcohol. 25% whole bunch, wild ferment, aged in old barrels. There’s a real freshness to this wine with bright, linear black cherry and blackberry fruit, plus hints of sappy greenness, fine spices and ginger. It’s superbly drinkable, with silky texture and a fresh, pure personality. Elegant and quite Pinot Noir-like, with focused fruit but also a hint of warmth, and just enough structure and acidity to keep things well balanced. A lovely wine. 93/100
Vanguardist MVG 2016 McLaren Vale, Australia
13.7% alcohol. 100% Grenache from old, dry grown bush vines in the high sands of the Blewitt Springs. Initially a tiny bit stinky, this settles down to reveal a beguiling aroma of sweet cherry fruit with fine spices and a hint of citrus. The palate has lovely concentration, but this never gets in the way of the beautiful poise to the spicy, slightly grippy, textured cherry and strawberry fruit, with some fine waxy, sappy hints. There’s fruit here, and some of the fruit characters are quite ripe, but there’s also freshness and a strongly savoury, spicy dimension. There’s earth, leather and herbs as well as liqueur-like red fruits. Lots of potential for development here, too. 94/100
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com