So Rootstock is half way through. Yesterday was a great day. The energy and enthusiasm for wine shown by all the people who flocked to the Carriageworks was quite electric. And it was fun, too. I can’t understand people who moan about how doomed the wine industry is, and how it needs to produce fruit flavoured faux wines in colourful packaging in order to woo new consumers. Most of the people there yesterday were young, half of them were female, and all that was required to draw them was authentic wine made by convincing, engaging people.
It’s the honesty of the offering that shines through at Rootstock. Of course, not all the wines are amazing and incredible and astonishing. There were some I didn’t like. But even these wines are made honestly and by people who believe in what they are doing. For most of them winegrowing is a vocation rather than a career choice. I’d say, though, that at this level, it’s not ‘which are the best wines?’ – it’s which wines do you enjoy drinking? There’s such a stylistic variation on show. It’s really hard to benchmark and be objective about these sorts of wines. Here are some of my highlights (remember, I haven’t tasted everything – I’m going back today to taste more.
Patrick Sullivan (below) is making some really lovely wines. Above is his Britannia Creek white, which was one of the stars of the show.
New discovery: Alex Craighead, who makes The Don and Kindeli wines. This Kindeli Pet Nat (below) is Riesling. It’s cloudy, full flavoured and delicious. For me, Pet Nat of the day.
Another new discovery: Ravensworth, from Canberra. Owner Bryan Martin makes wine at Clonakilla. This(above) is his Sangiovese 2014, and it’s really convincing. He also makes lovely Nebbiolo and really pure Riesling and Gamay.
Tom Lubbe’s (above) Matassa wines are becoming more refined and interesting. Great to compare a skin fermented Grenache Gris 90%/Carignan (10%) that’s had long ferment on skins with a Grenache dominant red with 4 days on skins. Both pale reds but very different.
Adi Badenhorst’s wines are really lovely. The Swartland star (above) is making some super-interesting things, including an epi vermouth. I really like his Cinsault and also his Barbarossa (pictured below). Such elegance and detail.
Duncan Forsyth was there flying the flag for Central Otago. His Riesling was showing beautifully, and he’s also making an intriguing orange wine called Clockwork. Lovely stuff. And I got given a few Riesling tattoos!
Vanya Cullen was there! Showing her superb Vanya flagship red. It’s a really complex, detailed Cabernet Sauvignon that should age beautifully. Also worth checking out is Cullen’s Amber 2014. It’s an orange wine, mostly Semillon, weighing in at 15% alcohol with a pH of 3.2.
Moondarra’s Paradise Garage: a beautiful Nebbiolo from Gippsland. And as a scientist, I love the decanters.
Mosse. Loire genius. A Chenin masterclass, and a very smart Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
James Millton was pouring his Libiamo Gewurz. Skin fermented but just beautiful, with such texture. 2015 and 2015 both excellent.
Nick and Jo Mills were there showing their lovely Rippon wines. I loved this Riesling. They are on top of their game at the moment.
Sticking with Central Otago, Rudi Bauer was showing a couple of Pinots and these two lovely sparkling wines. His fizz is worth looking out for.
Julian and Adam Castagna. Making some very impressive wines, including a seductive Sangiovese – La Chiave.
Enough for now. More highlights to follow soon. I must go back to Rootstock and taste some more!