The timing of The Real Wine Fair may not be propitious for our growers and winemakers in the southern hemisphere as they will be toiling deep amongst the vines or making liquid magic in their wineries, but we will have a small and sweet selection of goodies to try.
Si Vintners is made up of Iwo Jakimowicz and Sarah Morris who, in September 2010, purchased a 30 acre estate with 20 acres under vine (the majority of which were planted in 1978). Their property is situated just south of the Margaret River township of Rosa Glen and the motivation was to handcraft natural (and natural-tasting) wines, expressive of the vineyard and sub-region. They started farming their vineyard organically/biodynamically from the beginning and all their wines are made without any of the usual commercial winemaking additives apart from a small sulphur addition at bottling and bottled without fining or filtration. Iwo will be showing his Si White, a blend of Semillon and Chardonnay fermented in a variety of vessels including cement eggs, and the flor-inflected Chinchecle Semillon, a wine that bristles with natural mineral flavours.
Tom Shobbrook is one of the most talented (and modest) winemakers in Australia. He worked in Italy where he derived his inspiration for his Didi wines and has also been one of the movers and shakers of Natural Selection Theory, a small band of iconoclastic growers, forever pushing the boundaries. He farms biodynamically in his vineyard and uses minimal intervention in the winery – which involves natural yeast ferments, minimal sulphur addition, no acid addition and no fining. The fruit is sourced from the cooler part of the Adelaide Hills and allow Tom to create wines of great structure and finesse.
Journalist and wine blogger Daniel Honan will be curating a table of Australian and New Zealand wines that have inspired him. These are authentic wines from artisan growers who work organically or biodynamically and with the least number of interventions to make vital, interesting and individual wines. The table will feature wines from Anton von Klopper (Domaine Lucci/Lucy Margaux), Jauma, Sorrenberg, Pyramid Valley and Cambridge Road. Daniel will also be presenting a seminar and tutored on The New Australia on Sunday of the fair. To book a space please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Independent-minded Craig Hawkins is a paid-up member of the so-called Swartland Revolution, a group of young growers working out of the mainstream in order to make adventurous, terroir-driven wines. Craig farms organically and even biodynamically, harvesting very low yields of fruit, and makes several wines for Lammershoek under a variety of labels as well as his personal project called Testalonga. Natural methods in the winery such as fermenting in cement and old foudres, (and even the odd barrel under water!), wild yeast ferments, no filtration or fining and little-to-no-sulphur imbue his wines with their freshness and purity as well as fine natural acid structure and terrific drinkability.
The De Martino journey has come full circle. Based in the Isla de Maipo, not far from Santiago in Chile, this family-run company (now celebrating its 80th anniversary of winemaking in Chile) work with organically-farmed grapes from a multitude of fascinating terroirs, ranging from the steep mountain vineyards of Elqui in the Andes, to the new-old region of Itata with its old bush vines and traditional viticultural practices. The wines are vinified with respect for their origins and are elegant and gastronomic – they are made without barrique influence to highlight the quality of the fruit and to give them a more linear structure. De Martino have even revived the tradition of working with tinajas (clay pots) which they use for fermented Muscat (on skins), Cinsault and Carignan from the ocean-influenced Pacific vineyards of Itata.
The story of Villalobos is the story of a wild vineyard in the Valley of the Artists in Colchagua. Here the vines literally grow up tree trunks, straggle along on the forest floor and are tangled amongst the bushes. If ever a wine was the natural expression of its particular environment the Villalobos Carignan Reserva can claim to be that. The methods in the winery (which is a tiny garage and where the winemaking equipment is recycled sculpture-work) are simple and designed to capture the sheer juiciness of the fruit.