Lino Ramble’s Andy Coppard is going long on alternative varieties, especially those from Italy’s south, which he believes are ideally suited to McLaren Vale. One of very few wines made from grillo in the country, this is loaded with orchard fruits and a sea spray tang, with texture and bright freshness defining the palate.
This is lifted and layered in aromatics, though the impact is gentle rather than explosive. Golden apples, cut pear, some herbal lift, with a waft of salty maritime air, grapefruit pith, preserved lemon peel and lemon blossom notes. There’s the gentle rounding of fruit from some older oak maturation, with the palate bright and gently textural in a mid-weight way, with lively acidity and a moreishly saline conclusion.
Themes of this wine
Principally a Sicilian grape, grillo has historically been used to make Marsala or been blended with other local white grapes – such as inzolia and catarratto – as well as chardonnay. The hardiness of the vine and its fruit in hot climates has been a large factor in seeing it being used a future-proofing variety, with it planted in places like McLaren Vale and the Riverland. It can look a little like chardonnay with some stone fruit notes, though it tends to be more floral, with those characters becoming more exotic as the fruit gets riper.
While it couldn’t feel any more removed from city life, the McLaren Vale wine region is actually inside Adelaide’s metropolitan area. And although the township itself is only 40 minutes by car from central Adelaide and vineyards brush up against ever-encroaching housing, McLaren Vale remains unaffected by the urban sprawl. With deeply etched history, the Vale has a slow-paced sense of calm and an extraordinary wealth of untrammelled beauty. It is home to some of this country’s most beautifully pristine beaches, as well as some of the world’s most forward-thinking grape-growers and winemakers. And with over 80 cellar doors, it is an essential destination for wine lovers – and anyone else, for that matter.