Gamay from the Lethbridge estate vineyard, this is a classic expression of the grape, with forest berries, cherries and a flash of violets pitched in an elegant and poised expression, an undercurrent of ruggedly regional minerality making its presence felt.
There’s a whiff of smoky reduction to this, but it blows off to reveal a poised nose of blackberry, raspberry and blueberry, a lilting note of violets adding detail. Those notes have an appealing reserve, ripe but stressing tart notes of wild fruits, with a background of rugged regional minerality and a hint of mulberry that plays out in flavour and a moreish acidity coupled with fine, sandy tannins.
Themes of this wine
Gamay – the sole red grape of Beaujolais – has had a slowish start in this country, but enthusiasm is rapidly growing. The potential for it to make engagingly distinctive wine is key, but the grape is also a lot less fickle than its cousin pinot noir. Gamay’s flavours tend to be a bit fuller than pinot, with riper, more luscious forest berries and flashes of violets quite common. It also commonly displays fruit in a cherry spectrum, both red and black, depending on ripeness. It’s a variety that holds acidity quite well, so it can be fresh, and it often has quite a bit of tannin, which is very apparent in the more serious and age-worthy bottlings. Like pinot noir, it can also be quite transparent in its reflection of terroir, with minerality often on show
On the surface, it’s easy to compare the Geelong wine region with the Mornington Peninsula. Its Bellarine Peninsula embraces Port Phillip Bay in tandem with the Mornington Peninsula, and two of the regional heroes are chardonnay and pinot noir, but the two are remarkably dissimilar, with Geelong sprawling both along the coast and bay, as well as inland, unlike water-flanked Mornington. While Mornington catches the light with a good dose of glamour, Geelong has a quieter resolve and greater subregional diversity, with lighter soils making fragrant wines as well as volcanic sites producing those with dark fruit profiles and rugged minerality.