From riesling specialist Bridget Mac, this is her first take on the grape as a pét-nat. That decision to go the bubbly route was informed by the racy drive of both the cool, windswept location (from an organically farmed, though not certified vineyard) and the doubling down of a particularly cool vintage. And what a vibrantly racy wine it is, rippling with citrus, apple and floral notes and driven by bracing acidity that is cushioned by pulpy texture.
This has an agreeable haze to it with a lemony hue, and that citric theme carries through to the nose. More lemon than lime, with crisp barely ripe golden apples, yellow grapefruit pith and white florals. Super zesty and bright the palate is fleshed out with the pithiness of that leesy sediment (it provides the haze), giving mid-palate flex, before a whip crack of acidity drives things home with achingly pleasant mineral dryness.
Themes of this wine
Riesling is one of the world’s most versatile grapes, capable of making styles from aridly dry to lusciously sweet, plus everything in between, and with a transparency that reflects where it was grown like few – if any – other grapes. Hailing from Germany, it’s equally embedded in France and Austria, while the style made famous in the Clare Valley that once defined Australian versions has now been joined by a multitude of expressions, and from right across the country.
Pét-nat is short for ‘pétillant naturel’, which means naturally sparkling. It’s a relatively modern term for sparkling wine, but it points to an ancient method, often referred to as ‘méthode ancestrale’. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of alcoholic fermentation, and in these wines, it is captured in the closing stages of fermentation by bottling before the wine is fully dry. The final few degrees take the wine through and create the bubbles. How much depends on how much sugar is left.
Mount Gambier is a cool region on South Australia’s south-east coast. It’s part of the Limestone Coast Zone, which also encompasses the wine regions of Mount Benson, Robe, Coonawarra, Wrattonbully and Padthaway. Predictably, limestone is a major geological feature of Mount Gambier, which sits on the gentle slopes of a dormant volcano. With breezes from the Southern Ocean a major feature, the temperate maritime climate is suited to white varieties and cool climate reds.