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2020 Maison Lapalus ‘Upwelling’ Mourvèdre Heathcote

Light and bright, this is a pure riot of berries and grapey scents, with a fine freshness and gentle spritz – take it as it comes, or chill it down.

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A wine created by Gilles Lapalus for an exhibition by Cameron Robbins, with the fermenting wine displayed at his Upwelling show in March 2020. Once fully fermented in Harcourt in demijohn, the wine was bottled and labelled with a drawing that was activated by its own fermentation. Picked early, this is a pure riot of berries and grapey scents, with a fine freshness and gentle spritz – take it as it comes, or chill it down.

Tasting note

A brambly lift of wild fruits, poised and vibrantly fresh, with forest berries and black cherries mingling with freshly turned earth and intensely grapey scents. This is pretty, lifted and just mid-weight, but ripeness of flavour has been perfectly snatched, with the wine constantly reminding you of the bright grape juice it was made from, but feeling every bit complete as a wine, too. There’s clear seam of gentle CO2 that gives it further brightness and lift, filling in for structure where tannin might normally sit. This would take a chill happily, but it doesn’t necessarily need it.

Themes of this wine

Heathcote

Heathcote is rugged country, a tinder-dry landscape of rusty iron-rich soils littered with sculpturally stacked granitic boulders. It’s mythical territory, ancient land, and home to some of the world’s oldest viticultural soils. But as a wine region, it is a relatively young one, which saw an explosion of growth in the 90s. Shiraz led the charge, and it became Victoria’s answer to the Barossa or McLaren Vale, producing wines of significant power. But Heathcote is very different to both those places, and it is not that easily defined. Today, shiraz finds myriad expressions, and other many other varieties are taking a firm grip, especially those suited to dry and warm climes.

Mourvèdre

Mourvèdre – or Mataro if you’re from South Australia – is a grape that is typically blended, usually with grenache and shiraz. Bottled solo, it often makes dark-fruited wines with gruffly earthy/herbal notes and plenty of tannin, but it makes some of the world’s best rosés, too.