The outcomes of the Young Gun of Wine awards have been lately introduced, naming Rob Mack from boutique McLaren Vale vineyard Aphelion Wines the 2018 winner. The People’s Choice Award was picked up by Melanie Chester, from one other small-scale producer, Sutton Grange vineyard in central Victoria.
But what was it about these 2 “young guns” that has created such a stir within the business?
Rob Mack and his spouse and enterprise accomplice Louise Rhodes based Aphelion Wines just a few quick years in the past.
“Our first vintage was 2014,” he says, and it produced solely “three small barrels of Grenache.”
Since then, they’ve had a meteoric rise. Last 12 months, Aphelion received Best New Act within the Young Gun awards, solely to be chosen as the general winner this 12 months.
The secret to success
“We have no family history in the wine trade, and this is one of the strongest assets we have,” he tells me.
“I’m not shackled by any family ideals or pressure. All my decisions are purely based on my own thoughts as to what direction we want to head in.”
He describes his wine philosophy as putting a “middle ground between natural winemaking and technical winemaking, taking approaches from each playbook and combining them.”
In this manner, he produces wine that’s the very best expression of selection and terroir.
The wines that bagged Aphelion the highest trophy this 12 months are a 2017 GMS named ‘The Affinity,” and a 2017 Grenache, ‘The Verdant.’ Mack describes the GMS as one of those wines that manages to please both “the crowds and the aficionado.”
It’s created from a mix of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz from 9 totally different parcels of land, all of which have been individually and thoroughly fermented and aged utilizing winemaking methods designed to convey out the distinctive characters of every, earlier than being blended and matured collectively for 9 months.
Mack recommends consuming ‘The Affinity’ with lighter purple meat dishes or an aged fabric certain cheddar or mid power parmesan.
‘The Verdant’ Grenache, alternatively, Mack describes as “a wine that begins a dialog.”
“Complexity abounds on this wine,” he provides.
This is a single winery wine, produced from 80-year-old bush vines. He suggests you drink it with flavourful meals, equivalent to “rabbit ragout or wild mushroom and spinach pizza with truffle oil.” When it comes to the impact of winning the Young Gun award has been, his reply is wry: “Rather a lot much less sleep!”
Sutton Grange, like Aphelion, is a vineyard characterised by its boutique dimension and obsessive deal with terroir.
Winemaker Melanie Chester describes how, whereas working at Seppelt vineyard within the Grampians after she completed college, she fell in love not simply with making Shiraz, however with “making Shiraz on granite soils.” That love was a part of what drew her to Sutton Grange, the place she began making wines 3 years in the past.
Sutton Grange’s vineyards are tended utilizing natural and biodynamic processes, and the goal, in keeping with Chester, is solely “to make wines which are true and scrumptious expressions of our farm.”
Though younger, Chester is an previous hat the place it involves winemaking.
“I’ve been making wine since my first harvest once I was 17,” she tells me.
A lighthearted contact
The 2 wines that received her People’s Choice this 12 months could not be extra totally different from each other. The 2017 Fairbank Field Blend is a mixture of Fiano and Viognier.
“I actually made this wine so that you can smash with dumplings on a Friday night time,” she says cheekily.
The 2016 Sutton Grange Estate Syrah, alternatively, is the right expression of Chester’s beloved granite soils.
“It’s every thing I like about my farm,” she says.
“Open it up, chuck it in a decanter and drink it with some cured meats to start out your night time, however be sure you avoid wasting for the a purple meat essential course and watch how the wine will change with air.”
Inevitably, successful these awards has elevated the demand for Rob and Chester’s wines. Aphelion wines are at the moment served in a few of the greatest eating places in Australia, together with 10 William Street in Sydney and Rockpool in Melbourne.
“Unfortunately we do not have sufficient wine to produce all of the locations that I want to,” Mack says.
Fortunately, there may be nonetheless inventory obtainable to be bought on-line from each Sutton Grange and Aphelion, and each are additionally stocked in choose impartial wine shops. With such good early success, these are actually 2 winemakers to observe intently in years to come back.
Emily Bitto from executivestyle.com.au