You know I love Vermentino right? This Willem Kurt Vermentino is one of my favourites. Pear drops, white pepper, white flowers and a hint of honeysuckle. This is a subtle and layered wine that makes you work for the nose but rewards with glimpses of nirvana. The palate has nice acid and lovely texture. It is very drinkable, subtle enough to quaff, complex enough to pair with dishes. Scampi would be wonderful with this wine. Don’t cellar it.
Willem Kurt Alpine Valleys Vermentino 2019 Wine Notes
The Wine Front, March 2020
“Very good Vermentino. Fine chalky feel, lemon pith and spice, freshness and energy, some juicy green pear flavour, savoury almost umami flavour on the finish, along with a little quinine-like bitterness. Lovely.”
Daniel Balzer is a lovely man who has been making wine since 1998. By working at big and small companies, he found his feet and developed a timeless philosophy; start with healthy grapes from a great vineyard and don’t do anything mess it up. Having tried a few vintages of his Willem Kurt Beechworth and Alpine Valleys wine, I think he’s doing a stunning job, and the wine pricing is at a level that you’d be crazy to buy just one bottle. Which is great because they are too tasty to stop at only one bottle.
There is a lot spoken about the lovely King Valley. But the Alpine Valleys that surround offers some fantastic wines. Often at great value.
An impressive white grape suited to warm coastal regions from Liguria down to Bolgheri and Sardinia. Rich aromatics and great texture. I think Vermentino is the next big thing. Mainly because it is delicious, but it also grows well in the Australian climate. And it ticks boxes for lovers of Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris.
The invasion of “Sunshine in a bottle” put Australian wine on the map. The fruity, easy-going, somewhat samey wines were endearing for a short time. Then the next big thing knocked them off their perch.
This forced producers to increase quality and emphasise the distinctive terroirs of Australia. Of which, there are many. And many more yet to be discovered.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
It is interesting to know that you can make white wine from almost any grape. The colour comes from the skins and if there is no contact, there is no colour. White wines tend to be delicate, perfumed, higher in acid and lower in alcohol. It seems for this and many other reasons, it is hard to make a seriously impressive white wine. But those that have mastered the art are indeed some of the best winemakers in the world.
It is a falsehood to think that white wine does not age as well as red wine. But it is true that they, as a rule, don’t age for as long.