ITAL­IAN BEAUTIES

The Weekend Australian - Life - - FOOD & WINE -

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m just get­ting older and crav­ing more sub­tlety and re­straint in the wines I drink — as op­posed to the rich­ness and power I used to like when I was younger. Maybe we’re all chang­ing, as a col­lec­tive wine-drink­ing cul­ture, mov­ing be­yond a nar­row spec­trum of sim­ple flavours to an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of di­ver­sity and com­plex­ity.

What­ever the rea­son, I am par­tic­u­larly drawn to the lat­est range of beau­ti­ful Ital­ian va­ri­etal wines made by Adelina, a small win­ery based in South Aus­tralia’s Clare Val­ley, from grapes grown in the cooler Ade­laide Hills.

Let me put these wines in con­text. Adelina is owned and run by Jen Gard­ner and Col McBryde, both with ex­ten­sive wine-sci­ence back­grounds. The heart of the busi­ness is a cou­ple of small blocks of old, or­gan­i­cally farmed grenache and shiraz vines next to Wen­douree, Clare’s most highly re­garded vine­yard. The firm, full-bod­ied red wines the pair have pro­duced from this site for the past dozen or so years are su­perbly ex­pres­sive of both grape and place: well-deep re­serves of licorice-black fruit held to­gether in a finely wrought frame of fer­rous tan­nin, need­ing years in the cel­lar to re­veal all their facets. And ex­tremely well priced at $40 a bot­tle, con­sid­er­ing their qual­ity and prove­nance. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with McLaren Vale-based wine­maker friend Nick Bourke, Gard­ner and McBryde also pro­duce a range of (mostly) $20, smash­able ev­ery­day wines made from (mostly) bought-in grapes, un­der the Some Young Punks brand. The wines, with gaudy, pulp fic­tion cover art-in­spired la­bels, in­clude a “Naked on Roller­skates” shiraz mataro and a “Mon­sters Mon­sters At­tack” ries­ling — you get the pic­ture. De­li­cious fun they are, sub­tle and re­strained they ain’t.

And since 2012 Gard­ner and McBryde also have been sourc­ing small batches of the white grape arneis and the red grape neb­bi­olo (both orig­i­nally from the cool Pied­mont re­gion of north­west Italy) grown in the Bowe Lees vine­yard at Wood­side in the Ade­laide Hills. It’s the wines they made from these grapes in 2013, 2014 and 2015 that I find so en­tranc­ing — and, like the oth­ers in the Adelina range, such good value.

The 2015 Eter­nal Re­turn Arneis ($23) is a gor­geous white, with re­fresh­ing hon­ey­suckle blos­som fra­grance, sat­is­fy­ing grape-pulpy tex­ture and a mouth-wa­ter­ing savoury al­mond lick on the fin­ish. The 2014 Eter­nal Re­turn Neb­bi­olo ($25) would have to be a con­tender for the best-value neb in the coun­try: enough fine, juicy, red-berry fruit to please your av­er­age pinot noir drinker, but also enough fine, per­sua­sive, tan­nic grip to keep even the most de­mand­ing nebb-head happy.

The 2015 Adelina Rosato ($29), made from the wild-fer­mented juice of the Bowe Lees neb­bi­olo grapes, is a ter­rific ex­am­ple of the com­plex, pale rose that’s so fash­ion­able these days: spicy, per­fumed, light and bone-dry but creamy tex­tured, too.

And the 2013 Adelina Neb­bi­olo ($40) is a wine that ben­e­fits enor­mously from de­cant­ing: give it heaps of air and let all the ethe­real aro­mas of dried crushed bush herbs and mac­er­ated hedgerow berries emerge; let the fine, dusty tan­nins set­tle in lay­ers across your tongue. I think it’s a won­der­ful wine. And I sus­pect I’m not alone. adelina.com.au

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