The Weekend Series: five Australian natural wines to sip this weekend
When browsing the shelves of your local bottle-o or sipping on a fine vintage at the newest wine bar, you might have overheard conversations referring to natural wine. If the term left you a little bit puzzled, allow us you enlighten you. Natural wine is and ever-growing trend in viticulture and wine cultivation, meaning wine that is made with the least amount of additives and chemicals possible. The wine industry is polarised over the advent of natural wines, but we aren’t here to wade into that barrel of grapes. Instead, we’ve sourced five winemakers that we think are worth seeking out if you are curious about natural wines.
Patrick Sullivan grows his grapes on a farm situated in the Strzelecki Ranges in the heart of Gippsland. Boasting a selection of playfully named wines, Patrick Sullivan has turned producing and drinking wine into a sensory experience. After completing a degree in viticulture, Patrick set about creating his own vineyard, taking a minimal-intervention approach – leaving his grapes alone as soon as the fermentation process begins. Current drops include the Jumping Juice (be sure to seek this out!), the Pink Pound Rosé and the Windy Cottage Pinot Noir.
Just a short distance south of the iconic Seppeltsfield vineyard sits the home of one of the leading names in Australian natural wine. With winemaker Tom Shobbrook at the helm, Shobbrook Wines in the Barossa Valley boasts a great selection of handmade natural wines, made from organic and biodynamically grown fruit that has been cultivated with care. Those in the know highly recommend Shobbrook’s Tommy Ruff (a blend of shiraz and mourvedre that is fermented with fruit stems attached), the Poolside (a syrah-based drop that is pressed quickly and fermented for six weeks) and the Nouveau (an invigorating drop that boasts no addition of sulphur).
Lucy Margaux Vineyards
Another acclaimed winery that makes its drops naturally is Lucy Margaux Vineyards from Basket Range in South Australia. Natural wine guru Anton Van Klopper travelled the world working with many notable winemakers, learning about new concepts and gleaning knowledge from some of the best in the business. Since 2002, Anton has been making wine in the Adelaide Hills from small parcels of fruit sourced from neighbouring farms and vineyards, releasing natural wines in small batches that push the boundaries of what wine is supposed to be.
Gentle Folk Wines
Non-intervention is key for another stellar Basket Range winery, Gentle Folk. Indeed, the owners of this operation (one of which is a former marine biologist and seaweed expert) are as gentle as can be with the viticulture process. They make wine that’s right for the season using grapes grown and farmed organically in a few small parcels of land in Basket Range, Forest Range and Ashton. Blossoms is the name of Gentle Folk’s current big seller, which is a textured vintage boasting a mixture of merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling. All wines coming from this operation boast clean, pure and fruity tastes and are well worth adding to your collection at home.
Our final recommendation comes from the lush, rolling hills of the McLaren Vale in South Australia – a veritable Eden of grape cultivation. Produced without the addition of yeasts, acids, enzymes, tannins or unnecessary filtration, James Erskine’s Jauma Wine aims to be as natural as possible. All vineyards are biodynamically farmed to ensure the natural qualities of the grapes are preserved and highlighted. Jauma’s selection of wine is extensive, despite most varietals being produced in limited batches. Enthusiasts can pick from rosé shiraz to grenache as well as a golden chenin blanc.
You can get a taste for natural wines at a number of Brisbane’s restaurants, bars and bottle shops, including Gauge, Wandering Cooks, Detour, Black Sheep Bottle Shop, Craft Wine Store, The Wine Emporium, About a Boy and a Girl and more.
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