Luke Lambert Nebbiolo 2007 (Heathcote, Vic)
Cork (with sexy wax capsule), $35
Without opening this, its obvious that Luke Lambert has a lot of love for his wine (or at least is a good marketer). The packaging is exemplary – the waxed capsule, the heavy (numbered) bottle, the attractive labelling etc. Plus, its bottled unfined and unfiltered from hand picked vines. The only thing missing is the biodynamics and he would qualify as a supreme Garagiste.
The other, and perhaps key ingredient missing, is more mention of the vineyard. I’m hazarding a guess here, but this tastes like it comes from young vines – the definition is non existent, the flavours lack the conviction that old vines give. What I don’t doubt however, is that Luke Lambert is one very skillful winemaker (his Syrah reinforces this). Definitely a name to watch.
Mid red, with a mix of tawny and purple edges – its more Nebbiolo blend than straight Neb in colour. On the nose it has classic nebbiolo roast meat & tea leaf (but more like Australian Tokay tea leaf) that is intertwines with plush red fruit. Its obviously a very young wine and it smells all pulpy and fleshy. No sign of obvious new oak though (again, smart winemaking) which seems to be the downfall of many an Australian take on the ‘alternative varietal’. Actually, blind you would not be too wrong to pick this as a ripe, meaty good quality Merlot – it has that herbal plum thing that cooler climate Merlots can show sometimes.
There is more style on the palate, which is again full, plump and red fruited, but with good, classic acidity. The tannins are, considering the variety, quite disappointing. Integrated and smooth yes, but tannins are one of the highlights of Neb and this very young wine shows little tannic direction.
So I’m impressed with the winemaking, impressed again with the label, but the fruit that went into this I don’t think matches up to the passion of Luke Lambert. This is still very young though and I’d be interested to see where it goes in time. 16