|Stunning packaging and well priced|
I'm calling this a winner
12.5%, Cork, $35 (approx)
A brand spanking new release from De Bortoli (with connections to the Phi project) which is, according to Steve Webber, their take on a Selosse Champagne. For mine it doesn't quite have the precision of a Selosse, but gee it's very fine fizz for 1/7th of a bottle of Selosse. Speaking of price, when I first tried this I was expecting to hear that it was a $50 or $60 wine (looks it too), so the $35 odd RRP is amazing. Seriously fine value.
The wine itself is drawn from the Lusatia Park vineyard at Woori Yallock in the Upper Yarra (planted in 1985) which is also the source of the fruit for the Phi wines. Besides the solid fruit source, the winemaking process bears repeating verbatim as it's impressively artisanal:
'Fruit is hand sorted and whole bunch pressed directly to cask. The base wines undergo natural fermentation in older casks and sit on lees until spring. The cuvee is assembled from the two components and tiraged for secondary bottle fermentation. The wine is left to ferment and age on lees for 4 years before hand riddling, disgorging, corking and finishing.'
Sounds good doesn't it? That 'recipe' alone makes the $35 asking price seem like pure madness. Madness I say! (Apparently the hand riddling and disgorging alone costs $3 a bottle)...
Given that this is modelled on the 'white Burgundy with bubbles' Selosse style, it's unsurprisingly a full styled sparkling, kicking off with a nose full of yeast derived brioche richness with a whisper of old oak. The palate too is more Yarra Chardonnay with bubbles than Champagne, yet with extra layers of complexity that four years on lees age will give. There's a broadness too that would make this look a little flabby compared to most usual lean NV sparklings but I think that the textural richness and enjoyment that it gives tends to make you forgive the extra love handles. Length is excellent too for the record.
On the whole I'm really very impressed by this wine. For the price it's a seriously enjoyable and complex sparkling that I'd happily drink. 18/93
(Oh and just a finally comment on the packaging: Besides the sexy bottle you'll also notice a yellow cable tie on the bottle - that's a cable tie of the sort used in the Lusatia Park vineyard to train the vine along the wires. It's a small touch but I love it. Less of a fan of the uncovered cork).