Some very brief highlights from Rootstock 2016
I only managed a single morning session at Rootstock 2016 (the sustainable wine/food fair – see previous iterations here or here) this year, mainly because I was originally slated to be climbing mountains (another story). But even my brief few hours was excellent, and purely because of the invigorating wines on offer.
This year the focus was narrowed somewhat, with only producers making wines from sustainable vineyards invited along. Didn’t hurt the array of wines, which was more varied than ever – and particularly from the Australian and Kiwi side, which saw plenty of new producers.
Perhaps the only interesting feedback was that there seemed to be even fewer winemakers (who weren’t exhibiting) prowling the floor this year. Admittedly, I was only there for one session (out of four), but it did intrigue me. In contrast, I’ve never seen so many chefs at a wine tasting ever. Go figure.
These are just a few highlights. I probably only covered 15-20 producers, but these wines stuck out. I didn’t even take any photos (the front page image is from the first Rootstock). Again, this is a great event and worth supporting in every way.
In alphabetical order:
Ben and wife Naomi were there, and with a strong lineup. I particularly liked the new 2015 Blind Corner Bernard Cabernet Sauvignon, which is easily the best-balanced vintage to date. Love the fine tannins.
Brash had his new 15 reds (Franc in great form) in tow, but it was the 2008 Brash Higgins Bloom that really floated my boat. A McLaren Vale Chardonnay aged eight years in barrel under flor, it is every bit the Australian Vin Jaune, complete with a delicious tang.
Teroldego all the way. Love the contrasting pair of 2014 Elisabetta Foradori Teroldego from different soil types, both of which are elegant and bright, with delectable tannins.
Gentle Folk Wines
Gareth is every bit the Basket Ranges winemaker, with the beard in tow. Yet his range spans both wild natural wines and quite conventional Hills releases. The 2016 Gentle Folk Wines Vin de Sofa is a natural oddity, but a delicious one, the blend 85% Pinot Noir with 5% each Cab Franc, Pinot Gris & Gewurtz.
Each year the Lark Hill range impresses more, and the new 2016 Lark Hill Riesling is excellent. I could drink loads of it, the balance between fruit and acid near perfect.
I’m already a convert to Olek’s Barberesco, but this was the first time to sample the whole line. The 2015 Olek Bondonio Dolcetto had this tannic grip, without hardness, that made it hard to put down. The Barbera too was vital, but structured and real, with none of the hardness that some serious Piedmont Barbera packs. I like everything here really.
Only the barest few bottles of this Jura star producer makes its way into Australia, and every egg is a bird. I loved the 2015 Philippe Bornard Cotes du Jura Savagnin Ouille Les Chassagnes which has that slight oxidative tang, but in a fresh, saline and oh-so-mouthwatering form. I’m buying some.
I only snatched a few minutes with Bryan, but enough to try a Pinot Gris component of the Seven Months (yum), which was tasty. The 2015 Ravensworth Shiraz Viognier is also a classic (with the trophies to match).