If you’re a wine producer with a high profile, decidedly serious top end label, what happens when you want to make something a big more fun and less serious?
For Shaw & Smith, the answer was to create a whole other new label altogether. One that makes no mention of the winery, and only a little digging reveals the source. A whole new beast, with a very different identity.
That’s basically where The Other Wine Co. label fits in. At present a trio of wines (with a new Shiraz that I haven’t seen) that encapsulate the modern, fresh-yet-serious air of 2017. Brightly packaged, well-priced, restaurant-aiming wines that are deliberately pitched at a different generation to their Shaw & Smith brethren, yet are made so skillfully that you can’t help but reference back and forward.
These 2017 vintage releases are exactly what is required too.
The Other Wine Co. Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2017
The single biggest criticism that I have for most Australian Pinot Gris is the neglect for texture. Good Gris, when it’s not Grigio in disguise, has roundness. Curves. Weight. It has ripe fruit. It has, well, flavour. This Gris goes a long way down that road too. It’s driven by ripe pear juice, the flavours concentrated and definitive, proudly wearing the Pinot Gris name badge (with correct spelling) but wearing Grigio undies. The acid is just a bit too jutting, the angles don’t quite seduce, but the form, the delineation and the suitably ripe fruit just make this a genuinely enjoyable sip. Best drinking: 2017-2019. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.5%, $26. Would I buy it? Not a whole bottle, but a few glasses would be nice.
The Other Wine Co. McLaren Vale Grenache 2017
Once upon a time the extreme youth of this light red would see it shunned. Where is the oak the wine judges of 2001 would say. But now, in 2017, this lightly spritzy, vibrantly fruity Grenache is the epitome of what drinking is about. A lovely flow of red frog and plum fruit, the 45 year old vines giving this more concentration than many would expect, the flirt with whole bunches giving welcome grip on the finish. It’s not a serious wine, and the juicy, spritzy, playful mode suggest a drink that’s better now, but for that explosion of fresh grapey (yet savoury) delight is what everyone wants to drink. Best drinking: 2017-2020. 17.5/20, 91/100. 13%, $26. Would I buy it? I would probably drink more of this than the Pinot Gris, even though I like the shape of the Gris even more. In 12 months time I will be reversing that decision FYI.