Sometimes, it’s the wonky wines that you really want to see.
In a world sodden with characterless, ‘safe’ premium drinks, it’s things like this Topper’s Mountain Touriga & Tintas 2018 that I want to talk about.
Wonky or just faulty?
Let’s set the scene.
As the name suggests, this is Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cão & Tinta Roriz from Topper’s Mountain at Guyra in the New England region.
AKA a little taste of the Douro in NSW’s youngest wine GI.
It gets better. The blend also spent 150 days on skins in qvevri. So extended skin contact, in clay pots, with an unusual (for Australia) varietal mix and from an unknown region more famous for fine Merino wool, not wine.
Sounds promising, non? Nouveau Australian revivalist red wine of character and interest, that just works?
Except it doesn’t.
There’s nothing easy drinking here at all. The tannins are resinous, the cherry liqueur fruit a confected, the nose varnishy. It’s a bit wild and volatile, plus the tannins swallow the fruit as you watch.
Wearing my wine judge hat, this’d be rejected on first pass.
Still, this is intriguing wine. It’s very long, and that cherry fruit is genuinely attractive, with that brightness you often see in wine raised in qvevri/amphora/kvevri et al. All the more impressive to think this is a winery willing to chuck out all the emerging region rules.
That doesn’t mean I want a sample bench full of bretty reds. And I couldn’t drink more than a glass of this admirable curio.
Still, I’m applauding. Please, quality Australian wineries follow the lead by bottling and releasing your wobbly wine experiments. It will only make the wine world more colourful.