2008 Lost Valley Winery Cortese

The white Cortese variety grows predominantly in the Gavi DOCG region of Piedmont in Italy's north west with smaller plantings in nearby Lombardy as well as the DOC regions of Veneto. It is the grape used in the renowned Gavi di Gavi wine. Its history in Piedmont dates from the mid-seventeenth century, a relative newcomer of a grape in comparison to some other varieties that are as old as Methuselah.   

The boutique Lost Valley Winery in the Upper Goulburn Region of Victoria's Central Highlands has the only planting of this premium variety in Australia but more remarkably, the only outside its traditional growing region in Italy. The 1.5 hectares of Cortese vines have seen vintages since 2000, the original ones imported from Italy by the winery's founder. The thinking was to find the most advantageous terroir best suited to the growth of this rare Italian varietal specifically matching the same characteristics of the Piedmont region.  

This wine comes to the table with a certain mystique, its cult status and acclaim both in domestic and international industry circles seemingly giving the Cortese that 'a 100+ wines to try before you die' type reputation. I had known of it for some time but was put off by its price tag so when the discount fairy came calling from a local outlet ...

While I didn't get too carried away by the hype, it was nevertheless an enjoyable drink. Pale straw yellow and golden green hues in the glass. Restrained aromas of nashi pear, apples and passionfruit. There are spicy and nutty nuances there too but a smokey metallic component in the background left me somewhat perplexed. The light to medium palate was delicate and dry with a great mouthfeel throughout of peach, apricot, lemon and white asparagus. A subdued honeyed and spice flavour carries to the finish. Would pair well with seafood and white meat dishes and could cellar easily another 5 years. This is a charismatic and unique Australian wine that does deserve its kudos.  

Source: Retail Purchase. Rating: 90+ Points. Website: http://www.lostvalleywinery.com/