2010 Zonte’s Footstep Canto Di Lago Sangiovese Barbera

Marriages of this nature are reasonably common as blends and roses in the Garda DOC region of northern Lombardy where the aristocratic Sangiovese is blended with the underrated Barbera. As yet this Italianate melange does not appear to have found much traction down under or anywhere else. Besides the Canto Di Lago, the only other blend of this kind here may be the Gapsted Tobacco Road NV Sangiovese Barbera from north-east Victoria.

Zonte's Footstep produced its first blend of these two old world varieties in 2005 and since then this novel assemblage has been a regular in the winery's portfolio. Both varieties are cordon cut, fermented individually before being blended together.

The composition of 50Sangiovese and 50Barbera is deep garnet in the glass. Fragrant aromas of strawberry, blackberry and licorice with dried autumn leaves in there too.

Some tangy cedar and vanilla notes upon entry. Fruit bomb of a palate. Red and black cherry flavours to kick off. Mid-palate displays dense, velvety layers of plum, blackberry, herbal piquancy and soft savoury Sangiovese tannins. The Barbera's juicy acidity keeps the blend balanced. One makes up for the other's shortcomings. Deliciously long and more-ish finish of blackberries and earthy spice. Slightly jammy overall but convincing, medium-bodied wine. 

The only quibble is that the vintage year is displayed on the back label in small font. Trendy perhaps but unfriendly. Notwithstanding, one of the best quaffers you could enjoy, not in the premium wine range but very drinkable indeed.

Source: Retail Purchase. Alcohol: 14.5%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $15.00. Rating: 87+ Points.

2009 Mt Franklin Estate Nebbiolo

The Holy Grail of Italian red grape varieties, Nebbiolo makes the iconic Barolo and Barbaresco wines from its viticultural heartland in Piedmonte, north-wast Italy. Mt Franklin Estate at Franklinford north of Daylesford, appears to suit plantings of Nebbiolo with a similar microclimate to the Piedmonte region with the added benefit of those 'x' factor soils there.

Ruby red colour with a purply brown hue. Heady aromatics of stewed prunes, crushed rose petals, dusty earth and cigar box that segue to a sophisticated palate dressed up in soft leathery tannins. Chocolate, tarry spice and prunes fill out the rest, it's got all the varietal qualities going on here in this medium weight Neb. 
Barrel aged for eighteen months adds more complexity. Dry mouth puckering, persistent tannins to the finish. Brooding in nature after time in the glass.

Only a small volume released of this classy little Nebbiolo, which still has a few years left in its legs. Look out for future vintages. Piedmontese in style that punches above its weight. Very Good.  

Source: Winery Sample. Alcohol: 12.5%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $25.00. Rating: 90 Points.