2014 Vinteloper Project V Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso

Another left-of-cantre variety and as rare as hen's teeth in Oz is the Refosco, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso (of the red stem) to be precise as this is what distinguishes it from other sub-varieties of the species. A dark-skinned grape indigenous to north-east Italy since Caesar was in nappies, Refosco is known for its slow ripening, prominent acidity and full-bodied, robust structure with the best examples coming from the Colli Orientali (DOC) region of Friuli. 

There was a Refosco produced by the Daylesford Wine Company in Victoria some years back named The Moonchaser but Bacchus knows where that is now. Dark side of the moon ? Now perhaps unique in Oz, the 2014 VNTLPR in its funky 500ml brown glass bottle could mistakenly be construed for a Welsh beer, given that language's propensity to lose vowels. It's an unusual marketing ploy for the production of only 408 bottles of the stuff. Still, can't get my head around the labelling as a vote getter.  

It is interesting to note that there were always theories that similarities with the French variety Mondeuse Noir made it and Refosco one and the same but recent DNA profiling put paid to that.

Zero intervention and as close to a natural wine as Adelaide Hills' Vinteloper has ever made, tells me that this is going to be an intriguing drop. From a single vineyard in the Murray Darling Region, probably the Chalmers, the wine is an intense ruby red in the glass. 

Warm aromas of violets, grassy notes and plums on the nose. Slight hints of almond and bramble add complexity. Plum jam, red currants and wild red berries. Really impressive fruit intensity with peppery spice. Robust yet polished, Palate is mid-weight, smoothly textured, fine tannins with prominent acid, which peaks midway tailing off to a sweet and persistent red berry finish.

There's a real drinkability factor to this wine that I didn't expect at all. No airs and graces, just plain enjoyment and more-ishness in a beer bottle. Surprisingly good.  

Source: Retail Purchase. ABV: 11.0%. Closure: Crown Seal. Price: $24.00. Rating: 90 Points. 

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