Spinifex Clairette 2015

In this post I thought I'd nerd things up somewhat with a white grape variety that is rare worldwide: Clairette.

After some grape varieties were rescued from the brink of extinction in the recent past such as Viognier, Clairette appears to be doing the opposite. With a change in modern wine drinking culture and its supposedly unloved status with winemakers, the variety appears to be heading towards the exit door. At least Spinifex is flying its flag.

For those not bored with wine geekery, Clairette is a variety that predominantly grows in the Languedoc Roussillon and Rhone regions in France. It dates back to the 1500's in France and is one of the oldest grapes used in wine production. Of the thirteen grape varieties permitted in Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines, Clairette is the most common white variety.

This is the first release of a 100% Clairette from Spinifex, the variety previously used as a ccmponent in their renowned Lola blend. 
The fruit comes from a 20 year old southern Barossa Valley vineyard. 
Hand harvested, fermented with indigenous yeasts and bottled without filtration.   

A pale straw coloured wine. An aromatic mix of apples, guava, citrus blossom and fennel coming through on the nose with hints of florals and herbs adding further interest.
Light- to- medium-bodied in weight, good texture and mouthfeel. Broad flavour profile with stone fruits, mandarin and herbals 
The second glass tasted prettier with the stone fruit, mineral and grassy herbaceous character shining through. It's textural, dry, delicate but ultimately uncomplicated. 

The grapefruit acidity holds reasonably well throughout, providing freshness and length to the dry finish.
A dry citrus bitterness on the aftertaste. It's an interesting wine possibly best suited to blends.

Vinodiversity is an excellent resource for rare varietals in Australia including Clairette.

Source: Winery. ABV: 12.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $22.40. Rating: 89 Points. 

La Bise Adelaide Hills Arneis 2016

An Arneis from the Adelaide Hills. Winemaker Natasha Mooney has created a cool, seductive and elegant wine from fruit grown at the Amadio vineyard in Kersbrook. 300 cases made. 

Mooney's brand La Bise (The Kiss en francais) aims to breathe the "kiss of life" into vineyards requiring that extra t l c. The brand also stamps her personal touch with wines that she considers "unconventional", "thought provoking" and "offer an alternative without the intimidation" to drinkers.

Alluring pale gold in colour.
Rich with scented florals, citrus and almond aromas on the nose with some apples and herbal notes 
Apple, peach, ripe pear and almond flavours follow onto the long palate that is mid-weight and well-balanced.

The mouth-watering lemon acidity and slatey mineral charm give this wine a fresh, clean and dry mouthfeel. 
No "intimidation" here, this is an Arneis spot on for personality and drinkability.

Source: Sample courtesy of La Bise Wines. ABV: 13.2%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $22.00. Rating: 91 Points. Website: https://labisewines.com.au

Off The Books Gundagai Touriga 2016

Preservative free and unadulterated, made in the Joven style for early drinking is what winemaker Nicholas Crampton says of this Touriga, one of the wines in the Off The Books range. 770 dozen made.

The rationale behind the range was that when small parcels of fruit became available such as from ten year old Touriga vines grown at the Book Book vineyard at Ladysmith, south-east of Wagga Wagga, it was a no- brainer to "bring these gems to life and to showcase the fruit quality and the story of the vineyard," he stated.  

The Touriga pours a dense black crimson into the glass.

Strong perfumed aromas of savoury dark plummy fruit, violet and lavender florals and toasty oak. Further aromas of cinnamon and a hint of white pepper add interest.

The nose segues to a buoyant dark and red-fruited palate. Plum, blackberry, boysenberry. Perfume and fruit upfront and then transitions to a mid-weight, generous core with secondary flavours of coffee, spice and earth. The florals hang around and there is a smooth leather-like texture to the back. A savoury line of bright acidity and firm tannins drive the wine to a lengthy finish. 

Nicholas Crampton is onto something good here with this well made, well priced, polished and easy drinking Touriga. This wine will have you reaching for that second glass. Recommended.   

Source: Sample courtesy of Fourth Wave Wine. ABV: 12.2%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $20.00. 
Rating: 91 Points. Supplier Website: https://www.fourthwavewine.com.au