Spinifex Miette Vermentino 2015
Barossa Valley - South Australia
If there’s one winery that has made significant waves in the world of Australian wines recently, it’s Spinifex. This Barossa Valley winery has recently celebrated its 20th birthday, and vintners Peter Schnell and Magali Gely have much to celebrate, being recently proclaimed as the ‘saviours of Australian wine’ and the heralds of the ‘new Barossa Valley’. Interesting, perhaps, as their vines are far from new - indeed, most of the grapes they work with come from vines which are genuinely historic and over a hundred years old. What is exciting about them, though, is the fact that they are bringing ten generations of fine, French winemaking to Barossa, thanks to Gely’s family who own ancestral wineries in Montpellier, and who’ve clearly been sharing some precious family secrets.
Today, Spinifex is continuing to do what it does best: taking some of the finest grape varietals on earth, and allowing them to express the unique character of the Barossa Valley, a place they clearly revere and believe in as a world-class wine producing region. Their main focus is on their characterful, complex red wines, but they produce at least one white wine per vintage, and also make one of Australia’s most sought after rosé wines.
Peter Schell is a special winemaker. His estate range of Spinifex wines show off some of the special vineyards in the Barossa, often through the lens of traditional varieties Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre etc.
The Miette range shows his fine touch with other sites and varieties however - this wine being a fine case in point. From high altitude vines in the Barossa, this is made from Vermentino, a white grape found all over Italy and in southern France. Lots of white pear and meyer lemon fruit detail this wine, with crunchy acidity following a plush but fine palate. Mildly salty on the finish, this is crisp and refreshing.
The grape type
Vermentino is one of the world’s great, underrated grape varietals. Found principally on the island of Sardinia, a paradise in the Mediterranean, it is a golden-coloured grape which is similar in character to Sauvignon Blanc, but generally more complex and capable of producing fascinating and highly drinkable wines. Wines made from the Vermentino grape tend to be light in body, but bursting with flavours which range from soft orchard fruits to almonds and pink grapefruit. They tend to be quite oily on the tongue, but with enough pleasant bitterness to counteract this and produce great balance.
Vermentino is a brilliantly versatile grape, and if you travel to its spiritual home in the Italian islands, you’ll find it paired with a wide range of local dishes. Because of its brightness and zingy, citrus character, yet relatively light body, it matches fabulously with herby dishes and white sea fish. Take it along to a barbeque on the beach, and enjoy it as the Sardinians do, with grilled seafood under the sun.
We’ve teamed up with talented team at Smudge Eats to match all our wines to their delicious recipes, which they’ve compiled from the country’s top and emerging chefs.
Recipe link: Bream Aqua Pazza