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What birthday present do you get the man that has everything? The answer for Maree Collis when looking for her husband Ray was two tonnes of premium Nebbiolo grapes from one of the country's most famous vineyards, the Malakoff vineyard in the Pyrenees. This would be Ray's first attempt at Nebbiolo but as Maree explained, his prowess with Pinot Noir stood him in good stead to tackle this formidable variety. "A great Nebbiolo rivals Pinot Noir in its elusiveness and Ray loves nothing more than a challenge." Ray's approach to his first Nebbiolo was a traditional one. The wine spent 100 days on skins, was gently pressed by hand in the old basket press at the Lethbridge winery in Geelong and spent 18 months in large format oak prior to release. For fans of Nebbiolo, this is a must try. The simplicity and precision of Ray's winemaking gives this beautiful vineyard the chance to sing and every note it hits is pitch perfect.
What it Tastes Like
Deep folds of flavour in a fine delicate box. The almost transparent colour belies the depth of concentration here. It is a Neb for Neb lovers and newcomers alike. Raspberry, red licorice, and sheets of fine yet perfectly articulated tannins. Sweeps along at a graceful tempo. One ball bowled. One six hit.
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What does one buy for a husband of almost twenty years who, dare I say it, buys for himself whatever he wants! Late in vintage 2013 the phone rang, it was Robert John from the Malikoff Vineyard who had heard about our penchant for unusual varieties enquiring as to whether we wanted any Viognier. We had made a pact ‘no small batches’ and so after declining the offer I was somehow possessed to ask whether he had any Nebbiolo. It was Rays birthday in May and what better present. A great Nebbiolo rivals Pinot Noir in its elusiveness and Ray loves nothing more than a challenge. Two tonne of Nebbiolo arrived, difficult to wrap, but has given Ray many hours of fun, an excuse to spend a fortune on Barolo and will provide much pleasure for years to come.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
About the Producer
Lethbridge is living proof that those pie-in-the-sky ideas you have with friends over a glass of wine can come true (if you are as talented and hard working as Ray Nadeson, Maree Collis and Adrian Thomas). This operation is considered one of the leading lights in the ‘natural wine’ movement, being founded on the idea that great fruit should speak for itself. The vineyards are grown with an organic philosophy and as little as possible is added to the wines through the winemaking process. The wines have a certain style to them, but most of all, the song of Geelong sings through the whole range. They are fascinating and delicious all at once.
This Victorian region rocks some very serious wines. Pinot Noir from this area, depending on who you talk too, is arguably the best in the country. Phenomenal output for the size of it. The wines from this area are idiosyncratic and have an earthy, sensual quality. Burgundian varieties, Syrah, hell, even Pinot Gris does exceptionally well here. To be honest, it’s very hard to go wrong when buying from Geelong.
Nebbiolo is one of the world’s truly great wine grapes. Most famously produced in the Italian regions of Barolo and Barbaresco, this king-pin of varieties is making a surge on Australian soil. A notoriously late ripening variety, Australian producers are constantly refining the way they grow this grape. Nebbiolo wines are light to medium bodied with incredible internal power and structure. These wines can live for decades when grown on the right sites. The classic descriptors of ‘tar & roses’ are often applied to this variety but the scope for complexity and nuance in the best versions is virtually limitless. The life of a great Nebbiolo as it matures through the years is one of the great wonders in all of wine.
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