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The La Mistura is the second label of Beechworth Nebbiolo specialist growers, Karen Coats and Dr Prue Keith at Virago. It is crafted made by local winemaking icon Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda fame.
2013 proved a difficult year for the vineyard, however, where usually in these challenging seasons the Nebbiolo is blended away with Shiraz or Cabernet, this vintage looked excellent on its own by the time in went to bottle.
For a top value pure expression Beechworth Nebbiolo, this is a rare find. Lighter and more delicate in its style, or sure, but varietal and enticing to its very core.
What It Tastes Like
This shows a more feminine side of Nebbiolo. Light fragrence of raspberry/cherry and fennel. A sprinkling of dried flowers. It’s fine boned and streamlined through the palate, with a delicate web of tannin and crisp acidity providing a tidy frame for the fresh red fruit to do its thing. Tasty and remarkable value.
95 points “Aged for an extended period pre-release in 1600l tank, befitting the high-toned skeletal tannins and piercing acidity of nebbiolo, this is a fine effort in lieu of this challenging vintage: frost and rain at the end of Mar and Apr, forcing an earlier picking window than usual. Perhaps this was for the better given the quality of the wine which, ironically, has been declassified to the Mistura tier. Bing cherry and the archetypal notes of sandalwood and dried flowers drift from the glass, drawing one in. Hints of root beer, mint and mulch ensue. The tannins and acidity combine to mesh the fruit into a layered whole, thrusting the flavours long and broad. The overall impression is one of juiciness, energy and delicacy; reminiscent of a fine-boned pinot noir.”
- James Halliday (Australian Wine Companion)
91 points “There’s a tough, sinewy aspect to this wine, not out-of-place in the context of either nebbiolo or the craggy old lands of the Beechworth region. This boot of nebbiolo was made for walking. It tastes of leather and campfire, dark cherry and crushed, decaying roses. You could say that it’s light, because the mid-palate is not heavy, but you could also say that it’s not to be messed with, because the finish feels sturdy and dependable. There’s also a glimpse of orange-rind to the aftertaste; nice work if you can get it. As a four-year-old this nebbiolo shows signs of development, and is excellent drinking now. It may even be on its best-drinking plateau. But you also wouldn’t imagine that it’s going anywhere in a great hurry from here. It’s priced to sell/drink.”
- Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Front)
Virago Vineyard is planted on a moderately inclined, north-west facing slope at an altitude of 270 metres and consists of a combination of six different Lambia clones on one hectare. The nebbiolo vines were planted by hand, and all pruning, trimming, fruit-thinning, soil tilling and picking is also done by hand each year to ensure a low yield of the highest quality fruit.
Rick makes our Virago Nebbiolo in the traditional Italian method. The wine remains on skins for an extended period in a large concrete tank, is then basket pressed and transferred to a 1,600 litre Gamba oval cask for approximately three years of ageing.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2022
Beechworth is a small wine producing region with a big reputation. The distinctive terroir in this part of the country produces some of our most iconic wines. If you want serious Chardonnay or Rhone-inspired Shiraz/Syrah, you want to get to know Beechworth. Some of the most powerful cool climate wines in the country hail from here, and some of our future stars are making it their home. The future looks very bright for this champion Victorian region.
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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