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Vermentino as a grape variety may not have the pizazz of some of its Italian amicos, but when done well it can make some excellent, dry white wines. This is one Vermentino that is definitely done well. It comes from a producer new to us - Willem Kurt. The wines are sourced from various sites around the Alpine Valleys in Northeast Victoria (this comes from the Oven Valley), and are put together by experienced winemaker Daniel Balzer. The name 'Willem Kurt' comes from combining the middle names of his two sons. It's very much a boutique, family-owned-and-run affair. Vermentino isn't blessed with overt flavour, so clever winemaking techniques like Daniel has employed here - things like varying levels of post-crush skin contact and some use (50% here) of older oak - do wonders to work complexity into the wine. In their excellent 91 and 92 point reviews of the 2014 vintage, Gary Walsh and Campbell Mattinson both emphasised the wine's structure, balance and mouthfeel as being its key features. The 2015 follows in the same vein, and is a wonderfully refreshing, more-ish, food-friendly wine. Plenty of drinkability, interest and value all tied up in this little wine. A find.
What it Tastes Like
"The aim was to maintain the fresh citrus and pear flavours, but also extract the fine texture and ginger notes that makes Vermentino so enjoyable." - Daniel Balzer
2014 vintage: 92 points. "Plenty of texture and flavour. New producer who really seems to know what its about. Apple, dry pear, powdered milk and spice flavours with an undercurrent of dried herbs. The wine's mouthfeel is arguably the real highlight though." - Campbell Mattinson (The Wine Front) 2014 vintage: 91 points. "Nashi pear, raw almond, citrus and subtle spice with a sprinkling of fresh garden herb. Light bodied, but the weight and texture in the mouth is pretty impressive here. Feels fleshy and powdery, with milky touches and firm lemony acidity. A distinct flavour of bitter herbs underlines a pretty long finish. Very good." - Gary Walsh (The Wine Front)
From the Ovens valley near Myrtleford, this Vermentino was separated into a number of tiny batches. Each batch was subjected to a varying amount of post crush skin contact. Some juice was run off immediately, some spent six hours on skins, and some up to 12 hours. The aim was to maintain the fresh citrus and pear flavours, but also extract the fine texture and ginger notes that makes Vermentino so enjoyable. Approximately half of the wine was fermented in old oak and the balance in tank. It was bottled approximately seven months after harvest.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
About the Producer
Willem Kurt wines are sourced from various sites around the Alpine Valleys in Northeast Victoria, and are put together by experienced winemaker Daniel Balzer. The name ‘Willem Kurt’ comes from combining the middle names of his two sons. It’s very much a boutique, family-owned-and-run affair. The focus is on Shiraz, Chardonnay and excitingly, high quality Vermentino.
The Alpine Valley is one of the ‘must watch’ emerging regions of Australian wine. Not bound by the traditions of some of the more ‘established’ regions, the Alpine Valley is experimenting with ‘alternative’ varieties from all over the world and kicking some huge goals. The productions are small, the quality is high and this cool climate region is on a mission to stamp its authority on Australian wine. And they are doing one hell of a job.
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