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Plenty has said about Chalmers over the years, but the Heathcote-based family is without question a leader and pioneer in the Australian wine industry. Their specialty is 'alternative', specifically Italian, grape varieties, and through both their Mildura nursery and Heathcote vineyard they have the widest collection of Italian grapes in Australia. The 'Chalmers Project' is a small batch winemaking experiment carried out each vintage by Kim and Tennille Chalmers. This year's brief was "to showcase some of our most exciting Italian grapes in their naked glory - super-simple small-batch winemaking to express the essence of the variety in these sites." These were made in absolutely minuscule volumes, and are not only fascinating and educational, but delicious to drink too.
What it Tastes Like
This 'VCR23' Aglianico along with its brother - the 'MAT2' Aglianico are exploring the difference in clones. Two wines made from the same grape, grown in the same place, picked at the same time, made in the same way, bottled on the same day, but with two different clones of Aglianico - one a Vulture clone and one a Taurasi clone. The difference is astonishing! Of the two wines, this VCR23 clone was definitely the more 'masculine' and rustic. It still carried the same juiciness and flavour profile as the MAT2, but with a slightly more savoury edge and distinctly firmer tannins. Lovely drinking on its own and good fun alongside its bro!
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The 2016 ‘under the microscope’ project centred upon Aglianico, the high acid, late-ripening black grape most noted for its expressions in Campania and Basilicata in southern Italy. These are the regions that give the famous wines of Taurasi and Vulture. The Chalmers team took two different Taurasi clones and two from Vulture, grown side by side in exactly the same way, picked them on the same day and vinified them in identical fashion. The result – four unique wines all made from the exact same grape variety, just different clones – is a great example of how grapevine clones really make a difference. They’re not just winemaker buzzwords.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Alcohol: Drink Until:
About the Producer
No family in Australia has done more for the continued emergence of alternative grape varieties than the Chalmers. Since the mid-1980’s Bruce and Jenni Chalmers have been responsible for importing up to 70 alternative varieties into Australia, culminating in them establishing the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in 1999. They are true visionaries of the Australian wine scene and we are eternally grateful for their forward thinking and courage to bravely plant what no one had planted before them. They brought with them the first ripples of the tsunami of Italian varieties hitting the Australian market.
Heathcote’s reputation is for big Shiraz. And they do it so well. But the times they are a changin’ with Italian varieties such as Fiano, Sangiovese, Nero d’Avola and Sagrantino all finding themselves well at home in the ancient Cambrian soils.
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