“If you were a biscuit, what would you be?”. A seemingly absurd question, but one asked by UK recruitment firms in their interview process. There is merit… would you hire someone who answered Orange Cream?
Swapping ‘biscuit’ for ‘grape varietal’, I find the question has equal grounds. For a winemaker, it is the equivalent of asking a parent their favourite child. The truth, the start to an excellent story. For Susan Papps (née Yelland) it was an insight into her self-described “Yin and Yang” marriage with Michael Papps, one judging by their wines, where the two are complementary forces.
Brumeux Roussanne 2022
91pts – $43.00
Susan’s answer, ‘Roussanne’ was based on their ‘creative’, ‘experimental’ and ‘risk-taking’ commonalities, this wine proof of that. Brumeux (fog/haze), the stamp of this rebellious Roussanne, where along with its lees, my intrigue is suspended. Reticent to start, but don’t be fooled, what follows is a myriad of flavours – Pisco sour, pickled ginger, camomile & honey tea, and Splice Pine Lime. The latter I had in bold. The Brumeux, its vinous equivalent – a composition of pineapple, lime and vanilla cream. Fresh, vibrant and thanks to extended time on lees a finish redolent to pot set Greek yoghurt. In the words of Kath & Kim “’it’s nice, it’s different, it’s unusual”.
94pts – $46.00
Van Gough’s ‘Sunflowers’ in the glass and Still Life painting to the senses. An intricately staged cornucopia brimming with apricots, passionfruit, white blossoms and golden delicious apples. Intoxicating, like a siren luring in sailors- my partner victim, professing his love for Roussanne after one glass. You can’t escape, sinking willingly into its apricot delight, glacé lemon, pannacotta and truffle honey depths. Decadent but buoyant, owing to beautifully retained acidity. The wine finishes with the volume and delicacy of whipped meringue. Pair with Nutella from the jar, I won’t judge if you don’t.
95pts – $43.00
Grenache is commonly referred to as the work horse, but according to Susan Papps it is one of the reasons husband Michael is kindred with the varietal. Both quiet achievers that get things done in their own time – the story of Grenache is testament. Today in vogue, but for centuries living in the shadow of its Shiraz counterpart – acting as the body for their Côtes du Rhône Blend. Described as the “stability and calm” – Michael’s role in Yelland & Papps is not dissimilar. This wine is a class act of universal appeal thanks to its vibrant, confectionary nose – raspberry compote, macerated strawberries, cherry cola and red frogs. They continue to play out on the palate, welcoming dried blueberries and boysenberry to this rendezvous. Some aniseed to hold your interest and goji berry tannins that carry this on to the early hours.
92pts – $43.00
Pronounced like Sun-so, the annunciation is a fitting emphasis: SO much fruit, SO much crunch. I like this Cin-SAULT much. Putting aside the vinous jingle, what begins youthful and jovial builds like LEGO® blocks to form a complex structure. Initial bricks of lip-smacking red fruits; cherry, raspberry and that sweet/sour cranberry juice bite. Supported by a foundation of mulberries, pomegranate, balsamic strawberries and allspice – with a concentration that defies its lighter body. Tannins, not dissimilar to LEGO® studs, are out of sight but interlocked to hold this wine together beautifully. So unpretentiously hip.
Estate Syrah 2022
93pts – $49.00
Respect for the land, respect for the fruit and, at 13.1%, respect for the consumer having to wake up the next morning. This Single Vineyard showcases the symbiotic relationship between vineyard and grower, blossomed at the hand of egoless winemaking. The antithesis of helicopter parenting – rewarded by a demure yet self-assured character. Unfurled, this wine catches wind – black cherry, tulsi basil, white pepper and chinotto. Uncompromised midpalate weight with an appealing bitter sweetness at play – mulberries, cherry cola, sweet cherry tomatoes and caramelised onion. Powdery tannins lead you down a lasting road and whilst 13.1% is a kind gesture, it fails to consider the temptation for more.