Dream Bird is the label of WA-based winemaker Kym Carr. After a degree in horticulture, Kym travelled to Europe, where she worked at a winery, and her new career path was then settled. On her return to WA, she gained more experience at Vasse Felix, completing a Wine Science degree and falling in love with the chef.
The brand name is in honour of Kym’s sister Pip, nicknamed Birdie, whose death from breast cancer spurred Kym to start her own wine label. While she makes a lot of wine for Naked Wines, Dream Bird was her chance to acquire some quality fruit, make some small-batch wines, and sell directly to the public. Judging by the deliciousness of the seven wines Kym sent to me, that was a very wise decision, as each offers a great balance of flavour and value.
2023 Dreambird Birdie Margaret River ‘Bees Knees’ Tempranillo Rosé
$26 | 91 points
‘The Tempranillo grapes were sourced from a vineyard near the Carbunup River in Margaret River. The fruit was hand-harvested, chilled then whole bunch pressed very gently to extract the pure juice and tannin and left to cold settle in tank before being racked into seasoned oak barrels for wild fermentation. Once ferment was complete, the wine was stirred periodically on lees to build texture and complexity then left to mature for 6 months.’
This is a very pleasant drop showing enticing notes of rose water, strawberry, red cherry and even sweet marshmallow, though the palate is dry. The fruit is quite bright and the acid is zippy, resulting in a moreish wine that goes well by itself but also compliments a wide range of foods, such as cheese or pasta.
2021 Dreambird Birdie Geographe ‘Murder in the Dark’ Malbec
$32 | 92 points
‘The Malbec was sourced from the picturesque region of Ferguson Valley, around the corner from Gnomesville, Geographe. The miniscule parcel of fruit was picked and placed straight into upended oak puncheons for ferment over two weeks. Once ferment finished, the fruit was bucketed out and pressed using a basket press, back into puncheons and one new barrique for secondary fermentation. The wine was stirred and topped periodically over 15 months before being bottled. No finings and no filtration, just left as it is.’
This Malbec starts bright and fruity on the nose but becomes a lot darker as it airs. It leads with mulberry, raspberry, black and red cherries, and cinnamon, with a touch of gaminess, soy and cigar box from bottle age. The palate is juicy, and while the alcohol is high (14.2%), it’s hidden well, and the tannins are soft and chalky. It will continue to develop well for some time to come.
2023 Dreambird Birdie Geographe ‘Arthur or Martha’ Grenache
$28 | 93 points
‘Handpicked on my birthday early March (what a birthday present!), destemmed and fermented as whole berries in an open fermenter. The fermenter was wrapped and gassed for 4 days to promote carbonic maceration. Once the ferment was active, the cap was gently plunged to avoid extracting too much tannin. Pressed off early to finish ferment in stainless steel. Early bottling to retain those juicy berry characters.’
Grenache is capable of producing attractively fruited wines, and the ‘Arthur or Martha’ is a case in point. It shows ripe raspberry (like jube lollies), strawberry, black cherry, boysenberry, violets and some spice, which are bright on the nose and palate. The mouthfeel is delightfully silky, with juicy flavours and dusty tannins. Even with its pronounced fruitiness, it pairs really well with meaty dishes such as bolognese.
2023 Dreambird Birdie Geographe ‘Gertie’ Riesling
$26 | 93 points
‘The 2023 Riesling comes from the picturesque hills of the Ferguson Valley up the hill from the infamous Gnomesville. The fruit was picked in the cool of the morning and transported directly to the winery. Crushed and chilled before being gently pressed. The juice was cold settled with some solids added back for complexity before it went through a long cool ferment, then stirred on lees for two months to build texture, then filtered for bottling.’
Geographe is proving to be a great region for Riesling. ‘Gertie’ is a delicious wine, with pear, apple, apricot and blossom, accompanied by intense sour lemon on the palate. As you’d expect, it’s incredibly nervy and zippy, with a sinewy mouthfeel. I had it with gooey cheese but it would pair with a wide range of foods – or just enjoy it by itself.
2021 Dreambird Birdie Geographe ‘Rocket Science’ Chardonnay
$32 | 94 points
‘The Chardonnay was sourced from a little vineyard called Mandalay Rd hidden in the in the valley of the South Preston River, Geographe. The fruit was hand-picked by members of the local tennis club, then delivered on the back of a dodgy trailer. After gentle extraction the juice went straight into large format oak – one new and one old. Lees stirring occurred over 2 months of the total 9 months in barrel.’
Fans of rich but not too-over-the-top Chardonnay will find much to like in the ‘Rocket Science’. With two years of bottle age, it’s showing a wonderful smokiness, with a touch of butter, plus some tropical guava and citrus, straw, struck match and fresh asparagus. The fruit is exceedingly bright and I found myself easily finishing the glass by itself before even starting to eat dinner, but it would pair really well with lots of dishes, particularly cheese or roast chicken.
2022 Dreambird Birdie Geographe ‘Spin the Bottle’ Shiraz Viognier
$28 | 94 points
‘Sourced from the rolling hills of Donnybrook, with co-fermented with 2% Viognier from Margaret River. Picked at optimal ripeness, the shiraz was destemmed and fermented in open vats with wild yeasts. Fermented at high temperature to extract maximum tannin, then left on skins for a further two weeks. A very tricky wine to perfect because the Viognier was well and truly ready by the time the shiraz was ready to pick. Matured in 25% new and seasoned puncheons for 12 months.’
The first thing I noticed about the Shiraz Viognier was a striking perfumed note, with a lovely mix of fruity (blackberry, raspberry) and savoury characters (clove, pepper, liquorice, black olive, earthiness). It’s rich and juicy, with wonderful concentration on the palate, which makes the flavours linger. While it has 14.3% alcohol, it’s well integrated. A very tasty and pretty drop.
2023 Dreambird Birdie Margaret River ‘Goodie Goodie’ Vermentino
$26 | 95 points
‘The 2023 Vermentino was sourced from a vineyard in the north of the Margaret River region. The fruit was picked in the cool of the morning, then gently crushed and chilled for a 24 hour period for some skin contact. After that it was pressed to stainless tanks with some solids added back for a more textural wine. Wild yeasts fermented the juice to dryness and then the wine was left on lees and stirred periodically for 2 months before being finished for bottling.’
I was thoroughly surprised and impressed by this Vermentino, a grape variety which is gaining many admirers in Australia, both winemakers and wine drinkers alike. The nose is brilliantly fragrant, showing orange blossom and fresh honeysuckle, mixed with peach, melon, grapefruit and wax. The fruit is incredibly bright and the acid absolutely sings, and it tames spicy and chilli-laden dishes very well with its silky mouthfeel, but it’s incredible even just by itself. And at only $26, it offers tremendous value for money.