Larry Cherubino had wine in his veins growing up in a migrant household. He purchased his first land in the Frankland River subregion of the Great Southern in 2004 after earlier stints with Houghton, amongst others, in the wild West. This was just the beginning.
With significant growth, a string of great wines and many accolades, and now with sheds filled with a vast array of micro ferments from countless fruit parcels, Cherubino wines continue to grow in stature, elegance and finesse with wonderful typicity of region, sub-regionality and variety.
The wines come from Australia’s most far-flung region, the Great Southern region. which is located east, south-east of its famous big brother Margaret River. It is unqiuely impacted by the cold Southern Ocean to its south and the warmth of the landmass to its north. However, this least visited region in Australia produces wines than are nowhere near as well recognized as they should be.
Riesling in particular seems to have made a real home here, especially in the more inland northern subregions, in the east Porongorup and in the west Frankland River. Mount Barker is between these two. With its gravelly soils made from ground-down granites and gneiss from the Stirling Ranges, the cooler more elevated sites have excellent airflow from those Ranges along with the strong impact from the cool Southern Ocean.
2019 was a difficult vintage characterised by low winter and spring rains with significant frost events as well. This limited yields, but also concentrated flavours. Typically, wine-making here begins with hand harvested fruit, totally destemmed with free-run juice naturally fermented with long-slow fermentations. No artifice.
2019 Great Southern Riesling
The base wine in the range is dry and bristling with flavours of fresh lemon and lemon pith with hints of green apple zest. Real fruit purity here. A chalky texture, taut acidity and excellent length characterize this wine. Excellent value and sure to age for as long as you can withstand the winks from the cellar. Anywhere out to 7-10 years will still present fresh fruit characters and a growing sense of nuttiness and developed lemon flavours. 88 / 100
2019 Porongorup Riesling
With its brilliant lustre and abundant pure flavours of fresh but ripe lime, lemon and green apple flavours, there is a greater sense of earth here with almost granite like power and intensity. Hints of lanolin, the Porongorup Riesling has an almost Hunter Semillon like character but with more length and palate drive. Here the palate is more powerful, with more acidity and chalky, granite like minerality with those lovely lime, lemon and apple fruit providing flesh to the frame. Sure to age for at least 15-years, this wine will evolve gracefully.
Simon Curkovic is a multi-award winning Sommelier with nearly 20 years of experience in the Sydney fine-dining scene having designed wine lists for many of the great restaurants of the time.