Lockdown number two in Victoria and finding silver linings is, admittedly, a bit of a struggle. But they are there.
I’ve certainly got a lot of reading done, and plenty from outside my usual sphere (there are only so many times you can read the Halliday Wine Companion cover to cover).
I’ve also found I’m enjoying the wine I drink more.
The trade tasting circuit and looking at dozens and dozens of new wines every week has never been my favourite part of the job. Scurrying from one table to the next, scribbling notes on new oak percentages and soil types that you won’t be able to read later anyway (does that say limestone or Larry Emdur?) and tasting, tasting, tasting. You get a snapshot, but not a great deal of insight.
Sometimes I think the wine writer tastes too much. So I’m slowing things down. Drinking a wine over several hours, sometimes days, carefully studying the technical, finding out what makes it tick. There’s a bit more time to get to know each other better – it’s like one of those first dates that effortlessly roll on into the evening – another bar, maybe supper, no fretting about where you have to be tomorrow.
So when the new releases from Yelland & Papps landed on the doorstep, wines which have delighted me in in the past, I thought: ‘What have you got to show me this time?’
It’s 2012 and Susan and Michael Papps have pulled the trigger on the Second Take range out of their winery near Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley, the Yelland and Papps label itself established some seven years prior.
Sights are set on producing fresher, lifted wines with as much expression as possible. The whites see an extended period of time on skins, pushing the limits and extracting as much character as possible. The 2019 Vermentino saw an impressive 313 days on skins before being scooped out by Susan and Michaels’ kids for pressing – some jobs, like getting inside a tank, require a smaller, lighter hand.
For the reds they pull this neat trick expanding the bungholes of the puncheons to fit the whole bunches through. Sounds odd. But it works. Carbonic maceration takes place in the barrel and forces the oxygen out. The aromatics on the wines are almost insightful; the texture, acid and tannin graceful. Everything is wild fermented.
So, Victorian Lockdown take two with Yelland & Papps Second Take 2019 releases. I like the poetry of it. I like the wines even better.
You can find the whole range of Yelland & Papps wines here.
Second Take Vermentino 2019 ($45)
A little cloudy in the bottle but it tastes like sunshine. Grapefruit, banana and orange peel, apple seed, white blossom, green herbs with an exclamation mark of citrus at the end. Texture tosses and turns the palate, at once sprightly and savoury. Juicy acid wells from under the tongue. It’s a fun ride, and it lasts. Fruit comes from what is thought to be the first plantings of Vermentino in the region, the Light Place vineyard, owned by Jim and Jill Mader.
Second Take Grenache 2019 ($45)
Serious smells here. Juicy cherry, scattered dried spice, and potpourri and a little bit of green leather– It’s seductive, perfumed and wafting. The first sip is like biting into a really tart, fresh plum before it softens out on the palate like strips of soft peach skin. In the textures and tannin there’s more cherry, a little bit of cocoa powder and that deep, rich jelly you get inside chocolate covered Turkish delight. Fruit comes from the Vine Vale vineyard, planted in 1953.
Second Take Shiraz 2019 ($45)
Pretty red and blue-fruited aromas with a fresh woodland earthiness – pine needles, turned earth and pepper. The fruits build deeper and riper on the palate and flow with the tannin like an oarless boat down a lazy river. Soft, smooth and delicate at 13.4% alcohol. Fruit is predominately from the estate block at the winery.