I’m tasting with a special guest today – My mum.
Don’t laugh. Or if you do, just a little bit – it is kind of funny.
It’s not that I don’t drink wine with my mum often, it’s just that I’m usually dictating what she’s supposed to be smelling, tasting and experiencing; I can be a terrible bore at family dinners.
I’m interested in the way that the drinking public who enjoy wine and sip it on a semi-regular basis actually perceive it; all those wine drinkers out there who aren’t fussed with the details and who haven’t learnt the accepted, somewhat staid nomenclature. I imagine they enjoy it a lot more than some of the ‘experts’ who analyse every drop that hits their palate with Sherlock Holmes-like perspicacity. There’s more waffle in wine writing than in a Belgian bakery and fresh perspectives are closer to home than you think.
‘So, what are we drinking tonight, Morgan?’ (Read that bit in your best ‘Mum’ voice)
The Other Wine Co. Arinto 2020 ($26)
If you’ve never heard of Arinto, that’s okay. I hadn’t either until a couple of minutes before I cracked the top. A quick Google (second time lucky – the first brought up ‘Ariana Grande’) explained all.
It’s from Portugal, and it likes a bit of warmth. It has lively acidity and generally citrus and orchard fruit flavors.
I imagine winemaker Sam Davies knows a bit more about it than I do. He spent three years working in Portugal before taking up with The Other Wine Co.
The grape is actually grown in most regions in its endemic country but Davies gets his fruit from Ricca Terra Farms in the Riverland near Barmera in South Australia. Here owners Ashley and Holly Ratcliff grow varieties that thrive in warmer climes – Nero d’Avola, Touriga Nacional, Fiano, Vermentino…. They make plenty of their own wine too, which I’ve yet to taste although I hear excellent things.
Davies whole bunch ferments a portion of fruit, pressing the juice straight to oak and gives the wine some time hanging out on it’s lees to build texture and complexity. It is always fun to taste a new variety and this one is exceptionally delicious.
Here’s my tasting note:
The nose is lifted and has notes of a lemony musk, honey, green apple and sea salt. There’s something pastoral too – dried cornhusk, perhaps.
The palate is very fine, with a soft grip of textures popping up here and there. There’s a fine, macadamia powder nuance that lingers retro-nasally. The back palate shows a little more richness, more stone fruit. Fresh acid swirls from the back palate and sparkles for a savoury finish.
Here’s my mum’s:
‘Smells like alcohol. Would citrus be right? They don’t put citrus in wine though. Grapefruit and lilies. It’s got a tang, lemony thing but there’s something else. Green tea? There’s a sour sweetness on the front of the tongue. Reminds me of my favourite lollies as a kid. I’m thinking of a raw silk texture. I can feel it on the roof of my mouth for a while. This is quite interesting isn’t it? It’s like a creative writing exercise where you have to describe the sky for 50 days or something. I like it, it’s very melodious.’
I prefer hers.