Each year when spring rolls around, I don’t actually notice it much. I want to tell you that flowers bloom and animals come out of hibernation and the world seems peachier, but that doesn’t happen for me.
What does seem to mark the season is new-release wines. I get the drift it’s spring when my desk is sagging under the weight of bottles; when the shelves groan with shiny things fresh out of wineries and my postie gets the shits with how many trips he has to make to the office per day.
This rush of young wines come spring is partly about cash flow for winemakers and partly about grabbing our attention with the fireworks created earlier in the year, during harvest season.
I used to rail against these juvenile wines a bit, but I’ve made peace with their presence, delighting in their rawness and edginess, and celebrating their fresh-as feel. You like cold, light reds? Do it now. You want peaky, zingy, early-release rosés? Here you go. Feel like frisky fizzy wine that hisses and spits out of the glass? Get some new pét-nats and other sparkling wines. And don’t forget to pull the trigger on all those wild-edged textural whites and way too young orange-skinsy wines – good times personified, if you can take the ride.
1. Poppelvej “Rookie” 2019, McLaren Vale, SA – $32
This wine will take a nice chill and hits your palate like icy Ribena, but shows way more depth and interest, spiked with green herb and pepper, and shaped with good, chalky tannin. Keep an eye on this talented Danish-born producer.
2. Quealy “Secco Splendido Metodo Ancestrale” 2018, Mornington Peninsula, VIC – $30
A pét-nat by another name, this hits the nose with scents of floral, candied citrus peel, rose and sweet apple. The taste is sweet-sour and slightly nutty-biscuity, but manages to twist and crunch into a dry, refreshing finish.
3. Blood Moon Wines “Sang de Rose” 2019, Yarra Valley, VIC – $27
I’m really into these skeletal, transparent and wholly refreshing wines that Blood Moon does. Squeaks in the mouth with rose hip tea-like tang and tannins. Sits pretty, rosy and spicy-fragrant in the snout. Mad angles and refreshment factor in spades.
4. Cyril Zang “Ciderman”, Normandy, France – $13
The name “Cyril Zang” sounds like it’s going to cool you down and hype you up before you take your first hit from the glass. This is one heck of an artisan cider producer; this cuvee is puckering dry but starts juicy-apple-y and slightly kombucha-like upfront. It’s so thirst quenching.
5. Ochota Barrels “Botanicals”, Adelaide Hills, SA – $40
A brilliant drink that’s difficult to explain. Let’s just say “aromatised wine”, where mixed botanicals meet a medley of grape varieties. This reddish wine is all herb and spice, and pleasingly sweet-bitter to taste. Pour a four-finger measure into a tumbler and load up with ice. Delicious.