The Barbera was easy drinking, biodynamically produced with minimum sulphur in Italy, and, apart from coming in a two-litre box, was not dissimilar to other good-quality red wines produced with minimum intervention.
“With increasing wine prices in both Europe and Australia, we’re looking at ways of keeping wines that are well-farmed and direct from producers under $10 a glass,” says James Hird, the group’s wine director. “It’s getting harder to find wines that offer good provenance, quality and value. The lower-priced wines in particular tend to have an ingredients list that raises eyebrows.”
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
In January they introduced goon number two – the cute-looking 2018 Owen’s Big Orange Field Blend, which was made exclusively for the group by Owen Latta of Victoria’s Latta Wines, one of the country’s more refined natural-wine producers. This second release was a whopping 10 litres. Now the group has released the third in its series – the 2019 Owen’s Big Orange Field Blend.
“This year’s boxing is an assemblage of a few different ferments over the 2019 edition,” Hird tells Broadsheet. “It’s got a touch more tannin and grip than its predecessor, with still so much freshness. For me it’s really exciting how refreshing the wine is. Its drinkability is really at a maximum [for] perfect summer drinking – [it’s] fun, fresh and beautifully made.”
The fruit for the 2019 edition has been sourced mainly from the Pyrenees region in western Victoria, with some riesling grapes from central Victoria. The Big Orange has been made with equal parts viognier, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, with splashes of pinot noir, merlot, syrah and nebbiolo. It’s being poured at The Dolphin, Icebergs Terrace and CicciaBella (for $9 a glass or $50 for a one-litre carafe), and it’s available for takeaway at The Dolphin Wine Room for $250 a cask.
Wine writer and co-owner of P&V Wine & Liquor Merchants Mike Bennie says cask wine has long had a bad rep. “The purported severity of the hangover from the product itself has been an issue,” he says. “[And] the correlation between alleged lower wine quality, affordability and the image of an inferior vessel from which to drink wine from have all conspired to give cask wine a bad name.
“But it’s a perfectly good and reliable way to store and pour wine, and a place in which innovation can flourish.”
You can try the 2019 Owen’s Big Orange Field Blend at The Dolphin, Icebergs Terrace and CicciaBella for $9 a glass or $50 a carafe, or buy it at The Dolphin Wine Room for $250.