Anna Martens began her wine career just outside of her home town of Adelaide, working with one of Australia’s foremost authorities on winemaking, Brian Croser. After spending almost ten years at Petaluma, she wanted to spread her wine-wings. She spent some time in New Zealand studying for the Master of Wine, but soon ended up working at the prestigious Super-Tuscan estate of Ornellaia. This was where she met her eventual husband Eric Nairoo, and through his own business importing into the UK, she was introduced to natural wines. Eventually they decided to find somewhere she could produce her own wine, and they chose the volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna, where she now produces Vino di Anna.
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Anna Martens from Vino di Anna
For the fifth year in a row, Margaret River producer Voyager Estate hosted a masterclass in Melbourne and other Australian cities to benchmark new releases of some of their wines. This was my second time at this event; one of my first entries on this blog spoke about the first time back in September of 2011, just before I left for my trip. The exercise is designed to show sommeliers, buyers and media that Voyager is very confident about the quality of their wine against exceptional examples from around the world. Showing even more hubris, they do this against their three key wines; chardonnay, shiraz and a cabernet/merlot blend. That’s serious chutzpah.
A blend of syrah and merlot, and was a very pale pink colour made only from pressed juice, with plenty of fresh balanced fruit characters of strawberry and cherry.
Bolgheri Bianco 2011
Showed bright peach and lemon peel freshness and texture, with balance and a green spice element.
Blended merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, and was a nice combination of spice, earth, plum fruit and soft well structured tannins.
A blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% cabernet franc, had power and elegance, structure and finesse, and showed blackcurrant fruits with supple yet firm tannins.
Two of the wines made by Giorgio Meletti Cavallari
Fascinating nose of salty oily apricot kernels, was fresh yet bold and textural on the palate, rich and contemplative with creamy nutty complexity.
Bolgheri Rosso 2010
Made from wines that don’t qualify for the top wines, spending less time in oak and barrel. Delicate yet tight and fresh, expressing dark fruit focus and restraint, and is not at all jammy or hot.
A blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot and 15% sangiovese, a unique putty earthiness with the black fruits, with a supple velvety tannin texture and exquisite structure and potential.
L’Alberello Bolgheri Superiore 2009
Comes from younger vines, and includes no sangiovese, made up of 70% cabernet sauvignon, 25% cabernet franc and 5% petiti verdot. Showed a softer yet fuller wine compared to the Grattamacco, more fruit sweetness and juiciness, with the same structure and finesse.
The four wines produced at Grattamacco
So far on my journey it’s been a wonderful experience meeting people from each winery and discovering their similar but also different philosophies. Peoples’ philosophies may relate to the management of their vineyards, such as whether they use sustainable practices, are organic or biodynamic. In the winery they may change how they use equipment and additives, what their maturation program is, and how they have designed the layout of their facility. Wineries have different approaches to how they brand and communicate their wines, and also how they welcome visitors to their wineries. The thing to remember is that no one philosophy is the best or right one, as every country, region, producer and audience/market is different. What is most important is to select the right approach for that winery and place, and this is how I have determined to assess whether the philosophy has been successful. Within the space of one day I visited four wineries that had similar but different philosophies, but were all successful in themselves and offer something different. Between the first and last winery I had covered a fair amount of ground, leaving very early and finishing late.
|The Black Rooster greets every day in Chianti Classico