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
Honey wattle wax quite herbal. Rich wild textural complex, very fresh but some late tannin.
Dirty earthy, a little reductive, closed. Very good on the palate though, fresh mealy meaty bright dark red fruits.
Stinky wild red red red. Sweet core of dark fruits, currants, dusty cocoa, but wild funk on the back very subtle.
La Querciola 2010
Much more funkified, but still precise fresh fruits, pretty deep. Sweet texture in the front, warmer more intense tannins, some salty chocolate notes.
La Querciola 2011
More closed earthiness, much more intense dense tannins, coating the mouth, prominent.
Really serious raisining, very intense but exceedingly fresh on the palate, sweetness late but very subtle and integrated. Not as concentrated as I expected.
Francesca Sfrondrini from Massa Vecchia
Il Terraio 2014
Quite lean and mineral. A bit nervous at the moment but you can see the structure there, outstanding texture. A winner.
Really bright and vibrant, intense florals, very pretty and approachable. Solid mouthfeel, a bit more tannin structure, more density.
Showing the oak in a lovely way, nice development better than Chianti Riserva. Lovely tight savoury tannins. Wonderful concentration with plenty of acidity.
A little bit lore dense and closed, oak not as prominent on the nose. Lighter but more focused. Less developed, more time is ideal.
Pugni Rosso 2011
Settled down a lot since last June, much more savoury notes, good intensity of tannin.
Pugni Rosso 2012
Leaner tighter less intensity of tannin, perhaps a bit early.
Claudia from Paterna
Un Litro 2014
Cleaner lighter, fresher but with the same purity. Will be interesting to see it once in bottle and arrived in Australia.
Lighter on the nose, more subtle, tight lean focused but not quite the same, a bit too safe?
Purity focus crunchiness, potent. Fine bright carbonic notes, tight lean tannins, not the same as 2013.
Cabernet Franc 2014
Very intense varietal nose, herbal, bright tight. Light lean a bit dirty on the back in a nice way, not as varietal on the palate. Reasonable amount of tannin.
A lot more shy on the nose, but still nice pure focus and subtle dark fruits. Oak a little too prominent at the moment, adding quite a bit of tannin to the mouth feel, needs a bit more depth of fruit, needs some more time perhaps?
Simona Spinelli from Ampeleia
Last year was a particularly good year for drinking for me, I have to admit it. Thanks to all the fantastic people I met and venues I discovered, who all work with some beautiful products, I got to both taste and drink (sometimes a bit too much) some amazing stuff. Some of these wines were tasted at events or trade tastings, some at my favourite bars & restaurants, and a few were tasted at wineries I visited (which was too rare in 2014). You’ll notice that many of these wines are Italian which very much reflects where I was at this year working for an importer of Italian wines, and also visiting Italy in June.
Let me know what you think, and tell me in the comments what were your highlight wines for 2014.
2014 was a momentous year as it was the first time I tasted Claret!
Peter Scudamore-Smith was Australia’s second ever Master of Wine, the most illustrious title and qualification one can receive in the wine industry. He has led a fascinating life of wine, and he joined me on the first episode of 2015 to discuss his origins in wine, working in both Australian and European wine markets, and how his love of Italy and France has led him to take tours there as part of his business Uncorked and Cultivated.
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Peter Scudamore-Smith MW
Honey herbal volatility. Exceedingly fresh, complex, just a bit of dirtiness on the back. Classic skin contact style, wild salty texture.
Very dark for a rosé. Unbelievably complete, complex and long, dark fruits, spice herbs. Unbelievably perfect and yet haunting.
La Querciola 2010
Dark earthy, seeing some volatility. Very very complex, intense dark earthy, very intense tannins.
Smells a bit more raw and wild than the 2012 vintage, reminds me of cru beaujolais. Wonderful freshness acidity tightness and focus, lovely light savoury notes, spectacular wine.
Very floral with a bit of mint, still see the soils coming through. Tighter leaner more focused, nice bright fresh red fruits, more interesting expression.
Deep dark focused, interesting talky quality. Good intensity and freshness, bright and focused.
Looking a little green on the nose, very vintage specific but I like the evolution of style.
Il Terraio 2013
Lighter in colour than the 2012, but still the hallmarks of skin-contact. Just a hint of texture, not as concentrated as the 2012, fresher and livelier, slightly more protected, nice concentration of fruit and herb, will come together beautifully in a few months.
Chianti Colli Aretini 2012
Lovely density earthiness but bright with some dark bloody fruits. Super fresh and tight, just enough softness but a saltiness to the acidity making it ideal with food. Surprisingly long…
Pugni Rosso 2011
Pugnitello is a variety specific to the area of Tuscany between Arezzo and Siena, but was largely abandoned because of it’s low production. Pugnio means fist, so Pugnitello means small fist. 7-8 farms in Tuscany grow the variety after it was rediscovered by the University of Florence. The wine is 80% Pugnitello, 10% Colorino, 10% Sangiovese. Totally hand-made.
Much darker in colour, plenty of concentrated extraction, pugnitello has large berries with thick skins, on small tight bunches. Historically blended to add colour and intensity. Deep dark fruit aromas with mature herbs and spices. Deep dark concentrated fruits and tannins, but very lively and fresh. A darker and denser expression of the same style as the Chianti, wonderful balance of fruit and savoury notes.
95% Sangiovese, 5% Colorino. 3 years in cask, 4-5 years in bottle. From the oldest and lowest yielding vines.
Mature toastiness and mature tannin notes. Amazing density and concentration, very firm tannins and dark fruit characters, the oak and tannins are just getting to that soft point where they are both firm yet supple. Very aristocratic wine, ultimate expression.
Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2010
An interesting reductive and rustic nose with fresh black fruit and olives, very bright and forward on the palate with softness and clean structure.
Chianti Colli Fiorentini Riserva 2008
Had a dustier more earthy character on the nose, with a toasty oak element to support, and on the palate had tighter more precise tannins and focused concentration with some savoury and fruit characters to keep things relatively complex.
Capro Rosso 2007
An IGT blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and colorino. Had some subtle brooding roasted pine nut complexity on the nose, was quite broad and intense in fruit on the palate, and whilst very approachable had good balance and structure.
Grapes and olives are the lifeblood of Tuscany