During September and October, Riverland Wine, in collaboration with Sommeliers Australia, hosted a series of tastings in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney showcasing the wines of the Riverland Clonal Project and a selection of alternative varieties from the region. Some of the wines were made by winemakers from outside the region using Riverland grapes.
The events, hosted by wine writer David Brookes (Australian Gourmet Traveller WINE and Wine Companion magazines) featured a panel including Mel Kargas (Riverland Winemaker), Sam Wigan (Yalumba Wines) and Brendon Carter (Unico Zela). The presentations took place in up-market venues: Bar 2KW in Adelaide, Merchant Rialto in Melbourne and Mr Wong’s in Sydney.
Attendees included some of Australia’s top sommeliers and wine writers. Dave said “The aim of the tastings was to offer influential sommeliers and wine media the chance to try twelve wines from the Riverland Clonal Project in isolation. It provided a rare glimpse of the clonal diversity and nuances of the two key varieties, Chardonnay and Merlot (six of each). It also offered an insight into this fascinating project initiated and managed by the Riverland Viticultural Technical Group with the aim of increasing the fruit quality and diversity emerging from the powerhouse of the Australian wine industry”.
Discussions were lively, with many favourable comments on the clonal wines and questions flowing between connoisseurs and panellists. Mel commented “The feedback was incredible from Sommeliers Australia, with many expressing a new-found respect for the exciting wines and hard work being done behind the scenes by Riverland Wine.
Congratulations and thanks to all concerned. The three events raised awareness of the great work being done with Riverland alternative varieties by local Riverland vignerons and producers from outside the region who purchase Riverland fruit and proudly display Riverland on all their labels!