While this was all happening on the home front, Sarah Ahmed, internationally recognised as the Wine Detective, presented five Riverland produced wines to a capacity audience on Sunday, in London at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter event.
The tasting, focussing on innovative and sustainable winemaking themes, featured five alternative variety wines: 2018 Screaming Betty Vermentino by Delinquente Wine Co; 2016 Antiquarian Rare Field White by Byrne Vineyards; 2017 Bullets Before Cannonballs by Ricca Terra Wines; 2016 Touriga Nacional by 919 Wines; and the 2013 Reserve Tempranillo by Mallee Estate.
Titled a ‘Discovery Theatre’ by the event, the session provided Riverland Wine the opportunity to showcase the region and wines to 30 knowledgeable, and invested, wine enthusiasts and interested trade representatives. The reception of the wines was highly favourable, with attendees impressed by the wines in terms of their quality, innovativeness and especially freshness. One attendee commented that the Screaming Betty Vermentino, if tasted blind, could have easily been from Italy.
Each wine received votes by a show of hands and the margins were narrow. The top two wines were the Antiquarian Rare Field White by Byrne Vineyards (most popular white) and the Reserve Tempranillo by Mallee Estate (most popular red). However, a cluster of younger attendees favoured the Delinquente Wine Co. and Ricca Terra wines, reflecting the groups interest in drinkability and freshness.
Sarah indicated there was great interest in the organic and biodynamic practices, and the production of lower yields and better adapted and appropriate grapes reducing water use, themes and practices continuing to gain momentum in the Riverland. There was also discussion as to if these practices and these wines attract a premium as well as conversation about composting, cover crop, the wetlands projects and the Riverland being on the cutting edge of irrigation practices.
In summary it was an excellent opportunity to showcase the Riverland, its ethos, practices and some of its best wines to a discerning and international audience whom took great interest and enjoyment from the wines and session.