What I've come to realise though, is that more I learn about Victorian wine, the more I'm interested. In Victoria, there are over 20 wine regions (and more sub-regions) with really distinct climates, resulting in an amazing range of styles and expressions of the grapes in the vineyard.
In terms of these regions, we've currently got wine from:
Pyrenees (Latta, Joshua Cooper),
Bendigo (Latta, Aller Trop Loin),
Heathcote (Minim, Bertrand Bespoke)
Gippsland (William Downie),
Mornington Peninsula (Yugen),
Macedon Ranges (Etienne Mangier),
Yarra Valley (Bloody Hill)
Henty (Dilworth & Allain)
Amongst these there's Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot/Mourvedre, Nebbiolo/Sangiovese, red blends, white blends, sparklings + pet nats, Chardonnay and more. Since we're focusing on Victoria this week, I decided to ask asked Owen Latta (of Latta Wines) a few questions:
What do you like most about being a winemaker in Victoria, and what excites you about the current Victorian wine scene?
I reckon this question extends beyond Victoria for me, I love being a winemaker & grape Grower in Australia. right now Passion & fellowship has never been so high in Australian Wine. The undercurrent that has been bubbling away under the surface over the last decade or more.. has finally exploded. It’s unbelievably exciting to see youth & experience working together so well to bring fun & fine wines to the consumer.
I’ve lived through a previous boom of excited grape growers & winemakers in the 80's & 90's with my parents, who started out growing Pinot Noir in the very early 80's - It was a magnificent time.
In the late 90's through the 2000's the fellowship seemed to die out & people seemed less focused on their vineyard practices & soil health; more concentrated on the winemaking than the grape growing side of things (probably a few growing ego’s didn’t help).
Im really excited to see where we all end up, so many makers are now very interested in farming to grow better grapes. The more people farming with regenerative/organic/biodynamics/quantum principles the better I say.
What wine or other drinks have you been enjoying recently?
Ha I guess you could say too many… the summer social calendar has been big this season. Catching up with friends & family we’ve missed out on over the last 2 years. This years vintage couldn’t come quick enough to get back into a routine… that being said it takes a lot of fine & fun wine, plus a lot of beers & martini’s to get through vintage.
We needed something inspirational to welcome vintage 2022, after a big weekend of pressing white grapes. The newest release of La Closerie - Les Béguines LC19 is everything you could ever want in a champagne, deliciousness, high refreshment factor, thought provoking & plus its great story behind the maker Jerome Prévost, Pinot Meunier at its finest! (I’ll drink to that - episode 210, pod cast is a must listen).
What music have you been listening to recently?
There’s always a vast array of quality tune-age provided from the brilliant radio stations 3RRR, PBS radio, World Wide FM & Radio Nova Paris Le Grand Mix
Plus Word of mouth through friends.
In the cellar we’re running a couple of powerful amps running 16 speakers or so, enough power to blow the hair back & get through those big vintage days.
Here’s a couple of juicy tracks always on rotation (old/new/classics) for anyone interested:
Linkwood/Greg Foat - Es Vedra
Seahawks - Escape Hatch
Mount Kimbie - Marilyn
Primal Scream - Loaded (Andy weatherall mix)
Rage Against the Machine - bulls on parade
Jurassic 5 - Quality Control
Talking Heads - Once in a lifetime
The the - giant
The Go-betweens - cattle & cane
We have a range of Latta wines available at the moment. Two of my favourites being:
The Latta ''Rattlesnake'' Blanc is a blend of multiple skin contact ferments of riesling, viognier, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris and gewurtztraminer. It's complex and lightly floral with elements of stone fruit, spice cupboard and marmalade - lots going on but also easy drinking!
The Latta ''Tranquil'' Rose is a lovely rose style Italian variety blend of 40% nebbiolo and 60% sangiovese. Elements of orange, citrus and red berries - textural and complex. Love these wines!
That's it for this edition of the Hump Day Hero blog, Juiceheads - it's been a nice exercise looking into the Victorian wine that we have here currently, and I look forward to some more new wines arriving soon, so keep a look out for some gems! xx