We’re kicking off 2023 and season three of the podcast with a look at one of the hottest wine trends down under: cool and fresh red wines from Australia. Once famous, and still well-known for robust, full-bodied, sunshine-filled jammy reds, today there’s serious momentum gathering, and already flowing, for lighter styles of red, fresher, less oaky, with lower alcohol and higher drinkability. So, what is driving this trend? What should we be looking for, and where?
The Thieves look to cool geography, viticultural methods and changing trends for answers with their guests Mac Forbes and Sam Berketa. Mac Forbes established Mac Forbes Wines in 2004, with the aim of to better understanding and connecting with his native region. He credits the knowledge of the local Indigenous community who have lived and farmed this region for over 50,000 years as having helped him on his journey to become one of the most celebrated producers in the Yarra. Forbes specializes in pinot noir and chardonnay from vineyards across the Yarra Valley. Forbes also makes “village level” cuvées in the Burgundian fashion representing the various sub-regions of the Yarra, as well as the region-wide Yarra Valley offerings. The playground of exploration comes under the Experimental Batch range.
Sam Berketa is head winemaker at Alpha Box & Dice based in the McLaren Vale but has previously worked in the Yarra Valley, the Mornington Peninsula, Germany's Rheinhessen, in Barolo, Italy, as well as in Monterey in California applying his global knowledge to local production . Since its beginning in 2008, AB&D has become a champion of South Australia's alternative – particularly Mediterranean – varieties, exhibiting innovation at every step of the process by bending traditional winemaking norms.
Join John and Sara as they toast to the fresh, innovative reds produced in Australia's cooler reaches.
For extra credit, revisit Episode 9 of Season 2, on the refreshing white wines of Australia, where we learn about the growing trend for lighter whites as well from guests Louisa Rose of Yalumba and Pewsey Vale (or rather Hill-Smith Family Vineyards as they’re known now), and Con-Greg Grigoriou, winemaker and partner at the Delinquente Wine Co. based in Riverland, as we have a similar discussion with them.
*This episode was produced in partnership with Wine Australia.