Monday, June 11, 2012

More Aussie Goodness

Ben Glaetzer is a name that I've heard quite a bit when it come to Aussie wines and the Barossa in particular. I can't say that I know his wines much though. The ones that I recognize from our market - like Amon Ra and Anapurna - check in at like $70 or $80 a bottle. As much as I'd like to be a regular consumer of wines in that range, I'm not.

But I do recognize the name.

1161. 2007 Heartland - Dolcetto & Lagrein (Langhorne Creek/Limestone Coast - Australia)

I'll readily admit that it was the Glaetzer name on the label that attracted me to this bottled - even though it's a wine bottle by Heartland. Well, the Glaetzer part at least cemented the deal. I was just as enthralled with the Dolcetto/Lagrein blend. Don't think I've even seen or tried that before - at least not set out as a varietal blend on the label.

According to its website, Heartland Wines is a group effort of "leading South Australian identities who are all good friends and share a passion for making great wine." Glaetzer is a logical focal point - his being the winemaker among the varied businessmen, viticulturists and vineyard managers that form the group. The same gang puts out the Stickleback label as well but that's another name I recognize but am not familiar with more than the name.

Part of what's intriguing about the wine at hand is that it's not only a rather unique blend of grapes but that neither Dolcetto, nor Lagrein are grown much in Australia. Indeed, Lagrein isn't grown much anywhere. Largely limited to production in northern Italy in the Tyrol, I read that there are maybe 15 growers of Lagrein in all of Australia and the acreage dedicated to the varietal is largely experimental.

I do know, however, that Lagrein in a new varietal that I get to add to my tally with the Wine Century Club - a definite tipping point in the decision to buy the bottle.

The Heartland wine is blended with almost an even split of the two varietals - 55% Dolcetto and 45% Lagrein. The label shows that the grapes are sourced from both Langhorne Creek and the Limestone Coast (pretty close to being neighbours anyhow) but most of the fruit - 90% - comes from Langhorne Creek.

Although the blend isn't all that common - or familiar to me - it makes sense. What little I know about Dolcetto is that it's on the lighter end of the red wine spectrum. Lagrein, on the other hand, is known for its high tannins. Lagrein is also known for its high acidity - which plays nicely into the hands of Aussie producers since acidity isn't a characteristic Aussie reds are particularly recognized for.

I quite liked it. I found it at just under $30; so, it's not the cheapest bottle on the rack. But, I wouldn't have any problem with buying another bottle.

Maybe there's something to this Glaetzer name.

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