INTERNATIONAL sommeliers drank in the region’s delights when the Somms of the World program stopped in Heathcote last week.
Organised by Wine Australia, the program toured 50 sommeliers around the country to showcase the diversity and quality of regional wines.
Hosted at Tellurian winery, the Heathcote stop allowed five local winemakers to showcase their products.
London-based sommelier Donald Edwards said the visit to Heathcote opened his eyes to new wine suppliers from the region.
“I’m seeing a very different aspect of Heathcote,” he said.
“I see Jasper Hill wine in the UK but I don’t work with their importers, so I wasn’t buying them.
“I’ll have to go out and get some of that now, because it looks delicious.”
Mr Edwards praised the region for its “elegant, classic” style of Shiraz.
“These guys have got the right sort of acidity, and I tend to look for that acidity and balance first.
“Everything here has that freshness that I think is essential.
“I’d certainly like to work with these winemakers.”
San Francisco’s Tartine Manufactory wine director Vinny Eng said he had come to Heathcote with a holistic approach to sourcing wine.
“At Tartine, we focus on the bigger picture of how we get what we eat and drink,” he said.
“So I look at it all contextually – who are the farmers, the growers, the producers — and what are the farming practices?”
“I’m looking to support practices that are generative – that are generous, and kind and restorative to the earth that gives us so much.”
Mr Eng said he was considering adding Heathcote wines to his carefully-crafted wine list.
“As someone who is often finding wines for food, wines like Heathcote’s – with a touch more acidity and a more lean style – tend to work really well with more things,” he said.
“Above all, I just want to know what the human narrative is here – that’s what I’m listening for and that’s what I’m tasting for.”
Winemaker Philip Meehan said the program’s stop in Heathcote was a tribute to the region.
“These wine experts have chosen to come and visit Heathcote – I believe that shows that our reputation precedes us,” he said.
“I think that the group visiting will be quite impressed with the countryside, our enthusiasm, and the quality of the product.”