£24.99, Nicholson's Wines
It's not pink, it not fizz and it's not Saint Amour – sighs of relief all round? Actually, I'm a sucker for pink Champagne and Saint Amour, but this, clearly, is neither. It just happens to have pink crysanthemums on the label which some Valentine's Day celebrants may feel look the part (FYI, the figure on the label is the winemaker's sister, a florist in Melbourne, and Gertie was his great aunt).
Whichever way you look at it, the wine is certainly worthy of a loved one.
It's a rare Cabernet Franc from South Australia's Clare Valley and brings with it all the aromatic appeal, vitality and depth of the variety: pristine bramble fruit, the spicy, sweet, green smell of fresh bay leaves (so characteristic of Cabernet Franc) and an afterthought of scented roses.
The palate is bright and ripe with delicate woodsmoke and juniper berry cadences, a seamless texture, fresh, herbal acidity and just a hint of bitter sloe adding to the complexity.
Ben Marx, the winemaker, takes a hands-off approach to let the fruit shine; so it's wild yeast fermented, with a small percentage of whole bunch (i.e. stems on), and unfined and unfiltered. It's also organic – "more than organic" apparently – but certification is too expensive for a small winery.
It's very easy to drink and could take its place alongside a simple steak with a green sauce, straccetti with rocket and parmesan, rosy lamb with rosemary and garlic, vegetable kebabs or onion tart, but it could also be served with more elaborate dishes involving lamb, rabbit, duck or a multi-course vegetarian meal. 13.8%
Gertie Cabernet Franc 2021, Clare Valley, Australia
£24.99 (minimum 6 bottles), Nicholson's Wines
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