One variety that seems pleasantly at home in South Australia is Nebbiolo. The noble variety hails from North-Western Italy where it provides a wide range of delicious wines ranging from early drinking slurpers to the long-lived epically proportioned wines of Barolo and Barbaresco.
Brendon and Laura Carter run the lovely Unico Zelo wine label and Applewood Distillery out of an old apple store in Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills. Playing with a diverse quiver of alternative varieties and producing a wonderful array of gins and other spirits, their newly opened cellar door should be on everybody’s weekend bucket list.
This is the inaugural release of the Exocarpos Nebbiolo and it is a labour of love for the Carters. The Talc Hill vineyard was established in the early 2000s with eight different clones of Nebbiolo and is co-planted with four clones of Barbera.
While this information may border on geeky, it is important as this sort of detail manifests itself as complexity in the glass, and this, dear reader, is a very good thing.
The colour in the glass is Pinot-esqe (perfumed in a Pinot-like fashion, also). Resplendent in bright red and dark cherry fruits, fitting considering its name, Exocarpos refers to the native cherry trees that surround the vineyard.
Floral high tones come into play. Violets, perhaps some jasmine, flit around its edges along with gentle notes of amaro herbs and spices. The palate has a wonderful buoyancy and sense of detail. Savoury and teetering — as many of the great Italian wines do — on the tense knife-edge of bitter and sweet. Beautifully done.
UNICO ZELO 2015 Exocarpos Nebbiolo