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March '22

2019 Company Wine Beechworth Nebbiolo

Oh hello, nebbiolo

This month’s wine is the ‘19 Company Wine Beechworth Nebbiolo, an absolute gem hailing from Beechworth. Tucked away in Victoria’s north-east, this region is producing some truly exceptional cool-climate wines, like this nebbiolo from the innovative winemaking team at Company Wine. It gives beautiful expression to a varietal up-and-comer in Australia – nebbiolo – and brings together old-world traditions with Aussie innovation, fruit and terroir. The result is an exciting autumnal wine bursting with aromatic charm and a complex full-bodied palate. Only 700 bottles were made, so you're going to be thanking the wine gods that you were signed up in time.

Bakeries, breweries and a boatload of history – welcome to beautiful Beechworth

Beechworth may be famous as a historic gold-rush town, but the past forty-odd years have proven that gold isn't the only treasure to be found in the region. We're referring, of course, to liquid treasure, the spoils of which are happily shared by those talented winemakers who call Beechworth home. They're making a name for themselves as premium producers of cool-climate wines and though shiraz, chardonnay and pinot noir are considered regional specialties, alternative varietals, like nebbiolo, are becoming increasingly common (and celebrated). These grapes benefit from Beechworth's location and elevation on the side of the Victorian Alps, with the mountains ensuring warm days and cool nights, providing the perfect conditions for ripening without overcooking the fruit.

Wine aside, the Beechworth region is a must-visit destination. A walk down Ford Street – Beechworth's main drag – is a journey through time, taking you past sandstone court buildings, Victorian-era pubs and Old Beechworth Gaol, where Ned Kelly spent time behind bars. You'll also encounter the iconic Beechworth Bakery and much-loved Bridge Road Brewers, the latter of which has marked Beechworth as a craft-brewing hotspot. Turn down Albert Road and you'll come across beautiful Lake Sambell and the Chinese Gardens, dedicated to the many Chinese prospectors who came to the region to find gold. And trust us, there's still gold in these hills; outside of town, every wine-loving wanderer will soon stumble across riches beyond their wine-iest dreams.

Nebbiolo: Varietal Royalty

If pinot noir is the world’s most tantalising grape, nebbiolo comes in a close second. Native to the Piemonte region in Italy’s north-west, nebbiolo is responsible for some of the most sought-after wines in the world; Barolo and Barbaresco,  known respectively as the King and Queen of wines. 

But while nebbiolo may be regal in the glass, it’s a different story in the vineyard. In addition to being exceptionally finicky about where it will happily grow, it’s an inherently vigorous vine that tends to flower early but ripen late, putting it at risk of spring frosts. But in the right hands it can create pure magic – and we can’t think of better hands than the team at Company Wine. 

As a wine, nebbiolo is one of the few varieties possible to identify by colour alone, often giving a pale brick-red colour even early on in life. But make no mistake; nebbiolo makes big wines with a full body, bright acidity and firm, mouth-coating tannins. Its distinctive structure makes it an excellent candidate for ageing and is matched by a compelling and complex flavour profile: tart red cherries, fragrant rose petals and earthy dried herbs and woodsmoke.

From Barolo to Beechworth

This wine beautifully combines the traditions of old world winemaking with the spirit of new world fruit and terroir. The fruit hails from the Domenica Vineyard, which sits 460m above sea level atop a granite ridge sweeping to the south-west of Beechworth, and reflects these origins with a stunning seam of minerality through the wine. In the winery, Company Wine looked to the Italian winemaking greats for inspiration, gently handling the fruit to ensure tannins are present but not overpowering, as well as raising the nebbiolo in a combination of ceramic eggs and old large format French oak barrels for 18 months. The results speak for themselves – this is a seriously compelling, elegant wine. 

In the glass, this wine gives a pale brick-red colour – the distinctive hue of nebbiolo wines. But don’t let its pallor fool you – this wine is bursting with flavour and body and prettily perfumed with dried herbs, rose petals and baking spice that wafts over a core of tart red fruit and pithy blood orange. The palate is similarly bright and fresh, with juicy red cherries and plums, fading flowers and a persistent savoury quality; black pepper, leaf, dried herbs, liquorice root. The wine shows classic nebbiolo structure with fresh acidity, supple mouth feel and a firm seam of tannins that coat the mouth. And the finish? Well, we can't put it any better than Company Wine’s winemaker, Chris Catlow: "It finishes with a swagger, it lingers without a waver. It’s a wine and a half." There’s plenty of potential here to develop with age, but for those who simply can’t wait, try decanting an hour or so prior to drinking to let it open up.

The recipe

This month we have a mouth-watering recipe for char grilled duck breast from Robata, matched specifically to the Company Wine Beechworth Nebbiolo. So pop the nebbiolo in a decanter and fire up the grill ‒ you won’t regret it.

Try the recipe
The playlist

This month, we're celebrating nebbiolo's Italian heritage with a playlist that'll have nonna moving her hips in a heartbeat. Our suggestion? Turn your place into Little Italy by cooking up a hearty backyard feast for your nearest and dearest with these tracks playing in the background. Simply bellissimo, no?


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