South Australian red wines are noted worldwide for their quality. With luscious full-bodied Shiraz and ripely structured Cabernet Sauvignon pouring forth from the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra regions into willing glasses, it is easy to love these big bold reds. But high in the Hills a subtle and sexy variety you may not be as familiar with is also considered to be a world class contender. Pinot Noir, delicate and notoriously temperamental to produce, is being coaxed by the skilled handling of adept wine makers into light, fragrant red wines which deserve our attention and appreciation.
Pinot Noir thrives in cool to moderate regions, and as a grape variety is arguably one of the most influenced by the location and conditions it is grown in (terroir). Depending on the region it is grown this wine can be delicate and herbaceous, particularly from the Yarra Valley and Tasmania, to the fuller bodied, fruit-driven expressions which can arise from areas such as Central Otago in New Zealand.
Enter Revel’s Pinot Palooza – a perfect way to broaden your tasting knowledge and palette with some of the finest Pinot Noirs in the southern hemisphere. Now in its 11th year the event is designed to be an approachable platform for you to experience some of the best creative expressions from over 150 wineries.
Given the ability to transverse this international collection without any added airfares, we eagerly offer our complimentary take-home Plumm wine glasses to the waiting winemakers. Our Kiwi friends from across the Tasman represent in fine form. Nanny Goat’s deep, lush flavours rest sumptuously in its long finish, and the Nautilis Vintage Rosé exudes soft floral femininity. Closer to home Tasmania’s Meadowlark 2017 vintage offers savoury spice and ripe cherry flavours. Leaping across Bass Strait with a single step we find Handpicked Wines from the Yarra Valley delivering complex dark spicy fruit supported by silky tannins.
As Pinot Palooza is now an international event, it makes me proud to see our South Australian wineries expertly exhibiting their abilities in today’s line up. Vinteloper’s vibrant cherry characters are held in a tight structure of tannins which unfurl to a feather-soft finish. Golden Child shows us their take on a Pinot Rosé, which tastes of the first shimmers of a strawberry summer.
As Pinot Noir is a light and dry red wine it is quite versatile when it comes to matching with food, which is especially handy when there are so many delicious options available at the Palooza. Adelaide food truck locals Chimichurri Grill offer freshly made burgers, and Woodside Cheese Wrights have put together portable platters of their flowering Monet chevre, Charleston Jersey Brie and Buff Betty. To assist in soaking up the alcohol the event also has heartier food offerings such as delectable pulled venison burgers, crusty vegan veggie rolls, charred cauliflower in a coconut curry and Middle Eastern spiced chicken. I’m also appreciative of Revel’s thoughtful and responsible provision of large tables with free bottled water, which serve as a gentle reminder to hydrate during the day.
If you’re looking for an amiable environment to develop your appreciation of Pinot Noir’s versatility and quality supported by the casual guidance of experienced wine makers, or if you just want a pleasantly tipsy day out with friends without the mini bus hire, you should make a definitely make a note to head along to the 12th annual event in 2019.
Words by Danielle Clarke