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It's taken me a long time to get into natural wines and field blends, but a recent trip to the Bergenland with some natural wine fanatics has probably taken me over to the dark side for good. Forever proving that I really should'nt form opinions  about places based on late night television programs alone, I thought Bergenland to be something of an agricultural backwater with a reputation for lederhosen clad wife-swapping parties. Yes - I admit - I wasn't watching the Nature Channel. It was an eye opener to see just how beautiful the region is and sadly, despite my best efforts - showing little evidence of aforementioned lederhosen themed parties...

The wines exude an air of experimentation and innovation with a distinct lean towards the natural side of the pool. There is also little time spent on "international" varietals. For the younger winemaking set - its mostly all about developing whats always been there, but with a hands-off, Jesus-take-the-wheel kind of approach. I can barely spell at the best of times so attempting to reference the varietals won't do me any favours, suffice it to say that it's a rollicking impressive body of work and well worth the diversion, even if you have to eat a truckload of Schnitzel.

One of their most exciting trends is the production of field blends, which at first, I found as alienating as dropping one's keys in a communal bowl upon arrival at a party, but - like with most things - practice made perfect. This type of wine has an element of free-wheeling excitement about it and I fancy also the thrill of some risk, and this is where the Strelley Farm Estate Natural Sparkling Rose comes into focus...

This dizzying unfiltered and un-fined field bend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Gewürztraminer from Tasmania is a romp of a wine, best served freezing cold out of the ice bucket and next to the pool. Winemaker LIAM MCELHINNEY - who is best known for Marlborough's St Clair and The Ned wines, cryptically describes it as embued with "exotic notes of papaya, tangerine, and pomegranate and smells like hot nights on a beach in Hawaii...."

Liam is clearly travelling to warmer places than I have lately but I feel sure that, after tasting this one for yourself you will be lathering up with sunscreen and blasting the Beach Boys as loud as possible while you neck this audaciously pink and bubbly little number.

Liam is also the person responsible for a profusion of award-winning Tasmanian Pinots lately, including a Decanter World Wine Awards Best in Show Trophy, and selection as one of the Wine Society’s Top 10 Young Winemakers. His cool-climate winemaking expertise, both for the Fogarty Group and contract clients, has already been recognised with several trophies, including a James Halliday Trophy for Best Pinot Noir, and producing the winning wine of the 2021 Australian Pinot Noir Challenge, which may already be sleeping in your cellars if you were quick enough to lift some late last year wen we had it.

With this level of expertise its little wonder that his Strelley Farm Estate Pinot Noir 2020 is already moving like hot-cakes around Australia. This 65% East Coast and 35% Coal River Valley blend leans into a more neutral oak style to allow the joyfully impressive fruit to glisten and shine. Its at a price that's well worth a look, given just how punchy the top shelf Tasmanian Pinot Noir is fast becoming...

The Wines:
Strelley Farm Estate Pet Nat Rose NV

(24 Bottles Only)

"This is an exuberant, cloudy and lightly sparkling wine with aromas that leap out of the glass to delight the senses. Think bright passionfruit, rich lime peel and pea shoots alongside elegant nashi pear..."

$40 net
Strelley Farm Estate Pinot Noir 2020

"Bright and juicy red fruit flavours upfront are underscored by a dense core of dark cherry and supple oak tannin."

This vintage saw exceptionally low yields with a Pinot that is fiercely intense and focussed, yet surprisingly ready to open as and when the mood takes you...

Exceptional drinking 2023–2025.

$42 net
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