On our recent trip to Fairbrossen (see review of their restaurant elsewhere in the blog) I also took the opportunity to buy a few bottles – both of their Fairbrossen label and of the Side Projects series – the latter of these are an experimental range by winemaker Matt Bowness – a little bit of self-indulgent fun he reckons – sourcing grapes from around the State and making the wines with no intervention – no fining, no filtering, relying on wild yeasts and producing some very interesting drops.
2015 Fairbrossen Rosé – made from their Perth Hills vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon it is bright pink with lifted strawberry and raspberry bouquet. A little mid palate sweetness is balanced by fine acid and the finish is long, refreshing and crisp. It is great summer drinking – well anytime really. (90)
2012 Fairbrossen Cabernet Sauvignon – from Margaret River grapes, it has aromatic blackberry and plums on the nose, a hint of mint and violets, while the palate, medium bodied and full of blackberry, chocolate and cedar flavours is long with smooth tannins. Should age well over next 5-7 years. (93)
2014 Fairbrossen Durif – the third WA Durif I have tasted in the past 12 months and it stacks up very well. Deep dark red, it has dominant aromas of chocolate, coffee and liquorice, while the full bodied palate exhibits juicy mulberry, plum and mocha flavours. Great drinking now but should age well over the next 5 years or so. (92)
2013 Side Projects Riesling – sourced from Pemberton this is Riesling, but not as we know it, Jim… cloudy and golden hued, it has a slightly oxidized bouquet – nutty and redolent of some of the orange wines that are around, of fino sherry and scrumpy cider. The palate has some chewy lime and lemon notes, a little allspice shows up as well, and is fleshy, creamy and with good acid. Nice wine, if very different from what we expect. (92)
2014 Side Projects FAR Rosé – from Sangiovese grapes, striking pink, toffee apple and ripe strawberries on the nose. The palate has fruity, toffee and confectionary flavours on the mid palate, but with a clean, fresh, minerally finish. A complex rosé well suited to food – and should even age well for 3 or 4 years, similar to some of the aged Rioja rosés that aren’t released without 7-10 years on them. Funky as the name suggests… (91)
2014 Saperavi – a grape, originating in Georgia – the country, not the US state! –and one I have never tried before. Sourced from an Agriculture Department experimental block I would guess this is the first made in WA – a couple of Eastern States wineries are producing I see from a quick Google.
Anyway, this is dark red, almost deep purple (the first rock n roll show I ever saw, by the way, a long time ago) and has a perfumed nose picking up earthy beetroot aromas, as well as tobacco, mulberry, plums, cinnamon, pepper, while the first thing that strikes on tasting is the tannin – a heavily tannic wine, but not in any way off putting, flavours of sour cherry, Davidson plum, herbal notes, and peppery spice. A long and dusty finish, notwithstanding juicy fruit along the way. Very interesting wine and looks to have a big future in WA – I know of at least one Swan Valley winery that has recently put some in. (94).