During the 2017 vintage I was on the hunt for red grapes when I bumped into Tennille Chalmers. She mentioned that they had some nero d'avola grapes on the vine at their Merbein vineyard. I was intrigued to see if my theory about some varieties from warm-climate dry-grown vineyards are ideal for light-bodied red wines, even to be enjoyed with a bit of a chill on it! That ended up being one of my most successful wines, so I was thrilled to be able to finally bring it back in 2020!
Just over two tonnes of nero d'avola was hand-picked and delivered to the winery, where it was de-stemmed and sat on skins for only one week. Once pressed it completed its fermentation in a stainless-steel tank, then was transferred to three mature French oak puncheons (500L). After spending only four months in barrel the wine was racked and blended, then bottled at the end of August 2020.
Nero (full name Nerō Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from 54-68 AD. There is a popular legend that during the Great Fire or Rome in 64 AD the Emperor Nero remained behind his palace walls and played his fiddle while Rome burned. Even though it is highly unlikely to be true (much like Marie Antoinette saying "Let them eat cake"), I like the story and it made sense for this wine.
Bronze medal – AAVWS Show 2020