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Edition One: Prince Wine Store Tasting

At our first public tasting Alquimie entertained regulars of Prince Wine Store with a selection of premium wines. Located in South Melbourne, Prince Wine Store provides one of Melbourne's best retail wine selections. The Saturday tastings are a regular fixture that often attract in excess of 100-150 people. The Alquimie event was no exception, attracting well in-excess of 150 people. In addition to our curated selection, Prince Wine Store provided new release tastings from benchmark Australian producers Giaconda (Beechworth) and Grosset (clare valley). 

An excerpt from our tasting notes follow.

One of the key goals of Alquimie is to convey the timeless stories that inform the way we drink. Whether it be the story of a humble townhouse in Chablis crafting grand cru wines, or, the story of a Super Tuscan wine that polarised the international wine community, each bottle provides meaning beyond its delicious contents. Whilst tasting these wines, we invite you to share your thoughts and in doing so, we hope to encourage the same warmth and generosity of conversation to be found in the pages of our new publication.  

2008 Moreau-Naudet Valmur grand cru - Chablis, France
100% Chardonnay

Stephane Moreau's winery is located in the centre of the cobblestone town of Chablis. The exposed brick frontage of the house that furnishes the Moreau-Naudet winery is decidedly humble in its appearance. The house is largely indistinguishable from that of his neighbours. So too is his surname, which he shares with his unrelated Burgundian namesakes of Christian and Bernard Moreau. Like his neighbours, Moreau is a wine producer living in a small agricultural town. Unlike his neighbours, Moreau takes a more adventurous approach to his winemaking which includes hand harvesting, fermentation with natural yeasts and low sulphur additions. The purity of harvest is paramount to Moreau who eschews the use of new oak in favour of large format neutral vessels for fermentation and maturation. 

The 2008 Valmur is savoury and lean in character. With austere, angular acidity, this wine has already benefitted from some time in bottle to help flesh out the texture on the palate. A myriad of saline and nutty flavours, this wine is underpinned by its strength on the finish. Reminiscent of Iggy Pop and the Stooges; Raw Power. Drink now – 2020.

2011 Yann Chave Hermitage - Northern Rhone, France 
100% Syrah 

Like many of the great wines of the world, the appellation of Hermitage was profoundly influenced by the Church. Historically the wines were referred to as "St-Christopher's hill wines" with reference to the iconic; St-Christopher's Church which sits on the hill. The name of Hermitage didn't develop until the late 17th century, in more idiosyncratic circumstances. Hermitage, was inspired by a knight named Henri Gaspard de Sterimberg whom was granted a lease on the hill by the Queen of Spain. After returning from war, Henri Gaspard de Sterimberg rarely left the hill, instead choosing to replant its vineyard and take up residency as a hermit. Hence the name, Hermitage. 

In 1970 Bernard and Nicole Chave bought a small property in the village of Mercurol. As the couple slowly acquired vineyards they sold most of their grapes through Negociants. It wasn't until their son Yan Chave joined their business in 1996, that the focus shifted towards producing their own high quality wines. The 2011 Hermitage is produced from vines with an average age of around 30 years old. The fruit is matured in large 600L barrels as to ensure the wine is not "over-oaked". The wine is defined by its tight tannic core and fresh acidity. Smoked meat flavours, violets and raw black cherries work in harmony for a wine that is generous now, but unassuming in its age-worthiness. Drink 2015 – 2020

2002 Tenuta del Ornellaia - Bolgheri, Italy 
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc

Families are everything in Italy. Live by them, die by them, sell to them. The story of Ornellaia; the incumbent Marchese Lodovico Antinori, the all-conquering Mondavi family and their 'local-affiliate' Frescobaldi family, is perhaps one of the most fascinating in recent wine history. Not the least, because they are so eloquently documented in Jonathan Nossiter's film Mondovino (2004). The stake that the Mondavi family sewed in the Italian project in 1999, bore the fruit of full ownership in 2002. Thus, the wine represents a true time-piece; the first vintage that the Mondavi family fully owned the vineyard. 

The wine itself originates from the region of Bolgheri in the Northern Maremma. Situated in western Tuscany towards the coast, Bolgheri benefits from cool coastal winds and high sunlight hours. Inspired by left bank bordeaux, the wine was hand-harvested and fermented with full temperature control. The tannic grip in the wine is enhanced 25-30 days of post-fermentation maceration. The wine was matured in small barriques for 18 months (75% new). A triumphant and muscular wine, the 2002 has entered its drinking window for those who like more fruit sweetness in their wines. For those who prefer savoury characters, the best is yet to come. Sit back, relax and watch the film. Drink now – 2024

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