2017 Hastwell & Lightfoot Tempranillo and 2017 Hastwell & Lightfoot Montepulciano
When the English established their colony in South Africa they planted grape varieties that they were familiar with; French varieties were planted. The pattern was set and emulated in South Australia with cuttings acquired in Europe and Capetown on the way to Australia.
This foundation set the scene well into the future, and it is relatively recent that Italian and Iberian Peninsula varieties have found their feet in Australia.
We have recently listed two new wines from McLaren Vale’s Hastwell and Lightfoot, who are championing these varieties; the 2017 Hastwell & Lightfoot Tempranillo and 2017 Hastwell & Lightfoot Montepulciano.
“Grapegrowers have looked at the relative latitudes of where these varieties grow best and questioned why we are not growing these wines which are eminently more compatible with our region,” explained owner and vigneron, Martin Lightfoot.
“Wine drinkers have missed out on these fabulous varieties that are arguably more suitable to our climate, especially here in McLaren Vale. We have planted a range of emerging varieties including Montepulciano, Tempranillo, Fiano, Garnacha, Vermentino and Barbera.
Montepulciano is seen as somewhat of a workhorse in its native Italy, being the second most planted variety behind Sangiovese.
“There are only 46 producers growing Montepulciano in Australia*so it is still early days, however we are finding this variety grows particularly well in McLaren Vale and offers our customers the chance to break out of the ‘French variety’ paradigm and open their eyes to what they have been missing out on.”
The Montepulciano scion was grafted on 12-year-old rootstocks in 2016. Growing on old, well established roots ensures the fruit express more mature characteristics than if they were new plantings. The grapes were harvested on the 16thMarch and fermented in one-tonne open fermenters with five percent Shiraz in the blend. The wine was then matured in a combination of French (50 percent) and American (50 percent) oak for 18 months.
“Tempranillo is Spain’s most prolific variety and is quite well established in Australia,” continued Martin.
“There is well over 700 hectares of Tempranillo planted in Australia, having doubled in area since 2007*. Our Tempranillo is grown in very deep sand and is protected from hot north winds by an old pine forest capping the hill.”
The wine was fermented with a small component of Grenache to add further complexity to the blend before maturation for 18 months in French oak.