It is rare for a Syrah to call Piedmonte its spiritual home, let alone a Syrah from Australia. La Violetta’s Ciornia has the freshness, restrained fruit, a light frame of oak and depth of earth expected from a Barbaresco; yet, this Syrah hails from a vineyard surrounded by virgin forest in Denmark, Western Australia, one of Australia’s most isolated wine regions.
Spices, fleshiness, weight and colour suggest Syrah but the elegance, floral notes and restraint in extraction suggest the wine has been treated as gently in the vineyard as if old Nebbiolo vines. Not many new world winemakers would put their wines up against wines from the Old World. But after tasting his wines, the winemaker Andrew Hoadley pulled out a few hidden bottles from his private stash of Piedmonte’s rebel grape, Freisa – also one of my favourite wines in the world. We tasted a vivace and still Freisa (2001 Vajra Kye´) admiring the savoury, non-fruit characters that are so astounding about this wine unique to Piedmonte. Aside from his time spent working in the region, it’s easy to see how Andrew’s admiration for Piedmonte clearly translates to his Syrah.´
This is all very unexpected. Again I ask: what is going on in Australian wine? It’s the same question I asked in my previous posts on Kooyong Estate and Mac Forbes’ Woori Yallock. There is a new wave of winemakers inspired by not the usual suspects. Which is good news as I had fallen out of love with Australian Shiraz a few years ago, worn out by the heavy alcohol, oak intensity and booming fruit. La Violetta Syrah has opened my mind to the possibility of a different song. It is as exhilirating as the Australian Text Book on Shiraz sung by Maria Callas hitting those notes never thought possible.
Link: More about 2008 La Ciornia La Violetta