Every week a group of us get together, the number changes each week depending on availability but the group ranges from wine judges to teachers and welders, solicitors and bankers and stay at home mums. All of us have different views on what we look for in a wine, how much of a wine we would consume in a sitting, how long we would keep it open in the fridge for or how much we would pay for a wine.
It gives me a great real-world view of where these wines sit, combined with the fact that they are actually tasted here in our own backyard, tried in the tropical heat, tried whilst camping out at Ravenshoe, not in some air-conditioned room in Tasmania or Sydney. Believe it or not temperature and humidity make a huge impact on how we see a wine. There’s been many times that someone has brought a wine back from a holiday to find it doesn’t taste as well in the tropics, and it’s because of this exact reason. A wine that is pointed 96pts by a southern reviewer may not show as a 96pt wine here, and the same applies for wines tried here and then in, say Hobart.
But every now and again a range of wines will come across our tasting table that make our tastebuds sit up and take note. Ones that have scored well at competition, and southern reviews and still show superbly here.
The newer releases from Zonte’s Footstep have done exactly that over the last few weeks. Their 2019 Love Symbol Grenache for example, cleaned up at the year ending Winepilot Grenache Shootout, taking not only Grenache of Show but also the Wine of Show.
The Love Symbol Grenache falls into what Zonte’s refer to as their Mediterranean range. Wines that are made from varieties found in and around the Mediterranean that have been crafted to focus more on acid structure and texture to make them work extremely well when paired with food. And more importantly, these are wines that won’t break the bank.
Zonte’s Footsteps is a small, proudly independent winery based in McLaren Vale. Established in 1993 by a group of mates, they produced their first commercial vintage in 2003 on a site that was originally planted out in the late 1800’s with Zante currant to produce table grapes. In the 20’s the vineyard was replanted with wine producing varieties of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, the vines of which were eventually used to make their first wine. As a tribute to the journey of the grapes in the vineyard (and because you aren’t legally allowed to mention a grape variety unless it’s contained in the wine) it was decided to change the “A” to an “O” – Zonte’s. The Footstep came about because of some giant fossilized dinosaur footprints that were found when replanting the vineyard in 1999.
In that short time Zonte’s have gone on to create some of the most approachable, bold and lively wines that are also budget friendly. The range is mostly vegan friendly, if that’s a thing for you, and are available just about everywhere. Keep an eye out for their Taste the Regions – Dinner Party Challenge pack too.
The Mediterranean Range:
Love Symbol Grenache 2019 – perfect for summer as it shows its best when slightly chilled. Bright red berried fruits, sweet, juicy and plush, a touch of musk, a touch of burnt orange peel all wrapped around a steely core of acid that makes the wine work so well with food. 93 points, RRP $30, mid $20’s shelf price.
Violet Beauregard Malbec 2019 – violets and blue fruits dominate here, hence the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory reference, I guess. A touch of new oak vanillin and rose petal in there, it’s much more feminine than the brooding Malbec’s we often see. Super drinkable. 94pts, RRP $30 mid $20’s shelf price.
Blackberry Patch Cabernet Tempranillo 2019 – 95% Cabernet from a single block, with 5% Tempranillo from Finnis River. The young, astringent tannins of the Cabernet are kept in check by that addition of the Tempranillo. It creates a medium bodied wine that is a perfect match to red meat for summertime. Blackcurrant and Blackberry with old cigar box, tobacco and cedar. 92pts, RRP $30, mid $20’s shelf price.
Canto Sangiovese Lagrein 2019 – Dusty, savoury Sangiovese and the tannic northern Italian Lagrein, combine to make an easy drinking Italian styled red that is all about that tannin structure. Sour cherry, with some malted notes over some fresh peppercorn. Its generous and grainy in the mouth making it perfect for those slippery, mouth coating pastas. It was best when it had a little time to breathe, so open it a few minutes before you want to consume it. 92pts, RRP $30 mid $20’s shelf price.