SERIOUS wines that don't take themselves seriously," say the labels on the Davis Wine Group's Italian varietal fiano, vermentino, verduzzo, sagrantino and aglianico Lovable Rogue wines.
That's a fair summation of this adventurous, cheeky, limited-release range from geologist-turned vigneron John Davis's group.
Sub-titled "The Italian Jobs", the $30-a-bottle Lovable Rogue current releases are the Hunter 2021 Abboccato Fiano, 2017 Skin Contact Vermentino and 2019 Foot Stomped Sagrantino and the 2020 Funky Ferment Verduzzo and 2020 Moonchild Aglianico from Orange grapes.
Fiano is a grape native to south-west Italy's Campania Region and the Abboccato on the Lovable Rogue label is from the Italian term for medium-level sweetness.
Vermentino is native to the Italian island of Sardinia and the French Mediterranean island of Corsica. The 2021 Loveable Rogue is dubbed Skin Contact indicating the increased flavour from juice's exposure to grape skins.
Sagrantino originates in central Italy's Umbria Region and this red is tagged Foot Stomped because the inaugural 2009 grapes were tramped in an old grape bin by Davis Group chief John Davis and chef Robert Molines.
Verduzzo is a white grape from north-eastern Italy and dubbed Funky Ferment because it's a zesty drop fermented on wild yeast in old oak puncheons.
Aglianico, a most widespread red variety in southern Italy's Campania, Basilicata and Calabria areas, and this 2020 Moonchild is so called because it's the last variety to ripen, often under a full Easter moon, in Carillion's Orange vineyard.
The Davis Carillion arm is run by owner and head vigneron Tim Davis, John Davis's former Reserve Bank executive son, and winemaker Andrew Ling. Andrew, 40, grew up in Mudgee and after his HSC worked in a furniture store and starred at soccer.
At 19, to the dismay of his team coach, Andrew was on the cusp of an overseas trip. But that was pre-empted in 2000 by the coach finding him a lab assistant's job at Simon Gilbert's Mudgee winery and bringing him a love for wine.
That led to wine science qualifications and vintages in Germany, New Zealand and Vietnam and in 2005 an eight-year Logan Wines stint as assistant winemaker-export manager.
Then came three years as Robert Oatley brands' Mudgee winemaker-cellar manager and in 2016 to the Hunter and the exciting opportunities with the Davis Pepper Tree Pokolbin winery, Mount View's Briar Ridge vineyard and winery and Tallavera Grove vineyard and vineyards at Orange, Coonawarra and Wrattonbully.
THE green-tinted straw, orange blossom-scented, passionfruit front-palate-flavoured Lovable Rogue 2021 Abboccato Fiano and other Loveable Rogue and Carillion wines are at carillionwines.com.au, the Mount View Tallavera Grove cellar and bottle shops. The middle shows pear, ruby grapefruit and subtle yeasty elements and a steely finish.
DRINK WITH: spring rolls.
AGEING: two years.
RATING: 4 stars
WITH brassy hues and lemongrass aromas, the Lovable Rogue 2021 Skin Contact Vermentino is from the scenic Tallavera Grove vineyard and shows zingy apricot flavour on the front palate. The middle palate introduces custard apple, melon, preserved lemon and sherbet characters and flinty acid refreshes at the finish.
DRINK WITH: chicken and mushroom vol-au-vent.
AGEING: four years.
RATING: 4.5 stars
BRAEMORE GRAFT AID
THIS excellent Carillion 2021 Old Grafts Hunter Semillon is from Tallavera Grove vines established in 1994 from famed Braemore vineyard cuttings. It's straw in the glass, honeysuckle-scented, with crisp, elegant lime front-palate flavour. The middle has green apple, lemon curd, mineral and nascent honey and toast and a finish of slatey acid.
DRINK WITH: oysters.
AGEING: 12 years.
RATING: 5 stars
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