The fearsomely long Murray River is in fact Australia’s longest, and perhaps its stature and influence on the topography through which it runs is why a large region surrounding it is known as “Riverland, South Australia.” In this environment, reminiscent of some Mediterranean climates, Con-Greg Grigoriou grew up under a father who managed wineries throughout the Riverland for over four decades. That is: his early life was inevitably among the vines, red dirt and sand caking his hands and dusting his knees. After a foray into the restaurant world, Grigoriou had some experiences with natural wine and his conception of wine writ large was never the same. He wanted to reclaim the Riverland’s reputation – an area that had been overlooked forever as the heart of the Australian Wine Glut (overproduction, Shirazes to melt your teeth, insipid blends, etc.), and he wanted to do it in a specific way: light, fun, ‘smashable,’ wines still rendering a notion of terroir that is, evoking this specific place. In lieu of using the Shirazes, Merlots, Cab. Sauv’s of yore, Grigoriou sought out organic/biodynamic/natural grape growers in the region who grew only southern Italian varieties that were inherently fit for the arid climate of the Riverland whose soil makeup was similar to the native Italian production areas of grapes like Vermentino, Lagrein, Bianco d’Alessano, Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola, and Negroamaro. Working in collaboration with an artist/friend named ‘Ankles’ who does the portraits of each label, they’ve created a range of characters for each cuvée with a unique backstory that is ever-changing with each vintage (just like us).
Vinification: Pet Nat of Vermentino and Nero d'Avola from Riverland, South Australia. Both batches of fruit were handpicked separately, followed by fermentation in stainless steel. Blended and bottled just before the Nero d’Avola finishes fermentation to create a natural, creamy effervescence.
Tasting: A beautiful, cloudy neon pink in the glass, this red and white grape pet nat is zingy and tart. Notes of strawberry-kiwi and lime juice up front, followed by a textural avalanche: bubbly, grippy, mineral. The mousse is creamy and the bubbles are light. This is a perfect aperitif. Serve cold.