Tim Wildman MW isn’t your average wine guy. He concurrently educates the MWs of the future via his online resource, WineTutor.tv and runs the James Busby Travel Company, which connects international Sommeliers with Australia’s top wine producers. For further context, Wildman previously worked for the influential distributor and retailer, Les Caves de Pyrene in Europe.
Pét-nat is The Wildman’s thing, and anyone who has followed the progression of the style in Australia would have come across his cult bottling, Astro Bunny. This connection to juicy, quick-making and even quicker-drinking wines came about when Tim realised he didn’t have enough time on his visits each year to keep things traditional and still oversee the whole winemaking process with the perfect attention this deceptively casual winemaker likes to provide.
Necessity has pointed Wildman down a bunny hole that has resulted in him being the hero of easy-drinking new Australian wine, and the biggest importer of pét-nat in the UK. For now, Fiano, Nero d’Avola and Zibibbo—sourced from a host of quality vineyards in Riverland, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale—are used to create his different styles of pét-nat. Wildman’s fizz has emerged as not just being thirst-quenching, buoyant and a joy to drink, but the standard by which many others in Australia are measured. His easy description of “No adds, mostly harmless” somehow modestly sums up his range of sell-out wines, but belies their clever, definitive personalities.
Fiano, Nero d’Avola, Zibibbo
Nero d’Avola from the warm, Mediterranean McLaren Vale; Fiano from the cool, high-altitude Adelaide Hills; Zibibbo from the historic old vines in the Riverland.
Sue Trott, McLaren Vale/Amadio, Adelaide Hills/Gums and Roses, Riverland
All apply sustainable practices with a focus on minimising inputs and maximising vine health.
All fruit picked within one week to retain natural acidity and moderate potential alcohol. The Zibibbo sees 24 hours pre-ferment skin contact and the Nero is taken from the press after just a few hours. The three varieties co-ferment before bottling with 12 g/L residual sugar. Secondary ferment occurs in bottle over winter, with a final pressure of 2.5 to 3.0 bar (producing a gentle foam rather than an aggressive fizz). Wild yeast, no adds, no filtration, no fining, zero sulphur.
Nero d’Avola vines planted in 2011 on sand over clay
Sue Trott, McLaren Vale
The Trott family are dedicated growers and take pride in growing for quality not quantity. Their viticultural approach involves a great deal of attention to detail and manual labour, organic solutions and sprays are preferred with up to 30% of the fruit dropped by a “green harvest” to increase quality. The vineyard has only ever been harvested by hand.
Hand-harvested fruit sees 25% is whole-bunch fermentation for three to four days before being pressing and bottling with 12 g/L residual sugar. Slow secondary fermentation in bottle results in a final pressure of 2.5 to 3.0 bar, producing a gentle foam. Wild yeast, no adds, no filtration, no fining, zero sulphur.
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