Amato Vino is a new and exciting project for the WBB team, making wine from lesser-known alternate grape varieties sourced from around Margaret River, and also from South Australia’s Riverland – one of the warmest grape-growing regions in Australia.
In collaboration with a couple of buddies from South Australia the first wines made under Amato Vino were released in late 2013: The 2013 Vermentino – a soft and textural, stonefruit/citrussy white wine, and a 2013 Nero d’Avola (pronounced dah-vola) – a silky smooth, lush, lusty, light-bodied, savoury red.
Our Riverland Grower
Ricca Terra Farms is a small vineyard property specialising in alternative southern Italian grape varieties. Owners Ashley & Holly Ratcliff selected these varieties based on their capacity to produce high quality wines in a warmer environment.
In contrast to the vast majority of Riverland grape-producers, the Ratcliffs micro-manage their vineyard, using hands-on techniques usually associated with premium regions (such as Margaret River). Practices include minimal irrigation, leaf-plucking, shoot and bunch-thinning, wire-lifting and general canopy management to ensure even ripeness and low yields across the board.
The resulting wines are generous and warm, yet with a lightness of being.
The Winemaking & Current Wines
Winemaker Brad Wehr makes wine under Amato Vino in both Margaret River and South Australia (ably assisted by friends in SA!).
The 2013 Vermentino (Riverland) was handpicked on Valentines Day 2013 and fermented wild to a single 1,000 litre tub. Extended lees stirring over several months provided texture, and some additional aroma and flavour. Racked off lees and bottled in late September – 70 dozen.
Also handpicked, the 2013 Nero d’Avola (Riverland) was fermented wild before basket-pressing to a 1,000 litre and a couple of aged oak casks. To capture the freshness and primary fruit character we bottled the Nero in late September for immediate release – 130 dozen.
Releases scheduled for the second half of 2014 include…
2014 Vermentino (Riverland) – single vineyard, hand-picked fruit. Wild ferment, no adds/adjustments, left on lees for 75 days with gentle stirring. Bottled July 2014. Release date: October 2014.
2013 Nebbiolo (Margaret River) – single vineyard, hand-picked fruit. De-stemmed although 21% whole bunch retained for fermentation – all-up 29 days on skins. Matured in aged French oak for 16 months, unfined & unfiltered, bottled with minimal sulphur. Release date Oct 2014.
2013 Teroldego (Margaret River) – single vineyard, hand-picked fruit. De-stemmed, 23% whole bunch retained for fermentation – 24 days on skins. Matured in aged French oak for 16 months, unfined & unfiltered, bottled with minimal sulphur. Release date Oct 2014.
2014 Bastardo (Margaret River) – or Trousseau by another name! Single row in single vineyard, hand-picked. De-stemmed into hand-made clay amphorae for wild fermentation; left on skins with no adds/adjustments for 6 months. Minimal sulphur added before bottling. Release date October 2014.
Available on-line via our BUY page, or email us for specific outlets around the country. Very small production!
Get excited people. Soon to come from the Riverland project will be a textured white, Grillo, and an organically grown red, Montepulciano. Coming on stream from our Margaret River project we’ll be releasing Nebbiolo, Teroldego, Bastardo, Tempranillo, Graciano and Carignane, plus a Margies version of Vermentino. Frothing with anticipation here!
The artwork that adorns our Riverland Amato labels is by Australian artist Liz McKay. All enquiries for art to Liz! Artwork appearing on the Margaret River Amato Vino labels is by winemaker (and artist!) Brad Wehr.