Jura native Etienne Mangier is the founder and vigneron-winemaker of North Wine and a producer of some of the Macedon region’s most talked about pinot noir, shiraz, crémant and crémant rosé.
He’s been working in the region for 13 years now; it was while working as an assistant winemaker at Hanging Rock Winery he met some “awesome Macedon range legends” who pushed him to start his own label six years ago. Mangier loves the Macedon Ranges, “its cool climate, amazing soils, grape quality and the real sense of the community between the Macedon winemakers”, and has made a personal signature of sparkling wines. “I love adding bubbles,” he says, “it makes wine more fun.”
The last three delicious Victorian things I drank were a Defialy 2021 grenache, which I found by luck while unpacking boxes moving house. Love the freshness, the floral aromas and the amazing length – such a treat. I was also really impressed by Chris Dilworth and Loïque Allain’s 2022 sauvignon blanc. My god, just insane! These guys make me friends with Australian sauvignon blanc again! And then there’s Latta What-a-Melon rosé. Complexity, freshness, fruitiness, minerality, everything is there and it’s so, so good.
When someone hands me a drinks list, I go straight to see what sparkling and Champagne is on the menu.
As far as I’m concerned, the defining place to get a drink in Victoria is Bar Merenda, because of the great atmosphere, the wine list, the service, the food and the likelihood of seeing other winemakers sitting at the bar.
There’s no better value on drinks list or in a bottle-shop in this state than La Cachette in Geelong; the wine list has been put together to perfectly match your dinner.
My favourite place to buy booze is Winespeake in Daylesford; if you know, you know.
I’d love to see us planting more chenin, gamay and savagnin in Victoria because they’re good and they do so well here – and they don’t taste like a French clone, they come up in a uniquely Australian way.
The Victorian spirit I’m loving most right now is Mountain Distilling Gin: it’s Macedon spices in a gin.
If you’re unfamiliar with the wines I make but would like to check them out, I’d suggest you start with a Contrefort pinot blanc: fresh, fruity, complex, and a perfect match for an aperitif or on its own.
The best change to the way we drink in Victoria in recent years has been the wines are less alcoholic than they used to be, more fraîcheur: easier to drink and more enjoyable.
For me, the most inspiring person in the Victorian drinks world is Josh Cooper: the Duke of Macedon.
North Wine, northwine.com.au