Published on 21 October 2019
Your guide to what’s in the glass from the people in the trade.
Matt Purbrick has just launched Minimum Wines, a new organic wine label he co-founded with his wife, Lentil, and father Alister. Matt is part of the fifth generation of Purbricks who own and run the 1200-hectare Tahbilk Winery in the Nagambie Lakes region, where Alister is CEO and winemaker.
With Lentil, Matt is also the founder of Grown & Gathered, which began as a garden and farm that supplied some of Melbourne’s top restaurants. They have released two best-selling books and have a website, Instagram and online store. Matt and Lentil currently split their time between Italy and Victoria. Here’s how he’s been wetting his whistle along the way.
The last truly delicious thing I drank was UnLitro Rosso in Tuscany. Incredibly textural, fruit-driven cab franc blended with a few other old Mediterranean varieties. Magical. Oh, and a couple of Panevino's latest reds from the deep interior of Sardinia. Next-level natural, wild reds. You can taste the mountainsides!
As far as I’m concerned, the defining place to get a drink in Melbourne isNavi. Few other restaurants balance the wine and food quite so perfectly.
If I were to choose a Victorian drink purely on the strength of its label, I’d go for Lantana Gin. Hand screen-printed by the team (which really means Rob Sowter and his dad). All designed by the guys. Dipped in wax by hand. If I could wrap my head around the logistics of this for our bottles, man, I'd be in.
The Victorian spirit I’m digging the most right now is also Lantana Gin. I wasn't expecting it to be so great, truly. We've known Rob a very long time and have always been dedicated advocates for his work with sugar and rhum. But this gin is incredible. The botanicals are local and spot on. The spirit is clean. It reminds me of the best fil'e ferru – Sardinian grappas – I've had. With ice and soda is enough.
When someone hands me a wine list in a restaurant, I usually ask them if they have any suggestions first. A good team knows what wines go with their kitchen’s style.
There’s no better value on a wine list or in a bottle-shop in this state than … am I allowed to say our new Minimum wines for this one? I'm super-proud of this first release and the feedback we've been getting is really humbling. We really are having the most wonderful time making them and hope everyone can feel just how much love we're pouring into them. It's going to be a fun and long journey this one. But if we’re talking about something we didn’t make, I’m always on the lookout for great Victorian malbec. Such an incredible but under-utilised grape for this climate. If you can find a bottle, check out the Chapter Wines 2016.
For me, the most inspiring person in the Victorian drinks world is … oh c'mon, this one's impossible! We’re so fortunate to live in a state and country that is literally heaving with incredible talent. And not just talent but dedicated talent. Provided the incredibly vibrant independent wine and spirits makers remain collaborative, rather than competitive, it's going to continue to be a phenomenal era in the drinks space here locally for a very long time. How lucky we all are!
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