Earlier in the year I had the pleasure of meeting many winemakers from Australia’s great wine making families at the Australia’s First Families of Wine bloggers lunch at Vinoteca, one of which was Leanne DeBortoli, obviously, from DeBortoli wines. Then a couple of weeks ago I received a message from her inviting me to join them for an online tasting for their new BellaRiva range of wines, I have to admit it sound a bit odd doing a tasting online, but thought I could be very interesting. A couple of days before the tasting I received the wine, a bottle of Vermentino/Pinot Grigio, and a bottle of Sangiovese/Merlot accompanied by the obligatory press release.
On the morning of the tasting, as usual I was keeping an eye on Twitter to see what was being said; when I noticed that a few people were talking about the wines already, which got me panicking, had I missed the tasting! So I rushed home, switched the laptop on and signed into ustream, which is the live video streaming site they were using, to find a blank screen saying please wait for the video to begin. Which I thought was a little odd, till I realised that they were doing them at several different times due to the number of people they were hoping to get joining in, then if by magic the screen started to buffer, and up came Leanne and her husband/wine maker Steve Webber.
They went through the idea behind the new brand, BellaRiva and the site they had used to grow the fruit, in the King Valley. The name BellaRiva in Italian means beautiful river bank, which it quite apt as the site sits along 3.5km of King river frontage, after watching a promotional video and listening to the ideas behind the wines, we moved on to tasting them.
We started with the Vermentino/Pinot Grigio blend, in the glass you got a bright straw colour, with nice aromas of pears and apples, you these coming through on the palate as well, with a slight nutty characteristic coming through from the background. There was just enough acidity to go with the fruit, but not too much that it spoilt your enjoyment of the wine. The Vermentino really gave the wine quite a full mouth feel and help to give the Pinot Grigio some real structure, which is something it’s usually lacking, I must say that I actually quite enjoyed this wine; it wasn’t what I had been expecting.
The Sangiovese/Merlot had a deep ruby colour, with plenty of red fruit aromas; these came through in abundance on the palate with a touch of spice thrown in for good measure. There was a small amount of fine tannin and a good level of acidity all combining to make a very enjoyable and easy drinking wine, which is what Steve had said was the aim for this wine.
Both of these wines were very enjoyable, and with the price point of £9.99 are good value, definitely worth giving serious consideration too if your looking for a good drinking wine that everyone would enjoy.