The big albariño boo-boo

This is indeed a classic case of mistaken identity, and it's not the only one of its kind. In the wine world, such mix-ups have occurred before. In the case of albariño and savagnin, the confusion began around 2009 when vineyards in Australia, believing they were planting albariño, were, in fact, planting savagnin.

The mix-up happened because propagation material from Spain, sent via France and labeled as ‘Albariño,’ turned out to be ‘Savagnin.’ Vine nurseries used this material to supply vineyards in the early 2000s. It wasn't until the end of that decade that DNA analysis revealed the mistake.

Savagnin is, in its own right, an excellent wine, however it needed to be marketed under its proper name.

So, what exactly is savagnin? It's a very old grape variety believed to have originated in northeastern France or nearby regions of Germany. Despite its name's similarity to sauvignon blanc, savagnin is a distinct variety.

The aromatic gerwurztraminer is actually a clone of savagnin.

The clone most commonly grown today is often referred to as savagnin blanc. It's particularly known for its role in producing the rather unique vin jaune (“yellow wine”) in the Jura region of eastern France.

A savagnin wine, which we highly recommended, is crafted by our neighbour and friend, James, from Golden Ball Wines. His 'Bona Fide' Savagnin is absolutely delicious!

Meanwhile, we are thrilled to announce that we're finally making our very own albariño, using a traditional Spanish ‘Tinaja’ (Spanish for ‘amphora’). Amphorae are large, beeswax-coated earthenware vessels with a history dating back as early as 6,000 BC. Ancient Georgians are credited with being the first to use amphorae for winemaking. Nowadays, these vessels are experiencing a renaissance in the wine industry globally. You'll find amphorae or egg-shaped containers being used to make wine, most often without handles.

Clay proves to be an excellent medium for winemaking and offers a balance between stainless steel and oak. Stainless steel provides an oxygen-free environment and doesn't add flavour or tannin to the wine. On the other hand, oak, being a natural product, breathes and imparts oxygen, various aromas, and flavours into the wine. Clay, like oak, is a natural, porous material, allowing a gentle infusion of oxygen during maturation. Unlike oak, however, it remains neutral, not adding any extra flavour or tannin to the wine.

Whole bunches are pressed directly into the vessel, and then the wine is left undisturbed, with only occasional gentle stirs from me during the months after fermentation. Even in its early, raw state, it displays incredible complexity with multiple layers of flavour. I'm eagerly anticipating its release.


In an exciting update, my very first Amphora Blanco (a blend of albariño and chardonnay) achieved a gold rating of 96 points from Halliday Wine Companion!Try this unique wine for yourself.