Charles Melton Nine Popes

Charlie Melton loves pinot but wouldn’t dream of growing it in the Barossa, so he’s inspired to make Nine Popes in a similar way. Or, in his words, “not too boofy or heavy!” While others have been playing with the Burgundian technique of whole bunch fermentation only recently, Charlie has been on to it for twenty years. 2009 was a strong season for Barossa grenache and Charlie describes it as more “Burgundian in structure”, yet juicier, plumper and sweeter. Shiraz leads his Nine Popes blend this year, with strong support from grenache and just a touch of mataro. The result is beautifully textured and finely poised, uniting dark berry fruits, violets, exotic spice and red liquorice with supple milk chocolate texture. It’s an earlier drinking Nine Popes, and promises plenty of crowd-pleasing appeal. $50 at Bellevue Hill and Zen Beverages.