Patrick of Coonawarra has launched a new small-batch range that seeks to challenges perceptions and test the boundaries of classic wine varieties in a new way.
The Méthode Range, created by winemaker Luke Tocaciu, contains three wines that explore the versatility of Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. The range was launched alongside a redesign for the greater wine label, both of which celebrate a new direction for the 17 year old business. This new direction comes from Tocaciu’s fresh and innovative influence on the style originally introduced to the winery by his late father Patrick.
Speaking to National Liquor News about what sets the range apart, Tocaciu said: “For me its all about experimentation – taking some of the trials that I’ve been doing in the winery for years, and putting them in bottle and letting other people experience some of those different trials and different ways of making wine.
“I’ve been working on a few different techniques over the years, just always playing around with small batches in the winery, and really wanted to sort of showcase those two varieties as our focus and do something different with them.”
The three wines in the Méthode Range includes the 2020 Cab Nouveau, the 2020 Skinny Riesling and the 2020 Eucalyptus Cabernet, with less than 2000 bottles of each wine made.
The philosophy behind producing a range like this with these specific varietals comes down to a mixture of tradition and science. For example, Tocaciu chose to use grapes that are quite popular and successful in Coonawarra, while looking into new ways to create quality wines.
“[I wanted to keep] the winemaking, simple and quite minimalist, but have an idea in my head of what I want the wine to turn out like and then really trying to follow that process, from a scientific point of view,” he said.
Driving this idea to try new things and do things a bit differently is the growing consumer taste for such products.
“A lot of people out there are wanting to try something different… I wanted to approach that from a quality winemaking perspective and get that quality down, and then just really embrace some different styles for consumers.
“A consumer might not be looking for Cabernet, they might be looking for a young, early drinking variety like Pinot. We’re trying to introduce Cabernet to those Pinot and lighter drinking consumers. It’s the same with Riesling – its either a crisp and clean variety or a young sweeter style, but our Skinny Riesling is all about texture and introducing some body and a little bit of oak to appeal to those people who might like that Chardonnay style or skin contact in their white wines.”
The range has had a great reception from consumers and winemakers so far. One thing that surprised Tocaciu was the response to the Eucalyptus Cabernet, which was very scientific in its creation, based on research that shows how gum trees around vineyards can produce eucalyptus flavours in the wine.
“This is often considered a bit of a fault in winemaking, but I wanted to really showcase that and embrace that, and show consumers that the environment in which the wine is grown really has an influence.”
Tocaciu said the underlying message to retailers from this range, and further planned experimental wine launches, is that innovative wine from local producers is the ultimate point of difference for liquor stores.
“We’re purely focused on independent retailers… we’re really supporting off-premise customers with something that is unique, and that they can’t get anywhere else. But its just something really innovative that they can have a point of difference from bigger retailers and provide something new for their customers,” he said.