Bellwether Ant Series 2016 Vermentino
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
There is much to thank Bruce and Jenny Chalmers for, and by extension daughters Kim & Tennille along with their families. They changed the face of the Australian wine industry with their importing of alternative varietals and the nurturing of the various expressions over the the 4 decades since.
From a Chalmers cutting and grown by them in Heathcote, this Vermentino has a most magnificent funky nose. It's not sulphur, it something altogether different and pleasant. Sue Bell knows how to make a decent bottle of plonk and plies her craft just off the Coonawarra in SA. I could wax lyrical about both her talent and the region. Sue is an unlikely wine maker - there is an appearance of devil may care about her but don't let that fool you.
The nose has a collection of spicy, aromatic and floral notes, with jasmine, rosemary and a smell of the ocean. Its a wonderfully textural drop, with a chewy kind of mouth feel and a long, lingering finish which has you reaching for the bottle to top up your glass. There is a honeydew melon, lime and ripe green apple taste which grips the inner cheeks to ask for more.
It is at the same time sophisticated but casual, and there is a kind of smugness from yours truly when I open this as a challenge to the copious amounts of lockdown Chardonnay we are consuming. I get the distinct impression I should have more of this. The 2018, FYI, is a bit more aromatic but they both have a crisp finish and demand you drink more.
RRP: $35 at good independents or order online.
Victoria | 2016 | Heathcote | 12.5% ABV