Latta 2020 Rattlesnake Blanc
Owen Latta has some stones. He makes some adventurous and technically astute wines, just out of Ballarat. He also makes Rattlesnake which is very adventurous and so very bloody moorish. I confess some of the skin contact whites which might fall into the orange or natural parts of the list can challenge me but this is right the way up my alley.
Latta is clever, and courageous. I remember first meeting he and his dad Norm at the Eastern Peake vineyard some years ago, and tasting some pinot noir from the barrel, well before it was due for bottling, and I knew then the kid was going to be a genius. Fast forward a good seven years and my guesstimation was correct. A real genius has a touch of cray cray and while he is a gentle soul, I could spend an hour in his head and learn a lot. I doubt I would find any crazy, just a super intelligent mind at work.
This wine simply shouldn't work, but it does, and extremely well. It is an odd blend of riesling, viognier and sauvignon blanc grapes, fermented on skins and with little interference. So you have a nose of citrus, stone fruit like nectarine and white peach, and then there the influence of floral notes and the spiciness and the fruit again. Its wacky but wonderful.
The palate is generous and funky. There's plenty of acidity and grip but its not offensive or tart. More stone fruits and citrus, each trying to dominate and neither succeeding, so there is a splendid balance and sophistication, and a very linear finish is all turned on its head with the viognier influence, which is typically less acid and more herbal tea. This is so darn clever.
I could go on but I fear this is going to be hard to get. We found a bottle in an independent and managed to find it on a Gold Coast wine list. If you can find it, grab it and drink it. It's simply bloody sensational.
RRP $32 if you can find it
VIC | 2020 | Ballarat | 12% ABV