Berton, Winemakers Reserve Durif 2020 Riverina


Tasted from a 3-cl mini sample bottle. Presented by winemaker James Ceccato. Durif. 2020 was an interesting year. Hail, frosts and heatwave. They also got the haze of the smoke from the fires. Amazingly, he says, there was no smoke taint in their wines. 10-year-old vines on sandy red loam, picked from two vineyards. Their Durif has moderate vigour, but it really does prefer the sandier loams (crops too heavily on heavier soils). ‘On the skinnier, sandier soils you get smaller fruit size. Harvests between Shiraz and Cabernet. This was picked 26 March – a bit earlier than usual because there was rain on the way and Durif has a tight bunch. If it gets wet and stays wet, you’ll get botrytis. So we had to make a call and harvested a little earlier than we liked. Durif likes this region – it keeps high acid levels and handles the heat well. It’s not as big as Rutherglen Durif, a bit more subdued, a bit more elegant.’ Destemmed, crushed, fermented in static fermenters for five days with regular pumpovers. Drained and then into stainless steel for malo. Aged on French oak staves for four months. TA 7.4 g/l, pH 3.45, RS 5.7 g/l. Screwcap.
James Ceccato seemed to be quite apologetic that it’s not the biggest Durif you’ll get, but I think that is nothing to apologise about! Baked plums which taste more and more smoky through the palate – as if they’ve been baked over cherry-wood smoke chips. Christmas-cake dried fruit that comes with a slight charry edge, and pan-roasted caraway seeds. The tannins are lightly drying and unrefined. Much more rugged and rustic than the De Bortoli Durif tasted alongside, especially in terms of tannic structure. Interestingly, despite have almost six times as much residual sugar, the fruit tastes sweeter on the De Bortoli. (TC)

Winemakers Reserve
Grape variety
When to drink
Published on
11 May 2022
Date tasted
£11 RRP imported by Hallgarten Novum