"The wine is good. If you're going to drink Viognier, drink this." Campbell Mattinson
First Foot Forward is the boutique project of Martin Siebert. When I say boutique I mean boutique – annual production, across the full range, is 400 dozen. Martin’s “day job” is as winemaker at Tokar Estate in the Yarra Valley, though he’s previously worked at Benjamin Leroux, Pegasus Bay, Yarra Yering, Coldstream Hills, Granite Hills and Carlei Estate. That’s a better-than-average roll call. Previous to all this he worked in wine retail in Melbourne. It’s hard to think of a better grounding, all told.
This Yarra Valley viognier is from the Gruyere sub-region. Fermented wild with “loads of solids” in puncheons and stainless, some of it went through malo and some didn’t. Martin wrote the press release himself, I’m guessing, and this is the final sentence (on this wine) of said release: “Aiming to balance the fruit with slight bitterness in place of acid”. A PR firm would never have allowed the word bitterness to appear on a publicity sheet. Full credit to Martin. Bitterness is not a dirty word. It’s a sign of maturity. On we go.
"The wine is good. if you’re going to drink viognier, drink this. It’s gingery and spicy, somewhat flinty, has plenty of body and excellent punt of flavour through the finish. It’s resounding. It’s written in complex script and yet the flavour, feel and finish are all legible. Drinkability hasn’t been left behind. Indeed it makes it all look easy." 93 Points - Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front
Where this wine comes from - Yarra Valley
Just 50 kilometres from Melbourne, Victoria’s Yarra Valley is a star of the wine regions surrounding the city, known as the ‘Melbourne Dress Circle’. With plenty of microclimates and sub-regions, the Yarra Valley doesn’t have a weak link. Certainly the region’s reputation has been built on the quality of its cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. As far as Chardonnay goes, Yarra Valley strikes the right balance of ripeness, without going over the edge. There’s white peach, lemon pith and Fuji apple supported by a fine spine of citrus-like acidity complemented by supportive oak maturation. The region’s Pinot Noir certainly produces that ethereal quality that Pinot-philes go crazy for – with lifted cherry notes, texture and length. Pinosity? It’s here in spades. Don’t discount Yarra Valley Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, which also have a long history in the region and are being recognised for producing their own unique regional styles. Game on!