Swift: A sparkling release from Orange
26th October, 2012
One of the highlights of last weekend’s trip to Orange was looking across the range of Printhie wines and catching up with the thoughtful winemaking talents of Drew Tuckwell. The Printhie family have invested time and significant financial resources into developing cool climate Sparkling that they hope will be the start of Oranges’ claim to become a significant player in the production of cool climate sparkling. Tuckwell has been to Champagne several times in the last two years consulting, working with growers, understanding the nuances and the techniques of the region to try and distill into his own wines. One thing he learnt was how much he didn’t know and how quickly he learnt. Much time was spent on the Cote de Blancs with Rodolphe Peters of Champagne Pierre Peters in the small commune of Le Mesnil Sur Oger. One thing that did become apparent in his sparkling study fest is that neutrality is the enemy and although the Champenoise were picking at 10.5% baume they were obtaining real flavour. More than anything it meant understanding the fruit flavours of the vineyard and the fact that bubbles can indeed express the land off which they came.
I was privvy to taste the new wines the day before they
were launched last week and if these inaugural bottlings are anything to
go by, then they have every right to claim Orange as a serious
contender for sparkling styles. Indeed it would seem that a number of
producers in the region are already getting on board the bubbly
bandwagon and having a go. Time will tell. The Swift name will not be
part of the Printhie brand and will be sold as such. The Swift Family
have come up with a whole look and feel that has the feel of a prestige
sparkling about it.
6o% Pinot 40% Chardonnay spent 19 months on yeast lees with a dosage of 9gl
The cuvee was blended after the Blanc de Blanc and Vintage meaning they had more Pinot fruit for the blend. The result is a wine that is redolent of biscuits and yeast, with red fruits fresh citrus and a mineral edge. There’s a good frothy and lively mousse, great concentration, before a really good line of acid with a long, lemony and chalky finish. 92
60% Chardonnay 40% Pinot spent 19 months on yeast lees with a dosage of 9gl
Lemony fresh with hints of oyster shell, a gentle yeastiness and a talc and mineral edge. There’s a good energy to this wine and a definite step up in quality. Power and concentration is the key. The palate shows abundant flavours of apple, and lemon with a yeasty complexity as well as biscuity and limestone length. This is only going to improve with bottle age but it’s a compelling example of what’s possible in the region. 94+