The lush King Valley in north-east Victoria used to be tobacco-growing country but today families with Italian heritage have made it one of the most interesting wine regions in the country.
From prosecco, the traditional sparkling wine style of the Veneto, to sangiovese, the stand-out red grape in Tuscany, the King Valley has become Australia's capital of Italian varietals.
The major names here include Pizzini, Dal Zotto and Chrismont, all of whom make Italian varietals along with more traditional wine styles.
Sangiovese, the main grape of the great Chianti Classicos, has struck a particular chord with the Pizzini family, who now make no fewer than six different styles from the one grape variety.
The King Valley leads the way as Australia’s premier region for this red wine, a reputation that grows with every vintage, reflecting the great passion for creating wines to enjoy with good friends and food. The wine shows savoury, dark cherry flavours and earthy characters with fine tannins and cleansing acidity.
The Pizzinis recently launched the Pizzini Sangiovese Series, a full range of wines primarily made from the same grape.
“Each of these sangiovese wines is a direct reflection of the sites, or site, on which the fruit is grown,” says winemaker Joel Pizzini. “And each wine is positioned at a different price point, which reflects intensity of style.”
Pizzini says a lot of effort has gone into the new range. “We have studied soil types, aspects, row orientation, rootstock attributes and clonal suitability and have made lots of vineyard improvements over recent years,” he says. “Sangiovese is very close to our hearts.”
The range begins with vibrant rosé known as Rosetta (a supple sub-$20 drink-now thirst quencher), while the 2013 Sangiovese Shiraz ($19) is a soft and appealing quaffer. Next in line is the medium-bodied 2013 Nonna Gisella ($22), more intense but still juicy and savoury.
More serious is the 2013 Pietra Rossa Sangiovese ($28), earthy and brooding, followed by the 2013 Forza di Ferro to be released early in the new year. The family flagship is the 2008 Rubacuori ($110) a mighty and complex wine that explores the essence of the variety.
For full details see www.pizzini.com.au