Ballandean Estate has released its new single-vineyard Malbec, a medium-weight rare and alternative red.

Named This Strange Bird, the wine is a true globe trotter, originating in Bordeaux and migrating to Argentina, California, New Zealand and Australia. The 2017 vintage has been available for tasting at Ballandean Estate’s cellar door and for sale online from Friday 1 March. Demand will outstrip supply, as just 288 cases of Malbec were produced for the 2017 vintage.

Estate owner Angelo Puglisi says “Experimenting with varieties that fit our unique climate and terroir is what gets me excited.We were drawn to its distinctive dark purple colour, which is similar to our Saperavi. It has a similar weight to Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon, berry-driven with a robust structure and soft tannins. Malbec can be a difficult grape to grow, but in Argentina, Malbec produced at higher altitudes of 800 metres to 1000 metres delivers world-class wine.” Set to thrive on the Granite Belt, Malbec has a good tolerance of cold winters, early frosts and windy sites. “Malbec vines adapts at high altitude with a darker skin, incredible structure, and bright acid. This fruit forms the basis for intensely coloured wines that express our granitic terroir.”

In 1985, Angelo Puglisi planted one and a half acres of Malbec on the Ballandean vineyard. “Our winemaker Dylan Rhymer has applied a unique approach to this great red. We handpicked the fruit in late March 2017 at optimal ripeness, then crushed, destemmed and cold soaked the grapes. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was racked to reserve French oak barrels and aged for just over a year. Once emptied, the wine was minimally filtered and bottled—no finings needed,” Puglisi said. “The French oak is beautifully integrated and soft tannins give this wine a plush mouthfeel, smooth and savoury lingering finish—an ideal wine to enjoy with food. Drink it now, or enjoy the complexity that cellaring can bring over the next eight years.”

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