Stories of the Vine
STORY AND IMAGES BY RICHARD CORNISH
“Every bottle of wine has a story,” says Jenny Latta.
She stands in what is one of the best little wine stores in the state, Wine And The Country in Vincent Street, Daylesford. She runs the business with her husband and winemaker Owen Latta from Eastern Peake. This is a cool climate vineyard and winery on the red volcanic soils at Coghills Creek between Creswick and Clunes. “When it comes to the wines we stock I guess we have cellar palates,” she says. Eastern Peake is at 434 metres and definitely a cool climate vineyard. It is no wonder that the walls are lined with a selection of cool climate wines from around our region, Victoria and Europe lined up beside each other.
What is really impressive about their collection is that there are rows of the wines made from the same variety of grape made in regions around the world telling the story of how and where they are made. “Take gamay, says Jeremy Shiell. He is Jenny’s manager. and former sommelier (Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld) with an impressive knowledge and passion for wine. “We are making some extraordinary gamay in the Macedon Ranges. But it is not as sexy as pinot noir. Nor is the region as fashionable as the Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula. It is a comparable situation to the wines made in Beaujolais (Beaujolais is made from gamay grapes). They are not as fashionable as Burgundy but there still are wonderful wines being produced there.”
The name of the business speaks volumes about the type of wines on offer – Wine And The Country. “The philosophy of a very good vineyard is that every vintage is different,” says Jenny. She paraphrases Bindi Wines’ Michael Dillon saying that at Wine And The Country they prefer to taste the ‘land’ in the wines, not the ‘hand’. She resists using the term terroir.
When asked to pick two wines that could represent what Wine and the Country is about she and Jeremy are head down in conversation for several minutes. They pull out a 2016 Joshua Cooper Syrah. “Joshua’s parents own Cobaw Ridge,” they say referring to the bio dynamic winery in the hills beyond Kyneton. “Joshua takes a lot of risks in his winemaking that others would not,” says Jeremy. “His wines look rough in the barrel but then, through sheer intuition and instinct he gets the wines perfect in the bottle,” adds Jenny. “It is a wonderful and voluptuous wine,” she adds. They pull out another bottle, this time a Beaujolais, Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon, Classique 2016. “Jean Foillard is the doyen of naturally made gamay in France,” says Jenny. “He said to his son Alex, ‘I want you to go to Australia and do not come back until you can speak English’!” she adds. “So Alex comes to Victoria and does vintage with Joshua Cooper,” continues Jeremy. “And now these bottles sit on our shelves.”
If you want to explore the wines of Wine and the Country there are 14 wines by the glass on pour at any one time and if you would like to open a bottle there is a $10 corkage charge on top of the bottle price. Next door is Dos Deli offering cheese and charcuterie platters that work perfectly with the wines.
Wine And The Country;
97 Vincent Street, Daylesford;
Mon-Fri 12pm-late, Sat-Sun 10am-late;
(03) 5348 3756