Le Sommelier presents four producers driving Oz wine forward…

G’Day! There is a distinct energy, even amongst established producers, that authentic Australia’s time has come. It seems redundant, albeit necessary to state that Australia today is not Australia of the past. Respecting wine tradition and embracing modern technology while relentlessly striving forward with the pluck of Aussie pride equals interesting, authentic, fresh, intelligent wines.

Here are four modern Oz producers we’re proud to bring into Ontario, along with their wines currently in stock or en route.

Dodgy Bros. is a collaborative trio of wine-driven mates who are neither dodgy, nor brothers. Viticulturist Peter Bolte, veteran of more than 40 vintages in McLaren Vale, grower Peter Sommerville, and Canadian winemaker and research scientist Wes Pearson finalized the partnership and formed the winery on a handshake in 2010.

Since then, they have slowly grown their garagiste operation into a small working winery, with capacity for 5000 cases annually. They’ve recently expanded their portfolio beyond Dodgy Bros’ focus on modern classic McLaren Vale into the Juxtaposed line, where they explore low-intervention, free-form, terroir-driven wines. With their striking labels, pop culture names, and fresh, detailed focus, Juxtaposed is one of the leading new wave Australia producers.

A grower, a viticulturist, and a winemaker: The Dodgy Brothers.

  • Juxtaposed Fiano Bigger Boat 2018, McLaren Vale, SA, $33.95 (6/cs) – 92 Gismondi On Wine
  • Juxtaposed Old Vine Shiraz 2017, McLaren Vale, SA, $35.95 (6/cs)
  • Juxtaposed Old Vine Grenache 2017, McLaren Vale, SA, $37.95 (6/cs) – 91 Gismondi On Wine

Alpha Box & Dice was formed as a laboratory for viticultural exploration in 2008, with a crazy wonderful goal constructing a different wine style to represent every letter of the alphabet. Each member of the ‘Alphabet of Wine’ is has its own unique personality that fulfils a different purpose. Though no two wines are created alike, AB&D wines are all linked by their environment and surroundings, being created holistically through minimal intervention.

Their name is a concatenation of alphabet and the Australian slang expression, ‘the whole box and dice’, meaning everything, or the entire lot.

The négociant-winery is run by two young brothers, Dylan and Justin Fairweather, and 28-year-old winemaker Sam Berketa. They took over from previous owner Justin Lane in 2013, continuing his alphabetical journey. So far they’ve taken in grapes from all corners of Australia, focusing on alternative varieties and unproven territory. To date, their colourful alphabet has covered off 20 out of 26.

  • Alpha Box & Dice Tarot Grenache 2018, McLaren Vale, SA, $21.95
  • Alpha Box & Dice Dead Winemaker Society Dolcetto 2017, Adelaide Hills, SA, $28.95 (6/cs)
  • Alpha Box & Dice Enigma Barbera 2017, Adelaide Hills, SA, $28.95 (6/cs)
  • Alpha Box & Dice Rebel Rebel Montepulciano 2018, Langhorne Creek, SA, $28.95 (6/cs)
  • Alpha Box & Dice Siren Nero d’Avola 2017, McLaren Vale, SA, $39.95 (6/cs)
  • Alpha Box & Dice Fog Nebbiolo 2016, McLaren Vale, SA, $39.95 (6/cs)

Family owned and operated, DogRidge farms 56 hectares of vineyards at the base of The Range, overlooking McLaren Vale. DogRidge, an old vigorous rootstock no longer used in modern viticulture, was an apt name for the family’s property, reflecting their love for their Curly Coated Retrievers.

Their sustainably farmed vineyards are home to some of the oldest vines in McLaren Vale, with 80+ year old Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon growing on their McLaren Flat site. A variety of soil types and exposures allow them ample opportunity for small block blends and terroir-driven wines.

  • DogRidge THE PUP Shiraz 2016, McLaren Vale, SA, $21.95

The 30 acre Ulithorne Vineyard was first planted in 1950 by Bob Whiting, with its hilly, terraced rows overlooking the sea, bordering McLaren Vale’s Onkaparinga River National Park. In 1997, Rose Kentish and husband Sam Harrison leased and subsequently purchased the vineyard, growing their holdings steadily and sustainably, including planting a further 14 acres of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon on the north facing hills, and purchasing the adjacent 25 acres to plant Merlot and Shiraz. Over their two decades at the helm, Ulithorne became a highly regarded portfolio of red wines.

With a change in ownership in the beginning of 2017, Ulithorne is now run by Matt Copping and Ryan Kinghorn, who continue to honour the legacy of their predecessors and their minimalist winemaking philosophy.

  • Ulithorne Dona Blanc McLaren Vale 2016, SA, $32.95 (6/cs) – 95 The Key Report
  • Ulithorne Dona GSM 2016, McLaren Vale, South Australia, $32.95 (6/cs) – 95 James Halliday
  • Ulithorne Dona GSM 2017, McLaren Vale, South Australia, $30.95 (6/cs)
  • Ulithorne Dona Shiraz 2017, McLaren Vale, South Australia, $30.95 (6/cs)
  • Ulithorne Specialis Tempranillo Grenache Graciano 2016, McLaren Vale, SA, $34.95 (6/cs)- 91 James Halliday
  • Ulithorne Chi Shiraz Grenache 2017, McLaren Vale, SA, $50.95 (6/cs)
  • Ulithorne Familia Shiraz 2016, McLaren Vale, SA, $47.95 (6/cs)
  • Ulithorne Avitus Shiraz 2015, McLaren Vale, SA, $80.95 (6/cs) – 98 Andrew Caillard
  • Ulithorne Unicus Shiraz 2016, McLaren Vale, SA, $75.95 (6/cs)

If you have any inquiries about these wines, producers, or availability, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Bernard Stramwasser

Le Sommelier

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Flickr | LinkedIn

Le Sommelier is a Good Food Fighter. Please support the businesses and organizations that support Good Food Revolution.