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‘Valentino’ is dedicated to Matthew’s late father Valentino or “Wally”,  to many of his Australian friends, who migrated to Australia in 1952 from  Abruzzo, Italy. It was through many years of garage winemaking with  Valentino and his ‘paisani’ (compatriots) that Matthew developed his  passion for winemaking. It was Valentino’s passion for life and family  that continues to inspire Matthew and Andrew in making these wines.

The fruit for the 2016 Valentino Fiano was grown by Peter and Rita Burrowes  on their beautiful vineyard in the picturesque and unspoilt King Valley.  Located several kilometers north of Whitfield at around 280 metres altitude above sea level with rich Rudosol soils and cared for with attention to detail. All of these are contributors to the intensity and purity of flavours in the wine. The 2016 growing season began with steady soaking winter rainfalls providing a wet winter season and an excellent start to the growing season. Spring was warmer than normal with consistent warm days during flowering. A positive to the spring season was reasonable rains and the warm weather which combined to allow for good spring canopy growth to support the vines throughout the season. A warm December followed by a dry and hot January saw regular water irrigation to maintaining vine health leading up to the critical veraison period. The crop load was thinned at pre-veraison to ensure perfect vine  balance. Consistent warm days in February was fantastic, and relatively stable temperatures allowed the vines to ripen fruit to full maturity a month earlier than expected. The grapes for the 2016 Valentino Fiano was harvested on  24th and 27th February 2016 at 12.9 and 13.2 baume respectfully.

The winemaking philosophy is one that aims to allow the fruit to have full  expression with winemaking and oak inputs playing a supporting role. In 2016 the grapes were hand picked before being refrigerated for 48 hours. The grapes were whole bunch pressed with only the free run juice kept for fermentation. One half was fermented cold in stainless steel tank with light fluffy lees to keep freshness and pure varietal expression. The other portion was fermented on full solids in old French oak barriques to build layers of texture and complexity while still respecting the varietal authenticity. Both portions of wine where kept on lees with regular stirring until blending commenced in August.

This wine displays the depth and balance for which this variety has developed  a cult following. On the nose it displays aromas of hazelnuts, guava and  subtle marjoram spice. Wrapping around a core of chalky minerality are  flavours of nectarine, guava and melon. Bringing it all together is a lemon  pith, bitter almond character that complements the wickedly savoury and  textured finish. Drink now or be rewarded with cellaring for up to 10 years.

Alcohol – 13.7%v/v, pH – 3.11, TA—7.42 g/L

Andrew Santarossa and Matthew Di Sciascio