At the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show held on November 8 - 11, Crittenden Estate’s 2013 Cri de Coeur Savagnin won the trophy for best French Varietal and then went on to win the trophy for best White Wine of show. Regarded by the industry as one of the best wine show’s in the country, The Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show (AAVWS) is a forum for wines that fall outside the mainstream. The show had more than 800 wines entered, made by 226 different producers, grown in 66 unique wine regions. Throughout the event, over 100 different grape varieties were tasted.
So how did this success come to be? In 2008 many Australian vignerons, including Crittenden Estate, inadvertently planted Savagnin in the belief they were planting the Spanish variety Albarińo. However, upon a visit by France’s top vine identifier, Jean-Michael Boursiquot, the mistake was realised. Whilst many winemakers attempted to graft vines, or even rip them out altogether, Crittenden Estate turned its focus to the home of Savagnin, the Jura region in France, and began ageing their tiny production under a yeast flor or ‘voile’ to add a nutty, oxidative quality to the wine. And so began a journey of education, perspiration and frustration, which has ultimately resulted in this highly acclaimed wine. A Cri De Coeur (cry of the heart) if ever there was one!
With the first vintage produced in 2011, Winemaker Rollo Crittenden has continued to evolve the wine making technique of this Jura style wine for the 2013 vintage. Rollo said, “We never could have hoped to make such a highly regarded and now awarded wine when we embarked on this project. At first, we were just trying to salvage a bad situation and have a little fun along the way. It goes without saying that I am delighted to receive these awards for a wine that ultimately started as a viticultural mistake – especially from a wine show that I hold in such high regard.”
Apart from these AAVWS awards, industry experts have also shared their praises for Crittenden Estate’s 2013 Savagnin “This wine is a triumph. A few Australian winemakers have attempted the style but Crittenden Estate has absolutely nailed it… it is one of the most intriguing and captivating wines I’ve tried this year”. Dave Brookes, The Adelaide Review, August 7th 2017
“The second release of this vin jaune-inspired white wine - savagnin aged for years in barrel under a layer of flor yeast - is even more outstanding than the first: gorgeous nuttiness and tangy complexity.” Max Allen, Gourmet Traveller, June 2017
This has been so anticipated by me I nearly wet my pants opening the carton. Then it got lost in a blind line up of ‘other whites’ but so easily found. Smelling it makes me want to take a big gulp of it. Crittenden are the only people in Australia really, truly, taking their bounty of savagnin for table wines seriously. Mike Bennie, winefront.com.au, 17 May 2017