Q&A with Longview Vineyards – La Cantina

The Home of Italian Wine in Australia

Q&A with Longview Vineyards

Longview is a stunning, family-owned Adelaide Hills single vineyard located just outside the historic township of Macclesfield. Set on undulating slopes reminiscent of old world estates but with a clear Australian accent, it has quickly established itself as one of the most awarded vineyards in the region since its first vintage in 2001.

Operations are overseen by brothers Mark and Peter Saturno, along with a small but specialised team. They ensure the vineyard is fastidiously managed to produce the finest fruit for their premium estate grown wines and provide a wine tourism experience that has placed Longview in the South Australian Tourism 'Hall of Fame'.

We asked a few questions to them right before vintage hit to shed some light on how Nebbiolo in Australia is faring.

Why grow Nebbiolo in Australia? 

If the site is right, why wouldn't you? By no means do we think that Nebbiolo suits all growing regions in Australia but as producers who are passionate about the variety, we want to make wines that we like to drink and for us, Nebb is it. It's the most exciting and complex variety in the world. Moreover, we think that our micro-climate is perfect for the variety as it enjoys the long ripening period it so critically needs. 

What clones do you currently use for making Nebbiolo 

CN111, 230, F12V7, F12V13 

What is the style of Nebbiolo you are trying to produce? 

Our Nebbiolo program is 3 tiered. With the 111 clone we make a 'Rosato', which is structured, savoury and sophisticated. In 2016 we produced a small amount of Nebbiolo 'Fresco', a completely unoaked Vino Novello style in a similar vein to the more modern Langhe styles we are starting to see here. Ultimately the highest expression of our Nebbiolo we aim to achieve can be found in our Riserva: extended maceration, cool open ferments, up to 2 years in old large format oak and 18 months in bottle prior to release. 

Why the Adelaide Hills as your winemaking hub? 

We firmly believe that cool-climate wines are the future of Australian wine and the Hills is the coolest region on the mainland. The region has such diverse topography, soil profiles and climate and our site is no different. In particular Longview enjoys a significant diurnal range - warm(er) days, cool nights - perfect for the gradual accumulation of fruit flavour & sugar in the berries, while maintaining natural acid retention.  

Why the fascination with Italian varieties? 

Being Italian helps! But there is an inherent drinkability with Italian wines and a symbiosis with food that is so important. For us, food and wine are not only passions but a way of life and when lucky enough to visit Italy, we are reminded of how effortless this is over there. When done right in Australia, Italian varieties go hand in glove with our climate, our food and our way of life. 

Is there an emerging Italian grape or grapes that excite you most? 

White - Kerner. Red - Nerello Mascalese.  

What next for Italian Varieties in Australia? 

There's been a bit kicking around for a while but we think Barbera is a sleeping giant. No-one’s got it quite right yet but when they/we do, look out.   

Is there a particular Australian vintage that stands out for Nebbiolo? 

The last 3 vintages have been very good but 2014 stands out. Our 2007 is looking mighty good with 10 years on it.  

How does this years’ vintage compare? 

If the rain holds off we could be in for the most exciting vintage of the past decade. The Nebb is showing incredible taut acid and tart cherry flavour in the berries. 

What is your favourite Italian Nebbiolo? 

Seriously? That's impossible!! Um...we like what Brezza do. Consistent, clean, long-lived and continuously rewarding. Massolino, Mascarello, Aldo Conterno are all so devastatingly good and Nino Negri, as a non-Piedmont producer, excites us greatly. 

What do you like to eat when drinking Nebbiolo? 

Earthy fare such as Porcini risotto or slow braised meats but good quality cured meats such as bresaola work well in warmer months.

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