Wildflower & Ravensworth Wines Bright Side Series

Wild Ales
All 6.7%

If you haven’t already read anything about Wildflower’s Bright Side release, then I’d strongly recommend you go back and check out this article which goes into a bit more detail than I plan on writing here. In short, this five beer release is a culmination of 18 months’ worth of heartbreak, resilience, optimism and to a certain extent, future planning. Following the summer bushfires of 2019/20, the Wildflower team helped harvest Ravensworth Wines' entire vineyard worth of heavily smoke-tainted grapes which would have otherwise been destined for landfill. Each of the five grape varietals were aged on young Wildflower Gold for eight months before being blended, bottled and undergoing a five-month-long maturation in bottle. This isn’t the first time anyone has used smokey grapes in beer, but having five distinct varietals, all from the same parcel of land, prepared in an identical fashion presents a unique opportunity.

How does smoke-taint present in different grapes when aged on wild ale?

If you are fortunate enough to taste all five, it’s a wonderful, heady experience, but don’t go in just looking for the smoke, there’s plenty else going on too. Riesling has notes of bright lemon peel and white grape with just the slightest hint of smoke as the beer warms up. There’s a sort of Jolly Rancher, hand candy vibe with some oaky earthiness to but really, the white grape character is what carries everything through. As for Viognier, I reckon if you set fire to a bunch of roses then come back into the room a couple of hours later, it would smell a bit like this. There's a touch of cherry with orange cordial and floral notes at the back and has a bit more body than the Riesling but finishes dry.

Over to the reds and the lightest of those is Gamay and I might be projecting here but I swear the first whiff from this was of clear eucalypt bushfire. However, delving in past the smoke there are sweet red berry aromas too while on the palate, it’s ripe and sweet strawberries and raspberries rounded out with an almost Rauchbier-like cured ham note. Despite this, the Gamay is bright, lively and moreish. Sangiovese offers peppery smoke and citrus straight up, with a smidge of clove that lets the smoke note play where. Structurally it has a lovely fresh palate with red apple and ripe plum that’s tart, juicy and difficult to put down. Finally to Shiraz, which starts with white pepper, campfire smoke and cherry on the nose which gives way to redcurrants, cherries and plump red grape with a long tannic finish.

Judd Owen

Published May 11, 2021


11-13 Brompton Street
NSW 2204

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Friday & Saturday: 2pm to 6pm


Saturdays: 12pm to 1.30pm. Includes a tour, tasting and barrel samples. $25. Bookings via the website.

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