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The 2017 'Sand on Schist' is the colour of a golden afternoon, with vivid aromas of wet sand, salty kelp, squeezed lemon, spicy ginger, and tangy funk. The palate is brisk and lip-smacking with notes of green apple, lemon, salty leesiness, and finishes with a persistent flavour of fresh peach flesh. This bottle makes us nostalgic for long afternoons on warmer days.
Chenin Blanc was originally planted to produce white port style wines and is a little drop of historical gold in the McLaren Vale. These vines on Sylvestro Genovese's block were planted in the early 1940s, vines in 3-5m white beach sand interspersed with schist and quartz over heavy water holding clay. The grapes are certified organic and hand-harvested with care.
About the winemakers
Tucked in the Basket Range region of the Adelaide Hills in Southern Australia, James Erskine of Jauma makes wines alongside partner Mark Warner in a Shed (small winery) set up in one of the original sandstone buildings of the region built in 1867. Vineyard manager Fiona Wood completes the triumvirate, forming a team that has quickly stepped into the spotlight for natural Australian wines.
Though the bottles have lighthearted, cheerful labels and the wines, whether still or sparkling, are bottled under colourful crown caps, the efforts in the vineyards and cellar are far from halfhearted. Fruit here is always farmed organically and always hand pruned and hand harvested. The vineyards are all dry farmed or being weaned off irrigation in the next few years. In the cellar, ferments are wild, nothing is fined or filtered, and sulfur is never added. Wine is moved by gravity, and there are no needs for added enzymes and acids.