Don’t dismiss minimal intervention wines until you’ve tasted these three from Break Free.
Let me be clear up front.
I have been highly sceptical of many so-called lo-fi, natural, orange, minimal-intervention wines that have started to find a niche among mainstream wines (and increasingly on wine lists).
They have become both fashionable and popular with younger, trendy wine drinkers.
I mean, who in their teens and early 20s didn’t do things that were entirely oppositive to what their parents expected and did?
I get a lot of these across my tasting bench each month, and I have to say that many disappoint.
Okay, call me old fashioned, but in the main I like the purity and vibrancy of well-made mainstream wines.
That said, I always keep my palate open to new tastes and sensations, and to minimal-intervention wines that might just get my interest.
I recently tasted a few of these wines that go under the name Break Free.
Coincidentally, I have discovered they are starting to edge their way into wine lists among some of the smaller bars around Perth.
Break Free wines are from Trudy Stacy, wife and other half of a growing partnership with industry veteran (he will hate me using that term) Nick Stacy.
These two also make wines under the Clandestine label, but Break Free is, as the name suggests, a breakaway project run by Trudy, who says her vision for them is “all about evoking the emotions that come with perfumes,aromatics, textures, brightness, and clean flavours”.
The approach is to use a range of different fermentation techniques – including time on skins for white wines, co-fermentations, oak and steel – with low-fi minimal intervention throughout the process, then bottling without fining or filtering to capture all these natural elements.
When you look at the range and names, you can be sure they had fun sitting around the kitchen table tossing up ever more creative ideas.
This week I have featured three of the wines, although the Break Free Bliss Bomb pet nat 2022 isn’t among them.
I must admit, I find differentiating between pet nat wines a bit like trying to differentiate prosecco.
There is a remarkable similarity between them all so you might as well stay with the one you love.
But clearly the judges at the 2022 Drink Easy Awards, a show for alternative wines judged by Australia’s younger writers, sommeliers and winemakers, liked it, as it received second place for pet nat best sparkling wines.
Each of the wines I have featured this week sits right in the sweet spot for small bar or cafe drinking with those light tapas-type dishes that seem to be all the rage.
On a warm summer’s day, they certainly hit the mark.
And to the wine pseuds, instead of turning your nose up at these lo-fi wines, maybe poke it into a glass of the stuff.
Break Free Petite Blancs 2022 ($30)
This is a compellingly drinkable combination of Swan Valley and Margaret River chenin blanc in the main with a little chardonnay skins and gewurztraminer.
There’s a spicy lift, with chenin-induced tropical fruit characters.
The acidity gives it such a lift to balance the sweet succulent fruit. Ready to drink now.
Cellar: Drink now
Break Free shiraz noir carbonic 2022 ($30)
This is a terrific, ready-to-drink minimal intervention shiraz and pinot combo from the Adelaide Hills.
The carbonic maturation brings that highly aromatic lift.
The palate is soft and supple with medium body.
The tannins are quite fine, and this is ideal for a local pizza joint.
I’d be putting one of these in the fridge when you need an evening pick me up.
Cellar: Drink now
Break Free Enfat de Luna syrah 2021 ($30)
This is a 100 per cent Frankland River-sourced syrah.
Lots of delicious red fruits with a touch of spice and ironstone adding a degree of complexity.
It’s soft and supple with a fine firmish edge of tannin adding to its spine and poise.
Cellar: Four years
- Ray Jordan is one of Australia’s most experienced and respected wine journalists, contributing to newspapers and magazines over more than 40 years. In 2017 he co-authored The Way it Was: The History of the early years of the Margaret River Wine Region