Introducing Team Lapalus:

7 May 2014

The modest, unassuming Frenchman from Burgundy, who makes wine at Sutton Grange, led his team of “outsiders” to victory last year. This year, Gilles has some very wine savvy guys from the Sydney wine bar scene; Matt Swieboda (Love Tilly Devine) and James Hird (chef and owner, Wine Library). Not unsurprisingly these guys are serious about wine. They both have an extensive knowledge, and drink widely.

They too are making a rose from the Langi fruit, but a different style from Team H. They’re aiming for a “full bodied gutsy rose, which looks like a red.” They both love the rose wines made by Eric Pfifferling from his organic vineyard Domaine L’Anglore in the Tavel region of the Southern Côte-du-Rhône. He is one of France’s leading “natural” winemakers, a style of winemaking that is minimal interventionist, so he doesn’t fine or filter his wines. The boys intend to follow his philosophy as closely as possible.

By the time Team Harrop were in post winemaking clean up mode, these two were still painstakingly sorting through their grapes, removing gum leaves to avoid any minty character sneaking into their wine.

They had another reason, however, for doing this. They were picking the best 20% of the fruit to put through carbonic maceration, or “cab mac”. This is a method used to make a highly aromatic, lighter style of red with vibrant fruity aromas. The other 80% of their fruit they will press and ferment for around 5 days in old oak. They will not put it through ‘malo’ (a change in the acid structure of the wine), as there is some malic acid conversion in the ‘cab mac’ process.

Gilles is excited about his team as “We all drink the same wines and have the same ideas.” He has never made a wine quite like this before, and loves the experimental nature of the venture.

James comments, “We’re not in it to win it, but “to make the best wine we can. It’s a great education.”

Cab Mac in a nutshell
To explain it simply, whole bunches of red grapes are fermented in a sealed vessel that has first been filled with carbon dioxide. The berries use the co2 to ferment anaerobically. Wines produced in this way have distinctive banana & bubblegum aromas with a fruity palate and low tannins. They are very much a “drink now” style. The most famous wine made 100% by cab mac is Beaujolais Nouveau, where the grapes are picked in September and are in bottle for sale by early November.


2014, The finalists, Vintage


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