Usually 'Nouveau' tells us the wine is early release and maybe even a little juvenile... but not here. This time Anton's not playing around. Here is a wine with total resolve. Pinot Noir from the famous Cemetery Block in Piccadilly Valley (a high elevation site in Adelaide Hills), fermented as whole bunches in large neutral oak, topped with the smallest amount of Gamay Noir and Syrah. This wine knows exactly who it is and who it wants to be; in a glass, sipped with content. Cranberry, plum, autumn florals, slight softening in the palate from the oak. Very very pleasant.
Lucy Margaux (or Lucy M. as it’s technically known by after a legal battle with the Margaux AOC in France) is one of Australia’s founding natural wine producers. Run by the eccentric, beautiful soul Anton van Klopper, Anton left his first class honours in Agricultural Science and Oenology behind and took a different route.
Starting ‘Natural Selection Theory’ with James Erskine (Jauma), Tom Shobbrook and Sam Hughes, the group questioned the status quo of Australia’s industrial winemaking practices and started producing some of the earliest natural wines in the late 2000s.
It all started with Anton purchasing an old cherry orchard and making wines from his shed, nowadays he produces a wide range of wines sparkling, white, orange and red from a number of organic producers around the Adelaide Hills, all in a much larger, much more purpose built winery on the same farm. All of Anton’s wines are wild fermented, unadjusted, unfiltered, unfined (vegan) and made without any added sulphites, and just like the man who makes them they are all full of life and character. Anton has a unique ability to take a boring variety and completely reinvent it into a life long favourite. Early followers of natural wine in New Zealand may well remember ‘Vino Rosso’, Anton’s chilled red blend, which I might claim as being the first of its kind in the country!
In addition to wine, Anton also co-owns a beautiful restaurant in the Adelaide Hills called ‘The Summertown Aristologist’ together with Jasper Button (Commune of Buttons) and Aaron Fenwick (Chateau Comme Ci Comme Ça). From there the restaurant pours wines from likeminded producers in the region and abroad, and produce almost all of their food from produce the staff grow together at Anton’s farm.
Anton’s wife Rachel Signer also produces wines from Anton’s original shed where it all started under the label ‘Persephone’ and is the author of the book ‘You had me at Pét-Nat’ and natural wine magazine Pipette.
You can’t underestimate the contribution Anton has made to the Australian natural wine community, and in turn what we see on our shelves here in New Zealand. The man is a legend and so too are his wines. We’re all too pleased to have them back!