Alkina Barossa has not seen anything like this before.
Tuesday, September 28, 2021 in News
To welcome Alkina to the Langton’s portfolio, Master of Wine Ned Goodwin caught up with Alkina’s Managing Director Amelia Nolan to talk about new thinking in the Barossa Valley, ‘terroir whisperer’ Pedro Parra and renowned winemaker Alberto Antonini. Explore the extraordinary wines of Alkina now.
Interviewing Alkina’s Managing Director Amelia Nolan proved inspirational. At times we all become jaded with our work and yet over the course of a phone-call, Amelia’s enthusiasm for Grenache as the leading varietal light of Barossa and her effusive extrapolations on Alkina’s vineyard and winemaking proved to be a needed salve.
When I asked her about Pedro Parra’s title, she told me that he is a ‘terroir whisperer’ and ‘mapping expert’, rather than a geologist per se. In fact, she noted, Parra does not care about the geology necessarily. He simply cares about the type of rock and sedimentary deposits involved that constitute a site and how they impact the ensuing wines. Parra’s long association with renowned winemaker Alberto Antonini allows for an effortless collaboration with Antonini capable of translating Parra’s work into wines of substantial ‘energy’, a term that Antonini uses often.
‘ Parra virtually lives in these pits for four-days at a time...’
Nolan explained Parra’s use of electro-magnetic connectivity as a means to glean information from the soils. He works by digging deep pits in the vineyard to analyse soil structures and microbiology, before employing his various devices, collating and corroborating the data and inputting it into a specialised software system that his firm has devised. Parra virtually lives in these pits for four-days at a time, Nolan told me.
Upon his first visit to Alkina in 2018, Parra opined of the estate that ‘they have a Ferrari, but don’t know how to drive it.’ He immediately suggested shifting the irrigation regime to one of minimal applications at the time of veraison. No more. This, Parra knows, is a means to drive the root systems into the fissures, or ‘fractures’ as he calls them, of the soil’s substrata. This is where a wine’s unique personality is derived.
‘ Nolan advocates regenerating a vineyard and its surrounds...’
Nolan and I also spoke about the marketing vacuity behind the oft-used term ‘sustainable’. While it is tempting to use it at times, Nolan digresses. She believes that the term is a foundation for a great deal of greenwashing. Nolan advocates regenerating a vineyard and its surrounds, before appropriating organic and biodynamic bona fides and eventual certification.
At Alkina the detailing in the vineyard is reflected in the gentle passage of wine to bottle in the winery. The juxtaposition between healthy vineyards and winemaking chicanery in Australia is too often a divide that, for me at least, is irreconcilable if not reprehensible. Not here, where transparency from soil to glass is an holistic equation. Nolan informed me with pride that not a drop of any pesticide, nor or herbicide, has been applied since the purchase of the estate, just as inoculated yeast strains are never used.
Explore the extraordinary wines of Alkina now.