Australians love their varietal wines - Shiraz, Cabernet, Riesling, Merlot. Not all wines can be labelled by variety however, because they are made from complex blends or are represented by a style name, such as Champagne, Port, Sherry, Lambrusco and so on. However a number of these terms are protected for Europe under trade agreements, so the term "Burgundy" has disappeared from Australian wines and has been replaced by "Pinot Noir", the main variety in Burgundy wines.
We' re often asked for a "Port" or a "Sherry", which are Portuguese and Spanish styles respectively. In Australia, we haven't been able to use these terms for over a decade for our fortified wines. Our wines include the fresher, earlier drinking styles, a white fortified we have named "Lambada" (because it is made from Latin varieties), the Ruby (based on the fresh youthful Ruby Port style), the Vintage (the highest quality only made in exceptional years) and the Tawny, the familiar barrel-aged style that Australians love so much.
The term "Sherry" has disappeared too, as this is a designated Spanish style originating from the town of Jerez de la Frontera . In Australia, the term Apera is now used to designate a fresh, savoury style with an intense aroma of nuts and apples. The terms designating the different grades (fino, amontillado, oloroso, palo cortada) are also restricted, as is the term Manzanilla (literally "Camomile") which designates a super-fine style from the town of Sanlúcar de la Barrameda.
Our Pale Dry Apera is a fine, intensely aromatic style made from Palomino grapes, picked early and with neutral flavours and aroma. We ferment the juice to dryness, then lightly fortify it with fine spirit. The wine is then transferred to aged oak barrels containing a creamy thick layer of yeast that floats on the surface, giving the wine the appearance of a garden of camomile flowers. After 4-6 years the wine has developed its characteristic nutty and apple aroma, and a full but finely textured palate. We blend and bottle this style twice a year so that our bottled stock remains fresh and vibrant.
We love to drink the Pale Dry Apera, affectionately known at 919 as PDA, chilled, as the sun goes down after a warm day.
You can find cocktail recipes on our blog post here.