Wines that have had botanical aromatics infused with them are the perfect way to start a party or begin a meal. You might shake some white vermouth with vodka and ice for a martini a la 007 or pour a generous splash of Martini Rosso the Italian way, on the rocks with a twist of orange. These styles of wine are back in vogue across the globe thanks mostly to artisan winemakers who are bringing their handmade zing to aromatic aperitifs.
Rutherglen’s Mandy Jones, of Jones Winery and Vineyard, has perfected a French-style aperitif wine that is light and aromatic. It’s called Correll Blanc Aperitif and is inspired by her years in France. ‘When I moved to Bordeaux I was with people who were friends of the family who made Lillet,’ she says of the aromatics infused wine made south of Bordeaux using local grape varieties and Spanish and Moroccan botanicals. ‘I still have these memories of walking down those broad boulevards in Bordeaux late in summer where people would be enjoying a glass of Lillet in a café under the awnings,’ she says reminiscing. ‘When I first tasted it I went “Wow!” And when people came to dinner I would always start with a Lillet.’
Correll is distinctively Australian, made with white wine grapes from Rutherglen into an aromatic wine that is then fortified with neutral grape spirit. Mandy is slightly cagey about giving away too much about her newly minted party starter but she will let on that some of the botanicals included are orange, anise and juniper. The anise and orange are quite distinctive offering lovely diverse high notes. Bringing them together are the infused juniper berries with their floral pine notes. There’s a background sweetness and the warming sensation of 18 per cent alcohol. Add the naturally aromatic character of grapes grown in the Rutherglen region and you get a distinctively Australian aperitif.
Correll is on pour at Jones Winery and Vineyard cellar door and people are already loading cartons into their boots in preparation for summer entertaining. Correll is named after Mandy’s late mum who was fond of a little vermouth or sparkling wine. ‘Dad was a winemaker at Seppelts here in Rutherglen,’ says Mandy. ‘So he was always bringing things home with him being made at the winery or imported by them,’ she remembers. ‘We had eclectic tastes for the time.’ She inherited a book of drinks recipes from her father, whose nickname was Bussie. ‘It gave me a good start on how to perfect a wine like this.’ She pours a little Correll over ice and adds a splash of soda. ‘It’s called the Correll Spritzer,’ she says with a smile. She holds the glass up and declares a toast. ‘To Correll!’
The Cure (Cocktail)
When Mandy Jones was ill as a young girl her dad would try to make her better by giving her Seppelts Bitters. It has been described as a cure for everything, including a tough day at the office.
4 drops of bitters
80ml Correll Blanc Aperitif
80ml soda water
Strip of orange rind
Fill a long glass with ice and pour over the bitters, followed by the Correll and then the soda water and orange. Stir and enjoy.