Ricca Terra, Bullets Before Cannonballs, Riverland, South Australia, 2021
That the Riverland region of South Australia is now being re-imagined and reinterpreted is, in part, due to the efforts of one man.
As a viticulturist, Ashley Ratcliffe knew that not only were some of the best Riverland vineyards undervalued but that many were planted with the wrong varieties for the climate. Over the last few years, these vineyards have come on stream with varieties like Montepulciano, Touriga, Arinto, Fiano and Nero d’Avola to name but a few. Ashley's Ricca Terra range are vibrant, quirky, cleverly made wines that have deliciousness as their raison d’etre. More than that though, they are a beacon for the future sustainability of a previously much derided region and it is to Ashley’s credit that other serious producers are now taking fruit from here.
Rather than mass planting a new grape variety and then learning how it behaves as a vine and as a wine, Ricca Terra Farms’ approach has been to plant small plots of a new grape variety; then watch, wait and learn (firing bullets). When the right bullet is identified, the cannonball is loaded and fired……meaning the grape variety is introduced into Ricca Terra Farms’ grape variety portfolio and this is how Bullets Before Cannonballs came to fruition. A bit like creating a delicious meal, each vintage, the best performing varietals are chosen for the blend. Hand pruned and hand harvested. VSP trellis grown and drip irrigated.
The grapes selected in this blend were hand-picked and then placed in a cool room immediately after harvest to preserved fruit quality (cooled to 4 degrees Celsius). The aim in making this was to allow the fruit flavours dominate, therefore only old oak barrels were used to store and add complexity to the wine.
Type: 5 to 6 Year old French Barrels
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: None
Flavours of red liquorice and cola, with v-shaped tannins (that start with some volume and then taper to a precise end point). Plump, fleshy, and very savoury.
Slightly chilled this goes really well with a simple pizza margherita.
12 x 75cl