Over the weekend I sipped and spat my way through a bunch of incredible wines from some of Australia’s top and paramount natural wine makers. This is the third year that Mental Notes has taken place, and I dare say that this was the most successful thus far. It billed itself as ‘more than just a wine tasting’, and it really was. Mental Notes is the creation of Joel Amos. Amos also runs Australia’s top natural and biodynamic online wine store, DRNKS.com. Joel also had a hand in making a couple of the wines available on the day, in particular a delicious riesling from the Clare Valley, made with minimal intervention and little to no added sulphites or any other preservatives.
This was like no other wine event I have attended before. Unlike other wine events, the demographic here was far younger than other events I have attended. This was very much an event for the new wave of millennial wine drinkers, whom are very much at the forefront of the biodynamic and natural wine movement that is sweeping across Australia. Leading this charge is a fellow named Mike Bennie. Bennie is one of Australia’s leading wine writers for the likes of Gourmet Traveler and Wine Australia. Bennie is also a vocal advocator, influencer and guru of the natural wine movement in Australia. He is a man with a certain aura around him, and this was in full display at Mental Notes. Credentials aside, Bennie is happy to have a yarn and give you time; he is also the first to top up your empty glass.
Of the 30 plus makers to show at Mental Notes, some wine makers that I was particularly excited to see and taste were: Jauma wines (who’s grenache recently took out the top honors with gourmet traveler), Smallfry wines, Brave New Wines, Xavier and Gentle Folk.
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