We came up with the idea for The Backpacker while two Italians, a Polish girl and an Irish bloke were living in Xanthe’s sister’s house. They were working in the vineyard in the mornings, having long lunches and sometimes work a couple of hours in the afternoon. We’d all have a drink together of an evening. The problem we had is that they insisted on drinking what they called ‘the goon’. We had to make a red blend that even a backpacker on minimum wage could afford to buy and drink, and ideally enjoy as much as a decent table wine from back home.We went through the barrel room looking for lighter, more fruit driven middle palate reds that we could use for a blend.
The final blend included varieties from Spain, Italy and France. I really wanted to put a couple of litres of Gewürztraminer in so we could include Germany in that list. Xanthe overruled me… She doesn’t understand marketing though.
What we think: We’d probably both prefer to drink something a bit more structural and complex, but it has nice full fruit. It’s totally inoffensive in the sense that it doesn’t have big oak, big tannins or big alcohol. It’s a good drink that beer drinkers would call ‘sessionable’.
What the backpackers thought: They thought it was great. Admittedly they hadn’t started with particularly high expectations. But, they kept drinking it like it was going out of fashion. They even bought some to take up the coast in their van.
We asked a friend of ours, a winemaker and Sydney International Wine Show judge to have a look at the wines for us, just to make sure that we included (at least for the website) the usual bullshit you’d expect.
What Ken thinks: Fantastic deep crimson colour. The nose shows rich ripe black fruits and plum aromas with a hint of underlying spice. The palate shows excellent weight of fruit exhibiting plum and black pepper notes. It’s a somewhat simple fruit driven wine but really generous and mouthfilling, ready to drink now with pasta or pizza.