Frederick Stevenson!

There’s every chance you’re still under the impression Frederick Stevenson is a real guy – which is fair enough, but untrue all the same. The name is actually a pseudonym for the hunk of a man known as Steve Crawford, who’s been knee-deep in the winemaking game since his late teens. He did his dash at Adelaide Uni, walking away with a viticulture and winemaking degree, then took the show on the road and pitched in at wineries near and far, from Tassie to the southern Rhône and back, via Barolo and Chianti.

What he brought home to the Barossa and surrounding South Australian regions was a winemaking style of uncommon focus and clarity, influenced both by old-school tradition and the non-interventionist avant garde. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this uncanny blend of technical know-how and experimental spirit has kept him at the forefront of Australia’s natural wine landscape for more than a decade, earning kudos not just from drinkers but colleagues as well. In 2020, he became the first two-time winner of the Young Gun of Wine Winemaker’s Choice award, voted for entirely by fellow producers. Respect.

His latest release finds a few old faves back in rotation and also brings some newness to the fold. The 2023 Marsanne Roussanne is a winner yet again, lightly golden as a result of three-ish days of skin contact, melding orchard fruit scents, ginger-y spice and almond-y flavour with chalky pucker and chew. Grillo has made a comeback for the 2023 vintage, too, and it’s the perfect wine to see out the end of summer: oily, briny, gently oxidative and long in the palate, layered with fleshy green-fruit character and a top note of sweet spice. A 2020 Malvasia debuts this year as well, splashed with a little vermentino, which culminates in a racy, acidic tug of war between tropical fruits and the weightier, more savoury influence of brioche, blanched nuts and preserved lemon. Tin of sardines, anyone?

As for the reds, you bet there’s 2022 Montepulciano out of the Eden Valley, which has become something of a signature over the years. On the fuller side, sinewy and slurpable, it rocks that choc-cherry vibe with a core of stewed purple and black fruits and a lick of cool mint. A portion of whole-bunch fermentation shapes the 2023 Pinot Noir, lending a more serious feel to the Black Forest flavours of the Adelaide Hills fruit. To close, a case of old dog/new tricks – 2022 Cabernet Sauvignon from 60ish-year-old Barossa vines, which harks back to middleweight clarets of yore with its deft balance of mulberry and plum tones, snappy acidity and gentle tannin. And how about that time-warp of a label? Killer. 
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