Municipal Wines

Some winemakers might be content to ferment a bit of grape juice and call it day, but not Matt Froude. The legend behind the always superb (and still somewhat under-the-radar) Municipal Wines out of Victoria’s Strathbogie Ranges also happens to be a virtuoso sake brewer and has just let his first release out into the wild, which was produced and bottled in Japan late in 2022.
His Snow Mountain is what’s known as a ‘junmai kimoto’ sake – wild-fermented and brought to life by a centuries-old method using only rice, water, yeast and the fermentation starter known as koji-kin. Super savoury and complex stuff here, but beautifully delicate at the same time: lots of toasty nuttiness set against a slightly more mineral-driven backdrop, with whiffs of honeysuckle  and sharp acidity pushing things along. Wicked.

You bet there’s wine, too. His latest output sees the return of some trusty old favourites as well as some red-hot new releases. The 2022 Riesling makes for a fine starting point, generous in its preserved lemon and Granny Smith apple perfume and flavour, perky acid profile and verve. Those who like a bit more grip might prefer the 2021 28 Day Riesling which, as you might’ve guessed, spends four weeks on skins and comes out the other side pulsing with the fleshy texture and fragrance of grapefruit, mandarins and ripe nectarines. His 2022 Savagnin also makes a virtue of the varietal, its tight d of green apples and lemon curd overlaid with blanched almonds and fresh herbs. A brilliant Australian example if there were ever one.
As for the reds, the 2020 Syrah Tempranillo has found its way back into fold, a wine of ultra-high drinkability factor that ties the best of both varieties together, a compelling mesh of tart red berries and dusty spice. (P.S. it also takes well to a chill if that’s more your speed.) The 2019 Whitegate Shiraz has settled super nicely, too, deftly balancing dark-red fruits and chai-like sensibility to winning effect. These really are the school-night wines dreams, affordable and approachable as all get-out, but not without interest. Get involved.
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