Have you heard of Basket Range? The town tucked up in Adelaide Hills has a rich history in wine with vines sprawled across the surrounding countryside. Now both traditional and natural winemakers alike are making magic happen up there.
December 2019 marked my 30th birthday and the arrival of my parents for Christmas so to celebrate, I wanted to discover the “Mecca” of natural wine, Basket Range. Natural wine is something I’m more and more passionate about so made perfect sense to me to pay the area a visit. It also doubled up as a chance to get my Dad, the traditionalist, to try some ‘different’ wines, attempt to change his reaction to cloudy wines (triggered) and learn to love natural vinos by meeting the people who make the good stuff happen.
Thanks to everyone giving us SO much of their time (and wine), we managed to make it to three winemakers places in a day. So here’s a topline breakdown on each of the place we hit. To find out more about each, hit the link at the end of each section.
Basket Range Wines
The Broderick family consists of the lovely Phil and Mary, their sons Louis and Sholto and their friendly dog, Annie (new best friend).
Phil and Mary have been growing and making wine in the area since the ‘80s, with Phil being one of the first to plant vines in the area. They make traditional wines on their plot in the hills with a focus on reds such as Pinot Noir, Cab Sav, Merlot and Petit Verdot building out their line up.
Their sons (who Phil describes as ‘know it alls’ despite no doubt being their mentor and clearly being very proud of them!) Louis and Sholto, make more natural style wines like pet nat, chardonnay, pinot noir and a red blend of cab sav and pinot noir.
James Madden is a sommelier turned winemaker and the face of Scintilla Wines.
Inspired by the likes of James Erskine and Anton van Klopper after a get together in Perth, James moved to Adelaide Hills after a stint in Melbourne and now makes his own range including pet nats, skin contact sav, chardonnay and experiments with savagnin and verdelho.
Working with Alex Schulkin from The Other Right out of the same shed in the Basket Range, James has found his passion in natural wine, a way to balance it out with his wife and family and now his success continues with the amount of wine he makes going up year on year!
The Other Right
Alex and his wife Galit Schcaf are the dream team that make up The Other Right. Set up in the same space as James from Scintilla, Alex is an industry leader when it comes to making pet nats.
Not only is he making pet nats, chardonnay, pinot noir and a new fortified wine made of grape juice and wine, he’s also a wine scientist by day, working at the Australian Wine Research Institute.
That makes him the only wine scientist in the world that makes pet nat!
Pretty cool right? Find out more on what percentage of pet nats in the country are made under Alex’s guidance (it’s a lot), which roles he and his wife take as part of the day to day and wines they have planned for the future.
That’s it! For now…
We had plans to make it to Borachio but didn’t quite get there as we spent SO much time with each of these winemakers. I could’ve stayed for a day with each to be honest. It’s never enough time when you’re meeting people who are excited to share their passion but who are also legends as people that are just as keen to hear your story as they are keen to share theirs.
I’m already trying to plan the next trip to go back! Have you been to Basket Range or spotted any of these wines around?