In December 2019 I took my parents, husband and two friends to the Basket Range wine region to explore natural wines of the area. Last stop on our trip was with Alex Schulkin, one half of The Other Right.
I’m calling it, Alex is the pet nat Dad of Australia. So hear me out – In 2014 there were probably five pet nats made in Australia, two of which were from The Other Right. That’s 40% of all pet nats that year.
Since then, the natural wine scene has grown and grown and if you look at events like P&Vs ‘What a Fizzer’, you’ll find over 100 pet nats from winemakers all over the country. And even though we’ve gone from five to 100, Alex still assisted/contributed/guided many of those pet nats producers. So yeah, pet nat dad.
The Dream Team
Alex doesn’t work alone, he and his wife Galit make wine together in Adelaide Hills. Galit is the creative, designer and visionary who says yay or nay to what they do and designs the beautiful labels on the wines.
Alex then assures me that he is the muscles of the whole operation. But he also has a day job as a wine researcher at the Australian Wine Research Institute so he knows his stuff and he’s also the only wine scientist in the world that makes natural wine.
So why does Alex choose to make natural wine over traditional wine? He and Galit are about transparency, so even though the wines can be cloudy, their winemaking techniques are not. I don’t need anymore convincing to drink their wines and natural wines in general but if you do, it’s science OK, drink it!
So the tasting portion of the sesh with Alex went a bit like this…
- Chardonnay – fresh while still keeping it’s weight, Alex siphoned this from three different barrels!
- Dreams and Visions Pinot noir – a light number that I can imagine slightly chilling and drinking on a warm afternoon
- All Fruits Ripe Pinot Noir – honestly at this point in the day it all tastes amaze to me (sorry for my lack of notes haha)
- Fortified stuff – currently an unnamed project together with Scintilla Wine that’s cooking away which is a combo of grape juice and wine. Nice.
Alex moves around his barrels effortlessly, siphoning the wine off from each and mixing them on the spot. Makes sense that he knows them by heart but still amazing to see!
James Madden of Scintilla Wines (read about his set up) makes wine out of Alex and Galit’s space as they help each other out, swap ideas and generally just have a laugh doing what they love. It’s pretty cool!
2019 was a low yielding year for The Other Right but what has come out so far are five brilliant wines – two pet nats, two new wines from different vineyards and the Love Potion shiraz. I’ve already cracked into the ‘White Young Thing’ and can confirm light, fresh, fizzy goodness with a biscuit sized yeast leftover that successfully triggered my traditional wine drinking father (excellent).
Thanks so much to Alex for welcoming us in and showing us his wines! We left with two bottles to carry back to Sydney (only because I had one of his wines at home already and my parents/husband’s concerns about the number of bottles was growing increasingly haha).