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  • "excellent rendition of sparkling wine" Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
  • Paul Starr is crafting some of the most exciting wines made in Australia. The quality far exceeds the price of the wines.
  • Wines are now made at Nick O'Leary's shed in the Hall area of the Canberra wine region.

Tasting Notes

Colour Pale-Straw
Nose 2016 Canberra Savagnin Ancestral smells of Golden Delicious apples and gentle florals.
Palate A light crop has given concentration and drive to the wine; powerful and lengthy, before a little lemon pith character reins it in.
Food Pairing Lightly cooked or raw seafoods like scallop or kingfish tartare.
Cellaring 5-10 Years
Notes Made by the Ancestral method, using the original grape sugars and yeast, it was carbonated in this bottle. Like a bottle-conditioned ale or cider, there will be a small amount of yeast at the bottom, so chill upright.
Variety Savagnin
Body Medium Bodied
Oak Type None
Vintage 2016
Region Canberra District
Country Australia
Sustainability None
Alcohol 12.0%
Bottle Size 750ml (Bottle)
Closure Crown Seal
Sassafras Wines
Sassafras Wines is a Canberra-based producer of ancestral method sparkling wine, as well as some table wines from Italian grape varieties. Paul Starr is the person behind the label. The wines are now made at Nick O'Leary's shed in the Hall area of the Canberra wine region.

The name ‘Sassafras’ comes from Australia’s two native species of Sassafras tree: Doryphora sassafras and the Southern Sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum). Purchasing a Sassafras wine helps us donate to Bush Heritage Australia for their practical work in habitat conservation.
Canberra District
Although winemaking started 160 years ago in Canberra District, the viticulture of this region was revived in the 1970s. Situated in the wider area of southern New South Wales, surrounding Australian Capital Territory, the region is famous for their Shiraz and Rieslings due to their cool climate. Canberra District wine region was granted GI (Geographical Indication) in 1998 although the district was home to very few vineyards at that time. Today, wineries such as Clonakilla and Ravensworth have paved the way for putting Canberra District on the map as an up- and-coming wine region to watch in Australia.

Located about 150 kilometers inland from the Pacific Ocean, the vineyards are on lands of varying altitudes ranging from 300-800 meters which causes variation in temperature and soil types. The climate of Canberra District can be described as having a continental climate, which is characterized by big differences in temperature during the day and night. The region is capable of producing some of the nations finest Shiraz and Riesling.
Mike Bennie
From the Quarry Hill vineyard, blessed with savagnin and given to Sassafras to produce this (now over several vintages), excellent rendition of sparkling wine. It’s a wine that has consistently been delicious, full of interest, stacked with personality and expression of the variety. No miss here. It’s a richer feel to the wine (right through to colour), but it excels again, if not presents with more complexity. Curiously, I had a pet nat from Jura made from mostly savagnin alongside. It took it in its stride. Kudos. Ballistic value for fizz of any kind at $25. Madness not to dive in. Bonus points for sheer joy, it’s not the complexity or elegance of Champagne, but it pantses most for fun, integrity, verity.

At the top of its game. Complexity, interest, freshness, balance. Chewy texture, brisk, tight fizz, volume of honeyed apple, toast, sea spray and grilled nuts in perfume, touch of quince maybe. Flavours set to richness but then find tang and twist of tannin and tight acidity. It’s crunchy as, delicious as, layered in flavour, drives with intent across the palate, finishes both mouthwatering, quince-like and chalky. It’s just bloody great.


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