Today on the blog we have some very special guests; Rob & Louise Mack – the founders of Aphelion Wine Co in McLaren Vale, South Australia. This young couple are causing waves in the Australian wine scene with their ‘from the sun to you’ wine philosophy, not to mention their delectable small batch wines. Rob was awarded the ‘Best New Act’ award at the 2017 Young Guns of Wine Awards!
Aphelion produce a small amount of wine each year (the bottle we recently enjoyed was 1 of 300 produced!), so they might be a bit hard to come by, but if you get the chance – try them! I came across Aphelion as I have been following Lou’s blog Wine Food World and her wine adventures online for some time now. There are very few wine focused blogs in Australia, so it was great to come across Lou’s South Aussie blog a few years ago.
While on our recent long-weekend in Melbourne – Louise gave me the heads up of a few places stocking Aphelion. One of those was Shadowboxer Bar just off Chapel Street and not far from where we were staying, so we thought it would be rude not to pop in for a bottle (we could have easily stayed for a bottle or 3 more!).
We really enjoyed our night out with our bottle of Aphelion wine, so I thought it would be great to invite these guys along for a Q&A on the blog so we can all get to know them a little bit better…
Q: When was the exact moment you both new the wine industry was for you?
R: It was a bottle of Barolo that set me on this path in 2005. On the cruise where Louise and I met actually.
L: I was 16 and Dad had arranged an in-home tasting from Golden Grape Estate. Dr Loosen Riesling captured my imagination – I was intrigued and so began my love affair with wine!
Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about what Aphelion means and the artwork on your bottles?
A: Aphelion is ancient Greek for “From The Sun” which fits well with our goal of minimal intervention winemaking – sun – fruit – bottle. It is also a modern astrophysical term, just ask a friendly rocket scientist!
One of my artworks is our label design. To make it, I used a special, natural photography technique called cyanotype. A natural chemical reaction with the sun creates the lovely “Aphelion blue”. A feather was used to create the image. Inside you see clouds, and the sky, connecting again to being “from the sun”.
Q: What sets Aphelion apart from other wines on the market?
A: Our main focus is old vine Grenache, this variety has a great history in McLaren Vale and the amazing aromatics that this variety produces are so seductive. We work with a couple of fantastic growers in the Blewitt Springs sub region of McLaren Vale – this area has more altitude and is slightly cooler than the valley floor – this allows longer ripening periods and produces wines of delicacy with beautiful spice and savoury red fruit character.
Our other love is Sagrantino – a very rare variety that originates from a small town called Montefalco in Umbria, Italy. This is a very tannic variety but when treated sensitively it produces a very savoury and food friendly wine with good body and power.
Q: We’re suckers for a love story! Can you tell us a bit about how you guys came to be Mr. & Mrs. Aphelion alongside the other members of your family (furbabies included!)?
A: We love a lovely love story too! We met on The Love Boat, Pacific Princess completely by chance, we were allocated to the same dinner table. We were both travelling with our mums! Lou won her ticket to be on the ship in a competition. It was love at first sight and the rest as they say was history! We quickly added a #winecat – Monte the Brown Burmese – to our family 12 years ago. Three years ago we added a rescue #winedog – Sari the half Maremma half Golden Retriever.
We married in 2016 in a wine-themed #winewedding. In May 2017 we added a baby girl to the family. Her name Clairette is one of the 13 grape varieties permitted for production of Chateuneuf du Pape.
Q: What can we look forward to seeing from the Aphelion Wine Co in future?
A: We’re expanding out range to include Mataro and Shiraz, along with a reserve red wine that will change year to year but will be based on our best of vintage parcels. Our focus will continually be on small batch winemaking which allows us to have a plethora of options on the blending bench, and this in turn allows us to create wines with many layers of complexity. We also have a secret white wine project that will be released to our mailing list customers later in the year…stay tuned for that one.
If you’re looking to taste some Aphelion wine for yourself and you’re in Perth, head along to Petition Wine Bar, we hear the Sagrantino goes beautifully with the pastrami spiced beef with sour cream and lemon and the Grenache Bunch is a match made in heaven for the fried artichokes, peaoli, salter ricotta and chervil! For those living in other parts of Australia, make sure to check the Aphelion stockists page to find a stockist near you!
Lastly a big thank you to Rob & Lou for answering our questions. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to pop another bottle of Aphelion wine very soon! Make sure to check out The Aphelion Wine Co website and follow these guys on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.