Nic Peterkin’s blood runs red with Margaret River wine.
The son of Pierro founder, Dr Mike Peterkin and Shelly Cullen, of you guessed it, Cullen wines fame, the force is strong with this one. His wines are out there, challenging the status quo of one of the country’s most respected wine producing regions. This is the “New Guard” of Margaret River, and the wines are coming out all guns blazing.
Nic is playing with some varieties off the beaten path of classic Margaret River. Nebbiolo, Touriga Nacional and Sousao, all finding a home amongst his eye-catching range.
“PIRATES WERE THE OUTLAWS, THE ONES WHO BROKE THE RULES, THE FIGHTERS, THE ONES WHO LUST AFTER LIFE WITH GUSTO.”
With L.A.S. Vino, Peterkin aims to be “the best at being different”, making wines of uncommon grapes in styles not easily found in Margaret River by using Luck, Art, and Science—three vital components in making wine and what “L.A.S.” stands for. Through understanding the science and knowing the tools of wine making, and having access to a high grade facility at Pierro to experiment with the art of wine making, Peterkin is able to be different and make wines at a high quality.
L.A.S. Vino’s portfolio currently comprises four wines. The Albino PNO is a pretty pink rosé made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and is what Peterkin refers to as “strawberries and cream in wine-form”. Inspired by the amazing Chenin Blancs of South Africa and France, and wanting to make an Australian Chenin Blanc that is not just “sweet nothingness”, Peterkin sourced grapes from low-yielding thirty-year-old Chenin vines, naturally fermented them with a bit of Viognier to create the textural, full-bodied Chenin Blanc Dynamic Blend (CBDB). Meanwhile, the Jerusalem’s Grace Chardonnay brings together fruit from two opposing Chardonnay vineyards—one with red gravel and clay, the other with gravelly loam. Cold pressed, naturally fermented in French barriques and left to mature for 10 months, the wine is bottle unfiltered to give it structure, complexity and elegance.
Closest to Peterkin’s heart is The Pirate Blend. The grapes for The Pirate Blend are selected from 40-year old low yielding vines planted in gravelly loam soils that overlook Geographe Bay in the north of Margaret River. The wine comprises three Portuguese grape varieties: Touriga Nacional for structure, depth and flavour; Tinta Cao for aroma and finesse; and Sousao for colour and acidity. The unique Calvados bottle shape is a nod to the grapes being traditional varieties for port. Peterkin fell in love with Touriga Nacional, one of the most common grape varieties in Portugal, during his time there and felt that, given the similar climates between the warm European country and Australia, the grape should work just as well on his home soil: “There are a lot of people working with Touriga Nacional, but no one (in Margaret River) is using it in a red blend.” In a red ruby hue, L.A.S. Vino’s The Pirate Blend displays an intoxicating nose and palate of spices, dark berries and chocolate. Its silky tannins give way to a long, complex and intriguing finish.
In years when fruits are not up to par, Peterkin simply doesn’t produce a vintage—there was no Chardonnay in 2014. And when he comes into fruit surpluses that he thinks might make interesting wine, he has the flexibility to do one-offs, like a Cabernet Franc in 2013 and a Nebbiolo in 2015. He’s even worked on a collaboration with a friend and winemaker in Barossa Valley to produce a Syrah in 2015.
There's some serious substance to his project, being named as the 2016 Gourmet Traveller Young Winemaker of the Year for his eclectic and tantalising releases.