Winemaker: Alex MacClelland
There is a strange bond between certain like-minded winemakers in the Barossa. Shared enthusiasms and curiosities are celebrated and explored, often in tasting groups that convene regularly.
So it with the Spicy Club, a group of vinous miss-fits that gets together about once a month to share their love of wine, learn a thing or two (there’s always a rigorous quiz to kick off proceedings) but most importantly, to share each other’s company.
During successive Spicy Club tastings, the seeds were sown for this new release.
Alex MacClelland is the chief winemaker at Bethany Wines. He’s English, but spent a good chunk of his early years in France, where his mother lived in Saumur, on the Loire: Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc country. Alex and I discovered during successive Spicy’s that we shared a fascination for both these grape varieties.
I remember the day when Alex called me up and told me that Bethany had a patch of Cabernet Franc right in front of the winery. He suggested that ‘borrow’ the fruit to make an Otherness wine, loosely modelled on the leaner, long-lived expression that hails from Saumur.
2022 proved to be the perfect choice of vintage to craft our first release. The Barossa was in the clutches of La Niña; temperatures remained cool, vines were unstressed, flavour development and retained acidity ensured that the finished wine is deliciously vibrant and perfectly balanced.
Again, the name of the wine references one of my favourite musical works: ‘Fratres’ by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Fratres is also Latin for ‘Brothers’. What better name for a wine that celebrates collaboration between two members of such a close-knit group of wine mates?