Playful with a touch of magic: Introducing Gwyn Olsen’s new wines

Earlier this week I was delighted to not only meet the Hunter Valley winemaker Gwyn Olsen, but was among the first to try the 2019 vintages of her range and her preservative free field blends during an intimate tasting and dinner at Botanic House.  

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 2.34.18 PM.pngVegan friendly, preservative free, and low intervention wines are in more demand than ever, and Gwyn Olsen’s two new field blend wines tick all those boxes. “These field blends are artistic expressions of my winemaking, and a great opportunity to showcase what we can do with the areas that we source fruit from,” she explained. A field blend is a wine made from a mix of grapes grown in the same vineyard, and picked on the same day. Gwyn’s red field blend is made with a mix of Merlot, Malbec, Aglianico and Barbera grapes, and the white field blend is a mix of Fiano, Viognier, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
 
Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 2.35.12 PM.png“I wanted to create field blends because I believe they showcase the vineyard site irrespective of grape variety. They express the region and soils they are grown in without having to ‘be’ any one type of wine,” she said. Both blends are preservative free and made with grapes from Briar Ridge’s vineyard in Wrattonbully, a wine region in South Australia situated between the Padthaway and Coonawarra regions. “Preservative free is a new style of wine that has come into focus in the last couple of years, as people look for alternative and minimal interference drinks.
Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 2.35.41 PMPF wines do not contain any preservatives (primarily sulphur dioxide) in the wine whereas conventional wines do,” she explained. Although there is no difference in taste, Gwyn added that PF wines are best enjoyed within a couple of year after bottling. “Preservative free wines are best enjoyed young. While the wine contains some natural preservatives like the alcohol itself, tannins and acidity, it’s not necessarily going to have the same longevity as a wine containing preservatives,” she said. Her field blends are also vegan friendly, as Bentonite has been used as a fining agent.
 
Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 2.36.19 PM.pngWith more Australians than ever going vegan and vegetarian , Gwyn noted there has been an increase in demand for vegan friendly wines. “Many vegans don’t realise the majority of wines are not, but as this awareness is increasing, so is the demand, and there are some great vegan friendly fining agent options that we as winemakers can use,” she said. Her range also includes a Hunter Valley Rosé and Chardonnay, which are both made using conventional winemaking methods. “The 2019 was a spectacular year in the Hunter,” she said. “The whites are well made with great fruit expression, the reds are intense and perfumed and create beautiful Rosé as well.
 
Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 2.37.15 PM.pngGwyn Olsen is a respected and award-winning Australian winemaker, who is Chief Winemaker at Briar Ridge Vineyard and Pepper Tree Wines in the Hunter Valley. She continuously wows customers and wine judges alike, and her namesake wine range adorned with unicorns on its labels is available exclusively through Cellarmasters. Why unicorns? “We should all believe in a little bit of magic,” Gwyn said about her choice to include the mythical creature.

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