Unico Zelo

Brendan Carter

What happens when you stop irrigating your vines in the Adelaide Hills? Some varieties die. Those which survive adapt and produce grapes with concentrated flavours, moreish acidity and moderate alcohol, and which reflect the terroir. Brendan and Laura Carter launched Unico Zelo (Unique Zeal or Passion) in 2013 with two aims. The first was to be industry leaders in best practice viticulture and winemaking in the Australian wine industry through lower water use in the vineyard and minimal intervention practices in the winery; the second, to discover the real terroir of Australia. 

The hugely committed, entertaining and energetic Brendan took us through the trials and tribulations of bucking the Australian industry norms to produce some fantastic and unique wines and at the same time continuously working to improve sustainability.

The wines tasted were

Unico Zelo Jade & Jasper Fiano 2019: Fiano displays one of the most complex noses of any white variety. Full of white peach blossoms, honeydew and lemon, all covered in a generous splash of Granny Smith Apple. This continues onto an electric palate, lifted by a rich fruit-sweetness, and sparked to life with a crispy acidity.

Unico Zelo Esoterico 2019: An orange wine with rich aromatics and super zesty flavours, made from Zibbibo (for its sweeter aromatics and waxy/oily mouthfeel), Fiano and Moscato Giallo (for its sprightly acidity).
[If you are suspicious of orange wines here is an independent review of Esoterico “If you love skin contact or orange wines, you’ll know that it’s often hit & miss to find a good one. You can come across anything from low alcohol cordial tasting, to fizzy cider tasting stuff - & usually overpriced. Esoterico is a properly made, properly delicious orange wine. Textural, dry, very drinkable but also serious, it’s the orange wine to please orange wine lovers & beginners alike. Well done & yum!”]

Unico Zelo Truffle Hound 2019: A blend of Barbera and Nebbiolo which pairs ripe fruit flavours with crisp acidity. Up-front blackberry and bitter cherry fruit gives way to notes of dried herbs and anise. The finish is dry and persistent, with a lightly tannic grip.

Unico Zelo The River 2018: Made from Nero d’Avola. Deep dark red in colour with black tinged edges and a vibrant crimson hue. The nose features aromas of ripe dark cherries married to fresh herbs, earthy incense characters and spice. Medium bodied the palate possesses juicy dark cherry flavours which are tied to plum, earthy incense infusions and spicy fresh herbs. The wine finishes dry with good freshness and fine-grained tannins.