The Clever Root

Winter / Spring 2016

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1 4 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t t h e c l e v e r r o o t T oo oen, wine producers from other countries take a curious approach in trying to penetrate the American on- premise market. eir selling message to beverage man- agers and sommeliers is: "Here's what we got, and we hope it's what you want!" McWilliam's, the premium Australian wine producer, decided it should first ask the question, "What kind of wine do you need?" It is an approach as refreshing as the wine that resulted. "What we believe we have with our 'Wildling' Winemaker's Red Blend is a new style of Australian wine for the U.S.," says winemaker Tim Perrin, who was part of the team that researched, then blended, the new brand. "As a result, we think this style of wine will especially appeal to the American Millennial drinker." e wine's claim is "Unbelievably Delicious." We recently spoke with Perrin over lunch at Flinders Lane, an Australian-style restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, where Wildling was matched with a variety of foods. Perrin was in the U.S. to join up with the McWilliam's American team, led by Ian Jones (General Manager, Americas), in promoting the wine, which has already been introduced into major markets such as New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois and California. "We did surveys of what Millenni- als like to drink, then we went back and made several red blends until we found the one that worked best," Perrin explains. MCWILLIAM'S "WILDLING" RED BLEND FINDS A NICHE AND FILLS IT BY ROGER MORRIS / PHOTOS BY GABI PORTER MCWILLIAM'S "WILDLING" RED BLEND FINDS A NICHE AND FILLS IT AMERICAN PALATE AUSSIE WINE WINE DISCOVERIES Finders Lane Chef Chris Rendell pre- sented an array of courses chosen to pair with the Wildling blend. Including an avocado-based vegetar- ian salad with snake beans, red peppers and sesame- soy dressing (top); sausage rolls of ground pork in puff pastry with sambal mayon- naise (middle); grilled beef salad with shallots, grape- fruit and mint with a hot and sour dressing (bottom). e main McWilliam's winery is located in the prime New South Wales region. e McWilliam's team tasted wine lots from nine different grape varieties grown on its Australian es- tates and settled on a blend made from three familiar grapes. First was Shiraz to give fresh fruitiness to the wine, then Petit Verdot to provide backbone and finally Cabernet Sauvignon to give what Perrin calls "a very lovely tannin profile." "We le some residual sugar in so that it would balance the wine's tannins and oak influences," says Perrin. is fruitiness was achieved by back-blending additional grape juice. Further market testing proved the blend was the correct one for the American on-premise market within its in price category. at category is the $10–20 retail range, with Wildling clocking in at $14.99. "We know that this category of $10–20 wines is coming back for Australian producers selling into the American market," adds Jones. "Fortunately, this market is coming back especially well for us." At the table, Finders Lane Chef Chris Rendell presented an array of courses chosen to match, or be balanced by, the fresh fruitiness of the Wildling blend—an avocado-based vegetarian salad with snake beans, red peppers and sesame-soy dressing; sausage rolls of ground pork in puff pastry with sambal mayonnaise, and grilled beef salad with shallots, grapefruit and mint with a hot and sour dressing. e pairings were "spot on." In addition to searching for the right blend, McWilliam's also wanted to be sure it had the right name and the right brand presentation that reflected the profile and quality of the wine, a name that would easily communicate the wine's profile. ey chose "Wildling"—something sophisti- cated, yet exciting. In addition to the Wildling Winemaker's Red Blend, McWilliam's has also introduced a very lim- ited, upscale dry red blend called Wildling Reserve, which fits nicely into a wine list at around $75. And for lovers of white wines, McWilliam's also produces a refreshing cool-climate Chardonnay. McWilliam's Wines Group Ltd also produces Evans & Tate, Brand's Laira and Mount Pleasant wines. left to right: Ian Jones, General Manager for Americas at McWil- liam's Family; Angela Slade, Regional Director for North Amer- ica at Wine Australia; Tim Perrin, Wine- maker at McWilliam's Family. Vegetarian Salad Sausage Ros Gried Beef Salad ■cr

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