The Adventures of Pinocchio with Winemaker Rollo Crittenden

Nothing tastes better than a wine label reboot, and we aren’t telling porky-pies either.

The team at Crittenden Wines has relabelled its Pinocchio range with the whimsical artwork of Mornington Peninsula artist Bek Thompson who gives a new lease of life to an established brand.

The rest is an antipasto platter with a summer wine pairing that has your name on it.

Winemaker Rollo Crittenden says the Pinocchio range is now in its 20th year, and the timing was right for a makeover to steer the range to a new generation of wine lovers.

“We felt it was time to spruce up the label and reflect the nature of how we feel these wines should be enjoyed,” says Rollo Crittenden.

“And of course, they’ll spark some childhood memories of Pinocchio too,” he says.

“We started this range 20 years ago, and over time those wines have developed into fun, fresh alfresco style drinking wines and we wanted the new label to reflect that journey,” he says.

Crittenden has fond memories of his father Garry enjoying Italian varietals long before they entered the mainstream in Australia.

“In my formative teen years, there were lots of Italian wines on our dinner table and that’s because Dad had a big passion for them,” says Crittenden.

“While Australia was enamoured with Cabernets and Chardonnay in the 80s, Dad had friends importing these wonderful varieties we know now, but almost unknown then – wine like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. Dad tried to make some himself, and we established relationships with some of the rare growers of these varieties in places like the King Valley, and the rest is history,” says Crittenden.

The five wines hustling a new beginning include a Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Rosato, Sangiovese and Moscato.

Crittenden says they’re easy to pair for summer dishes and antipasti moments with friends.

Prosecco: This has a lively acid and spritz that goes into prosecco. I’d recommend pairing with anchovies or sardines on bruschetta – it really gets the palette going for what’s to come in a glass.

Pinot Grigio: This is a lovely dry and fresh driven wine that’s very textural. In many ways it’s a lively lift of aromatics and goes well with olives or sundried tomatoes.

Rosato: This is made from Nero d’Avola grapes. A nice dry style that’s pale and perfect with salami, mortadella, lovely cured meats and hard cheeses.

Sangiovese: This is the one and only red we produce. It’s a beautiful savoury style of red wine and certainly better paired with pasta dishes or pizza. Also great for a BBQ session.

Moscato: This wine has a bit of sweetness and a hint of acid to temper that. In many ways this is your dessert wine – think panna cotta or a citrus tart – fresh and lively.

Following in his father’s footsteps in the winery was more a case of falling in love with winemaking than a pressure to do so.

“I was brought up in the family business and our home was 30 metres from the winery.  We always had overseas workers during vintage and the process really captivated me,” says Crittenden.

“I loved being in the winery and I was never pressured to enter the industry. It was a nice sequential flow for me and it evolved into a love of wine,” he adds.

His father Garry has shared some sage advice over the years which Crittenden holds close.

“Dad’s philosophy was to always have a great love of wine, understand the product and develop a good palate,” he says.

“If you know what you’re tasting and how a wine looks, and what its components are, then that’s when you can start to tweak and evolve it,” he says.

“The last thing you ever want to do is make wine by a recipe. We are not trying to make a mass-produced product. We’re artisan and nuanced, and I feel on the back of what he has always shown me is you need to adapt to the season, the conditions and evolve what you’re producing.”


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