Matt Gant and John Retsas have put together an exciting and eclectic range of wines under the label First Drop. As their site says, “First Drop is about passion. for life, fun and flavour!… a lifelong commitment to making kick arse booze… wines with flavour and texture, and a splash of funk… eclectic varieties from unique vineyards in the great regions of the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale… wines to drink, not just appreciate…”
Typical of the lower priced wines in the range are an Arneis from the Adelaide Hill and a Barossa Shiraz both at around £10 a bottle. They have also particularly focused on Italian grape varieties, with a Nebbiolo Barbera and a Montepulciano from the Adelaide Hills. At the top end, their Cream Barossa Valley Shiraz sells for around £40 a bottle, with the Fat of the Land Ebenezar Shiraz going for £30 a bottle. These wines are now available in the UK from New School Wines in Melton Mowbray.
As James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion 2011 notes, “This is a virtual winery, with no vineyards and no winery of its own. What it does have are two owners with immaculate credentials to produce a diverse range of wine of significantly higher quality than those of many more conventional operations … When Matt was working at St Hallett he won the Wine Society’s Young Winemaker of the Year Award ’04, and the Young Gun of Wine Award for First Drop in ’07. John Retsas has an equally impressive CV, working at St Hallett and Chain of Ponds and is now general manager of Schild Estate”.
In a previous life, Matt was a student at Royal Holloway, University of London, and it is great to see what he has now gone on to achieve!