DELINQUENTE | Riverland, South Australia
Con Greg founded Delinquente in 2013 after trying his hand at in other industries before returning home to the Riverland. He grew up surrounded by wine; his Dad the manager of production for one of the region's bulk wineries. Delinquente translates to 'delinquent' in Italian, which speaks to Con and his team's desire to always buck the trend, break rules, and do things their own way. His aim is to showcase how good wines from Riverland can be if grape varieties and clones are used that are suited to the climate and soil type and if you treat the vines with respect and care.
Riverland has been established for being a region which produces majority bulk wine using highly mechanized viticulture traditions, and the region produces a third of the nation's total crush. It stretches between the bends of the mighty Murray River and the vast edge of the Great Australian Outback. Riverland's vineyards are highly influenced by two types of soils: the river valley soil made up of sandy and clay particles, and Mallee soil, comprising lime and clay layers. The region has a warm, temperate climate but doesn't get much rain. With its relatively low altitude, it can be insanely hot during summer. The Murray River provides necessary relief and access to water for farming.
Con Greg sources organically grown fruit from two small family growers. Breaking from traditional mechanical farming in the region, all the fruit is hand picked and hand sorted. Even with the Murray River providing some water relief, the Riverland can be very hot and very dry, particularly through the vines' growing season. That is the reason Con Greg chose to work primarily with Southern Italian grape varieties, which are suited to the climate, need less water and are naturally drought resistant, are late ripening and retain natural acidity. In this way, they are more environmentally sustainable, and allow the production of wines with lower alcohol levels but heaps of freshness and flavor.
All Delinquente wines are made with extremely minimal intervention in the winery. The core group of still wines - Screaming Betty Vermentino, Pretty Boy Rosato, Roko il Vagabondo Montepulciano - are wild fermented in stainless steel. The Hell Series of wines show additional nuances and texture through the use of seasoned oak. The yeasts are always native, no wines are fined or filtered, and the only sulphur addition is at bottling and employed in minimal amounts.
High Crimes and Bizzarro
Con Greg and Delinquente are entering year ten of producing wine in the Riverland. They continue to keep it cool and keep it fresh, constantly thinking outside the box and adding additional products to the line up. Enter High Crimes - a line of bag-in-a-box wines using Portuguese varieties. The ethos is the same - the farming is organic, and all the wines are made with minimal intervention. Continuing the cool label movement, the boxed wines include amazing artwork, and the packaging helps to reduce the carbon footprint and increases recyclability.
Next up in the line-up is a bitter aperitivo called Bizzarro. Technically, this is a vermouth by production method, but it takes on the flavor characteristics of some popular potable bitters through the infusion of locally sourced fruit and botanicals. Certified organic and biodynamic vermentino is used as the base wine, which is vinified with a few days on the skins to give a bit more depth of flavor and structure.