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Little Reddie

Little Reddie

Only dead fish swim with the current, and Pat Underwood is decidedly a live one. Making wine out in Central Victoria since 2015 under the label Little Reddie Wine (plus a few flirty forays before that) the trajectory of these funky, dependable little drops is decidedly upstream. 

Underwood typically makes wine that showcases individual sites with high-def focus. Winemaking tailored around best expressing the grapes of a region or particular vineyard, rather than square-peg-round-holing an approach to fit the winemaker’s own vision of a wine. 

Melbournites may know Underwood from his days at Melbourne’s City Wine Shop, and we fancy that attunement to what people actually like drinking and spending their money on comes through in his selection – each bottle has big ‘insider top rec’ energy; bring to your cool friend’s dinner party type stuff. Unusual, innovative, but not just for the sake of it.

Those further afield may also know his fingerprints as a co-founder of the Boomtown Wine Co-op in Castlemaine, the winery and cellar door pushing out both Boomtown bevs and one of our other big fat wine crushes, Minim Wines. It’s a country social club with some solid contemporary chops; all the hip atmosphere we credit urban wine bars with, out on Djarra country.

Little Reddie (a nod to teeny-tiny barrels the wine started out in, and the drought-hardy fish being pulled from local waters) resists classification as a winery. Largely lo-fi, or lo-fi adjacent, but that doesn’t necessarily feel like a defining characteristic — again these are wines about place, not winemaking. We get that it can sound a bit trite and trotted out; aren’t all wines expressions of the place they come from? Well yes, especially if you lack the spirit of a poet.
But there’s the way Underwood engages with viticulturists, the history of traditional owners, and actively seeks out truly unique vineyards across Central Victoria that sets him apart. Alpine Chardonnay, Italian and Sicilian plantings grown in highly unconventional terroir (fish out of water, if you will).

The industry demands of modern winemakers and their vignerons that they treat the land with respect, and the new guard take this as given. The cornerstone of these smaller batch wines is the relationship between grower and winery, and the shared ethos of treading lightly across land certainly does no harm to what lands in the cellar.

We love the freshness of the wines. Who ever heard of Nebbiolo that reads with a salad bowl of cucumber, watermelon and mint in the foreground? We love the swagger of the label. (We’re superficial, lock us up.) And we love that they’re putting out something we haven’t tried before from Central Vic, where a brat-pack of younger producers are keeping us super interested, vintage in, vintage out.
The way Underwood engages with viticulturists, the history of traditional owners, and actively seeks out truly unique vineyards across Central Victoria that sets him apart.

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