Tuesday 24 July 2007


WHEN Andrew Michael, owner of the Clare Valley’s Koonowla Wines wanted to come up with an eye-catching name for a high-quality second tier wine, he didn’t bother with concept companies to come up with an answer.

Rather, he and his small staff and a few vignerons, winemakers, marketers and other mates in the industry simply looked around them to see what they might have in common – and decided that as they all worked in the Ringmaster’s Office at the annual Royal Adelaide Show, this co-operative effort new-label wine should be called Ringmaster.

Two of the Clare’s Valley’s top winemakers, David O’Leary and Nick Walker were charged with the task of making the first Ringmasters, and crafted just what Andrew Michael was seeking: quintessentially full-bodied premium Clare wines displaying exceptional varietal characteristics.

One of their first, a 2005 Ringmaster Cabernet Sauvignon is a real stand-out, with distinctive varietal aromas of violets, spices and black fruits, a sweet fruit palate and a nice balance of acidity and fine tannins.

And the $17.95 price makes it an affordably-enjoyable wine, robust enough to go with a hearty gourmet mixed grill of spicy Italian sausages, lamb chops, bacon, creamy mashed spuds – the whole lot topped with fried eggs.

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