Tuesday, 27 November 2007

WINE OF THE WEEK: Logan 2007 Hannah Rosé

ONE FOR LUNCH: ROSÉ is a wine we often overlook when thinking about Indian food and in particular curries, but it goes exceptionally well with such food, and particularly so when served well-chilled.

Peter Logan used Shiraz fruit for his exceptionally tasty 2007 Hannah Rosé he made at his Orange, Central Western NSW, winery; while it’s a really dry wine, it bursts with fruity, Shiraz-spicy flavours and is very good value at $20.

LOGAN Hannah Rosé: just the thing for your local Indian curry house.

PENNA LANE’s ROAD TO SUCCESS

AN Adelaide landscaper facing a crossroads of life, and an English salesman tired of hammering the motorways of the UK, seem an unlikely duo to create a new wine label in South Australia’s Clare Valley.

And even more so when they don’t even own a winery. But between them and their wives, Ray Klavins and Stephen Stafford-Brookes have created Penna Lane Wines, a label that you’ll find is well worthwhile a bit of searching out.

Ray and Stephen didn’t know each other when they tossed in their jobs and entered Roseworthy College to study oenology and viticulture in 1991; they struck up a quick friendship, went their own ways in pursuit of work after graduating, and came together again in 1998 to launch Penna Lane.

With their College experience they chose to concentrate on grape growing, and to use Neil Paulett’s Clare Valley winery to make their wine. “We may not have our fingers on all the buttons all the time, but it allows us to direct our limited funds into grape growing, and to keep our fingers on the pulse. We still make all the crucial decisions about timing of harvest, choice of yeasts, fermentation techniques, oak maturation, blending and the like,” they say.

They’ve currently a 2007 Riesling ($20) and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon ($18,) and 2005 Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon (each $24;) our choice is the Shiraz with a good cheese platter – its rich black cherry, black olive and prune fruit flavours are well balanced with acidity, soft tannin and a hint of spicy oak.

(Phone (08) 8843 4364 or go to www.pennalanewines.com.au for stockists.)

Monday, 19 November 2007

WINE OF THE WEEK: Saltram’s Mamre Brook 2005 Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon


ONE FOR LUNCH: A mate with a passion for cooking, sweated through a recent weekend creating a Duck Confit he served with caramelised root vegies and a quince paste jus for a half dozen colleagues, and poured a wine you’d think was created with his Dinner Party in mind – Saltram’s Mamre Brook 2005 Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon.

The full-bodied wine was gutsy enough to match the richness of the duck and the fats its “Marylands” (legs and thighs) had been cooked in: great concentrated mulberry and blackberry fruit flavours, fine tannins, and aromas of dark plump berries and chocolate that almost jumped out of the glass. A great companion at $26.99 for a great dish.

RICH reward with a rich dish – Saltram’s Mamre Brook Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon an ideal match with Duck Confit.

HORROR HARVEST’S BENCHMARK WINE


TIM Smith must have wondered if he’d crossed a black cat enroute to his first vintage as Chief Winemaker at Chateau Tanunda in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

After a highly-respected career with Yalumba, St Hallett and Tatachilla, and stints wine-making in Portugal and France, Tim arrived at Tanunda earlier this year to anything but what he’d hoped would be a great vintage for his first wines under the company’s label.

First it was to be the Barossa’s lowest-ever cropping vintage, and secondly it would be the earliest harvest in living memory, all brought about by severe frosts in October ’06, then drought, and finally rain at a time when the Barossa is normally dry pre-harvest.

The result was that what low crops were on the 80-year vines suddenly ripened and had to be harvested three weeks early, and while some offered up as little as a 20th their normal weight in fruit, careful bunch selection achieved fruit of exceptional flavour.

And Tim’s first wine from the vintage, his 2007 The Chateau Riesling is remarkably looking like being credited as something of a benchmark Riesling in the Valley: it has beautifully abundant lemon and lime aromas with hints of passionfruit, and on the palate a wonderfully juicy lime fruit finish with a crispy touch of minerality.

At $18 it’s a ripper to enjoy with seafood, but with its clean natural acid it’ll also go down well with lightly spicy Thai Green Chicken, or even Sweet and Sour Pork.


EXTRAORDINARY success: Chateau Tanunda’s 2007 The Chateau Riesling.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

GREAT DROP FROM BEST OF THE BEST

WHEN you enjoy a vintage that produces fruit that’s described as “overall excellent,” and you choose just the very top 25% of that fruit for your wine, you can expect to come up with a top drop.

Wynns’ Chief Winemaker, Sue Hodder did just that with the 2005 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon, a classic that once again underlines why the Black Label – now in its fiftieth year of production – continually sets the benchmark for Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra.

Sue says this latest release is a true expression of the Wynns style of Cabernet. “Its very ‘Wynns like’ in that it exhibits dark fruit flavours with a hint of classic Coonawarra mint; we had an almost perfect vintage in 2005, with a lack of rain and slightly warmer than average temperatures producing intensely flavoured fruit that allowed us to produce a wine with rich flavours and generous tannins,” she said.

This is a wine that makes for great drinking now, or can be put away to reach its peak around 2015; pay $29.99 and enjoy with roast beef, lamb or hearty duck or game dishes.

WINE OF THE WEEK: Ferngrove’s Symbol Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

ONE FOR LUNCH: THINGS went anything but well in 2007 for makers in Western Australia’s Frankland River region 300km south of Perth: rainfall was fifteen per cent below normal, and consecutive days of 39-degree temperatures in March elevated baumes and shrank the fruit.

Ferngrove Wines’ Senior Winemaker, Kim Horton decided under such conditions to harvest six weeks earlier than usual, and by throwing every human resource at his disposal into the job, ended up with wines of surprising quality – particularly his 2007 Symbols Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.

Kim managed each block as an individual entity and remarkably finished with a wonderfully full-bodied wine with dominant passionfruit, citrus and gooseberry aromatics; a great drop at $15.95 with seafood dishes.

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