Monday 11 February 2008


TWO things happened at Leeton in the NSW Riverina 25 years ago:grape-growers Pasquale and Angela Fiumara built a winery on their 10-year old Lillypilly Estate vineyard, and one of their seven sons, Robert began indulging his passion for crafting fortified wines.

And most years since, Robert has put aside a portion of the fortifieds
he's made from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Muscat of Alexandria,
and blended various vintages into occasional releases of late-bottled
vintage-port styles under the Lillypilly Estate Fratelli 7 (seven
brothers) label.

His latest is tagged "Domenic Blend" after the Pasquale's eldest son
who encouraged Robert to become a winemaker, and who died in 1987; as
it includes material dating back 25 years to Robert's first-ever foray
into making fortified wines, its little wonder it has such a beautiful
depth of mature, rich and complex flavours.

At $23.50 for a 375ml bottle it's a great match with chocolate-dipped
strawberries or a cheese and fruit platter to finish up a fine dinner.

OUT OF THE BOX: We truly indulged recently over a birthday-party
seafood banquet that featured a bottle – okay, six between half a
dozen of us – of the Audrey Wilkinson 2002 Museum Reserve Semillon.

This really is a knock-out Hunter Valley-style Semillon that abounds
with lemon, honey and toast flavours, and has enormous citrus aromas
that burst out of the glass on pouring. An ideal wine with grilled
fish, cold seafood or spicy Thai dishes; $35 from the cellar door via or phone (02) 4998 7411.

BUY OF THE WEEK: The 2006 Catching Thieves Margaret River Semillon
Sauvignon Blanc at $15.99 is loaded with generous passionfruit and
gooseberry flavours and crisp acidity; a perfect seafood and salad

(David Ellis' wine columns are archived on


PHOTO CAPTIONS: HISTORY in a bottle: portions of this drop date back

a quarter century.

KNOCK-out from the Hunter Valley
for a special-

occasion seafood banquet.

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