Monday 14 July 2008



wine with david ellis

DEVOTEES of aged whites should be cock-a-hoop over Houghton's Museum Release of their 1999 White Burgundy, a label originally launched back in 1937 and several years ago re-badged as Houghton White Classic.

And they should be as equally impressed with the price as with the wine itself: this remarkable nine-year-old is available through good outlets at just $33 a bottle, a steal for such a classic that's loaded with full-flavoured honeyed toast and hazelnut characters on the palate, and has an enticing nose of buttered-toast, boxwood honey and complex citrus.

Known since 2005 as Houghton White Classic, the label is now one of our most-sought-after at release each year, both as a drink-now while young, and to put aside for up to eight or nine years in the cellar.

Chenin Blanc has always been the backbone of this wine, with some Verdelho and Muscadelle being added in the mid-70s, and soon after that Chardonnay and Semillon to give even extra finesse and further complexity with aging.

Grab a few at this price and enjoy with poultry or lightly-spiced Asian dishes.

ONE FOR LUNCH: MARGAN Family Winegrowers were the first to plant the Italian varietal Barbera in the Hunter Valley, getting cuttings to do so from Carlo Corino in Mudgee a decade ago in 1998.

It was a great decision and their 2006 is a blockbuster for those who enjoy this easy-drinking Italian-tucker red that's got plenty of ripe blackberry and cherry fruit flavours and long savoury tannins: pay $25 and make a lasagna including lentils and sun-ripened tomatoes, top with Ricotta and Parmesan cheese, bake and serve with garden vegies – or if you're lazy just buy a pizza.

BUY OF THE WEEK: CLIMBING Wines' 2006 Shiraz from Orange in NSW's Central West is all rich plum-fruit flavours, complex earthy characters, spici-ness and nice oak. Great buying at $21 to go with herbed meatballs 'n mash.

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Photo Captions:

ALMOST from another era: Museum Release of Houghton's famed White Burgundy.

BLOCKBUSTER Hunter Valley Italian-tucker red.

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