Monday 15 December 2008



YOUR WEEKLY WINE COLUMN for week beginning 15 December 2008

wine with david ellis

IF you're planning on turkey at Christmas and a bottle of red to go with it, pop the bottle – preferably a good Pinot Noir – in the fridge for a while to cool it.

No, we haven't lost the plot: serving red wine at "room temperature" originated in Europe where "room temperature" in generally stone-built structures was considered to be around 52-degree Fahrenheit, or roughly 12C.

So here in the Antipodes where our Christmas days can be twice or even three times as hot as those in Europe, it really does make sense to give that red a bit of fridge treatment to enjoy it as its best – not too long though, around 20 or 30 minutes is ideal to take the "room temperature" heat out of the bottle… and the wine.

Try it with a bottle of Capel Vale 2007 Western Australian Debut Pinot Noir that has classic juicy sweet cherries and wild strawberry flavours, and will go wonderfully with the turkey… and its good buying at $17.95.

If on the other hand you're planning on a seafood spread with family and friends, share it with a good Ros̩ such as Sam Miranda's 2008 Symphonia Tempranillo Rosata. At just $20 a bottle it's a gift, and all the better when served well chilled with that seafood spread Рor with cold meats and salad, or for the purists with roast chicken or even pork and vegies.

And if you've bubbly in mind – and most of us will have – think red again, with a McLaren Vale Tapestry label Sparkling Merlot NV off the ice.

At $22 it's both excellent value and a great starter with nibbles, and will carry through well with a main course roast turkey, ham or again with cold seafoods and other salads – while if you're a traditionalist, Victoria's Blue Pyrenees benchmark 2001 Midnight Cuvee is an outstanding drop for any Festive table, and with seven years in the bottle its one of our more elegant handcrafted bubblies; pay $34.95 and safely say "Happy Christmas!"

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Photo Captions:

[] COOL Christmas turkey idea: fridge this red to take the "room temperature"
off it.

[] SPARKLING red that's ideal with the turkey, ham or even seafoods.

Monday 8 December 2008



wine with david ellis

IT took just five vintages for Angus the Bull to make its mark as the wine of choice of many a red-blooded Aussie carnivore.

And the release of the sixth vintage is sure to get more doing so, even though 2007 was a horror year for many makers with drought cutting fruit supplies to people like Hamish MacGowan – winemaker and founder of Angus the Bull – by over twenty per cent.

To make up for it Hamish had to go "looking further afield," and ended up drawing on supplies from Victoria's and South Australia's premium Cabernet Sauvignon wine regions as diverse as the Strathbogie Ranges, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Goulburn Valley and Swan Hill.

The result is the 2007 Angus is a gutsy red with intense dark fruit, chocolate and vanillin flavours and gorgeous savoury oak – a wine to take by the horns.

Pay a great-value $19.95 for the 750ml 'the Bull,' or just $12.95 for the 375ml aptly-named half-bottle 'Angus Calf,' and team it with a standing rib roast, Yorkshire Pudd and baked spuds.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Western Australia's Goundrey has released a new Cabernet Tempranillo under its Goundrey-G label, a flavoursome addition to its Shiraz Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc Semillon that have been quick to amass an array of trophies and medals since their release just last year.

Winemaker Peter Dillon drew on fruit from the Great Southern region for this 2007 Cabernet Tempranillo that's got nice dark cherry and blackberry fruit flavours, a long and complex finish of savoury and cigar-box characters, smooth tannins, and beautifully integrated nougat and charry oak.

At $21.50 share it friends over a rich home-made steak and kidney pie.

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[] CUSTOM-made for red-blooded carnivores.

[] JUST the drop with a home-made steak and kidney pie.

Monday 1 December 2008



wine with david ellis

FEW wines are spoken about in the same reverential terms as Grange or Chateau Margaux, so when just one is included in talk when it turns to world benchmarks, that wine must surely be something exceptional.

And Brand's Laira recently-released The Patron 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon really can be called exceptional, as its a drop that no doubt will be compared with the world's greatest for years to come.

Now ear-marked as the company's flagship, it was created from fruit from an equally exceptional low-yielding vineyard planted in Coonawarra in 1971, and named The Patron in honour of the first 'Patron of Coonawarra,' Eric Brand; and as soon as they tasted it, wine critics both here and internationally were lauding it in terms normally reserved for Grange and Chateau Margaux.

Sweet dense blackberry and mulberry flavours, cassis, a hint of vanilla, perfect oak integration and a wonderfully silky finish are highlights of this wine, and its little wonder it has already grabbed a half dozen Trophies and more than that number of Gold Medals.

Savour it either on its own or with your favourite grilled or roast beef dish, and at $76 a bottle – a fraction of comparable-quality wines – think about investing in a few extra to enjoy as they mature further over the next twelve to fifteen years (and doubtless improve in value at the same time.)
ONE FOR LUNCH: TIM Adams is well-justified in talking about his 2008 Clare Valley Pinot Gris as "a serious food wine that is sensational with Asian-inspired dishes, seafood and salads…"

His fifth vintage of this variety, it has just enough sweetness to balance a crisp, fresh acidity and lovely flavours of pear, peach, lychee and passion-fruit; pay $22 and enjoy while it's still young and zesty with Tim's Asian, seafood and salad suggestions.  

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[] CLASSIC drop in every sense of the word

[] SHARE this with summer's seafoods and salads