Thursday 9 April 2009



david ellis

PINOT Gris that hails from France is not the easiest grape variety to grow in Australia, but it's found a home at Orange in NSW's Central West where it enjoys the region's intense sunlight, mild clear days and very cool nights.

Senior Winemaker at Climbing Wines, Debbie Lauritz spent some time working with Pinot Gris in Alsace and has a passion for the variety that's reflected in the exceptional 2008, a somewhat voluptuous wine with beautifully concentrated zesty pear and apple flavours.

It's certainly rewarded Debbie for the patience needed in the vineyard – a lot more than usual pruning as well as bunch and shoot trimming – and consumers who are turning in rapidly growing numbers to this varietal.

"It's worth the effort," Debbie says. "Because the older the vines become the better they get, and with ours now 12 years old they have a well-balanced canopy that results in less fruit, but much more concentrated flavours."

Pay $21.99 and don't look past enjoying with simple fish and chips or fried chicken and salad.

ONE FOR LUNCH:  In his constant search for the best parcels of Hunter Valley land for creating wines of exceptional character and longevity, the legendary Maurice O'Shea in 1945 came across a block of rich volcanic soil that he planted to vines and named Rosehill Vineyard; he was able to develop the vineyard with the backing of the McWilliam family, and today it is one of the iconic Mount Pleasant stable of unique Hunter Valley vineyards.

A just-released 2004 Mount Pleasant Shiraz crafted by Chief Winemaker, Phil Ryan is a grand tribute to the foresight of Maurice O'Shea: it has dominant red berry fruit flavours complemented by earthy characters and a lovely savoury palate. A good choice at $33.99 to enjoy with roast duck, parsley mash potatoes and a green peppercorn sauce.



Photo captions:

[] CLIMBING to new heights in popularity, and just the drop with fish and chips

[] PLEASANT tribute to a Hunter Valley legend, enjoy with roast duck dishes

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