Monday 30 November 2009




david ellis

WHEN British sea captain Henry Stentiford swallowed the anchor and opted for a life ashore back in the 1890s, he chose Coonawarra in far-off Australia with the idea of growing grapes for winemaking.

But he couldn't tear himself totally apart from his days on the sea, and named the 4ha parcel of prime 'terra rosa' land he bought in Coonawarra after his beloved square-rigger sailing ship, Laira.

Today, 116 years later Brand's Laira* is a deservedly-respected household name when it comes to wine-talk, with its super-premium reds still coming off vines planted by Captain Stentiford all those years ago in 1893. (*The property was bought by legendary Eric Brand and his wife Nancy in 1950 who re-named it, and is now owned by McWilliams.)

The just-released 2005 Brand's Laira Stentiford Old Vine Shiraz is a stunner of a wine, one for special occasion celebrations when you're prepared to pay for only the best: a flag-bearer for the label, it has great plum and blackberry fruit intensity, spicy cinnamon, nice oak, and a powerful tannin structure.

Don't baulk at the $74.99  price tag on that special occasion treat with family or friends; serve it with pan-seared filet mignon and a Bordeaux sauce.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Summertime is seafood time, and seafood time is Riesling time: Penna Lane's 2009 Hand-Picked Riesling from the Clare Valley is one such that 's sure to please the most fastidious Riesling buff, offering up an intense concentration of citrus fruit flavours and a refreshing, zesty acidity.

Enjoy with an alfresco summertime seafood salad, or pan-fried fish fillets with either home-cut chunky chips or a tossed salad. Certainly rewarding buying at $21.



[] FOR that very special occasion, from 116-year old vines

[] REFRESHING summertime seafood Riesling

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