Monday 20 May 2013


CHEW over history with this and a
cold-weather's lamb, pork or veal casserole.


David Ellis

RIDDOCH Coonawarra's a company one could easily write a fascinating book or three about, beginning with Scottish-born pioneer John Riddoch who rode the wool boom of the 1860s, and 30 years later planted Coonawarra's first wine grapes in 1891.

Along the way he and a brother amassed nearly 50,000ha of prime agricultural land, amongst other things establishing the Coonawarra Fruit Colony that included those first wine grapes; the region struggled from 1901, however, and the grapes used only for brandy and fortified wines until Samuel and David Wynn bought the winery and many Colony vineyards in 1951 and put Coonawarra back on the fine-wine map.

Today Riddoch Coonawarra is owned by the Pinnacle Liquor Group whose ambition is to see more wine lovers enjoy the wines of this unique region – and their recently-released 2010 Merlot is one that will most certainly help them do so.

HONOURING a tradition that makes it perfect
with barbecued meats, game or seafoods. 
Crafted by the Pinnacle winemaking team and consultants including Coonawarra legend Wayne Stehbens, this is a wine that's got beautifully intense mulberry and herbal fruits to the forefront, gently-layered spices and fine chocolate in there as well,  balanced tannins and fine acidity.

At $19.99 it's rewarding buying considering its quality, and a drop to enjoy with tomato-based Italian dishes, or traditional cold-weather lamb, pork or veal casseroles.

ONE TO NOTE: WHEN early-day European vignerons set fire to piles of winter-time prunings of their grape vines, they found that meats grilled over these fires took on a pleasantly unique and slightly sweet smoky flavour – and so they turned their "early barbecues" into an annual mid-winter festival they called Vinefire.

Today the Hunter Valley's  Hungerford Hill is honouring the old tradition with a VINEfire label, one of whose wines is a very more-ish 2012 Chardonnay that's refreshingly dry and with lovely honeydew and banana flavours. And at $18 it lives up to the vinefire tradition of being a perfect match with barbecued meats, game or seafood.


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