Monday 13 May 2013



HISTORIC edge to a
truly excellent food wine.
David Ellis

HUNTER Valley maker Andrew Margan has an unusual wish for his 2011 White Label Barbera – "I hope no one likes it," he confides,  and then adds a little cheekily, "so I can drink it all myself."

Sadly for him, but happily for wine lovers, Andrew won't get his wish. We for one found it a wine to take to with gusto, and we're sure others will do the same once they've had a chance to taste it. For this is a wine that's nicely medium-bodied, has forward dark berries, spice and some earthiness on the palate, and with its natural high acidity and long tannins, is one that's a natural as a truly excellent food wine.

Andrew drew on fruit from the family's Ceres Hill Vineyard that's adjacent to their Broke winery, fruit whose vines in 1998 were the first Barbera planted in the Hunter, and which in turn had come from Italian stock planted on Mudgee's Montrose vineyard.

White Label wines are Margan Family Winegrowers' best-of-the-best, and this one well fits the role – at $40 enjoy with heartier beef dishes including, with cooler weather on the horizon, a good steak pie. You'll find its little wonder Andrew says he wishes he "could achieve exactly this every year" – and why his wish that no one will like it, so he can keep all his 2011 Barbera to himself, simply won't be fulfilled.

ONE for special occasions, or any
other occasions for that matter.
ONE TO TRY: RYMILL Coonawarra's Senior  Winemaker, Sandrine Gimon is another who has put the "favourite" moniker on one of their 2011 wines – in this case the Rymill Coonawarra Brut. "I have a soft spot for sparkling after my vintages in Champagne," says Sandrine, who can boast having studied in Reims and trained at Veuve Clicquot  Ponsardin – neither of them mean feats.

"As soon as I tasted the Coonawarra fruit on coming here, I knew that stunning sparkling wines could be created here too," she says. A blend of 82% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir and 8% Pinot Meunier, and made in the traditional method, this is one that's all about flavour and characteristics that shine – and at just $25 great buying for celebratory occasions… or for that matter, any time bubbly thoughts come to mind.


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