Monday 22 July 2013


TASSIE tempter worth the extra freight
costs (enjoy with a hearty beef stroganoff.)

David Ellis

WE don't often get the opportunity to try wines out of Tasmania, and when offered not only a Tassie drop but one that was a quite unusual blend too, we jumped at it.

And how surprisingly rewarded we were. Grey Sands vineyard is in the foggy Tamar Valley in Tasmania's north, just 3.5ha in size and since being established in 1988 has produced a range of reds, with particular success with Merlot that was planted there in 1998. Then after a visit some years ago to New Zealand where he was impressed with blends he tasted that invariably included Malbec, Grey Sands winemaker Bob Richter decided on his return home to add that varietal to his vineyard as well.

Those vines took seven years to produce any appreciable crops from the low-fertility grey sands (that give name to his vineyard,) and when they finally did in 2012, he blended 45% of that Malbec with 45% of his Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, calling the resultant drop The Mattock.

This is a beautifully deep-red wine with purple hues, rewarding plum and cherry flavours, silky tannins and some background savoury oak; its great value at $30, and worth investing in the delivery fee (particularly to enjoy with a hearty beef stroganoff.)

SAVOUR this Canberra surprise with puddings,
cheesecakes and rich fruit cakes.
To order, give Bob a call on (03) 6396 1167 or email

ONE TO NOTE: BOTH Hungary and Germany claim to have been the first to produce –albeit accidentally after fruit was left on the vines too long – dessert wines that are now made from fruit that's deliberately left beyond normal harvest to be attacked by Botrytis Cinera, a fungus that sucks much of the water from that fruit, leaving it withered and with deep concentrations of natural flavours and often added tones of honeyed apricot.

NSW's Riverina produces some world-recognised dessert wines, and now Shaw Vineyard in the Canberra wine district has released a delightful 2012 Botrytis Semillon that is beautifully fruit-flavoured, sweet, and ideal to enjoy chilled with traditional puddings, cheesecakes and rich fruit cakes. Excellent buying at $25 for a 375ml bottle.


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