Monday 10 March 2014


WELCOME this First Lady with
the whole spectrum of seafoods.


David Ellis

THE Adelaide Hills region has an enviable reputation for producing many of Australia's finest Sauvignon Blancs, and local maker Chain of Ponds has released a 2012 under their First Lady label that proved an absolute winner when matched at a mate's birthday bash with simply-done barbecued Tasmanian salmon.

With loads of varietal tropical fruit, citrus zest and green apple flavours, plus savoury French oak from fermentation in new and one year old wood, this one also has a nice lively acidity to enjoy now – or even more-so with a couple more years in the cellar.

The Chain of Ponds name, by the way, has an interesting talking-point history to it: originally named Philptown in 1850 after the founding publican, Oliver Philp of the Morning Star Hotel, it was later changed to Chain of Ponds in 1864 in recognition of a nearby string of ponds that never dried up, even in the driest and hottest summers.

In 1918 the Milbrook Reservoir was built next to the village to supply Adelaide, and people in that city expressed such grave concerns their water supply would be polluted by the village being on the edge of their reservoir, that in 1970 the State Government decided to buy and demolish every building in Chain of Ponds, doing so by 1981.

that's a Little Gem.
At $35 this Chain or Ponds First Lady is a great Sauvignon Blanc to truly enjoy with the whole spectrum of seafoods, including as we did with that barbecued Tassie salmon.

ONE TO NOTE: A SHIRAZ from the Hunter Valley really lives up to its name as a little gem – the Little Wine Company's  2011 Little Gem Shiraz being crafted from fruit hand-picked from both low-yielding vines and one of the best red vintages in years.

The fourth Little Gem Shiraz to be released since 2006 (there was no 2007 or 2008,) Ian Little is well justified in describing this one as "the best we've made so far," and reflecting as he says a real generosity of fruit – predominantly cassis and dark berries – from that great vintage. Certainly excellent-value buying at $35, you'll find it a superb companion with osso bucco or a home-made chunky lamb and rosemary pie.

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