SERRAT Chardonnay 2011
Yarra Valley, Victoria
‘Serrat’ is Catalan for ‘high density planting’, a word that draws attention to the 8,800 Chardonnay vines per hectare on the property (more than four times the average density), which produce less than one bottle of wine per vine. This project is owned and cared for by highly respected winemaker Tom Carson and his partner Nadège Suné. Their vineyard lies in the heart of the Yarra Valley. The Chardonnay grapes are hand picked, whole bunch pressed and undergo fermentation by natural yeast in large French oak barrels. Finally, Serrat is bottled un-fined with minimal additions of sulphur added. The result is meant to be a pure and unadulterated expression of the vineyard and the wines that Carson and Suné enjoy imbibing.
This Chardonnay had a noticeably pale hue, lacking the golden intensity of some other examples I have tasted of late. I forgave its lack of colour in favour of the pretty smoked white nectarine and almond meal aromas it offered. The palate had gentle lemony acidity with hints of rockmelon, vanilla and butter flavours. This delicate expression of Chardonnay was the ideal accompaniment to an oven-baked fish served with a lemon, caper and butter sauce.
Stockist: Barrique Wine Store in Healesville
TERRE DI SAVA Luccarelli Negroamaro 2011
Terre di Sava is relatively new to the winemaking scene, having only been established in 2008. They focus on producing a line-up of wines using key native varieties of the area that represent excellent value for money. This particular wine is part of the Luccarelli range and made from Negroamaro, a deeply coloured red grape variety native to the southern region of Puglia, known more affectionately as the heel of Italy.
If you break up and translate the words Negro and Amaro, you get ‘Black’ and ‘Bitter’, the former being the broad hallmark of the variety. I found plenty of aromas hinting towards blackberries, black olives and liquorice. The palate is equally as compact and rich with flavours of blackcurrant and aniseed, medium acidity and a thick tarry finish. For a wine selling below $15, the Luccarelli Negroamaro is punching well above its weight and will satisfy all those looking for a mid-week option suited to spiced pork sausages and rich meat courses.
Stockist: Boccaccio Cellars in Balwyn
BROKENWOOD Shiraz 2009
Hunter Valley, NSW
Five years ago I was working at a Victorian winery and I just loved sitting down for lunch, talking with the staff and sharing stories. It was during these breaks that I came to learn of a fun winery called Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley where most of the staff had worked a vintage at some stage of their lives under the leadership of a wacky guy named Riggsy. Coincidentally, one of these storytellers has come full circle and is now working as senior winemaker at Brokenwood alongside chief winemaker, Iain Riggs (aka Riggsy). Seeing as I never had the chance to work a vintage in the Hunter Valley, I was left to satisfy the urge to learn more by drinking as much Brokenwood wine as possible.
This Shiraz is made from a blend of regions and matured in French and American oak barriques for 18 months. It pours into the glass with an inviting purple hue and offers fruity aromas of blackberries with hints of cocoa. I never like a wine to dominate over the meal and this worked perfectly with barbecued Porterhouse because of its medium to full-bodied nature. The palate is generous with flavours of liquorice, spice and chocolate, and soft tannins that cruise to the finish line. Try the Brokenwood Shiraz at your next Steak Night or with lamb and veal. Alternatively, pick up another bottle from their range and prepare to be impressed.
Stockists: From Brokenwood Winery directly or Nick’s Wine Merchants online