CASTAGNA Allegro Rosé 2009
That may be a quote that I stole from the movie Anchorman – The Legend of Ron Burgundy , but such a highly intelligent saying could also be applied to the wine style rosé. We are in the midst of a Rosé revolution that hosts events through the month of November. However according to my standards of rosé appreciation and ridiculously good mathematical calculations, it is actually a beverage that has the capacity to be consumed during two thirds of the year, if not more. Melbourne weather permitting, I am referring to the period from the end of October to the start of May. “60% of the time…it works every time”.
On November 10th, I celebrated the beginning of the revolution with this rosé from Castagna called Allegro, which easily confirmed its position as one of Australia’s top rosé wines. What can I say? It is difficult to dislike such a pretty peach, salmon, blush hued wine. Well actually no. That was a blatant lie because if the wine did not perform and do wondrous things in my mouth then I would not speak of it so highly.
Fear not, Julian Castagna has created a wicked rosé mistress of layered complexity like no other.
She beckons you forth by opening with a perfume of sweet pink musk followed by a gentle puff of smoke. Soft and playful on the palate, she kisses you with sugared almond lips dusted with vanilla icing. Texturally, Madame rosé has got curves in all the right places and in the right proportions with that final flavoured flush of rose water pinning you down for another glass. She brings an impressive 14.00% alcohol to the table, but with such a vivacious personality, it is no wonder that you are more than tempted to have a bit of a play with the alluring rosé.
SHADOWFAX Viognier 2010
Goulburn Valley, Victoria
GIACONDA Aeolia Roussanne 2008
- Not everybody is privy to the fact that Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda has a gorgeous 100% Roussanne wine up his sleeves that he has been making since 2000. Some would say it’s a bit old-school, then rub their hands together as they wait in anticipation for the arrival of his ‘should be interesting‘ Nebbiolo.
- Sorry, sidetracked for a moment there!
Back to this wine in particular, it is made from the Nantua and Warner vineyards in Beechworth and called Aeolia. That’s right, Ae-o-li-a. I’m not referring to the pigmented aureole around your nipple nor the Italian garlic mayonnaise aioli. Aeolia is a wine that can go the distance (such as the superb vintage of 2005 Aeolia), or is heavenly in its youth (like the focused 2008 Aeolia). Core to both wines is a heady perfume of honeydew and cashews, a hint of exotic spice, followed with a mouth-filling, tropical fruit, minerally, textural palate that continues to surprise with its length. Who ever thought Roussanne could be so good looking on its own!
WOODLANDS ‘Chloe’ Reserve Chardonnay 2007
Margaret River, Western Australia
There is a definite reason why, like acclaimed wine critics, I have decided to praise this wine so highly: Woodlands have performed a triumphant feat with this sumptuous Reserve Chardonnay! The striking base of white stone fruits and grapefruit acidity was given real drive and length using the battonage technique, which has then added the sublime textural element and persistency in flavour that I am ultimately bragging about. This is one Margaret River Chardonnay that not only makes you sigh, but also makes you sing.
JEANNERET Big Fine Girl Riesling 2008
Clare Valley, South Australia
The Question: What do you get when you cross a Swiss chemist with the Clare Valley, a love of grapes and a beautiful dream?
The Answer: The beginning of Jeanneret where the son, Ben Jeanneret, now runs this kooky business. I introduce to you one of his offspring, the Big Fine Girl Riesling from the 2008 vintage. Appropriately named because she speaks from the more luscious side of the Riesling family with bucketloads of juicy apple and lime fruits with an acidity described as ‘refreshing and bracing as a mountain stream’. Now this is wine with personality!
NGERINGA Chardonnay 2008
Mt Barker, South Australia
“Our vineyards are the essence of our wine and the love of what we do, and biodynamics is the path along which we allow their character to shine.” Erinn and Janet at Ngeringa Vineyards wear their poetic hearts on their sleeves and put their passion into the vines and the resultant wines. The minimalist approach leads to no forced additions to the grape juice and it is wild yeast fermented. It is showing excellent intensity of flavour with tart grapefruit, white stone fruits and a thrust of spicy oak. After two years in bottle, this wine is now in perfect harmony. Drink now or in the next couple of years.
SORRENBERG Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2010
Here is the latest release from the man whom in my eyes can do no wrong by stylistically breaking every rule in the Australian wine book. This is a rocking blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon with the former getting a bold eight hours of skin contact before pressing! This, along with the large barrel fermentation and extended lees contact, has assisted in giving this wine real mid-palate drive and weight complemented by the naturally refreshing, tight acidity. The finish is strong and with such unique structure and overall finesse, this wine exudes Sorrenberg’s character in bucket loads.
SORRENBERG Gamay 2009
Sorrenberg’s Barry Morey’s humble offerings earn praise year after year, whether it is for his Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon, or his stunning Chardonnay which I tend to pine for every so often. His latest Gamay continues this strong tradition. Intriguingly it contains a small portion of Pinot Noir to combine two French styles of Beaujolais and Burgundy. The result is seamless but remarkably distinct with red berry aromatics tied to a hint of fresh cherry. For something made in the depths of a cellar underneath Barry’s house, the wine is a true delight said by those who know all about it.
S C PANNELL Nebbiolo 2007
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
In January 2011 Steve Pannell spread the Aussie love with his ‘All for One Wine’ campaign promoting Australian wines. With so many grape variety options here in Australia and to align myself for a moment with SC Pannell’s thinking, why would I venture overseas just for the day?! (Rheotorical question DO NOT ANSWER!).
OK, so be warned. I am a self-confessed Neb-head. For a variety that some would say is more easily misunderstood than appreciated, I am an ardent advocate of the Nebbiolo grape. The 2007 is classic in style from the autumnal colour, to the delicate red fruits that are beginning to edge into a more savoury tone. The picture is completed by the wonderfully high acidity that is balanced by its lashing of tannin and palate weight. Steve Pannell really is an exceptional producer of this complex variety. Share the Aussie love if you wish.
VINEA MARSON Sangiovese 2008
“When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine…” – The dear Dean Martin
As the Best Italian Varietal for the 2011 Good Wine Guide, Mario Marson’s most recent vintage provides the perfect template from which to benchmark great Aussie Sangiovese. A backbone of freshly picked cherries with hints of bramble and a lick of vanilla are complemented by a taut acidity, firm tannic kick and almond meal finish. Get on it.
GROSSET Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Clare Valley, South Australia
For their nineteenth vintage, Grosset has continued to drive for distinction, undoubtedly (and enviably) having one of the best styles in the country. Made from 60% Clare Valley Semillon and 40% Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, this blend never disappoints in its flavoursome offering of tight citrus and pristine stone fruit perfumes. The overall lemon core provides the generous length and mouthwatering texture. A wine of this intensity will further evolve in the glass so don’t drink it too quickly!
Was drinking the Sorrenberg Chardonnay 2009 at my work today. Super intriguing wine and one of a kind in Australia. Also a big fan of his 2009 Gamay. Sorrenberg’s Barry Morey’s humble offerings earn praise year after year, whether it is for his Sauvignon Blanc/ Semillon, or his stunning Chardonnay which I constantly pine for. His latest Gamay continues this strong tradition. Intriguingly it contains a small portion of Pinot Noir to combine two French styles of Beaujolais and Burgundy. The result is seamless but remarkably distinct with red berry aromatics tied to a hint of fresh cherry. For something made in the depths of a cellar underneath Barry’s house, the wine is a true delight said by those who know all about it.