FRIENDS OF PUNCH Denton Vineyards Shiraz 2012
Yarra Valley, Victoria
Whoever decided to make a wine label that doesn’t actually tell you very much knew how to attract the curious minded. Case in point with this wine by Punch Vineyards. Only by turning over the figure of a goblin-like creature in a love heart on the front label, would you know that this was crafted out of cool-climate Shiraz fruit from the Denton vineyard in the Yarra Valley by two guys who know what they’re doing, winemakers Behn Payten and Gary Mills. A little further research informs us that is was made using all whole bunches, was foot stomped and then matured in old French barrels for 16 months.
The result for this Shiraz is an explosive aroma bomb showcasing sweet notes of blueberries and blackberries mixed with bitter herbs, some tar and a touch of paprika. It may seem like an odd mix, but it works really well as a medium-bodied offering complemented by a full textured palate and a savoury dryness to the finish. Try it with a simple pizza Magherita or chicken marinated with paprika.
Stockist: Direct from Punch
I thought I might experiment with my wine purchasing habits and see whether buying a wine based on a pretty label would lead me to an equally pretty wine. So I trotted off to some wine shops and even pulled a good-looking bottle from the cellar and put the labels and wines to the test.
HODDLES CREEK ESTATE Pinot Blanc 2010
Upper Yarra Valley, Victoria
CASTAGNA Allegro Rosé 2009
“They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time…it works every time“
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.
SHIRVINGTON Cabernet Sauvignon
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Hmm…that name…Shirvington. Doesn’t it make you think of the Australian track athlete Matt Shirvington and the package that was so infamously publicized on television years ago?
Or was that just me getting a little excited? Anyway, the joke beckons, but I will save that until last.
CHALMERS Nero d’Avola 2009
This is a wine of mid-burgundy hue with dusty pink tones that made me seriously want to watch ‘Pretty in Pink’ because I kept picturing Molly Ringwald’s character fabulously suited up for her prom in that garish pink dress…you remember the one!
Oh dear, I was glancing through photos and realised I hadn’t even written up the trip to see Luke Lambert and his wines in the Yarra Valley back on November the 1st.
My cousin Amanda is a massive cheese geek and overall foodie. We complement one another perfectly because I’m the massive wine nerd who also loves to eat food. Do you see how we mesh so well now?
After little debate, I convinced Amanda to take the day off work for health reasons and to accompany me on a visit to the Yarra Valley. First stop? Madden’s Rise Winery off the Maroondah Highway and also Luke Lambert‘s hideaway where he weaves his own magic.
After a home-brewed coffee in the lab, a tour through the vineyards to see his nebb (nebbiolo vines) and a sip through and comparison of the Heathcote and Yarra Valley Nebbiolo in barrel, we were met with this: