For Part One of Highlights of the Adelaide Hills Region Tasting click here :: http://wp.me/pBx4h-1u
A RANT ABOUT CAT’S WEE AND SOME SHUCKING GOOD OYSTERS
So, one interesting varietal down, several more to come. I’ve talked about Pinot Gris but I’m yet to mention tasting any straight Sauvignon Blanc. Why not, some of the passionfruit, capsicum and cat’s wee lovers out there might ask? Well, firstly I am not a huge Sauvignon Blanc fan and secondly I didn’t taste any samples that were worthy of writing up. Sure, there were many examples that tasted ‘nice’ and ‘acceptable’. Full credit to the Adelaide Hills winemakers for making a style that appeals in a similar, crowd-pleasing fashion to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. But if it smells like passionfruit and cat’s wee, then it just ain’t for me.
Personally, I prefer my Sauvignon Blanc blended with a little bit of Semillon. The complexity gained by adding the Semillon seems to smooth the Sauvignon Blanc’s intensity. It prevents the wine from becoming a caricature when done well. And the guys at The Lane Vineyard near Hahndorf have really nailed this style of wine with their 2008 Gathering Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.
2008 The Lane Gathering Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
Price :: $30
Cellar Potential :: Great Drinking Now but will develop over the next 2-3 years
Score :: 92
Music Match :: Smooth, complex and vastly interesting. Drink this while listening to Gather To The Chapel from Liam Finn’s great album, I’ll Be Lighting.
Summary :: This wine stands out from the pack with the kind of complexity and interest missing from the vast majority of Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blends. Enticing aromas of limes, almonds and honey. Great integrity on the palate with a touch of minerality, limes, lemons, white peach and honey. The honey aspect of this tasty wine extends to the smooth, mouth-filling texture which takes it to another level. If you love Sauvignon Blanc then give this wine a try, you won’t be disappointed. Plus the complexity and class may just inspire you to seek out something a little more interesting than Giesen Sauvignon Blanc, not that there’s anything wrong with that!
So, just when I thought this wine couldn’t get better, the guys at The Lane stand informed me of something a little special. They had organised for freshly shucked Coffin Bay oysters to be eaten with the wine to show what a great match the Gathering was for seafood. Excuse me? Freshly shucked Coffin Bay oysters? For free? Harvested the previous day? Shucked for me by the producer? Um, let me think about that… Yes, please! What a fantastic idea. The oysters were some of the best I have tasted and matched the Gathering perfectly. I’m certain that plenty of the punters at the tasting left with The Lane and the Gathering fresh in their minds.
And i’m even beginning to forget about the decor, things are looking up!
CHARDONNAY :: I HAVE TO ADMIT IT’S GETTING BETTER (IT CAN’T GET ANY WORSE)
With a belly full of fresh oysters and an increasingly rosy view of the Tasting it was on to the next challenge. The challenge? To find some bloody good Chardonnay and convince my mate that it’s something worth having a fresh look at. After a few failures (i.e overblown fruit, excessive oak… oh dear, someone missed the memo) we struck gold with a couple of smaller producers that are doing some great things with Chardonnay.
The first producer was Michael Hall, an English ex-pat and former jewelery valuer who moved to Australia to pursue a lifelong dream of making great wine. Michael studied wine science, then worked at some of Australia’s finest producers (Cullen, Shaw + Smith, Henschke etc) before settling at Rocland in Nurioopta. Michael Hall only produces very, very small amounts of wine under his own label but they can be very special. The first wine sampled was the 2007 Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay. A well made wine but a little heavy handed on the oak for my liking (91 points). Then we tried the 2008 vintage of the same wine, and Michael has absolutely nailed this wine, it’s an absolute belter.
2008 Michael Hall Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay
Price :: $39-45
Cellar Potential :: Great Drinking Now but will develop over 5 years
Score :: 94
Music Match :: Michael Hall is a great winemaker, Hall and Oates were a great band. And this Chardonnay is classy, stylish and pricey (but still great value). Rich Girl by Hall and Oates matches this wine perfectly. Like Chardonnay they sure aren’t as popular as they once were but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be great!
Summary :: This wine is all class. All of the elements that make up this wine; the fruit, the oak and the malolactic fermentation (for those of you confused by this one, I’ll explain all in an upcoming video post) are managed perfectly in this wine. Complex aromas of peaches, figs, nectarines and a hint of smoked macadamias integrate beautifully with the rich, smooth and damned sexy palate. This wine seduces your mouth like an expert lover, teasing and delicately touching in all the right places… A hint of oak here, persistent stone fruit and pear flavours supported by flurries of exquisite nuttiness, and an oh-so-slow and smooth finish… A completely and utterly satisfying wine.
Well, on that note, I need a bit of a lie down… Stay tuned for:
Highlights of the Adelaide Hills Wine Region Tasting :: Part Three or Lobethal Road (is where I want to be), Gumercha is more than a big wooden horse and the most unique Australian Rose you’ll ever drink…