Congratulations… We’ve (collectively) made it to the end of a challenging and unusual 2019; and as we swelter through this last week of work, we can almost taste the refreshing libations of the Christmas break. We hope it has been a great 2019 for you, and you get to cool off and put the feet up to toast the year. It has been a pleasure offering you our weekly wines over the past six months. This will be our last offer until late January, and to make sure that it arrives by Christmas Day, we are personally delivering all Melbourne metro orders on Monday December 23.
This week, we have selected wines from three of the most exciting young winemakers from across Australia, who produce fresh, elegant but powerful wines of quality and intrigue. There is (two bottles each of) a Riesling, Pinot Noir and Shiraz in this pack, and should you wish, they will build through the Christmas lunch nicely.
We have also enjoyed compiling some custom orders for some of you this week, and whilst time is against us, if this is something you’d like to consider, please just give us a call. However, for now, here are the wines;
Meadowbank Riesling 2019 – Derwent River, Tasmania
This is electric, dry and sizzling Riesling, from the deep south of Tasmania. It is made by Peter Dredge, who has been crafting laser sharp Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this vineyard, planted by the Ellis family in 1974. Peter has been on board for the last few years, and prior to revitalizing Meadowbank, had built a fair rap-sheet for Riesling, having worked at blue chip estates in Clare Valley, the Pfalz and Mosel (the latter two in Germany).
The 2018 version of this wine took out 98 points in Halliday and sold out in days. This is the recently released 2019 Riesling and it has started to gain accolades in its short time since release, most recently earning the second-best wine in the “light and refreshing” category of the inaugural ‘Drink Easy' awards this year.
Some of the wine is fermented and aged in barrel, with lees encouraged with the purpose of building palate weight and texture through the wine, to balance the freshness of fruit and laser like Tasmanian acidity. The aromas are citrus, chalk, vanilla bean and white floral. The palate is explosive with green apple, lime citrus, a juicy mouthfeel with a talc-like texture. It is perfect summer drinking. Have it as aperitif, with oysters or prawns, but save some for the pork crackling.
Garagiste ‘La Stagiare’ Pinot Noir 2018 – Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
For our Pinot Noir we are down on the Mornington Peninsula with a sleeper producer that you won’t see as you drive by some of the impressive structures on Mornington-Flinders Road, though that you are likely to spot on inner-city wine lists of hatted restaurants in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The winery is Garagiste and the winemaker (and owner) is the affable Barnaby Flanders. Barney is young but has been making wine on the Peninsula for over ten years now, with wise experience and access to some brilliant vineyards.
His winemaking is focused on working with great vineyards and fruit, while exploring the subtle differences between the Peninsula sub-regions Merricks, Tuerong, Balnarring and Red Hill. He balances a classic, gentle and minimal approach in the cellar, churning out honest, generous, soft and highly drinkable wines. The Merrick’s Pinot is one of our favourites, and is everything you want in new world Pinot. It has succulent red plum and dark cherry fruit flavours, with a dense, juicy mid palate, warm brown spices, savouriness (is that a word?) and a ripe tannin that frames the wine. With all of this, there is enough complexity to keep pulling you back to the wine, and a refreshing lick of acidity that has you pouring another glass.
2017 was an excellent vintage on the Peninsula (and more broadly, in Victoria), which means that while this wine is looking great already, it will safely go through until 2025.
This one is for your Christmas ham and/ or Turkey… or with 96 points from Halliday, it could make a nice gift.
Adelina Shiraz 2017 – Clare Valley, South Australia
It wouldn’t be an Australian Christmas without a Shiraz (sorry that it isn’t sparkling)… and whilst we would save this wine for some roast beef or the fruit cake and cheese board late in the day, we know you have some relatives that will pour themselves a glass of this first thing and knock it back with the oysters. The good thing about this wine from Col McBryde, is that it packs tightness, elegance, earth, soul and so much spice, that it will go with just about anything. It has balance, finesse and complexity that we think is essential for Australian Shiraz and expresses its rugged terrain and gnarly old vines from its ancient plot in the Clare Valley.
The vineyard that Adelina sources this wine from was planted in 1910 and is just 150 metres from the famous, cultish Wendouree. The soils are red loam over limestone and slate, and these mineral soils, coupled with low-yielding 100+ year old wines, mean that this wine has a healthy intensity, with tightly packed black fruits. The fruit is restrained, the wine just pushing past medium bodied tending toward full, with spice, leather, nuts and dry herbs rolled in with the array of black fruits. It will keep for 10+ years, but we recommend having a look and getting to know the wines of Adelina, as there is a real sense of quality and respect with how they go about it. (Col’s Nebbiolo is one of the Australia’s best, oozing rusticity).
The media agree with this one, with 18/20 from the tough Jancis Robinson and a pair of 96’s from Wine Front and James Suckling. Less than 150 dozen are produced and we have access to the last of this vintage.
We hope you enjoy this final pack of the year. Drink responsibly over the holidays, but most importantly... drink well. We'd love to see and hear of some of the bottles you're sharing, so please keep us in the loop.
Tom and Dan