I knew there were red grapes that had red flesh, and subsequently red juice, but I didn’t know they had a name. That name is teinturier grapes. Saperavi is a teinturier type grape. I’m sure there are others but I only know of one other; Alicante Bouchet. In French, teinturier means to dye or stain and, as much as Saperavi has the red flesh, I’ve no doubt the juice has been suitably dyed or stained by coming in contact with the dark skin of the grape. I must say, it presents like a glistening puddle of deep purple goodness in the glass.
The grapes themselves are (generally) pretty big and thin skinned like pinot noir but not as temperamental. Winemakers need to be careful with this grape variety because, from what I’ve read, it can come across as extracted and acidic. Apart from the pleasant acidity this one has, it certainly didn’t come across as extracted. The rich fruit was oh so perfectly dominant.
It’s typically Sapervi. Pretty intense and full of flavour. Blackberries, boysenberries and dark plums fill out the palate. There’s an earthiness about it that’s sort of like fresh, out of your garden, beetroot (if you know what I mean) and there’s a downright delicious licorice note too that carries it all to a fruit filled finish. All sorts of yum!
Another terrific wine at such a good price. I don’t know how Marnie does it.
Matriarch & Rogue Website
Region: Riverland, SA Price: $22 Source: Gift courtesy of Marnie Roberts
Isn’t time an interesting thing. It can have such an effect on so many things and not always in a good way. It’s pointless me giving you examples because they are endless but I’m going to tell you the story of how time was a friend to this wine.
It all started pretty much this time a year ago. I was given a bottle of this wine to try by the owner/winemaker, Michael O’Brien, who asked me to let him know what I thought. Well, I decided to involve a couple of mates of mine, both of whom had vast wine knowledge. The unanimous verdict was, it was a bit disjointed, a bit all over the place to be honest. We could all see the obvious potential, but it definitely needed that thing I was talking about earlier. Time. Mind you, that didn’t phase Michael one little bit. He entered it in the 2018 Tasmania Wine Show a couple of weeks later and it was draped with a bronze medal.
So, how’s it looking now? Well it may be a bit shy on the nose but, if you’re like me, it’s the palate where everything counts. There’s limes, grapefruit and obvious yet delicate acid. It has good length although those flavours trail off leaving the acid component lingering, albeit briefly, all by itself. It’s slightly more developed than I expected but, for me, this has helped the wine seem a bit calmer allowing it to show it’s best. Regardless of this slight development over the year, I still think it has another 10 years left in it.
Grab yourself a big cone of fish and chips or some calamari and chips then a bottle of this. Before you know it, you’ll be going back for seconds of both!
Disclaimer: I have helped Michael O’Brien at the Taste of Tasmania and Dark Mofo events.
It’s not available on the website at the moment so, give Michael a call if you want some. He’ll sort it out for you.
Domaine Dawnelle Website
Region: Upper Derwent Valley, Tas Price: $36 Source: Gift thanks to Michael O’Brien
I feel a little sorry for Cabernet Franc. It seems it’s the middle child of the Cabernet family, with Cabernet Sauvignon at one end and Merlot at the other end of the Bordeaux bunch of red grape varieties. Not necessarily the ‘forgotten child’ of the family but almost. In recent times it’s come out of the shadows and stolen the limelight, to a certain extent, from its siblings with one winning a trophy (or two if my memory serves me correctly) at Australian regional and/or capital city wine shows. Now, it may not have been from this region or this wine but it was a Cab Franc nonetheless.
I have to admit, I’ve not had many straight Cab Francs. I sort of knew what to expect but it wasn’t necessarily such good quality from this region!
From a certified organic vineyard in Orange, New South Wales, this certainly ticks a box or more for me. Berries, cherries, some pepper and spice and more…and you don’t have to try hard to find all of these goodies as it rolls around every crevice of your mouth. It’s deliciously medium bodied and ripe-ishly juicy without being over the top. You can’t help but like this wine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a wine that you need to sit in your cellar. I don’t think it’s built for that and I reckon that’s a good thing. It’s too nice a drink for that.
I wasn’t able to find it on the Tamburlaine website but I did find it here at Organic Wine
Region: Orange, NSW Price: $25 Source: Swap (Thanks Simon Colwell )
This is my second Australian Sangiovese in four days. Admittedly tonight, it was always going to be a Sangiovese. When my daughter kindly said she was going to put together a very nice spicy tomato based pasta dish, this variety of wine had to be in a glass by its side. Walking through the bottle shop, I spotted this one and it easily grabbed my attention. To be honest, mainly because I knew the wine but, I don’t remember ever having a Pizzinia Sangiovese and this was the perfect opportunity.
Really good start thanks to aromas of spicy dark cherries and blackcurrants of which were delicate yet abundant at the same time.
It’s deliciously full on yet sitting nicely medium bodied. Definitely dark cherries with their skins still attached, juicy plums are part of the game, terrific soft smooth tannins that linger too with the addition of a savoury element that brings it home. Just so you know, it’s pretty easy to drink and gee it proved popular with my family.
What a great value wine. Whether it be with family, friends or anyone else in between, you really need to find, buy, try then drink this wine. They deserve it and so do you.
Region: King Valley, Victoria Price: $28 Source: Retail Purchase
I reckon when this wine was bottled it took an oath. An oath along the lines of, “I promise to show the fruit, the whole fruit and, to a certain extent, nothing but the fruit so help me god I swear”. It’s lived up to that promise.
Everything about this wine is vibrant, fresh, juicy and eminently drinkable! Juicy red fruits lead the charge on both the nose and palate. There’s some definite cherry characters on the flanks with some smooth savoury tannins bringing up the rear. By the end of our Friday night, the bottle was empty. I’m pretty sure the angels didn’t get their share so it’s not hard to guess where the contents ended up.
Main & Cherry Website
Region: McLaren Vale, SA Price: $25 Source: Online Purchase
Grenache was, and probably still is, used for fortified wines. It is my view that both of these are so under-rated in Australia. Let me explain.
In this country, we have some extraordinary fortified wines made from old material that are so damn cheap. We are spoiled as far as I’m concerned. It is no different with Grenache. Australia has some of the oldest Grenache vines in the world (so I believe) and yet we, I, you, pay very little dollars for quality old vine Grenache and I’m very grateful. I just think it is not only under-rated, it’s also under appreciated. If there was ever a prime, consistent example of this, Yalumba Old Bush Vine Grenache is it!
It’s typically Grenache when it comes to the colour. Quite light yet a vibrant red. Great on the nose. That vibrancy doubles up when it comes to the aromas with lots of red fruits and savouriness here too.
The colour doesn’t tell you what to expect on the palate. Those red fruit characters are obvious but they seem to be a bit more robust without coming across as extracted. They are nice and juicy almost juby but not in a sweet way. There’s a very nice subtle herbal note too, it’s savoury and deliciously spicy and the tannin influence is nought. An absolutely brilliant, bargain wine.
Region: Barossa Valley, SA Price: $24 (Cheaper if you shop around) Source: Online purchase
I mentioned in my review of the Hastwell & Lightfoot Fiano (review here in case you missed it) how my wife and I had ventured to McLaren Vale a number of times without calling into their cellar door. At the end of that review I said, “I’m feeling the disappointment now after tasting this wine”. Well, I decided to look at their website more closely and the disappointment is more real now. The place looks amazing, the platters look bloody amazing, and after trying this, my second wine from these guys, the wines are (or at the very least) also bloody amazing with a plus sign after it.
Sorry, I hate saying this sort of thing, but it is so very McLaren Vale in a delightful and individual way though. By this I mean it has the typical characters of the region but I think it has its own idiosyncrasies and personality.
It smells earthy but with some terrific dark fruit notes and clean too.
High percentage cocoa dark chocolate, dark berries, a ripe juicy plummy medium weight palate that sits for a moment on the taste buds before trailing off. The tannins are evident but by no means intrusive.
There is a sense of elegance about this wine thanks to some very well executed oak that seems to be creamy/vanilla in character. This is where I think its own idiosyncrasies and personality come into their own. Elegance is not always something you relate to McLaren Vale shiraz.
Even though it is nicely balanced and so approachable now, this has cellarability for sure and at the price, you can have the best of both worlds!
Hastwell & Lightwell Website
Region: McLaren Vale, SA Price: $30 Source: Sample courtesy of Hastwell & Lightfoot and Define Wine