Day one on the road in Greece we found ourselves making the 2 hour drive west of Thesssaloniki to Amyndeon. A region which is growing with renewed ambitions. At altitudes between 500 & 750 metres, it is the country’s coolest … Continued
Day one on the road in Greece we found ourselves making the 2 hour drive west of Thesssaloniki to Amyndeon. A region which is growing with renewed ambitions. At altitudes between 500 & 750 metres, it is the country’s coolest wine growing region: a sandy alluvial plain flanked by mountains and home to four lakes which help temper the climate. There are plenty of old vine Xinomavro vineyards in the area with some as old as 100 years, which means they are pre-phyloxera and planted during Turkish rule.
I visited Laurens Hartman & his wife wife Annette van Kampen at Domaine Karanika. Over the past 7 years they have cobbled together a patchwork of small vineyards and gone about farming organically (certified) with strong bio-dynamic principles (un-certified). The winery is small, designed by Lauren’s himself to operate using gravity at all stages of the winemaking process. He is a true minimalist, preferring not to fine or filter. His sulphur regime started at zero and has crept up to almost non existent over the past couple of years. The wines are all living wines and the quality is very good and getting better and better. I think this is an estate to watch closely, as their passion is matched by intellect and determination.
Read more about Laurens & Annette at www.karanika.com
Heading abroad for the next four weeks.
Well, not all of us. Orders will still be being dispatched as per normal. Boon is on the road in Victoria & John is making sure the office is ticking over nicely.
Do Keep an eye on our blog for updates and feeds. Our full website and product list will be live in the coming weeks.
“… follow me, the white rabbit, down the rabbit hole …”
I was excited. Nay, extremely excited when I heard Jancis Robinson was heading south to host tastings at this years Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. This quickly turned into unbridled wine nerd bliss when the I discovered that one of these tastings would focus on the more esoteric wine grapes.
Two tickets were quickly secured and I settled back down, content. Which was roughly the moment I realised that I was double booked. My long term colleague & friend at Douglas Lamb Wines was getting married on the same day. With two tickets spare I gave them to another friend whom I thought would be equally excited. His thoughts form the real bones of this post, so I thank Aidan from Melbourne’s Europa Cellars for his generous contribution.
“… follow me, the white rabbit, down the rabbit hole …”
Such a fitting opening from mediator Max Allen at the Wines of Wonderland tasting (as a part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2013), for this was to be an afternoon of tasting the more obscure grapes of the world and it would turn out to be a tasting I felt was truly important and one which every wine lover in Australia should have attended.
On face value the tasting could appear to be a shameless plug for Jancis Robinson’s new book Wine Grapes or the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show or merely a chance for sommeliers to geek out over Koshu from Yamanashi or Prieto Picudo from Tierra de Leon. But what unfolded was a discussion on the way we drink and perhaps indeed the way we should be drinking.
10 years ago, due mainly to a lack of availability and interest, it was enough to know the 6 ‘major’ grape varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon & Pinot Noir), but today we currently grow more than 150 grape varieties here in Australia and thanks to a constantly growing population of importers the wine landscape in Australia will never be the same.
We tasted through 5 whites; a delicate and ballerina poised Koshu from Yamanashi, a ripe stone fruit and bruised pear Petite Arvine from Valle d’Aosta, a minerally and saline Assyrtiko from Santorini, an unfortified sherry from Jerez (an ode to the wines of the past and a joint venture between Dirk Niepoort and Jesus Barquin of Navazos) and finally a truly knock out Savagnin from the “Pope of Arbois” – Jacques Puffeney.
The first bracket of 4 red wines exploded with my wine of the day; a single vineyard Mencia from vines of approximately 100 years of age from Descendientes de J Palacios, which was a truly special way to begin the reds. To follow; a sweet fruited and voluminously rich Prieto Picudo from Tierra de Leon, a bracken, twiggy and brambly fruited Teroldego from Trentino and a herbal, amaro bitter Blaufränkisch from Burgenland.
The final 3 red wines upped the structure ante with a beautiful black tea and rosehip scented Nerello Mascalese/Nerello Cappuccio blend from the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily, the next wine; an Aglianico from Puglia, wasn’t in the best of conditions with the wine tasting baked and flat and we finished with a Bobal from Valencia which was truly bizarre offering up aromas of lavender, tomato vine and cherry yoghurt.
“The terms noble or great need to be thrown out, just be open minded and enjoy.”
“Good wines do not necessarily need flavour to be enjoyable, digestible or great.”
Tasting aside, it was these two quotes for me that summed up the vibe of the tasting, they made sense not only in the context of the tasting, but also in the way in which we should view wine in the future. You need not sweat the small stuff and try to search for 20 flavour descriptors to help understand what is in your glass, or attempt to compare the grape with another of which you are more familiar. What is important is to seek an emotional resonance between the wine in front of you and the winemaker’s devotion to it or the cultural heritage from where it originates or just with the person with whom you are sharing it.
And so it was, a Sunday afternoon descent into the wonderland of vinous treats currently being imported into Australia by those that seek to drink outside the box.
Come and join us, one and all.
2009 Grace, Hishiyama Koshu, Japan
2011 Ottin, Petite Arvine, Italy
2011 Sigalas, Santorini Assyrtiko, Greece
2010 Niepoort Navazos, Vino Blanco Palomino Fino, Spain
2007 Puffeney, Arbois Savagnin, France
2008 Descendientes de J Palacios, Moncerbal Mencia, Spain
2008 Pardevalles, Gamonal Prieto Picudo, Spain
2009 Foradori, Teroldego, Italy
2008 Moric, Reserve Blaufränkisch, Austria
2008 Biondi, Outis Etna Rosso, Italy
2008 Antica Enotria, Aglianico, Italy
2010 Mustiguillo, Mestis Bobal, Spain
Fairfax media have done a fair bit of streamlining over the past couple of years as it works hard to remain at the forefront in a rapidly evolving internet age. One of the results has been the consolidation of it’s … Continued
Fairfax media have done a fair bit of streamlining over the past couple of years as it works hard to remain at the forefront in a rapidly evolving internet age. One of the results has been the consolidation of it’s food & wine publications under the good food banner. They are responsible for the good food guide, good cafe guide, good pub guide and the most exciting one [for us] the good wine guide. It has been written & curated by Nick Stock who is one of Australia’s most prolific writers, his style is both entertaining & succinct.
So we’re more than pleased that a selection of our Greek wines have been reviewed for this years edition.
‘The 2013 Good Wine Guide is the biggest edition we’ve published, either under this or the previous Penguin Good Australian Wine Guide banner, with close to 1600 wines in the book this year.’ Nick Stock
2010 Karanika Brut Speciale | RRP AU 55.00
100% Xinomavro (Organic – seeking certification)
2011 Antonopoulos Mantinia | RRP AU 23.00 *
2011 Domaine Gerovassiliou Estate White | RRP AU 34.00
2011 Gaia 14-18h Rose | RRP AU 24.00
2008 Gaia ‘S’ | RRP AU 48.00
2008 Kir Yianni Estate Red Blend | RRP AU 38.00
*Our calculations actually have this sitting at around $28 per bottle RRP.
Watching an industry come together is an inspiring sight and this is exactly what happened with the inaugural Rootstock Festival last week. It was pitched as a sustainable & artisan wine & food festival, some were calling it a ‘natural’ … Continued
Watching an industry come together is an inspiring sight and this is exactly what happened with the inaugural Rootstock Festival last week. It was pitched as a sustainable & artisan wine & food festival, some were calling it a ‘natural’ wine fair which can polarise many with it’s linguistic connotations. However Rootstock was far from a niche group of radicals bandying together, but far more importantly a diverse cross section of an industry all of whom hold sustainability and quality as guiding lights to their business. This alone added depth & texture to the day, both literally and metaphorically.
The biggest win in my mind is that the average person was presented with an impressive range of styles from the technically faulty (if you wish to take it there) all the way to the super clean and everywhere in-between. Drinkability was the key, appreciating that some bitterness here, a touch of phenolic grip there may add to the overall enjoyment and that the most important question to ask after analysing a wine to death is ‘do I like it?’
Another win, was the awesome representation of Australian wineries & while they didn’t necessarily have to travel as far as some of the other exhibitors, they gave everyone an insight into the new wave of Australian wines. The wines we often read about but rarely get the chance to taste and they certainly left a real impression.
Judging by the crowd, it closed the gap between wine dork & the all important wine drinker. I’d like to think that we even gained a few non-wine drinkers to the fray. So lets celebrate diversity in wine, not just in the soils but in the drinking culture. I’m already looking forward to Rootstock 2014.
What was I doing there? I was flying the flag for Thymiopoulos Vineyards a small, family run estate located in Naoussa, Greece. Their pure fruited Xinomavro’s have set a new benchmark in this much lauded region.
CHINA 2011 Hansen Cabernet Gernischt [Inner-Mongolia] 100% Cabernet Gernischt (certified organic) 2009 Hansen Cȏtes du Fleuve Jaune du désert de Gobi [Inner-Mongolia] Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, Cabernet Franc, Merlot (certified organic) USA 2011 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Chardonnay [Monterey] 100% … Continued
2011 Hansen Cabernet Gernischt [Inner-Mongolia]
100% Cabernet Gernischt (certified organic)
2009 Hansen Cȏtes du Fleuve Jaune du désert de Gobi [Inner-Mongolia]
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, Cabernet Franc, Merlot (certified organic)
2011 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Chardonnay [Monterey]
2010 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Zinfandel [California]
76% Zinfandel, 24% Petite Sirah
2010 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Claret [Monterey]
79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc
2010 Francis Coppola Directors Cut Cabernet Sauvignon [Alexander Valley]
87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot,1% Cabernet Franc
2009 Foradori Teroldego [Trentino]
100% Teroldego (available in 1/2 bottles)
2011 Bellenda ‘San Fermo’ Brut Conegliano-Valdobbiadene [Veneto]
FRANCE 2010 Château de Moncontour Vouvray Brut Téte de Cuvée 100% Chenin Blanc NV les Quinze Arpents Vouvray Brut 100% Chenin Blanc 2010 Louis Sipp Pinot Blanc ‘Ribeauville’ [Alsace] Pinot Blanc (certified organic) 2011 Château Bonnet Entre Deux Mers [Bordeaux] … Continued
2010 Château de Moncontour Vouvray Brut Téte de Cuvée
100% Chenin Blanc
NV les Quinze Arpents Vouvray Brut
100% Chenin Blanc
2010 Louis Sipp Pinot Blanc ‘Ribeauville’ [Alsace]
Pinot Blanc (certified organic)
2011 Château Bonnet Entre Deux Mers [Bordeaux]
Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle
2011 Domaine de Chevilly Quincy [Loire]
100% Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Lucien Crochet Sancerre AOC [Loire]
100% Sauvignon Blanc
2010 Lucien Crochet Sancerre ‘Le Chene Marchand’ [Loire]
100% Sauvignon Blanc
2011 Domaine de la Citadelle Châtaigner red [Luberon]
45% Grenache, 45% Syrah, 10% Carignan, Cinsault and friends
2009 Château du Courlat Lussac-St-Emilion [Bordeaux]
80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (planted on the Estate)
2009 Château Liversan Haut-Medoc [Bordeaux]
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot (planted on the Estate)
2009 Château Patache d’Aux Medoc [Bordeaux]
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. (planted on the Estate)
2009 Castillo di Jumilla Crianza [Jumilla]
90% Monastrell, 10% Tempranillo
2010 Arbucala Escensia Joven [Toro]
2009 Arbucala Escensia Barrica [Toro]
2010 Jaspi Negre [Monsant]
40% Grenache, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carinena, 10% Tempranillo
NV Canals Nadal Cava Brut [Penedes]
40% Macabeu, 40% Xarello, 20% Parellada