What’s the difference between a collection of bottles stashed under the bed and a bona fide wine cellar? Do you want to know about the Secrets of Cellaring?
A well-stocked cellar will bring you years of memories and hours of drinking pleasure. Let us explain more about wine collections. When you enjoy a good wine there is nothing better then being able to pluck one of your favourite wines from its temperature controlled slumber. It’s the equivalent to a baker and the best yeast, a chef and good olive oil or a BBQ bon vivant and good salt! Nothing beats the experience of consuming a wine in its optimal drinking window (at maturity). A collection of bottles has no rhyme or reason to it. A wine cellar is something that is considered, temperature-controlled and has a method.
It’s easy to fall in love with the romance of wine. We start buying random bottles that we like, in odd quantities from various sources and before you can say ‘pull that cork’ you have a collection of bottles.
These sporadic buying habits often lead to having an excess of one style of wine and not enough of wines that you wish to enjoy. Hence a collection of bottles. Wine is a living, breathing thing that changes and evolves over time. A cellar allows us to watch and share the wine’s journey to optimal drinking. Think of it as turning the pages of time in a storybook.
You build a cellar by taking advice, researching wines, reading, writing notes and tasting – lots and lots of tasting (responsibly). This is a true secret of cellaring. Some wines you’ll love and some wines you won’t. Remember, if you’re not sold on a wine in its youth you’re not going to enjoy it once it matures. If you have random bottles in your cellar you could always have them liquidated by a professional. When starting a cellar consider the following: when do you want to drink? Now, this year, or when the wine has had time to reach maturity? This is the question of Wine Collections vs. Cellars, and becomes the method by which you begin to buy.
A cellar should always have wines that are reaching maturity in it. If you buy in multiples of three you will be able to compare tasting notes as your wine ages. Then decide what wines you wish to keep – try to branch out across varieties, include some sparkling wines, include whites, Hunter Semillon’s, German Rieslings and of course reds, WA Cabernets or Italian Barolos.
Reds generally are the most age-worthy wines but not all reds age well (be warned). If you like Coonawarra Cabernet, look to its homeland of Bordeaux, France and try the styles of their origin. Collect across varieties and styles – this will help you build a cellar that becomes an open book and you will always have something that is ready to drink.
A well-stocked wine cellar is the gift that keeps on giving. It grows with you, tells a story and is a constant reminder of how your life has changed. Keep and eye out for our upcoming series of the ‘Secrets of Cellaring’ Workshops in both Sydney and Melbourne.
We are hosting that Open that Bottle Night (OTBN) dinner for you, to give you that opportunity; Are you waiting for that perfect occasion…This is it! We will ask everyone to share a few words about their significant wine they brought. Remember, everyone has that “one” wine that seems too special to open. The bottle sits there….. dying. There are bottles of wine out there sitting in Cellars and literally being loved to death!
Every year it’s held on the last Saturday in February (Feb 25, 2017). Start planning your OTBN experience from the people you bring along, to the special wine you will bring. Choose your wine, it doesn’t have to be your most impressive bottle, but a bottle that means the most to you, and one that you would simply not open just “any time”. You are looking for a bottle full of memories!
Since the millennium, a night deep in the month of February has been brightened for wine lovers by the creation of a day to celebrate cherished bottles. “Open That Bottle Night” was created by New York Times “Tasting” columnists, to motivate people to reconnect with each other over a favourite bottle, and create more memories with friends. Wine is more than the liquid in the bottle. It’s about history, geography, relationships and all-important things in your life.
Join us at Noir Restaurant for a 2 -3 course wine dinner and we can do the same. This event is a bring your own event, that’s right; In conjunction with #OTBN 2017 we are hosting an event where you bring the wine, (will also be drinking alot of wine from Luke’s cellar) So… mark your calendars, Luke will talk to you about your bottle, and uncork some of his own.
There will be special offers to buy cellared gems on the evening we will talk all things aged, cellaring, oxidation and what the 5 factors are to consider when starting a cellar. Book Now $99 or $180 per couple come one, or come as a table. #OTBN17
Demand for Chardonnay is back. Whether the big oaky numbers of the past, or the lighter, fresher, more refreshing Chardonnays that has buyers clambering from their roast chicken dinner. Thankfully the ABC club (Anything But Chardonnay), have moved on but what people most likely mean when they say they dislike Chardonnay, is that they had too much of the Chardonnay on offer throughout the 80s and 90s. (i.e the wines were as big as the shoulder pads fighting for space on the nation’s nightclub dance floors.) Over time winemakers have realised that allowing complete malo reduces the wine’s ability to age and smashing the juice with lots of new oak considerably masked the true varietal characters. Now.. times have changed and the wines some people grew up with have faded away. As such, it is about time we again explore and explain the wines and the true romance behind one of the world’s most fashionable varieties – Chardonnay.
Click here and you can join us for our upcoming Chardonnay Classics Lunch !
Chardonnay belongs in your wine vocab. It was at a time when wine slowly started to become the alcoholic drink of choice for initially women and then men. Consumers have come back and are becoming more knowledgeable and they are happy to try these new punchy, flavoursome wines with colourful wine labels and broad spectrum varietal appeal. These styles from the new world are now standing up and standing out on shelves and wine lists against the tried, tested yet often misunderstood wines of France, Chablis and co.
Yes it originated in France, the Burgundy region in particular, and has spread throughout the world. The chardonnay grape is small, round, with a limey-yellow colour. It enjoys humid, moist growing conditions in a mineral rich, limestone or chalky soil. It doesn’t mind some oak treatment during winemaking and has a diverse flavour profile depending on where it is grown. It is a vigorously growing vine, and winemakers sometimes refer to it as it the “winemakers white”, as it can be a blank canvas on which they have the freedom to paint whatever they wish. It can also age well in the medium term, and is a sommeliers’ dream – when pairing it with New England Lobster rolls or Roast Chicken this variety simply sings.
Chardonnay, whether elegant and lean or broad and buttery, has spread to almost every top wine growing country in the world. It first moved from Burgundy to Champagne, and now has a home in Australia, The States (specifically California and Oregon), Italy, New Zealand, and even South Africa. Chablis of course is a specific site; the district is the most northerly vineyard area of France’s Burgundy region. It is a place where heavy clay and chalk soils produce a flinty, refined Chardonnay that is much prized for its intense minerality. To focus on this fruit flavour most wines in Chablis are unwooded. I honestly consider this area to be one of the most under-estimated wine regions in France. Reserved for still white wines, made with 100% chardonnay grapes, there are 20+ communes (Villages) with designations of origin. These include quality demarcations such as Petit Chablis, Chablis and the Chablis Grand Cru – of which there are seven sites. As the White Burgundies from the southern counter-part (Cotes de Beaune) are becoming increasingly expensive, Chablis represents great value drinking and excellent for the cellar if you like your Chardonnay with age and a fuller mouthfeel.
Young wines in the Chablis/unwooded vein can be lean and flinty, with some green-apple and citrus characters in the mouth, along with floral and saline aromas alongside fine acids and real palate drive. The richer style of Chardonnay is made in warmer climates and can be bold, big fruited, and with the right oak there are overtones of nuts and cream. This is the Australian classic style of Chardonnay, which is itself reflective of some of the communes south of Chablis – Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, as they show ripe flavour profiles hinting at tropical fruits like pineapple, guava and mango. Some oak is used during winemaking and this offers those hints of cashew nut, almond and sometimes a thick chicken skin like flavour profile. Acidity is just as important in this style as it is in Chablis, as acidity will hold these wines together and help the wine mature. The mouthfeel in Blanc de Blanc Champagne for example can be almost custard like yet still with good acid. The aromatics of vanilla, butter, and coconut all come directly from the oak usage, whether it is matured and/or fermented in oak. Malolactic fermentation and lees work also both play a part in these wines. If these are your styles try a Chardonnay from Shaw and Smith, Voyager Estate, Toolangi, Tyrrells or Giaconda in Australia, and look for Oliver Lefliave, Domaine Vincent Giradin, and Domain Paul Pillot from Burgundy’s Cote d’or.
Essentially the biggest difference between Chablis and Chardonnay from the rest of the world is; Chablis are 95% unwooded. As such; Chardonnay belongs BACK in your wine vocab.
Click here to join us for our upcoming Chardonnay Classics Lunch and learn more.
1. Know some varieties.
Pick some familiar wine varieties and explore them. Taste and learn about their history, and then use these wine tips and knowledge as a base from which to continue the drinking adventure!
The wines could be made from grapes such as chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, riesling or pinot noir, and you should learn a few facts about them, such as how cabernet sauvignon is ideal for aging, its homeland is Bordeaux (Fra), and that it grows well in warm, coastal climates like Margaret River (Aus) and the Napa Valley (USA). Cabernets also range from medium-bodied to full-bodied and are characterised by their high tannins and mixed spice or currant flavours alongside the richness of ripe berry, tobacco and sometimes green pepper aromatics. As a food pairing, a Cabernet Sauvignon matches with red meats, hearty pastas, lamb, strong-flavoured cheeses and dark chocolate.
Once you’ve investigated three or four styles, introduce them to you friends. Your insight will enable you to understand other varietals better, and your friends will instantly assume you have the knowledge!
2. Wine is subjective
Everyone’s palate is different, and while we all sniff, sip and slurp in the same way, what follows is a personal interpretation. Someone might taste lemon and another may taste orange. One person might like young Hunter Shiraz, as it’s bright and fresh, and another may enjoy Hunter Shiraz that’s medium-bodied, plummy and at least 10 years of age.
Even words are subjective, as some people think a young wine is anywhere between one and three years old, and another person might consider anything under ten years to be young. There is no right or wrong.
Here’s another of my top Wine Tips: If you like it, it’s a good wine. Let nobody tell you any different.
3. Not all wine styles benefit from aging
It is a misconception that you must age wine. The fact is that 90% of wines made today are meant to be consumed young, and most wines are consumed relatively soon after production, perhaps 12 to 18 months. As an example, Cabernet Sauvignons will age for longer periods than most Merlots, however Beaujolais is a ‘drink now’ style that doesn’t benefit from aging.
In general, red wines are better candidates for aging because of their tannin, acid, alcohol and fruit. Some whites like sémillon, riesling and white Chateuuneuf du Pape also benefit from cellaring, though in actual fact there is no precise way to determine the aging capacity of a wine. As a guide the palate length can be a good indicator, though usually it is a best guess scenario with one’s ability to analyse the acids, tannins and fruit utilised. Unfortunately wine labels offer no indication of cellaring potential, not even back labels
Got a wine question for our experts…Get in touch.
A personal cellar can be littered with vinous mistakes, your palate changes over time, winemakers move on and styles fall in and out of popularity. When starting a cellar ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I like aged wine?
- How much wine do I want to collect?
- Do I need wine racks or a wine cabinet?
Once these questions are answered and you are about to start a cellar, I urge all of our members to first buy some aged wines, whether Pinot Noir or Shiraz, choose some varieties you enjoy and taste them. You could save yourself a lot of time, money and possibly some embarrassing moments. While there are many, many different wine varieties that are cultivated worldwide, the below list of wines styles to cellar is based on years of managing private cellars at Vinified. Typically you don’t need wine cabinets or wine coolers you need wines with a good balance of fruit, acids, tannins and length to be able to age.
Here are our top 5;
Types of White Wine;
- Riesling: German, Eden Valley, Clare Valley and also the emerging region of the Great Southern in Western Australia should not be forgotten.
- Chardonnay: White Burgundy/ Chablis, Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley or Margaret River
Types of Red Wine;
- Pinot Noir: Grand Cru Burgundies of France, Tasmania, Yarra Valley and Martinborough, NZ
- Sangiovese: Chianti or Chianti Classico, McLaren Vale, Brunello di Montalcino
- Syrah/ Shiraz: Cote Rotie of the Rhone, the Hunter Valley, Heathcote and of course the Barossa Valley, there are so many styles to choose from.
A little extra… 3 top tips for your home cellar;
- At home leave wines in boxes or original packaging. Some insulation is better the no insulation.
- Don’t worry about humidity so much, Melbourne’s RH (relative humidity) averages 65% which is near enough to perfect. In most domestic circumstances the humidity argument becomes mute.
- Whether you enjoy Pinot Noir now or not, start putting it in your cellar now. Your palate will change. 9/10 Vinified Members wish they had started cellaring Pinot Noir earlier.
Note: In general, more expensive wines are made to become better with age. They are some times made with better fruit and more complex styles of oak. Most inexpensive wines do not benefit from ageing.
The Variety: Sangiovese is considered synonymous with the Chianti and Brunello regions of Tuscany, which are among the many famed styles of Italy. It is one of Italy’s widest planted varieties. According to Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (D.O.C.G) regulations a minimum of 75% of Sangiovese is required to make Chianti. These wines are responsible for 11.7% of Italy’s entire production. Sangiovese is often blended with other varietals in the Old world. However in the last decade it has come to prominence in the new world as a single varietal medium bodied red wine. Lets explore regionality and styles.
The Rules: In 1992 the Italian government had to redefine their wine laws to sort out the anomalies and bring more wines in under its wing. Until this time, only 13% of Italian wine harvest was covered by DOC rules (compared with France 55%), Germany (98%). The significance of the vini da tavolas* extends right across Italy, and has meant radical changes in both vineyard and winery.
Denominizaione di Origine Controllata (DOC)
Similar to French appellation laws, regulates geographical origin, vine varieties, yields, pruning methods, alcoholic strengths, ageing requirements.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG)
Introduced as a higher tier of DOC, a way of recognising the finest Italian wines, supposed to supply some guarantee of quality. Restrictions are tighter, wine must be tasted and analysed by a panel of judges.
Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) i.e. Super Tuscans
Low level of table wine based on French Vin de Pays, the rules are less stringent than for DOC.
*Vino da Tavola (VdT) The most basic quality classification. But also appropriated by some of the best producers allowing them to make wine not bound by wine laws.
The Region: Chianti, situated in Tuscany in central Italy, Chianti is home to probably the best known and most iconic of all Italian wines. Although a wine of ancient origin, Chianti has been recognized by its geographical area only since the Middle Ages. This emblematic wine is made all over the Tuscan countryside, but the historic heart lies in a region between Florence (in the north) and Siena (south). In 1716, Chianti Classico, the heart of the region became easily recognisable by the gallo nero- its distinctive Black Rooster label.
The Style: ‘Key flavour attributes would have to be it’s lifted aromatics and ruby colour, aromas of cinnamon and other spices, cherries and cherry pips, supple berry fruit and just little nuances of oak. The skin on Sangiovese is quite thick which generally equates to bright colours and ripe tannins. Think of these wines coming between Pinot Noir and Merlot on the flavor meter. This variety brims with style and bursts with flavour.
Babo Sangiovese – Tuscany I.G.T, 2011
Winemakers Justin Bub’s 2011 Sangiovese is a blend of 85% Sangiovese sourced from the northern tip of Chianti Classico (a 15 year old vineyard in San Casciano Val di Pesa planted to the high-quality Brunello clone) and 15% from Maremma, coastal Tuscany. All the Maremma fruit (from a site near Valdonica) was included as whole bunch, bringing a lovely freshness to the aromas and palate, though it’s main purpose – according to Justin – is to add some flesh to the more classically structured Chianti Sangiovese. Both batches are fermented separately and then assembled and matured in 500-litre puncheons. Its scented nose combines ripe plum, milk chocolate, leather and sweet spices.Suave, juicy and smooth, with harmonious acidity giving shape and freshness to the wine’s ripe black fruit, tobacco and dried herb. A subtly intense, mid-weight Sangiovese finishing with smooth tannins and a moreish savoury quality. Cellaring 3 – 5years
Ravensworth Sangiovese – Canberra, 2014
Made by an assistant at Clonakilla, and one of the most complete Australian Sangiovese’s. Five different vineyards and clones are the source of this wine, trying to capture a range of microclimates to create a wine with layers of complexity. As a young wine it will be beautifully aromatic, gentle but with a few hints that there is more interest and complexity to come. Cellaring 3 – 5years
Sorrettole Chianti La Querce – Impruneta, D.O.C.G, 2012.
Sorrettole High Vineyards, the grapes were macerated in stainless steel tanks for about eleven days, with periodic mountings for a better colour and soft tannin extraction during which the wine completed its alcoholic fermentation. Ruby red color, pleasantly fruity and with cherry notes to the nose, while fresh and long lasting in mouth. Cellaring 5 – 7years
Corzano e Paterno Chianti ‘Terre Di Corzano’ Chianti, 2012
It’s made up of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo, aged in a combination of large botti cask and older barriques. Hand harvested, with 80% of the wine spending approximately 12 months maturing, it is bursting with freshly picked bramble and cherry fruit, with a lick of umami and wild thyme. The palate delivers perfumed and luscious red fruit shrouded in barely perceptible fine tannins. There’s a surprising mineral note as well as some hints of wet earth and it finishes with a wonderful freshness. Cellaring 6 – 8years
La Cappella Chianti Classico – Poggio, D.O.C.G, 2011 (Sangiovese merlot)
Fermentation and maceration on the skin in steel vats for 15-20 days with temperature control ageing in one and two years old French oak barriques (250 liters) for about one year. In this period a natural malo-lactic fermentation takes place. Ageing in bottles for at least 8 months before releasing. After about one year Chianti Classico starts expressing its best characteristics. Vibrant. Ruby red. Intense aromas with reminiscence of ripe fruit and liquorice. Agreeable and balanced soft taste with a long lasting finish.
2011 Col D’orcia Rosso di Montalcino D.O.C
When the Cinzano family arrived in 1973, most of the wine bottled in Montalcino was Brunello. A second denomination, “Vino Rosso dai Vigneti di Brunello,” was used locally to improve the image of the wine sold mostly in bulk formats. Count Alberto Marone Cinzano decided that it was just the right wine for drinking every day. He used to say: ‘it’s the young Sangiovese I drink at lunchtime.’ In 1976, three years later, Col d’Orcia already represented more than half the production of ‘Rosso’ in Montalcino. Thanks to Col d’Orcia’s efforts in 1983, Rosso di Montalcino became a D.O.C. wine by decree of the Italian President of Rosso di Montalcino is now a classic wine, made with pure Sangiovese grapes, released one year after the harvest so as to retain all the freshness and fruitiness of a young wine and at the same time the intensity that only the Montalcino terroir is capable of delivering. Cellaring 4 – 6years
Barone Ricasoli ‘Castello di Brolio’ Chianti Classico 2007
It is a fleshy, seductively textured, complex Chianti that could only result from an outstanding terroir. Although it has now more than six years of aging, it remains full of promise and will certainly develop even further complexity and finesse as it ages. A powerful and rich red, with blackberry, milk chocolate and cherry character. Full and soft. Not the 2006, but still outstanding.. Cellaring- Nearing its peak – 3 years.
Sangiovese and Chianti have often had a reputation as cheap, however the reverse is true, there are some great value styles from both here as well and Italy and they do belong in you cellar.
New Zealand wines are the words on everyone’s lips with a relatively young history they have added a tidal wave of influences on the greater wine regions of the world, we are now standing and listening. New Zealand Wines moreover Pinot, should hold a worthy place in your cellar. Native to Burgundy and notoriously fickle the Pinot Noir grape has found in New Zealand a home away from home. Their special combination of soil, climate and water, innovative spirit and their commitment to quality, come together to deliver pure and intense wines. Our members always ask where do we buy Pinot from in New Zealand. In this offer we give you some options, we feature Pinot Noirs from North to the very south of the island and define some regional styles. Some of these examples are exclusive to Vinified. You can decide which style is better North vs South more importantly Martinborough vs Central Otago.
Marlborough centred on the town of Blenheim, is New Zealand’s flagship wine region. Which, in combination with Sauvignon Blanc, put the country on the international wine stage. More than just Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough offers increasing depth in varieties and terroir. Established in the 1960’s, the region has come of age. It is dissected by a river and made up by three valleys, the combination of a cool, yet high sunshine climate, low rainfall and free-draining, fertile soil produces lively and fresh Pinot Noirs. Look out for vibrant red colours and cherry fruits. Famous producers: Montana, Fromm La Strada, Cloudy Bay and Dog Point.
Martinborough, for some 30 years has been quietly work toward becoming a world-class wine village. Look out for Pinots with big structure, fruit sweetness and complexity. 20,000 years of ancient geology sets these wines apart, vines are grown in alluvial river terraces, loam soils and stony escarpments. Low cropping levels partly due to the strong northwest winds sometimes present at flowering time, further concentrate flavours in grapes. The climate is about hot dry summers and cold frosty winters, perfect for further capturing acid and texture of fine Pinot Noir. Although only accounting for one percent of New Zealand’s wine production, this regions bats above its weight and is regularly compared to Burgundy. These wines in general are heavier than those of their southern counterparts. Famous producers: Palliser Estate, Escarpment, Craggy Estate, Dry River and Ata Rangi.
Central Otago ‘ Central’ is an awe-inspiring place to make wine, centered around Queenstown, this is the world’s southernmost wine outpost and the country’s highest, with its semi-continental climate frosts are an accepted. However the marked variation, high sunshine and short, hot summers provide an eloquent, albeit brutal, landscape for vines: site selection is everything here. Dry autumns and overall low humidity are significant assets, helping to coax both amazing purity and complexity from the fruits of the vine. Central has six sub – regions stretching from Wanaka 80kms to the north of Queenstown through Bannockburn, Alexandra, Bendigo and the Crowell Pisa basin located on the valley floor 25 Kms south of its namesake township of Cromwell at the foot of the picturesque snow capped mountains. Your looking for wines with a nervous energy of acid and robust tannins, soft and sweet red fruits. Some even have added complexity of herbs and spice and all things nice. Famous producers; Rippon, Felton Road, Chard Farm and Amisfield.
Ata Rangi ‘Lismore’ Pinot Gris 2014 – Martinborough
Almost clear, gentle aromatics on the nose, musk, pear and white florals like jasmine. This example of white Pinot in the mouth is fine, textured with nectarine and almond tart characters. Some alcohol warmth on the back palate if anything. Fermented in both tank and puncheon for texture. Will fill out over the next 3-4 years. Cellar 2015 – 2018
Shaky Bridge, ‘Pioneer’ Alexandra 2012 – Central Otago
Founded in 1973 This is a savory example of southern Pinot Noir. It is beautifully lifted on the nose with dark blueberry and floral aromas, followed by a juicy forest floor palate that’s well rounded with and gamey undertone. The wine is well balanced and has integrated tannins and will develop rich complexity. Cellar 2015 – 2017 5yrs+
Pisa Range ‘Run 245’ Pinot Noir 2011 – Pisa Range, Central Otago
The is a super seductive wine, taken from a group of vineyards. Reddish purple in colour, broad aromatic spectrum of olives, bay leaf and blueberries. A mid palate wine with dark cheery fruit and hints of spiced oak with clove and coffee overtones. Batting well above its average. With good cellaring potential. This is a sophisticated wine with good acids, integrated tannins and has an intensely fruity finish. Great concentration. One of the wines of the night at our series of Mister Jennings dinners in Richmond, Melbourne. Cellar 2015 – 2017 5yrs.
Julicher Estate Pinot Noir Te Muna Road 2011 – Martinborough
From a Dutch husband and wife team, these grapes were hand-harvested and de-stemmed into small open top vats for fermentation and finished in French oak. The nose here is gamey and has a little funk, the mouthful is rich, balanced with silky tannins wrapped around spicy black cherries and a hint of mocha on the finish. Sensational palate and exclusive to Vinified Cellaring: 2017 – 2019 8yrs + 13% alcohol and choc-full of goodness.
Quest Farm Pinot Noir 2011 Pisa Range – Central Otago
Mark Mason and Michelle Crawford live and work on a stunningly beautiful site located on the Parkburn, nestled in the foothills of the Pisa Range. From a 150-hectare site, 20 hectares have been planted into 18 different vineyard blocks. Different soils, aspects, altitude, clone and rootstock add layers of complexity. Hand picked, small batch fermented, hand plunged, basket pressed – made with passion this wine this is so pretty. It was a standout in the line up. Light-ish in colour, aroma’s build to crushed strawberries and red rose and there is just an inkling of French oak spice here. The palate delivers with roundness wand fruits of the forest alongside star anise with silky and defined tannins. WOW! Cellar 2015 – 2017, 5 – 7years.
Cellar release – Escarpment ‘Te Rehua’ Pinot Noir 2009- Martinborough
2009 was a cracking vintage in Martinborough, this single vineyard wine from a 22 year old vineyard is a standout. Winemaker Larry McKenna and his team stand at the top of the tree for quality. This is dense dark and a black bold example from the deep alluvial gravel soils of Martinborough terraces. Way bigger than I expected. It has been matured in 30% new oak, it has good acids, a really soft mouth feel with notes of plums and clove. Very big style. Cellar 2017 -2019, 10 years
Hawkdun Rise Pinot Noir 2011 Cromwell Basin – Central Otago
We love this wine a blue elite gold winner at the recent Air New Zealand Wine awards (1 of three). It is beautiful. Crimson in colour, initially quite light on the front palate, builds with thyme and sage notes, filling out with some plush plump red berries in the mid palate and a long savory finish. Exclusive to Vinified. Classy wine with good cellaring potential. Cellar 2017 – 2019, 8 years.
Overall the differences in the two regions after two fabulous events are Martinborough, on average has older vines, their wines are bigger and bolder with savoury palates, earthy characters and forests floor flavours, very distinctive. Central Otago has exploded, with its several sub-regions stretching from Wanaka 80kms to the north of Queenstown through Bannockburn, Alexandra, Bendigo and the Crowell Pisa basin. The big difference on the palate in these wines is freshness and defined acids. Martinborough has tannins and Central has acids, Central wines are softer, red berry spectrum of fruit and can be simple in wetter years. Regions are equally cellar worthy but styles are very different. We can no longer bundle New Zealand Pinot Noir into the one bowl, the regions are now stand alone. When we started this journey our flagged was firmly rooted in the Martinborough camp, our thinking has changed…maybe.
Aromatic wines are varieties where the flavour and aromas of the wine is that of the grape. These wines tend to be fermented at cooler temperatures so that the primary aromas of the fruit are preserved, not only known for their vibrant fruit flavour — they also have strong aromatics of flowers and spice, hence the name of the style. Their vibrant scents and flavours are often best showcased by vinification and ageing in stainless steel or other neutral vessels.
Some of these grape varieties originated in one part of the world, like Riesling (Germany) or Pinot Gris (France), and are now widely grown throughout both hemispheres.
Regardless of their origins, these varieties; Pinot Blanc (France), Gruner Veltliner (Austria), Fiano (Italy), Gewürztraminer (France), share one thing in common, an impressive growth in popularity.
The rise of aromatic whites can be tied to two trends: the increasing popularity of Asian cuisine that combines sweet, spice and sour notes, and our love of the ‘shared table’ or dinner.
The same qualities that make aromatic whites so desirable to drink, including pronounced floral and spice notes, can make it challenging to pair them with food, especially if one flavour dominates, such as rose water or star anise. Balance is the key; whether in be a dry or sweet version, fruit, flowers and spice must be balanced by acidity and minerality, not to mention the level of alcohol in the wine which plays a part in matching foods.
Whatever your choice of food—Asian, Indian, cheese, charcuterie or barbecue—there’s an aromatic white that will make a perfect match. The suggestion is the higher the spice level the lower the alcohol and higher the sweetness needs to be for example Residual Sugar (RS) in the wine, try it you wont be disappointed.
Vinified recently held a series of wine lunches at St Kilda’s Uncle which matched some great Aromatic wines with the French inspired Vietnamese cuisine. Vinified guests are still raving about the wine and the wine and food matches.
At Vinified we always guide you on how to taste, what to drink and what to put in your cellar. Here are our top five wine discoveries from 2014 and Luke’s tasting notes. Enjoy!
Criteria of selection: Good wines are tasty, Great wines are evocative! All these wines have a story and covey a sense of place and enable the varieties to shine above all!
Jacquart Champagne Rosé, Reims, France
A Chardonnay-based blend, Pinot Meunier and pinot Noir (15% Pinot Noir added back in) salmon-pink in color and delightfully elegant with a brilliant balance of fruit and freshness. Medium bodied and dry.
A deliciously elegant, rounded, fruity style with hints of cherry and wild strawberry. Its fine streams of bubbles enhance the delicate pale pink color. It is fresh and vibrant in style with some notes of apricots on the finish.This rosé is made by adding red wine to the blend, which is a practice only allowed in the Champagne region.
2013 De Iuliis ‘Sunshine Vineyard’ Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW
Mike de Iulliis is cleaning up at present in all the national wine shows. A crisp, clean wine with intense citrus flavors, balanced by structured acids adding length to the palate. Planted on the sandy loam soils of Black Creek. This traditional style Hunter Semillon shows all the hallmarks of a classic. Fresh lifted lemon and limes dominate the aroma, the palate is lively and fresh. The natural acid ensures great length of flavor and gives the wine structure that will hold it in good stead for the future. 5 years Cellaring.
2013 Heirloom Riesling, Eden Valley – SA
Produced by a fabulous Female wine maker and organically farmed.
This wine is a really generous and expressive Riesling. Loads of lemons and limes jump out of the glass, with some nice floral aromas as well. The palate is pure and energetic and surprisingly textural – no doubt aided by the time it spent on its lees. Nice one. Deliciously ripe fruit, great length of flavor and mighty refreshing!
2013 Domaine Gueissard ‘Restanques’ Rosé, Bandol – Sth France
Palate cleansing freshness for summer. So clean! 40% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre. Screwcap.
Fresh, fruit forward and powerful. A creamy and briny nose amid gooseberry, guava and cucumber – Sancerre-like as some tasters have remarked. Where the 2012’s persona was serious and tense, this is a more giving release leaning to the tropical fruited spectrum, with great saline and schist-mineral derived length. Certainly refreshing, though layered and deceptively complex.
2011 Pressing Matters, Pinot Noir, Coal River Valley – TAS
Deep color, and displaying an essence pastille bouquet of plum and sage; the palate is thickly textured and unctuous revealing plenty of concentration and depth, toasty oak notes and a bitter mocha note to conclude; big boned and muscular stems and whole bunch.
2013 Ministry of Clouds Tempranillo / Grenache, McLaren Vale – SA
Ministry of Clouds is the name of a new selection of wines developed by two of the wine industry’s bright young talents, Julian Forwood, previously with Wirra Wirra, and Bernice Ong, ex Woodstock. 52-48% blend is homage, juicy and savory color flavors to those styles with silkiness and plenty of length on the palate. Fragrant and luscious and matured in old oak.
Have you got any of these wines in your cellar?