|Our wines are stocked at the following local specialist wine shops by the bottle.
18 Hildreth Street, Balham, London,
SW12 9RQ. tel: 0208 6168658
126 Arthur Road, Wimbledon Park,
London SW19 8AA.
Eagle's Wines 227 Lavender Hill, SW11 1JR 020 7223 7209
(Amelia Park, The Story, The Wanderer)
Thorold Wines 22 Ritherdon Road, London SW17 8QD 020 8616 0503
(Flametree, The Story, La Ciornia)
Bottle Apostle 95 Lauriston Road, Victoria Park Village, London, E9 7HJ
(La Ciornia, Ocean Eight)
Do tell them we sent you!
Dinner Party Masterclass
We have teamed-up with Valentina Harris, TV Chef and Author of 20 books on Italian cookery, to provide a Dinner Party masterclass concept www.valentinasmasterclass.co.uk
Riedel Mamba Decanter Award 2012
Brian Oakwell Auswineonline receiving Mamba Award from Yvonne May & Steve McGrawriday
"Top Pinot Noir of the night - Eldridge Estate Pinot Noir 2008"
Against some very good competition from Ten Minutes by Tractor, Moorooduc, Kooyong, Tamar Ridge, Yering Station, Giant Steps, Ocean Eight and many more top flight Australian Pinot Noir wineries, Eldridge Estate's Pinot Noir 2008 won the Riedel Mamba Decanter Award 2012.
Wine: a fresh look at Australian shiraz
Last week I took a look at Australian chardonnay. This week, in the second part of my update on the Aussie wine scene, I'm focusing on shiraz, which is similarly caricatured.
Judging by the wines that are widely available, that might surprise you. Less expensive Australian shiraz, particularly that from the Barossa, is much as it's always been: big, bold and, as the Aussies put it, "grunty". But there is now a trend to pick grapes earlier, resulting in less dense, extracted, more food-friendly wines. Two good examples that wear their 14% abv lightly are the delicious First Drop Mother's Milk Shiraz 2009 (£14.99, The Secret Cellar, Tunbridge Wells; £15.03, The Sampler, London SW7; £15.99,Cambridge Wine Merchants), from the Barossa, and Paxton's sumptuous AAA Shiraz/Grenache 2009 (£13.05, The Sampler), from McLaren Vale.
There's other shiraz, though, that you'd be hard pushed to identify as Australian, some of it yet to reach the UK. Names to look out for includeBattle of Bosworth, whose joyously fruit-brimmed 2011 Puritan Shiraz should arrive at Bibendum in a couple of months; Ngeringa, andCastagna, whose sensational, though pricey (£40), Genesis Syrah is sold by the Wine Society. There's also some great shiraz coming out of the Pemberton and Frankland river regions of Western Australia, such as the glorious 2009 Picardy Shiraz (£22,auswineonline.co.uk; 13.5% abv), from Margaret River pioneers Bill and Sandra Pannell – it's a wine that wouldn't leave côte rôtie fans feeling short-changed.
If you want to get your hands on wines from such smaller producers, however, you need to get in quick when they arrive. For that reason, it's worth getting on the mailing list of specialists such as auswineonline.co.uk and Oz Wines, which currently has a great Australian shiraz case of older and rarer bottlings for £199.99. You can also find a terrific selection at the award-winning Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Wiltshire.
There are also some good shiraz bargains around at the moment. The 2010 Oxford Landing Cabernet Shiraz(13% abv), for example, is on offer at £4.99 if you buy two or more bottles at Majestic; Penfolds' classicKoonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2008 (13.5% abv) is reduced to £6.98 at Asda, compared with £9 or £10 elsewhere; and the lush Peter Lehmann Portrait Series Barossa Shiraz 2009 (14.5% abv), colourfully described to me by the winemaker Andrew Wigan as "yummy shit", which is down to £7.95at Great Western Wine in Bath. You'd be hard-pushed to find better prices in Oz.
• For more Australian red recommendations, visit my website,matchingfoodandwine.com.
Photographs: Full Stop Photography
Wine: Australian chardonnay comes of age
Yes, it's been a bit of a joke wine for years, but the new generation of Aussie chardonnays really hit the spot
Would you take a bottle of Australian chardonnay to dinner with friends? My guess is many wouldn't – a friend recently told me it must have been 10 years since he'd drunk the stuff. The reason is simple: Aussie chardonnay used to be as sickly as tinned peaches pumped up with lashings of toasty oak. Cheap ones still are, but of all the wines that Australia produces, this one has undergone the most dazzling transformation, reminding us what a sexy, sumptuous, delicious wine chardonnay can be.
How to spot the new, more restrained style? In general, I'd avoid bottles labelled south-eastern Australia and look for ones from cooler regions such as Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley. The most affordable ones I've found that hit the spot were both from the Yarra: Yering Station's attractive Little Yering 2009 (13% abv), which Oddbins has under its "customer-recommended price" scheme at £8.50 (around £10 elsewhere; see wine-searcher.com), and Innocent Bystander's Willing Participant Chardonnay 2010 (£10.44waitrosewine.com, £10.99, Waitrose; 13% abv). The same producer makes a gloriously creamy single-vineyard chardonnay under the Giant Steps label, Sexton Vineyard 2009 (£16.99, Laithwaites; 13% abv)
From the Mornington Peninsula just outside Melbourne, try Kooyong's elegant, minerally Clonale Chardonnay 2010 (£17 Wine Society, £18.50 Great Western Wine; 13% abv), which knocks spots off many comparably priced burgundies. (It was the bottle we finished after the tasting, which is always telling.)
And from Western Australia I'd go for Flametree Margaret River Chardonnay 2009 (£20 from Aussie specialists auswineonline.co.uk; 13% abv), a richer, more opulent but still beautifully balanced chardonnay with great ageing potential – as have many of these wines, thanks to the fact they're all bottled under screwcap. I also loved Forest Hill Chardonnay 2010 (£18,auswineonline.co.uk; 14% abv), from Mount Barker, with its juicy, white nectarine fruit and crisp, citrussy finish.
Hefty prices? Yes, it's true they're expensive, but if you'd buy a bottle of champagne, meursault or indeed Cloudy Bay for a similar price, or if you spend £20 on a wine in a restaurant without blinking, you won't be short-changed. It's time to start taking Aussie chardonnay seriously.
• For a longer list of chardonnay recommendations check my websitematchingfoodandwine.com
Photographs: Full Stop Photography.
The wines of Picardy
Superbly elegant wines from Pemberton in Western Australia
Bill and Sandra Pannell were Margaret River pioneers, establishing Moss Wood back in 1969. They now own this small 5000 case winery in Pemberton, another region in Western Australia a bit further south (and thus cooler) than Margaret River. Here they make a stunning range of restrained, relatively elegant wines, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay a key focus, but also with a superb Shiraz.
Everything with Picardy on the label comes from their vineyard, which they established in 1993, and the hand-picked grapes are vinified in the winery on the property. It’s rare to encounter a range as consistently good as this.
Represented in the UK by www.auswineonline.co.uk, whose prices per bottle are given in brackets after each note.
Picardy Shiraz 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Initially tight on opening, this really blossoms after about an hour. A really elegant, almost Pinot-like Shiraz with smooth, sweet fresh berry and cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is fresh and a bit grippy with some spicy notes. Restrained, fruit-driven and balanced, with a hint of meatiness and some iodine notes. Very stylish. 94/100 (£22)
Picardy Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Elegant and supple with cherry and blackcurrant fruit on the nose, as well as a subtle chalky edge. The palate shows real elegance with super-refined berry fruits and a subtle, grainy, chalky, gravelly tannic structure. Very attractive and balanced with potential for development. 93/100 (£22)
Picardy Chardonnay 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Lively and intense with high acidity offsetting rich peach, pear and fig fruit. Pure and intense with spicy crystalline fruit quality. Textured and lively, this shows superb complexity and restrained richness. 93/100 (£24)
Picardy Pinot Noir 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Lovely bright red and black cherry fruit nose with a fresh green, sappy edge and real elegance. There’s ripeness and freshness at the same time, with some subtle warm, spicy, earthy notes. Sophisticated and ethereal and quite old world in style. It’s a tiny bit sweet and sour, but there’s lovely complexity here. Brilliant wine. 94/100 (£24)
Wines tasted 08/11
The wines of Andrew Hoadley, Western Australia
The wines of Amelia Park, Margaret River
Visiting Margaret River, Western Australia (series)
Wines tasted 08/11
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com
The Decanter World Wine awards 2011 have been announced today.
Amelia Park's 2009 Cabernet Merlot has won the Best Australian Red Bordeaux Varietal over £10. Very exciting!
View the Decanter World Wine Award 2011 here:
This is in addition to this wine winning:
Trophy Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010
Top Gold Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010
Finalist Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy 2010
Top Gold Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2010
Silver The Dan Murphy’s National Wine Show Australia 2010
Silver Qantas Wine Show of WA 2010
Silver Margaret River Wine Show 2010
Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot 2009
Trophy Winner Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition
It is with great excitement that we announce a first international trophy win. The Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot was awarded the trophy for Best Cabernet/Cabernet Blend, against a raft of international wines, at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition. This competition is Asia's premier wine show and represents a hub for the region's wine market.
We are thrilled with this award as it recognises Amelia Park's commitment to producing wines of exceptional quality, which is at the heart of everything they do.
"We focus on the essential, and keep only the exceptional"
Winemaker, Jeremy Gordon
Top Gold for
Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot '09
We are very pleased to announce the Amelia Park Cabernet Merlot 2009 was a
finalist for the 2010 Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy, announced in Melbourne
in October. The wine was awarded the "Top Gold" in its class at the Royal
Melbourne Wine Show.