2010 Steingarten Riesling by Jacob’s Creek

June 12, 2012

2010 Steingarten Riesling by Jacob’s Creek

The other day I picked up two bottles of Australian wine at Beijing International Airport. I was in transit and browsed through the duty free shops when I saw them. First I thought them a bit pricy, but then I decided to take two, one white, one red.

The white wine was a ‘2010 Steingarten Riesling’ by Jacob’s Creek. Some wine critics call this wine a ‘benchmark of Australian Riesling’.

Usually, I avoid buying Jacob’s Creek because my wife hates the brand. For her it stands for cheap mass-produced wine. During our time in Beijing in the early nineties there was only cheap Jacob’s Creek available in some selcted shops. Ever since she does not like the producer.

However, I had heard about “Steingarten”, maybe one of the best Riesling terroirs in Australia. And because I am still searching for my favourite Australian Riesling, I thought to give it a try. The original Steingarten vineyard is located at Trial Hill in the Eden Valley, South Australia.

“Steingarten” is German and means “garden full of stones”, but in the case of Jacob’s Creek its a brand name. The wine is “cool climate” and the grapes come from selected locations at higher altitudes of the Barossa Valley.

The bottle had even an individual number (I bought bottle number 22947); and it was low in alcohol (12.5 %). I paid about 25 EURO for it which is not cheap. In my native Mosel valley there is plenty of first class Riesling around for such a price.

The wine was not bad. It had the normal Riesling aromas (lime, citrus and green apple in this case), a solid structure, fine acidity and a good finish. However, I must be spoiled by the German kind of this wine so that also this one did not trigger my enthusiasm.

Needless to say, the search for an Australian Riesling which satisfies me is going on.

The bigger disappointment was to come: the food.

Of course we had the wine with food. Shakespearean cuisine was the go, which is a rather sweet affair with lots fo figs and raisin. Every individual dish tasted interesting. But we made a basic mistake: the various dishes did not harmonize at all with each other. I will just show some pictures and spare you the details of the dishes.

Here is what we had:

The fish

The raisins

Raisin-onion dish

Other veggies

…and the fish with jam

Good friends and good wines

April 12, 2010

Enjoying good wines together

It is always a pleasure to visit Gayle and Phillip at their Spingvale farm just outside of Yarra Glen. They served us wonderful wines. A ‘2005 Tappa Pass Shiraz Vineyard Selection’ by Henschke from the Barossa Valley in South Australia and a ‘2008 All Saints Estate Durif’ from All Saints Winery in Rutherglen, Victoria. Both wines are wonderful, lush and full of flavor, the right stuff for a long chat on the lawn. Needless to say, we had a great time.

An afternoon with red wines

The 2005 Henschke Tappa Pass Shiraz

The 2008 All Saints Durif

The Henschke Shiraz with a glass enclosure

When its over: bottles on the ground

The “good” Lehmann and not the Lehmann brothers

May 23, 2009

While we were working on Thursday, May 21st. in Bangkok, our German colleagues were celebrating Ascension Day, also known as “Fathers Day” in my native Germany. “Father’s Day” is usually celebrated in the following way: young fathers, some older ones among them, and many other men, usually the ones who have not fathered any child they are aware of but eager to celebrate whatever comes their way, gather in the morning around a handcart loaded with all kinds of drinks and food. Then they set out and walk into the surrounding countryside to drink with their mates and have a jolly good, all-male time. Sometime they have a specific destination or they walk around a circuit. I will refrain from describing the usual end of these walks.

In short, the occasion warrants a special treat.

On this Father’s Day in Bangkok, I had the great pleasure of enjoying some hearty Italian meals, delicious pastas and insalata caprese and other delicacies. The rather colder nights in Bangkok, due to the beginning of the rainy season somehow incited in me the desire for some good reds; Australian was the natural choice.

Swirling College Wine

Peter Lehmann and his Shiraz wines seemed to be just the right stuff. Since wine prices are dear in Thailand we have to be careful with our choices.

Peter Lehmann is one of the few Australian vintners who became a legend in his own lifetime. Today, Peter Lehmann Wines in the Barossa Valley, South Australia is part of the Hess Family Estates with wineries in the Napa Valley, South Africa and Argentina.

Peter Lehmann Wines was established in 1979 as a response to the serious grape overproduction at the time (sounds terribly familiar in 2009 too). Most of the grapes come from about 185 contract growers. Only about 3% of the total wine output is derived from the self-owned vineyard (73 ha which is not small for a boutique vintner like me).

The Shiraz wines are the flagships of Peter Lehmann which assured me that nothing could go wrong.

We bought the following wines:

1. A ‘2006 Peter Lehmann Weighbridge Shiraz’
Peter Lehmann 2006 web

2. A ‘2005 Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz’
Peter Lehmann 2005 web

Both were “reasonably” priced for Thai conditions. The price for the bottle of Weighbridge Shiraz was about 700 Thai Bath (US$ 20 or € 14.6) and for the Barossa Shiraz about 1,000 Thai Bath (US$ 29 or € 20.8). Retail prices in Europe range from € 8-12 resp. € 15-17 or £ 6.50 and £ 7.50 in the UK. Interesting these price differentials. That’s the price of protectionism. Long live free trade.

Both wines went well with the Italian food. They had a beautiful dark red colour, were spicy and full of black fruit, plum in the case of the Weighbridge Shiraz. The 2005 Barossa Shiraz was “heavier” with lots of chalky tannins, a wine to be chewed so to say. We started with the 2006er bottle and went on to the older, in my view better, wine, which was absolutely the right choice.

I have not visited the Peter Lehmann winery in South Australia myself. The website is beautiful, informative and very enticing. I conclude: one should visit the place.

It takes about one to one and a half hours to drive to the winery from Adelaide Airport.

Peter Lehmann Wines LTD
off Para Road
Tanunda SA 5352
South Australia

….and then came lunch!

April 28, 2008

Sunday lunch is always a treat. Especially now, that I have to travel so much, the four of us enjoy the little time together that we have, and Sunday is prime time.

After our “late” breakfast cum brunch, we sat down to a hearty meal of “Osso bucco in bianco” (oxtail/veal in white), gratinate potatoes, celery gratinated with cheese, a fresh tomato salad and some fresh bread.

For wine, I choose a Ross Estate Barossa Valley ‘2002 Semillion (unwooded)’ with 12 % alcohol (for US $ 11.20/bottle in my local wine shop). It was the perfect wine with the food. I do not drink much Semillon, I must admit.

But ever since my friend Alan Wall has pointed me to the Hunter Valley Semillon wines, I look out for this variety and buy a bottle here and there.

I love the golden colour of the wine and its full body. It had the typical fig, lemon and pear aromas, was creamy and “fat”, a great complement to our food.

Rod Chapman, the winemaker at Ross Estate, has extensive experience (including 18 years making Grange at Penfolds), and is committed to excellence. The Semillon vines at the estate are at least 35 years old and produce outstanding fruit.