A simple dinner on the farm with Inigo Shiraz

December 29, 2011

After a very enjoyable trip to Port Melbourne where we visited our friends Phillip and Julia who live in a former church (a very interesting dwelling), we returned to the farm and spend a quiet evening at home overlooking the vineyard and the paddocks.

Since we were spoiled with good food the whole day, we decided on a simple “German dinner” meaning cold dishes only. Some Australian cheese, cold cuts, olives, a salad and an avocado together with a German bread would do for the two of us.

Our dinner table

2008 Inigo Shiraz

From under the sink, my secret stash of fine wines, I produced a bottle of ‘2008 Inigo Shiraz’ by Sevenhill Cellars in the Clare Valley in South Australia.

The bottle was left from last years special order which we got through our friend Neville Rowe, who used to work there as marketing manager.

The ‘2008 Inigo Shiraz’ is an old fashioned red, beautifully round and full of flavours, with a lot of alcohol, in short an “umpf” wine, a wine with character. The grapes come from old vines (very old ones) and display black cherries and other dark fruit aromas. The tannins are smooth and has the spicy character we so much love in Shiraz. The finish is long and memorable.

Well, when I work in the vineyard, I inevitably think of the Bible and the many stories about vineyards in the biblical age. In fact many vineyards and wineries in my home town Trier and along the Mosel valley would not exist without “clerical” support.

The Jesuits of Sevenhill Cellars in the Clare Valley know how to make wonderful wines.

My tip: try some wines from Sevenhill Cellars. You won’t regret it.

Four Buckets – Sevenhill Cellars, Clare Valley

January 28, 2011

2007 Four Buckets Shiraz, Touriga, Grenache

On a cools summers’ night, red wine is my wine of choice. We had bought half a dozen of reds offered by Sevenhill Cellars through the Family and Friends Wine scheme (we had bought white wines too).

The stylish 2007 blend of Shiraz, Touriga and Grenache called “Four Buckets” is a very nice wine. It goes with and without food. We had it after dinner to enrich our evening when we were sitting in front of our shed enjoying the sunset.

Dark red colour

The blend is rich and luscious. Lots of red berries, full bodied with a good structure and a long finish. We loved the wine. It made our evening. Look out for it. You might download the order form from the internet and send it to the winery.

College Red – Sevenhill Cellars

January 16, 2011

Sevenhill Cellars ‘2007 College Red’

When I opened the bottle of ‘2007 College Red’ by Sevenhill Cellars from the Clare Valley and had the first sip I thought how awful. But after a short while only, my perception changed. The wine “opened up” so to say.

I just had to get used to the blend: one of Cabernet Franc with Malbec. Unusual somehow with dense aromas, a full palate of red and black fruit, weighty with a long finish. In Argentina Malbec is blended with many other red varieties but not so in Australia.

Beautiful. I immediately regretted that we had only one bottle of it. It came as part of a special order pack. We will have to order more from Sevenhill Cellars. At A$ 12 per bottle the wine is quite affordable.

Very dark coloured 2007 College Red

The back label

Agnolotti pasta

The blend of Cabernet Franc-Malbec went very well with the food: Agnolotti (originating from the Piedmont region of Italy) with mushrooms. It made a very pleasant lunch on a warm summers day on our farm in Glenburn.

Red snapper with Sevenhill Inigo Riesling

January 5, 2011

What a beautiful red snapper

My friend Brett Travis had given us the above red snapper before leaving on a fishing trip to Samoa. This was a wonderful opportunity for another wonderful lunch at our vineyard. We prepared the fish for a six persons meal.

Yummy veggies

It was a beautiful summers day. The fish was “crying” for a white wine too. We took the opportunity to open one of the recently acquired bottles from Sevenhill Cellars in the Clare Valley in South Australia where our mate Neville Rowe is the general manager.

The ‘2009 Inigo Riesling’ is a typical Clare Valley wine. It is young and fresh and lively. Of course I prefer German Riesling wines, and it is my view that Australian Riesling cannot reach that ultimate Riesling level which I love so much.

Sevenhill Cellars is the oldest wineries in the Clare Valley. It was founded by Jesuits in 1851 to produce sacramental wines. We enjoyed the “sacrament” with the delicious fish, and thank all our benefactors. Cheers mate.

2009 Inigo Riesling by Sevenhill, Clare Valley

Top Australian Riesling wines

December 21, 2010

Riesling grape

I admit that as a German Riesling aficionado I have my problems with Australian Riesling wines. I try them again and again but, and to my great chagrin, I have not found what I am looking for.

Australian Riesling wines from the Adelaide Hills, the Clare Valley, the Eden Valley, Tasmania, Canberra District and from Great Southern in Western Australia enjoy a good reputation.

Also our own wine region, the Upper Goulburn Wine Region, produces some beautiful Riesling wines.

The September/October issue of the Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal summarised the tasting of 26 Australian Riesling wines. All of them were under crew caps! Impossible in my native Germany.

Only one of them came from Victoria (Paradigm Hill 2009 Riesling from the Mornington Peninsula). The price range was from A$ 22 to A$ 45 (16.75 to 34.2 EURO). The four top rates wines were:

– 2010 Jacob’s Creek “Steingarten” Riesling (it is German for “stone garden”), a tank sample, Barossa Valley, South Australia

– 2009 “The Florita” Riesling by Jim Barry Wines, Clare Valley, South Australia

– 2009 Premium Riesling by Helm Wines, Canberra District, New South Wales

– 2009 Riesling by Plantagenet Wines, Mount Barker, Western Australia

The magazine carried also a photo of the vineyard where the Jacob’s Creek “Steingarten” Riesling is produced. It reminded me of my home region along the Mosel and Saar river. Here every vine has a single “stick” and is “wrapped” around it with no wire between the posts, nothing.

The “Steingarten” vineyard is entirely worked by hand because of it’s steepness. Also this reminds me of the Mosel with its ultra-steep slopes. The stones are of red colour, though, whereas the Mosel has blue and grey slate.

And believe me these Australian wine producers are not modest. At the recent International Riesling Challenge in Canberra they gave the top wine the title: Best Riesling in the World. Can you imagine. Modesty used to be a virtue which must have jumped out of the window down under.

The trophy was given to a ‘2005 Pauletts Aged Release Polish Hill Riesling’ from Polish Hill in the Clare valley, South Australia by Paulett Wines.

I cannot even try this wine because it is sold out. My search continues. I keep you posted.

Riesling from the Upper Goulburn

January 23, 2009


‘2005 Don’t Tell Dad Riesling’, Murrindindi Vineyards, Upper Goulburn Wine Region

Being a Man from the Mosel I love Mosel Riesling wines and find it hard at times to appreciate other styles of Rieslings. Australia produces out standing Riesling wines. Most of them are of the Alsatian style, they are thick bodied and coat the palate. Moreover, petrol is the dominant nose when you sniff it. Although finding petroleum notes is a common occurrence in aged Riesling wines, it is usually not to be found in young wines coming from the Mosel. And this might be why, though appreciative of those Rieslings from Alsace and Australia, I usually prefer a Mosel Riesling. Here I like the young freshness, the balance between acidity and minerality, the zest, and the exuberance.

But in my meandering search for new experiences, I always give Australian Rieslings a go, often reluctant I admit. The best Australian Rieslings come from Eden Valley and Clare Valley in South Australia.

In his 2009 edition of ‘The Australian Wine’, Jeremy Oliver, a famous Australian wine writer, ranks a Riesling from Victoria, the ‘2007 Seppelt Drumborg’ from Henty (98 points) as the best for the year. Henty, a little known wine region outside Australia, is located in South Western Victoria near the border to South Australia, between Hamilton and Portland. Henty has about 25 vineyards including 12 wineries. The nine Rieslings which follow in the rankings of Jeremy Oliver all come from Eden (4) and Clare (5).

The more I was pleased when James Halliday recently ranked a Riesling from our own wine region, the Upper Goulburn Wine Region, quite highly and gave 87 points to the ‘2006 Barwite Upper Goulburn Riesling’.

While browsing the shelves of the supermarket in Yea , I bought the above bottle of the ‘2005 Don’t Tell Dad Riesling’ from Murrindindi Vineyards, also a member of our wine growers association. Wines from Murrindindi Vineyards have won accolades of praise by wine critics and judges. To cite James Halliday again, he awarded the ‘2006 Murrindindi Don’t Tell Dad Shiraz’ 89 points, the ‘2006 Murrindindi Chardonnay’ 88 and the ‘2005 Murrindindi Family Reserve Cabernet’ 88. The 2005 Riesling even got 89 points.

I brought the above bottle to a dinner with my friends Hillary (from the end of our street), Beth and Richard and was amazed. The petroleum note was not as dominant as with some Rieslings, the wine has elegance and length which I liked. The ‘2005 Don’t Tell Dad Riesling’ retails for about 15 A$ and is a bargain. Check it out. I will drink it again when back in Glenburn.

PS: The Top 10 Australian Riesling wines according to Jeremy Oliver 2009:

1. 2007 Seppelt Drumborg, Henty, 98
2. 2007 Mountadam, Eden Valley, 96
3. 2003 Peter Lehman Reserve, Eden Valley, 96
4. 2005 Leasingham Classic Clare, Clare Valley, 96
5. 2002 Pewsey Vale Vineyard, Eden Valley, 96
6. 2007 Grosset Polish Hill, Clare Valley, 96
7. Kilikanoon Mort’s Reserve, Clare Valley, 95
8. 2005 Taylors St. Andrews, Clare Valley, 95
9. 2007 Grosset Springvale, Clare Valley, 95
10. 2008 Leo Buring Leonay DW L17, High Eden, 95