White Wine Picks of the Week
This week’s White Wine Picks is a real mixture of both Australian and overseas whites. We again visit the Clare Valley for what we think is one of best unknown Rieslings of Australia. Then we are off overseas to Romania of all places to try one of the best whites we have tasted this year, a single vineyard aromatic dry white from the home of ‘Dracula’. Marq Wines get wild with Chardonnay, and then we finish off in the Alps of Italy.
As always Grapes & Lager is about discovery and offering our members something a little different. All our Wine Picks of the Week are designed for you to sit down with family and friends, read the tasting notes and discover something new and hopefully ‘Be Surprised’. We also encourage you to share your experience with us and provide us with feedback on the wines we have selected. But most of all just enjoy :)
The Wine Guy
So The Wines……..
Albino Armani ‘Corvara’ Pinot Grigio
Albino Armani is over 400 years old, located high up in the Adige River Valley. It was established on December 7th 1607 by Domenico Armani, after he took control of the family land from his father, which gave him centuries of collective history. 400 years on and the winery is still in the hands of the family, having been handed down to generation after generation. Now that’s something to ponder about. The wine here isn’t about volume, getting the maximum tonnage from the vine, stretching the juice and following the trends - its purely about history and the love of the land and what their parents and their parents’ parents did before them. Whilst the winery has modern machinery and follows modern chemistry, the old fashion ways coexist to produce high quality wines from the region. Whilst the new way is to grow more popular grape varieties, Albino Armani continues to focus most of its efforts on the indigenous varieties that have been there for 100s of years. Corvara Pinot Grigio is the ‘climat or village’ of Corvara, grown from vines that are between15 and 40 years old. The grapes are hand picked, lightly pressed as whole bunches producing a wine of excellent quality. With scents of white flowers and ripe pear, hints of spice, its palate is smooth and balanced and quite leaner then other Grigios, but with a mouth feel that is complex with great length on the finish. The wine is a great aperitif, with fresh oysters, seafood, and soft cheeses.
$26.65 a Bottle - Reduced from $32
Kapai Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
This exclusive private label comes from a highly respected family owned winery in New Zealand’s Marlborough region. The secret is getting out, as this is becoming one of our best sellers. Marlborough has gained world recognition for its Sauvignon Blanc grown on alluvial soils, with its extensive sunshine hours (over 2,500 hours per annum) and cool nights, which are perfect environment to produce this crisp, clean wine with ripe tropical overtones, so duly representative of the Marlborough region.
This "mystery" wine is made from grapes grown at two family owned vineyards in the Wairau and Waihopai Valleys of Marlborough. The cooler Waihopai Valley site produces grapes with dominant flavours and acid content. While the warmer Wairau Valley vineyard produces full-bodied wines with good alcohol and ripening potential. After fermentation, the wines are blended to create this classic and consistent Sauvignon Blanc. Quality is the absolute focus of this family owned operation and it starts in the vineyard where no corners are cut, and continues in the winery where ‘handcrafting’ is the applied standard. Being a family-run business, control over quality is truly ‘hands on’. The family’s philosophy is ’the best fertiliser is the foot of the farmer’. Through every day personal involvement, a focus on quality, and a commitment to reasonable pricing, the result is simple…value for money for the customer. This "mystery" wine has a pale straw green colour. The nose shows classic lifted cool climate Sauvignon characters of gooseberry, passionfruit and lychee. The palate is similarly bright with tropical and citrus notes mingling with some intense peppery minerality underpinned with fresh mouthwatering acidity .
$11.95 a Bottle - Reduced from $16.65
Clare Wine Company ‘Watervale’ Riesling
Clare Wine Co was established in 2008 by the owners of Kaesler Wines, Barossa Valley. Winemakers from Kaesler, Stephen Dew and Reid Bosward are responsible for producing the wines under the Clare Wine Co brand. The company focuses on the three most successful varieties of the region: Riesling, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Riesling excels in Watervale, the Shiraz and Cabernet comes from Polish Hill and all represent some of the finest fruit found in the region. The oldest vines are 43 years old. The nose shows fresh limes with hints of stone fruit notes such as nectarine, with a palate that is quite rich for a younger wine. Nice citrus flavours, lychees, hints of clove on the palate with a bit of sugar, just to take the sting out of the acid. Mouth filling, and well structured. A great easy drinking style so get the friends together for BBQ lunch with fresh salads and seafood.
$16.65 a Bottle - Reduced from $19.99
Carmele Recas ‘Sole’ Feteasca Regala DOC
You know when I first smelt this wine it dragged me in with the wonderful aromatics and then when I tasted the wine is just all melded together with intense fruit and soft spicy mouth feel and great balance. I was seduced and refreshed. After just drinking the first glass, I realized that this was a great dry white wine that you could just sit there on a warm day and enjoy. It also reminded me just how amazing the wine world really is. Feteasca (Fete – Asca) Regala (Re – Gala) is an indigenous variety of Romania and is widely planted. The name means ‘royal young girl ‘ and was first observed in the 1920’s in Transylvania. Nurserymen of the region developed it by crossing two other indigenous varieties. The Recas Winery is situated in Banat region of Romania, where the first records of viticulture date back to the period of the Roman invasion of Dacia. Earlier legends tell of the god of wine, Bacchus, spending his childhood there. More recently, history shows that the vineyard of Recas was already renowned in 1447 when the lord of Severin Mihail de Ciorna purchased these vineyards from Ecaterina Magyar, for 32 Hungarian gold florins. Today, the winery controls over 600 hectares in the region and the winery over the last ten years has been completely modernized, with an Aussie and a Spaniard head the winemaking team. I really hope you enjoy the wine as I did. As for what to eat with it, well it went down pretty well on its own, but I reckon it would go brilliantly with Thai or Vietnamese inspired food.
$16.65 a Bottle - Reduced from $19.99
Marq Wines is a boutique Margaret River wine producer dedicated to exploring the potential of alternative varieties and unusual winemaking techniques. Owned by respected winemaker and Curtin University lecturer Mark Warren, Marq Wines are designed to introduce the consumer to a new style of wine drinking. Mark began his career at Lamont’s before moving south to work at Happs where he has been since 2003. As a contract wine maker with over two decades experience in both the Swan Valley and Margaret River, he is now responsible for over 70 different wines throughout the region and has gained multiple awards for his work. Chardonnay has been a mainstream Australian variety now for decades, but its traditional home is Burgundy in France where winemaking practices applied to this grape are somewhat different. In the ‘old world’ naturally occurring yeast (WILD FERMENT) that reside on the grapes in the vineyard and within the winery itself are allowed to conduct the fermentation process without intervention by the winemaker – and Mark has reverted to this old fashioned process to produce this wine. How interesting. This wine has a nose of white peach and grapefruit with notable flintiness, palate tight and intense, with lemon curd and white peach with hint of cashew, with great length. Goes well with Salmon, Kingfish, Poultry, Pork .
$22.50 a Bottle - Reduced from $27
Te Whare Ra Toru
Well the pick of this wine actually comes from one of our tasters club members, and I realized that it is exactly what we are about, ‘sharing our experiences in the world of wine’. I also realized after further investigation, that the wine is a blend that was made famous in the Alsace region of France. On top of that, I drink frequently a similar wine from another producer from the same region at my favorite seafood restaurant at the South Melbourne Market, so it just had to be added to this month’s pack. Te Whare Ra (TWR) is a small vineyard and winery located in the Marlborough sub-region of Renwick, owned by winemakers – Anna & Jason Flowerday. The 11 Ha vineyard which has predominantly loam over clay soils, is one of the oldest in Marlborough, originally planted in 1979. Yields are kept low, the vineyard is managed with a combination of organic and biodynamic practices and all the fruit is hand picked and hand-sorted. The wines are made with minimal intervention in a small winery, which has been specifically set up for small batch winemaking. TWR produces Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and an aromatic blend called Toru, Pinot Noir and Syrah. TORU – which means “three” in Maori, is an aromatic blend they have created and is made from three varieties – Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris. They are passionate about these classic Alsatian varieties and they spent a great deal of time coming up with the right proportions in the blend. They were aiming for a wine that displayed the essence of all three varieties whilst creating a distinctive and interesting wine in its own right. It has the aromatic spice and weight of Gewürztraminer, the structure and length of Riesling, and the great texture of Pinot Gris. The TWR Toru is Certified Organic.
$22.15 a Bottle - Reduced from $26.50