April 2015 Red Wine Tasters Pack

Grapes & Lager – Red Tasters Pack Tasting Notes 

With this month's red tasters pack, we’re heading to the eastern block of Europe, then back to Australia to McLaren Vale for a fine Tempranillo, then check out a popular Italian red style, over to the Barossa for Cabernet Sauvignon (to Shiraz), and finally we need to bring out the chilli crab or mussels for an Aussie sparkling red.

As always Grapes & Lager is about discovery and offering our members something a little different. These packs 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 to share your experience with us and provide us with feedback on the wines we have selected by going to the reviews section on the wine you have just tried.

But most of all just enjoy!


The Wine Guy.


And Now for The Wines……


Carmel Recas ‘Calusari’ Pinot Noir – Romania

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 in 106AD. Early legends tell of our favourite god of wine, Bacchus spending his childhood there. More recent history shows that the vineyard of Recas was already renowned by 1447 when the Lord of Severin, Mihail de Ciorna purchased the vineyards in Recas from Ecaterina Magyar, for 32 Hungarian gold florins.

Today the winery controls over 600 hectares. An Aussie and a Spaniard head the winemaking team, what a great combination. Under their management, the winery has been completely modernised. modernised.

I really liked this wine when I first tried it just because its so honest for what it is, full of classic Pinot Noir fruit flavours and nuances as well as being wonderfully balanced. Its just a little richer than some other Pinot’s, but a good drink.  On top of that, it is amazing quality for the price, I haven't seen a quality Pinot Noir for this low price. I love what this Aussie winemaker is doing with Recas; the wines are fresh, well-made and exceptional value for money.

Niuc ‘Blatina’ Kvalitento – Bosnia Herzegovina

Well this what we are about, surprising our members and introducing wines that most would neither have thought to try (unless less you travel or descend from there) or would even think of putting Bosnian wines on the radar. Like the Romanians, this part of the world has been producing wine for many, many years, and sadly because of the lack of access; and to be truthful, the quality of these wines in the immediate past, they just haven't been exposed to the rest of the world.  But now its changing, and considering how many early immigrants from the former Yugoslavia have been involved in the inception of the Australian wine industry, its about time we looked at the wines.

Vinogradi Nuic is a family owned winery located in the little village of Crnopod, in southwestern Herzegovina, were the family planted 35 hectares of vines in 2004. Interestingly they purposely use the word Vinogradi in their name as "Vinogradi" means "Vineyards". Why? Because in their words,

 ‘It has all begins with them, all the effort has been given to them, and because the vineyards are those that will give back, to us, most abundantly, and we will be most grateful to the vineyard

The climate is Mediterranean and influenced by the Dalmatian Coast, giving them a climate of warm/hot days and cool nights perfect for fruit flavour and acid balance.

Blatina is an indigenous variety and has similar fruit characteristics to Cabernet Franc, nice and plummy, rich with velvety tannins and blended with Alicante Bouchet, which is similar to Grenache.

Enjoy this wine - its interesting and well made. I had my first bottle with an aged cheddar and this was a perfect match.

Nashwauk Tempranillo – McLaren Vale

Nashwauk is owned and managed by Kaesler Wines, Barossa Valley. Stephen Dew and Reid Bosward are the winemakers.

Kaesler’s first wine made outside its Barossa Valley home maintains its winemakers’ criteria using estate grown fruit of predominantly old vine plantings.

The search to find the right vineyard took some time before a 20 ha property on Neill Road in McLaren Vale, Seaview sub region was bought in 2005.

Creating a name for the McLaren Vale brand took time. After months of deliberation, inspiration was drawn from the undulating hills and magnificent view down the Fleurieu Peninsula where the cool waters of the Gulf of St Vincent wash the white sandy beaches. Nashwauk is the name of a cargo and migrant ship, built in Nova Scotia, which met an early grave in the waters off the Fleurieu, near Moana Beach, in 1855.

Nashwauk Tempranillo has typical fruit nuances of the variety on the nose, cloves and star anise, the palate is medium bodied (a good thing), juicy with dark fruits and combining with a savoury, with an earthy undertone.

Great wine, its medium bodied so excellent with food - bring out the chorizo, or spicy meatballs.

Pogo Amina Montepulciano – Italy

Last tasters pack I put in the Nero d Avola from Sicily under this same label, and this time I've gone for the Montepulciano (and next time the Sangiovese). Why? Because they are greatwines and so well made. The challenge with some Italian producers (and most others) is the variance in quality between wines, brands and labels, but with this producer they are all consistently good (and you haven’t seen what they do best yet). The range is produced by Le Ragnaie situated in Montalcino in Tuscany, but is a joint venture with Vine St (US) and other premium producers in Italy.

Owned by Riccardo and Jennifer Campinoti who are the custodians of farm land dated back to 1700, their three vineyards are now all organically grown and are now famous for their Brunello wine made with Sangiovese. But thats another story. 

Poggio Anima Montepulciano is bright ruby red, with aromas of strawberry and raspberry. In the mouth it is juicy, spicy, and meaty with an amazing floral lift flavour on the palate.

Drink with good friends, hide it from bad friends and be selfish. Food doesn’t matter, does it?

Gomersal Cabernet Sauvignon – Barossa Valley

Gomersal is an interesting story. In my 30 years in the industry, I had not heard of them or tasted their wines so its a good reminder about just how wines and producers there is in Australia (est. 2200 plus).

The actual location of the winery is in the town of Gomersal on the north western edge of the Barossa Valley. The winery was originally established in 1887 by the Fromm Family and was known as Chateau Rosevale. In 2000 a group of friends joined forces to breathe life into the old and run down winery and so began Gomersal Wines.The site is planted predominately with red grape varieties and produces classic Barossa full flavoured wines.This Cabernet Sauvignon has classic red berry, spice and dark chocolate on the nose, rich and full flavoured on the palate with cherries, raspberries and spice, pleasantly medium bodied (meaning you can drink it without falling asleep an hour later) soft tannins and well balanced finish. Great wine from a region better known for Shiraz.Bring out the lamb shanks or slow cooked brisket

Cofield Sparkling Shiraz Durif - Rutherglen

The Cofield Family have had history in the Rutherglen region for many generations starting out with their great grandfather Frank, who in 1909 worked on the famous St Leonard’s Vineyard, as did his son, Harold who spent 50 years tolling the soil of St Leonard’s. Harold's son, Max founded the family winery and his son Damien now oversees the winemaking.

Why did I choose this wine - or why did this wine choose me?Cofield 2013 Sparkling Shiraz It goes back many years to when I was first introduced to Sparkling Reds from Australia by a gentleman who loved Chilli Crab. So a group of us got together one night - we actually put our money together and flew down some live Mud Crab from Darwin (through a friend), took it to great seafood restaurant in Perth where they cooked it up.  We had a vast selection of sparkling reds on the table and rest is history. What a great introduction to Chilli Crab and Sparkling Red. As it’s just turned cold here in Melbourne so its Chilli Crab Time again!!!!

Fruit is sourced mainly from the family vineyards, but also selected growers in the Alpine Valley and King Valley. Great wine, full of fruit, rich, fruit sweetness, the bubbles make it way to easy to drink just enjoy, did I mention what food to have it!!!!


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