Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Know about Montepulciano Wines


What is Montepulciano?
It is an Italian red wine grape variety. After Sangiovese, it is the second most planted grape variety in Italy. 

Montepulciano grape has its origins in Tuscany, Italy. Its origins should not be confused with the village by the same name as Montepulciano village does not feature any vineyards of this grape variety.

Where is it grown?
It is grown in central and southern Italy in the regions of Abruzzo, Marche, Latium, Molise, Umbria regions. It is hardly grown in North Italy and the reason being that the grapes tend to ripen late and cannot be harvested early as they are ‘excessively green’ during that time.

Montepulciano Wines Australia

Montepulciano grape is beginning to find prominence in various wine regions of Australia, particularly warmer regions, such as Riverland, Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and many wineries have started producing wines of this grape varietal. Few of the popular names are Banrock Station, Bird in Hand, Mr Riggs Wine Company, Taylors etc.

Key characteristics about the grape?
Montepulciano grape variety is a late bloomer. It takes more time to ripen that other grape varieties and with proper viticulture in place tends to reward the producer with high yields. It is resistant to diseases and can withstand warm and cool climatic conditions.

Common Flavours of Montepulciano Wines?
Red Plum, Oregano, Sour Cherry, Boysenberry and Tar are some of the commonly found flavours in these wines.

Cellaring Potential of Montepulciano wine?
Montepulciano wines have a cellaring period of up to 5 years.

Serving Temperature of Montepulciano?
For young Montepulciano wines (2-3 years) containing fruit flavors, the ideal temperature to serve is 16 - 17 degree Celsius whereas the appropriate temperature to serve older wines can vary between 18 – 20 degree Celsius.

Montepulciano Food Pairing?
Montepulciano is a delight for meat lovers as it cuts the meatiest of meats such as beef brisket. It tastes well with cheese such as baked macaroni and cheese, Parmesan and taste equally good with stuffed baked potato and roasted mushrooms.

Two Australian Montepulciano wines – Mr Riggs and Bird in Hand have also won Gold medals at International Wine Competition in London.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Gapsted Wines- The Power of Seven

Gapsted wines is located in the State of Victoria near Myrtleford. It was established in the year 1996 when seven wine industry families joined hands together to form Gapsted Wines. The families found the region best suited for the production of complex red and aromatic white wines. The seven founders of this winery were Shayne Cunningham, the Bailey family, Jim Moularadellis, John Cavedon, Pat and Kevin Murtagh, Bill Moularadellis and Richard Carson.

Gapsted Wines Region
The winery is in the Alpine Valley in the north east Victoria region. In the region are two valleys located - Alpine Valley and King Valley.
The Alpine valley is located at an elevation of 150m – 1500m. Total 8 wineries are present in this region with vines spreading over the area of 500 ha. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the 4 most widely grown grape variety in the region.
Alpine Valley was selected as a winery site for its stunning Alpine view and proximity to cool climate fruit.

Matt Fawcett is the chief winemaker as well as the CEO. Besides having a degree in Viticulture and Oenology(Winemaking), he has over 28 years of experience in the wine industry and worked across various wine-regions such as Riverina, Hunter Valley, Murray Darling etc.
Toni Pla Bou is the senior winemaker in charge of making white wines. He has worked in wine-regions of Yarra Valley, Riverina, and Swan Valley and in various wine-regions of France.
Michael Cope Williams is the senior winemaker in charge of making red wines. Highly experienced, he has made sparkling wines for 30 other Australian wineries. Has also worked in wine-regions of France, Napa, and Oregon in the USA.

Wine Range
Gapsted wines has wide range of production. It produces red wines, white wines, sweet wines, sparkling wines, aged wines and fortified wines. Below is the table representing wines with its corresponding range -
Type of wines
Red Wines
·         Ballerina Canopy
·         Dividing Range
·         Hidden Story
·         High Country
·         Limited Release
·         Rosedale
·         Snowy Creek
·         Tobacco Road
·         Unlabelled
·         Valley Selection
·         Waterstone
White Wines
·         Ballerina Canopy
·         Coldstone
·         Hidden Story
·         High Country
·         Limited Release
·         Snowy Creek
·         Tobacco Road
·         Unlabelled
·         Valley Selection
·         Waterstone

Sweet Wines
·         Coldstone
·         Gapsted Fruity
·         Tobacco Road
Sparkling Wines
·         Ballerina Canopy
·         Coldstone
·         High Country
·         Limited Release
·         Tobacco Road
Aged Wines
·         Ballerina Canopy
·         Limited Release

High Country and Piccolo range are the latest to be added by the winery.

Awards and Recognition
The wines have won 25+ Trophies and 81+ Gold Medals both local and abroad over the years.
It has been awarded ‘Best Alpine Winery’ for six consecutive years.

Cellar Door
The cellar door was built in 2001. It previously has won the ‘Best Winery Cellar Door’ by Victorian Tourism Awards.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon - Wine Par Excellence

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon of 2015 vintage is a premium red wine which has been oaked in French and American oaks. Another specialty of this wine is that it has been made with fruits of different wine regions of Australia. So, it is a multi-vineyard Cab Sauv wine. 

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Wirra Wirra Wines – Rebuilding from the ruins

Wirra Wirra winery was established in 1894. It was originally owned by South Australian cricketer Robert Stangways Wigley. For the first few years the winery performed well, and its wines were exported to England. During that period, it produced an acclaimed Shiraz. In 1926, after Wigly’s death, the winery eventually closed. In 1969, the winery was rebuilt by the combined efforts of Greg Trott and cousin Roger from its remnants. Three years later, the winery produced its first wine - The Church Block, under Greg’s guidance.
Its vineyards are present in Adelaide Hills which is home to cool climate wines and the McLaren Vale region which is known for its microclimate and a Mediterranean climate.
There are 6 vineyards under the winery. These are - Nocowie, Scrubby Rise, Chook Block, Woodhenge,’73 Block and House Block.
The winery incorporates organic and biodynamic practices. It has received certification in year 2013 from NASAA Group which is an International and Australian Organic Certifier.
Wirra Wirra wines has taken important steps towards sustainability. Few of them are listed below -
·         It is a member of Australian Packaging Covenant which is an initiative to reduce the amount of packaging material entering waste lines.
·         It reduced the consumption of electricity by 50% and cut down carbon emission by 60% during 2013-2014.
·         The winery has planted 4700 trees in the region since 2011.

Major Wines
RGT Collection
           Catapult Shiraz
           Woodhenge Shiraz
           12th Man Chardonnay

           Angelus Cabernet Sauvignon
           RSW Shiraz
           Absconder Grenache

Mr. Wigly
           Mrs Wigly Grenache Rose
           Mrs Wigly Moscato

Scrubby Rise
           Scrubby Rise Sauvignon Blanc Semillon
           Scrubby Rise Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
           Scrubby Rise Chardonnay

Awards and Recognition
The winery is rated 5 red stars by James Halliday and its cellar door has been awarded as a Star Cellar door by Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Heathcote Wines- True Mark of Heathcote Wine Region

Heathcote winery was established in 1978 in the Heathcote region. The building where the winery is present which was originally used as miners produce store dating back in 1854.The winery released its first vintage in 1981.The ownership moved in the hands of Stephen Wilkins, who with few other wine enthusiasts purchased the winery in 1997.
The place of winery was chosen as it provides a unique micro-climate. The climatic condition of the region provides distinctive voluptuous fruit flavours to the wine. The region is located north of Australia’s Great Dividing Range. The region has Cambrian soil which has great water holding capacity, distributed rainfall and temperate temperature.
The Heathcote winery has a cellar door and Art gallery.
Newlans Lane Vineyard is 10.2 hectares in size. The grape varieties which are grown here are – Shiraz and Viognier.
Slaughter House Paddock Vineyard is 4 hectares in size. The grape variety grown here is – Shiraz. Contains one of the oldest plantings of Heathcote region.
Some of the wines from the Heathcote winery include –
·         Cravens Place Shiraz – Fruit of this wine sourced for warmer part of Heathcote. During winemaking French and American oak was used to structure the wine.
·         Mail Coach Shiraz – This wine is a classic example of elegance, power, spice and richness all rolled into one. The name of the wine is taken from mail service established by Tom Craven in 1850s.
·         The Origin Shiraz – The wine is characterized with white pepper notes and dark fruit.
·         Slaughterhouse Paddock Shiraz – This wine is characterized by distinct eucalyptus character which it attains from the surrounding trees in the vineyard.
·         The Wilkins Shiraz – Traditional winemaking process are used to produce this wine. This wine showcase richness, power and intensity
·         Cravens Place Sauvignon Blanc – The wine comes with tropical aromas of citrus and passionfruit.

·         Mail Coach Viognier – Fruit is sourced from Newlans Lane Vineyard which are some of the oldest plantings of Viognier in Australia. This wine will develop velvety and rich notes upon cellaring after a period of 4-8 years or consumed young.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

What makes for a top sommelier?

Sommeliers taste wines. Sommeliers write tasting notes. Sommeliers are marketers. What is it that Sommeliers are not? Well, if viewed from historical perspective, the growth of this profession and the increase in stature of sommeliers is really praiseworthy. From being the people in the lowest rung of wine industry who used to take care of vines, it has evolved and enhanced as a profession to be come one of the most prestigious in the wine industry. At present, this profession is a mix of various skills, knowledge and experience.

The first important quality which a person shall have is extreme passion about wines. This passion will take him to places where he can learn about the wines and vineyards, the style, structure, aroma and flavours of wines and also take into consideration terrior influences which impart distinctive characteristics to the wines. Even if the person is not formally educated in this profession, his passion to learn, know and taste wines would make him explore all thing wines and all things related to wines. So, person would naturally be interested in knowing which food a wine would go well with.

A good sommelier shall be able to distinguish the flavours and smells and relate these to some similar object for the purpose of making the others understand how a particular wine would taste or smell. His senses shall be well developed to an extent that would make this possible. At the same time, there is a need for him to gain exposure to these smells and tastes over a period of time. This is something which is assimilated only after considerable experience and repeated exposure to these smells.

Enhancing the knowledge about various wine regions and how wines from these are different from each other is another important quality which the sommelier shall have. This is not always easy to visit each and every wine producing region for this purpose, but the person shall be sufficiently read in order to understand the terroir influences and other details of wine regions.

Since it is a part of the duty of sommelier to attend to the guests, it is natural to expect him to be good at marketing. He shall not only be a good presenter but shall also be a good judge of customer wine preferences. He shall know how to serve and to pour wines. He shall also know all aspects of good wines etiquette and practice it in reality.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

First Family of Wines in Australia - Tyrrells Wines

Starting small, now a mid-sized family business exporting wine to 50 countries. Tyrrell’s winery is the part of Australia’s First Families of Wine. The winery has close to 19 ranges, some of which are – Echo Beach, Lost Block, Old Winery, Ra Nui, Rufus Stone, Single Vineyard, Stomping Ground, Trout Valley, Winemakers Selection.

Some of the highlights into the history of Tyrrell’s wines and its progress over the years as follows -Tyrrell’s family lineage is long and can be traced back to few hundred years whereas Tyrrell’s wines itself is 150 years old. In 1854, Edward Tyrrell travelled to Sydney. Few years later Edward Tyrrell purchased 320 acres of land in the prime area of Hunter Valley land, also known as ‘Uncle Dan’. He began winemaking at the age of 18 and made many reputed wines in Hunter Valley. The winery was built in 1863.Tyrrell’s first vintage was released in 1864.
In 1870, 30 more acres of land was established which included shiraz, semillon and aucerot. Murray Tyrrell took over the business after the death of Dan Tyrrell. In 1961, “Vat” system is released with red 5,7 and 9. After two years, Vat 1 Hunter Semillon was released considered by many as the best Semillon to be produced. In 1966, another wine from Tyrrell’s – Long Flat Red enjoyed immense success. Tyrrell’s winery released Vat 47 chardonnay which was also highly successful with the sales of winery skyrocketed. In 1972, 1,000 cases of Tyrrell’s wines were exported to USA for the first time. Bruce Tyrrell took over the family business.
In 1979, Tyrrell’s wines reached new heights after winning the Gault-Millau Olympics of Wine for 1976 Vat 6 Pinot Noir, a highly reputed wine award, in France. Murray Tyrrell for his contribution to Australian wine industry was appointed the Member of Order of Australia. In 1988, Tyrrell’s wines underwent two important acquisitions of Glenbawn Estate winery and the Brokenback vineyard. In 1995, Tyrrell’s was voted the Best Australian winery by Australian Financial Review(AFW). After the death of Murray Tyrrell in 2000, fifth generation of Tyrrell’s family become part of the business. In 2005, Tyrrell’s exported to 30 countries across the globe and was producing 500,000 cases per year.

Winemaker Andrew Spinaze has also been facitilated with ‘Winemaker of the Year’ award by Gourmet Traveller WINE and Winestate Magazine in 2004.
Some of the wines which have won awards over the past decade are –
Vat 1 – Best Wine of Sydney Show 2005.
Vat 1 Semillon 1998 – Best Semillon at International Decanter Wine Awards 2009
The winery received 14 trophies at Hunter Valley Wine Show out of total 19. It took large number of medals at 2016 Adelaide Wine Show and 3 trophies at 2017 NSW Wine Awards.
The winery was also awarded ‘Winery of the Year’ in James Halliday Wine Companion 2010.