Saturday, February 10, 2024

Small Wonder Riesling

 Though I love the Small Wonder Rose, the Riesling was not great. Much too sharp perhaps, no depth. Tamar Valley. 

Nocton Estate Chardonnay

 Coal River Valley, Southern Tasmania. The Chardy is perhaps too lemony for my taste. But Nocton is the first to make a Chenin Blanc in Tasmania. 

Devil's Corner 2022 Riesling

 Surprisingly good, given I am used to Clare Valley Riesling., and given that Devil's Corner can be run-of-the-mill. 

Strelley Farm Estate NV Rose

 A very peachy sparkling in perfume and on the palate and in its colour. Coal River Valley near Cambridge. A blend of selected vintages: hence no year on the bottle. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

Friday, September 15, 2023

Meander Valley Wines


Meander Valley Wines

Driving into Meander, the township, I understood why the father of proprietor of Cedar Cottage Meander, Sarah Williams, believed he had discovered paradise in 1976. The valley is a floor of green fields hugged by the Great Western Tiers descending like wide, graded steps across the horizon, below a soft mid-blue sky. Sarah, too, understands that the valley is a beautiful place. She grew up there, so her roots are in the soil. Meander has a sense of serenity, breathing space—and magic.

Meander Valley itself is 3,821 sq km in extent, from urban areas of Launceston to world heritage areas of wilderness. It’s above the heart of Tasmania, extending into the north where the Meander Valley LGA ends and Latrobe LGA begins. The Pallittorre and Punnilerpanner peoples are the Indigenous owners. Within the two LGAs are the ‘short walks capital’ of northern Tasmania, a Tasting Trail, and, because of its milk- and dark-chocolate soil, the food bowl of Tasmania: dairy, truffles, land-farmed salmon, molluscs, crustaceans, fish, beef, lamb, vegetables, fruit—and grape vines. Tasmanian is in the South-Eastern-Australia wine zone, and, as a whole, is a region, while within it are sub-regions which the North-West is. Thus says the Meander Valley Wines’ website says: ‘Tasmanian wines are all about sub-region and micro-climate’.

Meander Valley Wines (Red Hills) is a 16-minute drive from Meander township. All of its wine bottles have luminescent-yellow tops, much like the current revival of 1970’s psychedelic fashion. Its distinctive, minimalist labels, with vertical text, sans image, and empathetic or affecting colours—musk pink for Sparkling Rose, pale mauve for Pinot Noir and teal for Pinot Gris—make the wine easy to recognise amid a discordancy of bottles on crowded bottle-shop and wine-bar shelves. That neon-bright yellow of the bottle tops is picked up in lettering: the A in Meander and V in Valley and Vineyard (a smart choice, since the consonant A is among the strong sounds in those words).

The Sparkling Rosé is a surprising combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Its colour is a tenderly beautiful ballet-slipper pink, reminding me of my alma mater, the University of Sydney’s Library with its copper- or bronze-clad wall/s tinged pink from exposure/age.

The Sparkling is very dry, but still has body and complexity, with a passing whisper of strawberry sweetness as you drink it down. The aroma is salmon and musk. Recommended for discerning sparkling drinkers: this is one of Tasmania’s best; it sits in a well-judged balance of elegance and sophisticated pleasure. I was shifted to the memory of being in my local, childhood grocery shop with its glass-box lolly counter full of toffee umbrellas, musk sticks and the pink among liquorice allsorts.

The Pinot Gris is silver-yellow in colour with a ballet-pink undertone. The perfume is as if you were smelling cool, flat satin. The palate is reminiscent of a light Semillon, which I always think of as an adult grape, taking some seniority of experience to understand and appreciate. Some bitter orange, some passionfruit. Not lush, but neither is it severe. It’s like playing a game that demands some brain power but also engages, like Monopoly perhaps.

ThePinot Noir, in colour, is a clear, light ruby-red like a jewel, typical of Pinot Noir, and one of the most enticing attributes of this grape. Who could not admire, who would not love this come-hither colour?

On being opened for some time, the wine develops a pepper in its perfume much like a Barossa Shiraz. The palate says ‘young’, but there’s something solid about this Pinot too, like learning your times-tables with a love of symmetry and pattern. So maybe not luscious, but as with lines, so acceptable. It’s like organic cotton, or even muslin at a stretch. Ultimately it reminds me of a sandy beach.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2016 Finca Olivardots Groc d'amfora from Grey and White Grenache and Macaebo

Has the milky smell of    …. Arneis and Grenache Blanc, open-mouthed and air-filled. Clear, pale gold ordeep gold in colour. Long palate, which says, again, open, open, yet cloud-filled perhaps. Not the bestest of best Grenache Blanc I have tried, but that grape is undercut by the addition of the Macaebo.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bodegas Nodus Blanco Joven Ecologico En La Parra

This wine, a surprising combination of Chardonnay and Moscatel, is a lovely clear gold in colour, with the barest hint of pink. It has a musky, pineapple perfume, perhaps peanutty too.  (No, no sweetness, unless very far away, from the Muscat.) A smooth, delightful palate with welcoming length of summer-cooling 'riverness' and a repetition of perhaps tart: pineapple, and a pine song added. A terrific summer wine … for … definitely fish: white bait, sardines? A gorgeous label features inviting award icons: birds, butterflies, a floral-headed 1930s-40's black-and-white Hollywood siren on an pale-teal blue label with red and yellow highlights.

I bought it from Aldi's Lismore store! (Northern Rivers, NSW, Australia)