The Wine Depository’s Australian Wine month tasting is one I look forward to every year. It is obvious you guys do too, as it is always the biggest event I host each year. I’m careful to choose a bigger venue and offer lot more wines than normal so we can share the joy of great, but often underappreciated, Australian wine.
2018 was no different.
Nearly 40 people came to Beneath Driver Lane, a venue that is cooler than cool and a must visit for anyone who:
- Loves Blues music (which I do),
- Loves Whisky (I kind of do… It’s complicated),
- Loves a place that is great at what they do and very welcoming (who doesn’t?).
A sign of a good event is that after two hours people were not leaving; even after all the tasting wine was gone. In fact, I left before more than a handful of my customers!
What is great about wine is how we experience it will always be different. But for one moment in time, you can share it with like minded people and it really elevates the whole feeling to a new level. You don’t even need to say it, just be there and you’ll feel it. That is why I host so many events and I can only assume that is why people keep coming back.
This year we looked at two well established producers: Delatite and Merricks Estate. And a young gun who is at the start of the journey: Yelland & Papps. Each winery was represented by one of their winemakers who also happened to be a founder of the winery. They entertained and informed my guests, and their passion for their wines was obvious. David from Delatite, George from Merricks Estate and Michael from Yelland & Papps spent two hours pouring wine and chatting about what they love to do. And they say it is hard work! Pfft, hahaha.
As a rare treat, I was not pouring wine so I could walk around, interact and taste the wines. The feedback was all positive and the accolades were shared across the day. Having said that there was a lot of people surprised that they loved the Delatite Hells Window. When poured it was a deep amber in colour, and the candle light certainly accentuated that and made it almost ominous. But one sniff and all of the trepidation disappeared. You were left with glorious perfume and an amazing palate. There was a lot of, “I don’t drink Chardonnay but the Delatite is one I would drink” too.
Merricks Estate was a treat for me; getting to chat to George and taste his wines. The Rose is a serious Rose. And by serious I mean, dry, savoury, textural and moreish. The Pinot had a few years on it and the heft/generosity of the palate made it very pleasing right now. But the star had to be their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. To quote my namesake, “Shut up and take my money”. How often to do you get to drink 10 year old Cabernet, let alone be able to buy it at current release pricing?
The third table was the Yelland & Papps wines. Who doesn’t have a soft spot for classic Barossa flavours? But I think the Vin de Soif perfectly emulated the style of Grenache I am loving from the Barossa at the moment. The early picked Grenache offers the silky and seduction, Carignan adds more perfume and a bit of Mataro adds the meat and a bit of structure. A Barossan answer to Pinot Noir.
You don’t need to miss out on all of it.
You may have missed out on the event itself but it is possible for you to relive the glory. I’ve put together a highlights list of the six wines I loved the most. Which I have to say is hard because all 12 were in there on merit. It is true that the hardest part of any event is what to include, or more to the point, what to leave out. And having tasted a lot of GREAT Australian wine this year, it is almost impossible to actually decide.
But I have a special test for great wine. I’ll taste something with a rep or at a trade day or maybe at a bar/restaurant. Often I won’t take notes because I am busy or it is not appropriate or I am too busy talking. If it is good I’ll enjoy it. If it is great, it will rattle around in my head and at some point spill out. And by that I mean it’ll end up in the All The Good Wines, at an event or when you call me for an order I’ll not let you get away without having ordered a bottle. And that is where we land with this six pack.
Speaking of wines that won’t get out of my head, I’ve got another six pack wines that are the highlights of what didn’t fit into the tasting despite the fact that they would have worked just as well.
Your love of Australian wine doesn’t have to stop at the end of May.
Or indeed with the 18 wines mentioned here: I always have plenty of great wine from Australia. I’ve always tried to include examples of great Australian wine in my events. Not due to tokenism or Patriotism but because they compete on a world stage and rarely (none in my memory to date) have they looked out of place. It is a selection based solely on quality, rigorously tested by a palate that does have a leaning towards more old world styles.
Well, that is a good question. June will be all about Italian styles. Currently, we are planning an Australian vs Italy tasting. We’ll look at Vermentino, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Nero d’Avola from Australia and from Italy. More details to follow.
There is a Barolo dinner at Scopri booked for 14th June; it is going to be amazing. Email me to get more information.
And I’m thinking that Mt Etna has been rattling around in my head for long enough and it is time to share these wines with you. I found them by accident but fell in love with them instantly. Whites like White Burgundy, Rose like, well, nothing else on earth and the reds incorporating everything that is great with Pinot and Merlot. Never had them? You have to get on board.
Your Own Event.
Because without a doubt that is the beautiful part of wine. Wine focused Private or Corporate Events, often paired with food and tailored to your objectives and needs. Great for winning over clients and leads or team building. This is all about you. As the person who fills the room, you will be the hero in the eyes of the attendees. Giving people a positive experience, even if they have to pay a small contribution, means you get the brownie points for sourcing and facilitating.