Shadowfax Minnow Red is an easy-drinking, savoury edged wine from Werribee. Plump blue and red fruits, with a rich nose. The palate is on the lighter side of mid-weight. It has clean acid, fine tannins, and a savoury, spicy finish. Shadowfax Minnow is a wine to drink over the next couple of years. Drink this Shadowfax Minnow with salumi, steak, BBQ and/or a cheese similar to St Felicien if you can find it.
Shadowfax Minnow reminds me of the entry-level Cotes du Rhone wines and is the easy-going wine you’ve been looking for. It is an exciting blend that makes up the Shadowfax Minnow; Grenache, Mataro, Carignan, Mondeuse. It makes use of carbonic maceration to keep the perfume. Bigger sized 500L barrels are the vessel for aging before bottling. The entire Shadowfax Minnow range is an Australian grown Cotes du Rhone equivalent.
Shadowfax Winery sits in the heart of Werribee Park and has done so since 1998. Shadowfax is “the lord of all horses” from JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. In 2004, I spent a week working vintage with original Winemaker Matt Harrop and current winemaker Alister Timms. Not to brag, but their 2004 Chardonnay won the Premier’s Trophy for best wine in the Victorian wine show. There is a full vineyard at Werribee, and they source fruit from exceptional vineyards in Macedon, Pyrenees, and Geelong.
The Port Phillip zone sits around the Port Phillip Bay. It takes in Yarra Valley, Macedon Ranges, Sunbury, Geelong, and Mornington Peninsula. It also catches all the vineyards that sit in between these regions. As you can imagine, it is quite big and impossible to generalise.
Spain’s gift to the world; We know it as Grenache. I think everyone has a soft spot for it in some way. Almost too exuberant in expressing its sweet red fruits and high alcohol. It often needs other grapes blending in to add moderation, structure and depth, much like Abbott and Costello. Despite this, the wines of Priorat, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rioja and Aussie GSMs have a fantastic ability to age for the long term.
Also known as Mourvedre in France and Mataro in the new world. It makes a muscular, tannic, meaty, savoury wine. It is often the backbone of a blend, but in places like Alicante, Jumilla and Yecla it is the major if not only variety in the red wine. Aging can vary depending on winemaker influence.
AKA Mazuelo, Cariñena and Samsó. Carignan is a French variety that is often a bit player in a blend. Generally, it involves Grenache. Its late ripening can be problematic or a good insurance policy. In a blend, it brings dark colour, high acid and tannin.
Mondeuse is a relatively unknown red grape. It comes from the Savoie region in France. It is either parent or child of Mondeuse Blanche, DNA can’t tell which way the relationship goes. In turn, Mondeuse Blanche has been confirmed the parent vine to Syrah. Mondeuse Noire is in large part an unremarkable grape used to blend. To the best of my knowledge, there are no great wines made from this grape. Wine experts believe Mondeuse has great potential outside of Savoie.
The invasion of “Sunshine in a bottle” put Australian wine on the map. The fruity, easy-going, somewhat samey wines were endearing for a short time. Then the next big thing knocked them off their perch.
This forced producers to increase quality and emphasise the distinctive terroirs of Australia. Of which, there are many. And many more yet to be discovered.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.