CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA DAY!!!
Each year around this time we like to celebrate Australia Day with our friends down-under; after all it's the middle of summer there. The official day of observance in Australia is January 26th, but we're extending the party with an entertaining and tasty ride through Australia, featuring wines from a great importer, Little Peacock Imports. Unlike many other importers of Australian wines who create "brands" for the American/foreign market, Little Peacock Imports only represents existing wineries and wines with a strong presence in Australia. These are wines from across the country, representing grapes that Australia excels at producing, and provide a great snapshot of where Australian wine is at today. These are the wines that Australians drink themselves, so come on by for a taste of what you'd find in your glass had you flown twenty-two hours halfway around the world!
Alkoomi Riesling Black Label 2012
Country: AUSTRALIA / Region: WESTERN AUSTRALIA / Appellation: FRANKLAND RIVER / Varietal(s): RIESLING --- Riesling may not be the first grape to come to mind when you think of Australian wine, but after Germany, Australia is producing some of the best and most coveted bottles, from the bone dry to those touched by noble rot. Alkoomi - a family owned and operated winery started in the 1970s - grows their own fruit in the cool Frankland River area, now recognized as a prime subclimate for riesling. From vines planted in 1971, this bone dry, complex riesling demonstrates Australia’s well-recognized lime and slate characteristics. The winemakers have done everything to achieve a brightly acidic wine with all of the delicate varietal flavors: free run juice is fermented in stainless steel and held off from secondary "malolactic" fermentation which would otherwise transform the acidity into softer, buttery flavors. This vintage is eye-opening, with concentrated, intense flavors of lime and grapefruit carried through on the palate by a vibrant streak of acidity. The strong acidity here can be a fantastic virtue when paired with dishes using a fresher cheese like chèvre or feta, but it also allows the wine to age beautifully.
Ashbrook Estate Semillon Margaret River 2013
Country: AUSTRALIA / Region: WESTERN AUSTRALIA / Appellation: MARGARET RIVER / Varietal(s): SEMILLON --- Ashbrook Estate is a family owned and operated winery established by the Devitt family in 1975, and one of the oldest wineries in the region. Their philosophy is to use minimal intervention in the production of their wines (“keep it simple!”), and in addition to pruning and harvesting by hand, they are one of only a few Margaret River wineries to use only estate-grown grapes from the site where the wine is also made and bottled. The vineyard is located on highly weathered, ancient, well-drained red-brown loamy gravel. Vines are contour-planted to reduce erosion and the soil is not tilled, but instead organically mulched. Guinea fowl are enlisted to reduce insects, and a Lyre trellis allows good light and aeration to reduce disease pressure. Ashbrook’s semillon vines were planted in 1976 and 1988. A classic example of what this grape can achieve in a warm, maritime climate, this is made in an unoaked style to maintain the focus on the freshness of the fruit. Staggered harvesting of fruit from a selection of sites allows the full spectrum of aromas and flavors to really shine through in the finished wine- from sweet grassiness to bright ripe citrus. This complexity also creates amazing structure and weight with considerable ageing potential. Aussies like to drink this with 8-10 years of age on it. While delicious now, it’s still a baby! Cellaring for five or more years yields rich complex nut, straw and toast flavors that meld with ripe lemon and gentle grassy nuances while still retaining a wonderful level of freshness, vibrancy and length. But if you don’t feel like waiting that long, enjoy this now with chicken thighs braised with tomato and thyme.
Eden Road Shiraz "Long Road" 2012
Country: AUSTRALIA / Region: NEW SOUTH WALES / Appellation: CANBERRA / Varietal(s): SHIRAZ --- Eden Road’s shiraz is a delicious departure from the classic Aussie style: delicate and expressive of more structure than typically found here. A fairly young winery, Eden Road came out swinging, winning the prestigious Jimmy Watson Trophy for their very first vintage of Long Road shiraz. Located in the hills of the high altitude Canberra District (which is oddly mostly not in Canberra itself), vines are grown on 400 million year old iron-rich granite soils at Eden Road’s estate vineyard in Murrumbateman as well as several sites in Hilltops, Gundagai and Tumbarumba where vines date back 30 years. Altitudes can range from 200 to 2,600 feet in elevation. Since that very first award-winning vintage, Long Road shiraz has gained an ardent following, in part due to its ability to perfectly embody a new and exciting style of contemporary shiraz from the high country of New South Wales. Sourced from hill country vineyards, the handpicked fruit was 85% destemmed, with 15% left as whole bunches to lend complexity, aromatics, and structure, before spending 12 months in large French oak barrels. A more elegant take on shiraz, Long Road is silky and succulent, a lively red color with cranberry, red cherry, dark chocolate and walnut notes melding together. Hints of sweet licorice add impact and depth, while its lighter style and bright acidity make it as refreshing as it is complex. A treat to drink with a quick stir fry of pork tenderloin with mushrooms and soy.
Leconfield Cabernet Merlot Coonawarra 2013
Country: AUSTRALIA / Region: SOUTH AUSTRALIA / Appellation: COONAWARRA / Varietal(s): CABERNET SAUVIGNON+MERLOT --- Leconfield Coonawarra was established in 1974 by noted oenologist, Sydney Hamilton, who was inspired at age 76 to make classic Australian cabernet sauvignon. Named after an English ancestor, Lord Leconfield, the estate is situated in the southern half of the Coonawarra strip, where the vineyard occupies some of the area’s richest terra rossa soil over a limestone base, a composition for which Coonawarra is justifiably famous. Produced now by winemaker Paul Gordon, this cabernet-merlot lives up to Coonawarra’s reputation for outstanding Bordeaux-style blends. 77% cabernet, and 23% merlot from estate-grown vines planted as early as 1974, this wine spent 14 months in used American and French oak hogsheads. Bright crimson in color, an enticing nose of chocolate and mint shows the subtly integrated oak, with a core of cassis from the cabernet accented by plum fruit from merlot. The medium-bodied palate has a touch of the characteristic mint often found in Coonawarra, with round fruit elements and fine tannins that displays elegance and restraint on the finish. This will age nicely for 6-8 years, but is just as delicious to drink now. A wonderful cold weather wine, try it with lamb stew.