Archives for the ‘Wine Review’ Category

Antinori: Old family new wines

Antinori is a venerable family wine company of 26 generations established in 1385, in times when Chianti was rustically made, probably in earthen ware fermenters like todays amphorae.

The family’s new subterranean winery, Antinori nel Chianti Classico in Bargino, a ten year building odyssey I believe, works on gravity. All things with the pre-history wine styling in mind should.

Our Italy wine tours take guests through the depths of Tuscany, offering introduction-only visits to family wineries, few open to the public.  If you’d like to find out more about this exclusive guided experience for lovers of wine and food, you can call me direct on +61 427 705 391 or email denisew@uncorkedandcultivated.com.au.

So inside this underground collossus there are logically layered caverns of processing and ageing rooms (wine, olive oil and vin santo), fittingly paved in terracotta tiling, 44,000 square metres of space I believe.

It looks swish, bright in aspect, purposefully dull in lighting but cleverly the spots radiate light to keep visitors in the mood to view barrels, art works and light spaces.

Under vineyard barrel cellar

Under vineyard Peppoli barrel cellar

Our local-born guide and tasting host Eliza Trambusti relates that the Antinori family call this visitors’ haven their temple in good Roman God’s fashion.

There is no air conditioning as architect Marco Casimonti from Archea Associates designed it to be eco friendly and wines store gently around 15 oC.

Alberia Antinori, family company CEO speaks to our poured drinks, 18 metres below the ground, from Montalcino and Chianti Classico, places in this family’s blood for six centuries.

First family wine was:

Pian delle Vigne 2014, Rosso di Montalcino, 13%, (baby Brunello) belies the travellers’ expectations; the sangiovese grosso grape colour is not deep like Aussie shiraz, but has red in the heart of the glass, amber at the edges (the nail), some older ones go colourless.

Pian delle Vigne Rosso di Montalcino 2014

Antinori Family Pian delle Vigne Rosso di Montalcino 2014

It’s about the taste: savoury and drying, no fruitiness here, its austere; waits for you to chew the salty, crunchy baked pizza bread, schiaciatta .

It has long flavours, more dryness then it slips into softness. Again adjust your tasting technique from Oz shiraz to Localita Pian delle Vigne growing sangiovese grosso near the hill town of Montalcino my friends.

Villa Antinori 2012, Chianti Classico Riserva, 12.5%, now unfiltered, has been made since 1928.

Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2012

Family Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2012

It has the typicity of that sour citrus and almond aroma (how new world tasters peg sangiovese), traditional old large (2500 litre) barrel aging aromas including brett, then savoury and gripping tannin. It’s 10% cabernet sauvignon, and has 30 months cask age.

Perfect with big, fat, al dente pappadelle splashed with wild boar ragu that drown the rabid effects of the natural grippy tannins of the wine. That’s Tuscany!

Badia a Passignano 2011, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 14.5%, is the newer, next tier Chianti classification of longer matured elite 100% sangiovese, made in the nearby Tignanello estate regularly past visited by Uncorked travellers.

Antinori Badia a Passignano 2011, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Antinori Badia a Passignano 2011, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Badia is an old monastery. The surrounds are Antinori sangiovese, 23 clones having been identified so far. Chianti first recognised itself in 1716 so the red grape gene pool here is quite diverse and capable of interesting wine.

Wines only age 20 months in old Slavonian botti (barrels) then further by bottle for another 18 months or so.

Look out also for a vinsanteria (small barrels that house the godly vin santo liquoroso white wine), hip cellar door tasting and purchase facilities, saying to tourists that this ancient Roman construction is the Antinori family re-invented.

Antinori nel Chianti Classico Vineyard, Bargiano

Antinori nel Chianti Classico Vineyard, Bargiano

Above is a new vineyard of sangiovese, build on 20 metres of fill, struggling now but making progress towards a drinking contribution for future tourists. Expect wine soon.

Also planted are the other traditional local red grapes: canaiolo, ciliegiolo, colorino, malvasia nera and mammolo.

Mont-Redon :Chateauneuf

There is an instant impulse to grab the big rocks as we drive into Chateau Mont-Redon or better still be photographed with these big gibbers. I did.

We are travelling into the southern Rhone to visit the land of mouth-embracing warm area reds in Chateauneuf du Pape (CNDP).

And our host is a jovial fellow, Pierre Fabre who travels the world to discuss the family business at Chateau Mont-Redon.

Now these gibbers; well this is the soil these guys are dealt. Walk up closer and I am relieved to say there is sand between the rocks where these old vines (no trellis) grow as bushes. There is no water supply save a deep root system to survive the blistering summer.

Big gibbers-old bush vines

Big gibbers-old bush vines

Some vineyards have these big pebbles, others are chalky known as calcare here for limestone. The mother rock comes from ancient sea deposits going down up to 200 m in parts, it depended on the sea depth, adding more clay; the pebbles were the river bed; once wider and of European Alps origin; now only the big rocks are left.

Old sea bed vines- Rhone Alps backdrop

Old sea bed vines- Rhone Alps backdrop

There are three large appellations in France: Saint Emilion with 5000 hectares, Chablis with 4000 ha, then  Chateauneuf du Pape with 3200 ha. It tracks one side of the Rhone River for 200 km and at a maximum only 20 km wide. Thirteen grapes are grown.

Mont-Redon started life in 1923 with 2 ha, and now has grown to 150 ha, including a 1997 purchase in Lirac nearby. This is the home of grenache, a special yet thin skinned grape which needs hanging late to ripen, and any late summer rain is disastrous though rare.

Chateauneuf is known mainly for blended red production from grenache, syrah and mourvedre though white is 5% of the surface. Mont-Redon make 15% of their production white, from blends of grenache blanc (main variety), clairette, roussanne, picpoul and the latter bourboulenc for acidity.

Significant exporters like this company receives a greater demand for white wine styles as countries like Australia and USA are big white wine consumers. They are a fullsome drink.

I just loved the Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 (AUD ); lots of lovely bits to enjoy, sniff the aroma, it smells of the earth of the region, little flowers, spicy-black pepper grenache notes, all yummy and not a sip taken! Has lots of depth, velvet tannins that slip around the mouth, a great spice warmth; 95% is the grenache-syrah-mourvedre mix with 5% of old school varieties left in the older vineyard which are inter-planted.

Mont-Redon 2012

Mont-Redon 2012

Pierre could not resist being a good host so he opened some older bottles of the famous wine; 2007 and 2005 CNDP, both nice and rounded harvests to really enjoy.

Chateau Mont-Redon  Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2007 looks classic; more reds than purples, wine in harmony with itself; this bottle has not left the property, nose sweetened from an improvement in the bottle; nice brioche, honey-raisin, then an expanding palate of puckering spice, jam notes and the pleasant experience. Served unlabelled but easily identified.

Mont-Redon 2007

Mont-Redon 2007

Uncorked’s travel guests visit Chateau Mont-Redon winery and vineyard in the Southern Rhone on the France Wine and Food Tour, and get to have their pic taken amongst the gibbers.

Tip of the Tongue: Cabernet Coup for Kingaroy Couple, Crane Wines

Bernie, 60, and Judy Cooper haven’t looked back after making a scenic change 10 years ago – heading inland from the big smoke of Brisbane to take over the well known Crane Wines label at Kingaroy.

Crane Wines is a hallmark brand in the South Burnett town that is known for agriculture-baked beans, great cattle and of course peanuts. Wine growing, making and selling has matured as a sophisticated business under Bernie’s tutelage. Established by the loveable John Crane, and his wife Sue in the 1990s, the winery began when John planted grapes on the red soil hillside at Haydens Road, Booie, in 1992, with his cellar door opening in September 1996, to be first in the South Burnett to do so.  ….  Read article

By Peter-Scudamore-Smith, Master of Wine

Published in Queensland Smart Farmer, May – June 2015

Macaw Creek: trusted Aussie winemaker, lofty drinks

The country north of South Australia’s capital Adelaide always reminds me of a stark landscape. Nothing is lush, just dry, and where the eucalypts struggle to grow bigger and the saltbush barely fattens a sheep. And kangaroos scarce. Near the sleepy town of Riverton in the Mount Lofty Ranges, 80 kilometres from Adelaide we find the vineyard of Macaw Creek owned by career winemaker Rodney Hooper.

Tough and dry is an excellent outlook for growing signature Australian shiraz and cabernet, and after all, another heroic red wine producing region to the north, the Clare Valley does likewise. This means the wines are substantial, and in their favour, grape growers have such lean rainfall events that growing their crops organically is quite an easy task (with control though).

If you ever wish to assess how a winemaker is tracking then never head for the newest release; yes they will look fresh and bursting with grape pip exuberance, but that is expected because in every older bottle there was once a good young bottle.

MACAW CREEK Reserve Shiraz Cabernet 2008 AUD 28 14.5% alc 90.Very serious smelling wine; deep colour and lots of aging in motion, some youth but the licorice tells you shiraz is present and lots of it! Look out for the sweet aromas from time in bottle, red fruits, berry jam, oak barrel sweet nuance and many other nose-endearing bits that attract drinkers wishing for full flavour. The shiraz dominates-well really! In the warm summer and Gilbert Valley autumn when these grapes will have developed their power, so the shiraz richness has just stretched out over the cabernet dryness; makes the wine very full. Drink while you eat bbq rib eye or share a tomahawk steak, bone-in, just for extra flavour; as the wine will match it. Also known as a Great Australian red.

MACAW CREEK Cabernet Shiraz 2009 AUD 16 13% alc 95. A hero’s drink because this has charm, and has aged even better than its older cousin, Shiraz Cabernet. The wine has all the aromas running together, so one complete unit; earthy, mocha, spice, choc-chip, more spiced than jam-sweet, very intriguing; a top wine; then the shiraz enrichens the mouth while the cabernet tannin tightens up the finish; one lovely drink with mixes of age flavours and supple texture; just runs down an empty mouth.

Macaw Creek Cabernet Shiraz 2009

Macaw Creek Cabernet Shiraz 2009

MACAW CREEK Cabernet Shiraz 2012 AUD 16 14.5% alc 94. The modern day star; just so attractive-purple, the juicy aromas are all out of the glass, hard to contain, just ripe shiraz and cabernet looking for appreciation; no charm just brute flavour, oak hardly apparent, full some, chunky, rich for years I think. Store a bit or visit Rodney’s cellar in Macaw Road in about five years (he will probably have some still). But at the current price it is a steal.

MACAW CREEK Organic Riesling 2014 AUD 15 12% alc 90. Never visit this part of South Australia (personally or with your mouse) without trying riesling. This comes from two organically-grown Clare vineyards; so it is the heart of Riesling country; light bodied, pale, low alcohol, fruity, long, angular acidity which is slaty and citric. Seek out some oysters or just pan fried whiting. Delicate wine for subtle food.

Macaw Creek Organic Riesling 2014

Macaw Creek Organic Riesling 2014

EM’S TABLE Organic Riesling 2014 AUD 15 12% alc 90. This is another Clare Valley cracker; pale colour, I never like it very coloured, so pale green, hints of straw designates good winemaking, and to top that off, lovely rose, white flowers and lemon/lime make this delectable. Light bodied, and little residue on its skins from organic viticulture. Drink with organic plums or nectarines to keep in sync.

EM’S TABLE Organic Preservative Free Shiraz 2010 AUD 18 13.5% 90. Made for those who have an allergic reaction to sulphur dioxide or for those who take an aversion to wine additives. This is additive free wine; cleverly made by Hooper to last by making a wine quite high in drinkable tannin (natural preservative) and bottled early to stem any oxidation from time outside a bottle. Also supported by closure under screw cap as natural cork would be hopeless. Taste; just like normal shiraz, rounded, quite funky now as a five-year-old wine, rich and juicy.

 

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