Across the world, lamb is one of the most popular symbols at this time of year. So make sure your wine game is on point this Easter when you tuck into some at the dinner table.
Election wines – what to drink
Let’s assume for the moment that we’re all going to stay in on Saturday night and watch the election results flood in. This is going to be a particularly interesting election, what with the unprecedented preference arrangement between the Libs and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation; perhaps you’re hoping this leads to failure, so that the contentious Roe 8 project will be permanently diverted. Whatever your viewpoint, there may be cause for celebration, or despair. So – what’s on the menu?
Something to start – let’s get the ball rolling:
Amelia Park, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Margaret River
The forecast is warm, so let’s head for WA’s perennial favourite blend – SSB. The grassy characters that spring from semillon are alive and well in this wine. Bright and vibrant, redolent with ripe citrus, green apple, sugar snap peas and jasmine florals. With enough texture and complexity to make this perfectly suited to wide range of foods – it’s recommended to throw some Exmouth King Prawns on the BBQ and watch events unfold. 93 points and $20.”
Something fancy – it case it swings your way:
Martinborough Vineyards, Te Tera Pinot Noir, 2014, New Zealand
State elections have the power to directly influence our daily lives, sometimes even more so than Federal. So let’s pretend this is going to go the way you want, and you pop into the pantry/wine fridge/cellar to open something… anticipated. Located on the southern tip of the north island, Martinborough Estate has notable peers in Ata Rangi and Craggy Range. This wine is right for this occasion – supple, spicy, textured and satisfying. Ripe red cherry, pomegranate, blood plum and crushed black pepper. Hailing from a great vintage, this is one to seek out. 94 points and for as little as $32.”
A comfort wine – in case it didn’t swing your way, and you don’t want to talk about it:
Mr Barval Nebbia, 2016, Margaret River
This brings a smile to my face every time I drink it. “Here’s hoping it works tonight.” 100% nebbiolo picked from a vineyard south of Margs, and made in the lighter, fresher ‘Langhe’ style, this wine shows us that concentration, texture, complexity and vibrancy can come from WA nebbiolo. After crushing, the juice spent just 5 days on skins, plunged by hand every 2 hours (a hectic schedule for Rob Gherardi the winemaker), and then bottled after 10 months in old oak. Strawberry, minerality, refreshing acidity, violets and roses; all balanced by drying tannins and spice. Only two barrels made, and perhaps more traditional in style to the 2015. Love this for a lighter style red in warm weather. 96 points, and $35.
I’ve never met a Tassie pinot I haven’t loved. Tasmania was the focus of conversation las night, and it reminded me how much love I have for Tassie wines, but more specifically – Tassie pinot. Pristine like the breeze off the Derwent, uncomplicated like the people and full of pleasure like the countryside and scenery.
Typically, Tasmanian Pinot is not the cheapest pinot in Australia, however in my books, it has the most reliable flavour profile – an unmistakeable ‘Tassie’ character. The following two wines from the great 2015 vintage are absolute standouts, for different reasons.
2015 Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir, Tamar Valley
“Hard to go past this for value for money. Bright summer strawberries, silky mouthfeel and enough spice on the backend to maintain interest all the way to the end of the bottle. Packed with raspberry, pomegranate, red currant, ripe December cherries and hints of blood plum. This is a juicy, drink now style pinot: reliable, delicious and incredible value for money. Typically retails for around $20 and 92 points.”
2015 Dalrymple Pinot Noir, Pipers Brook
“If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting winemaker Pete Caldwell, you’ll know what I mean when I say, ‘Dalrymple is a bloody happy experience’. Pete has an almost permanent smile (perhaps due to his great job – who knows) on his open face, and is one of the most approachable, intelligent and humorous winemakers in the industry. This wine is created from a blend of three different vineyard regions: the Dalrymple own vineyard in Pipers Brook, Coal River Valley and one parcel from a grower in the Upper Derwent Valley. This approach allows for each of these site terroirs to contribute complexity and nuance to the final blend. The wine is redolent with ripe black cherry, blood plum, fresh raspberry, crushed black pepper, hints of clove and aniseed, and suggestions of Christmas spice… cinnamon perhaps. Like all the Dalrymple pinots, this is a step up in complexity, body, structure and will comfortably cellar, if an aged pinot is more your jam. 95 points, and around $40. Well worth it.”