It’s a time for thinking of Australia and New Zealand on Anzac Day, and with so many of their noteworthy wines available here, I’ve been trying some that are definitely worth revisiting and worth raising a glass to our friends down under.
From Australia: Jim Barry Wines celebrated the 20th vintage of The McRae Wood Shiraz
with the current 2012 release. They bought this Clare Valley vineyard from Duncan McRae Wood over 50 years ago, and it was the first vineyard they planted with Shiraz, so it holds a special place in honouring Barry’s vision.
Jim Barry, The McRae Wood Shiraz, 2012
This is a huge, no apologies wine. Lovers of big bold reds will line up for a bottle of this. Initially you’re greeted with rosemary, cassis and black pepper on the nose, but then on the palate, it turns into dark chocolate with chilli peppers and clove. It’s silky smooth and velvety, and a little inky – purple teeth time! Pairing with this wine? Netflix on your own! But if you’re hungry too, try a lamb and date tagine, or a mole sauce with your favourite meat – I tried it with water buffalo and cranberry sausage and it was perfect.
CSPC +583823 $60-$65.
Little brother to The McRae Wood, The Lodge Hill Shiraz comes from the Eastern ranges of Clare Valley.
Jim Barry, The Lodge Hill Shiraz, 2012
Lodge Hill has a ripe juicy nose of blackcurrants, thyme and a little cinnamon. Very smooth, with finely grained tannins and a long finish, it’s rounded and lush, and peppery on the finish. Share this spicy, warm and comforting wine only if you must. I’m calling for venison and blueberry paté, wild boar casserole, and some of Jamie Oliver’s roasted fennel polpettes to pair with it. CSPC 741117 $26
I’m seeing a style running through Jim Barry wines – soft, juicy and luscious, and wines to enjoy with or without food, and with or without friends! The Cover Drive is named for the cricket ground in south Coonawarra that Barry bought after it closed 20 years ago, and planted with Cabernet Sauvignon.
Jim Barry, The Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012
A delicious and mouth-watering nose of blackberries, along with some red berries and minty notes. It’s a big, smooth-as-silk wine, with ripe tannins, juicy ripe fruits and just a hint of liquorice. I’d be happy to drink this wine on its own (on my own too!), but it would be equally good with a rare lamb dish (particularly accompanied by mint sauce), duck breast lightly cooked, eggplant dishes, and pork with pomegranate or cranberries. CSPC 587450 $26
From New Zealand: two very different Sauvignon Blancs, both 2014 vintage and both from Marlborough.
Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Nautilus is celebrating their 30th vintage with this Sauvignon Blanc. You’re greeted with aromas of grapefruit and snow peas, but on the palate, the mouth-watering racy acidity and herbal notes shine brightly through. There are notes of gooseberry and lime, backed by a little tarragon. This is a textural wine with a tongue-coating texture, which I love to let warm a little and then focus on all the flavours that are more noticeable as it warms; it becomes more herbal and complex, before a long finish. This wine would be perfect with goat cheese, feta and spinach salad, cilantro or a tabbouleh salad. CSPC + 328377 Around $25.
Kevin Judd’s Greywacke wines are named for the ‘galets’ or polished, rounded stones on the soil. Since launching into Canada, they have risen high on my list of wines I want to drink with my dinner.
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2014
This is an elegant wine, and quite different to the more yellow grapefruit style of Sauvignon Blancs that we have come to associate with New Zealand. First sniffs reveal elderflower and lemon, with back notes of thyme. On the palate the wine is certainly mouth-watering, but in a subtle way, with a lighter zingy body that would be wonderful with spanakopita, or the frittata at The Block. How about with rocket and pesto pasta? Linguine with olive oil and fresh garlic, pine nuts and parmesan would be great with it too, and I’ve paired it very successfully with crab and prawn sunomono too. This succulent wine is leafy and fresh, and just a touch dialled back from the style we associate with New Zealand. CSPC + 738965 $28-$30