Over the last 12 months or so, I’ve started enjoying wine. I’ve never been much of a wine drinker before then, it all tasted either like soft drink or various shades of vinegar to me! I could appreciate different types of beer much more.
I don’t know what it was that piqued my interest in wine. I think it was a gradual thing, going for a couple of tastings with Meryl, sharing a bottle or two with her family over dinner. I remember buying a gift in duty free for her mum and realising I had absolutely no idea which was a good wine and which wasn’t! I think I erred on the side of caution and went for a mid-$20s bottle of Penfolds (saved by the memory that Meryl had mentioned that she liked Penfolds). I remember drinking it with her family for dinner and thinking ‘Yep, tastes like wine’.
Thinking back, there are a few memorable tastings:
- Easter @ Kabminye winery & restaurant in the Barossa – went with Mum, Aunty Lois, Meryl and her family. I remember tasting a lot of different wines, appreciating the difference in style and flavour, then having lunch upstairs in a beautiful, open dining area / gallery with a view of the vineyards. Best kangaroo I’ve ever had! And I remember enjoying the red wine suggested as a pairing on the menu (can’t remember if it was the shiraz or the mataro / carignan / cinsaut / black frontignac blend now). Actually, looking at their wine list now, there’s some very unique entries!
- Meryl’s Birthday @ Lark Hill in Bungendore – took Meryl for a sparkling wine appreciation course, where Chris showed us how it was made using traditional methods. He was really nice, and it was very informative! Afterwards we did a tasting and then enjoyed lunch in the restaurant, again with a lovely view of the vineyards.
- Meryl’s parents visit @ Mount Majura in Canberra – we went for a short drive out to do their (very organised I must say) tasting. This is such a beautiful spot, and the wines are fantastic! Unfortunately their famous tempranillo / shiraz / graciano blend was sold out.
I think it’s very interesting, each time I go for a tasting now, I get more out of it. It’s really interesting both trying different takes on familiar grapes, or completely new grapes. I find I prefer reds, especially shiraz (prefer cool to warm climate), but also cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo, and the various blends. I like the spicy, peppery reds best. For whites, riesling is the only varietal that I really enjoy.
The most enjoyable wine I have ever tasted is a Torbreck Lumberjack Shiraz 2002. This is a wine you drink very slowly, enjoying small sips, as the flavour explodes through your whole mouth. It’s a very powerful, intense, smooth wine that keeps getting better and better with every sip. Absolutely wonderful, and such a sad feeling when you finish a bottle!
So where have I been buying wine from?
- Local cellar doors – this is my preferred method, you get to taste the wine, talk to the producers and have a lovely day out.
- www.wineoftheday.com.au – can get some great deals on cases, but need to carefully sift through the offerings that come up each day.
- www.vinomofo.com – only discovered this one recently, I’ve never actually bought anything from here (have enough to last me a while already), but it’s got some really good wines at half price, and they often come in half cases so you don’t have to buy 12 bottles of the same wine.
- www.theglass.com.au – this is a local Canberra business, and has some great deals on local Canberra wine as well as wine from all over Australia. They have some really nice aged wines as well (including the Lumberjack shiraz, even though it’s not listed on their site).
- Dan Murphy’s cellar release range – can pick up some nicely aged wines here without having to do the cellaring. I like to find the cellar release clear-out ones, as the bring the new stock in. This is of course, much more expensive than the websites above.
So, I’ve discovered that wine doesn’t have to just taste like sugar or vinegar … it can be yum! Enjoy in moderation