A weekend in the country

Wine by the fire (Photo: Monkey Business Images)

We wine writers are always prattling on about the great wines we are tasting, or the amazing bottles that are served at grand dinners. But I thought instead to write about the wines I have been experiencing in my normal life. A long weekend away with many friends and family took me to a house in the country and numerous bottles were shared. Here are some of the delights that ended up on the table.

The 2016 Spinifex Rosé (AUD $25) was served at lunchtime alongside a tomato galette created by the kids, and what a perfect, unplanned match this proved to be. Made from grenache, mataro and cinsault, it was a simple yet beautiful wine that had freshness, gentle texture and presence. Made by winemaking duo Peter Schell and Magali Gely, it is a beautifully presented wine, perfect for sunny autumn Sundays.

Champagne was opened to celebrate one evening and the NV Pol Roger (AUD $70) was looking better than ever. Being a full-flavoured bubbly, with gentle toastiness and lovely length, it was still able to assert itself in ‘holiday house’ glassware amongst chatter and general mayhem. It was a truly beautiful wine and we were sorry when the bottle ended. So we then pulled out an NV Laurent-Perrier (AUD $65), also beautiful and complex, but being more of an aperitif style it should have been served first thus was slightly overshadowed by the Pol. Not to worry, it was delightful all the same.

The 2016 Skillogalee Riesling (AUD $25) and 2016 Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc (AUD $24) were enjoyed by all due to their full, expressive flavours, as was the fruity 2016 Ocean Eight Pinot Gris (AUD $28) and the 2016 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (AUD $30). Although I loved the heady nature of the 2015 Telmo Rodriguez ‘Gaba do Xil’ Godello, I sensed it was a little too unctuous for some.

New to me was the current release 2016 McLean’s Farm Riesling (AUD $17), which was delicate in style with an intense lemony vein. Also very good was the 2015 Kilikanoon Mort’s Block Riesling (AUD $21), which was remarkably full-flavoured and completely delicious — and even being 2015 it is still available for sale and I have made a mental note to buy some. It went extremely well with soy glazed salmon with fregola, fresh salads and broccoli.

The 2015 Sorrenberg Gamay (AUD $50) vanished in a flash. I would have had another, but when buying the last two bottles in the wine shop, the advisor confessed that she was planning to buy one herself for the weekend. That wish could not possibly be denied. We would have to be satisfied with one.

The polished 2015 Giant Steps Pinot Noir (AUD $35) looked excellent. I know it is cruel mentioning wines that have pretty much sold out, but the good news is that the 2016 vintage has recently been released and looks equally stunning. Yes, it is a little youthful now, but it is poised to evolve beautifully with time. Best to order soon as it will certainly be snapped up quickly.

In front of the open fire, as the hour became late, someone pulled out a bottle of whisky they had received as a gift. Hibiki Japanese Harmony (AUD $120) was soft, sweet and mellow with gorgeous hints of orange peel. It was sipped and savoured, sliding down a little too easily, and was a fitting end to a memorable weekend.

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