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Pinot Noir, “ The Bonython” 2007

Mr Whirly says:

“ A single vineyard Pinot Noir from one of the most intriguing cool climate Australian wine regions that is indeed a great area for this fickle grape. I love that this wine has a little bottle age and also that the intensity of the fruit on this wine combines with some really soft, subtle characters.  A little “farmyardy” on the nose but not oppressive. Only available, as are all wines from this vineyard in very small quantities. I expect this wine to be quite a long lasting wine that will only get better in the coming 2-4 years.”

Winemakers notes:

“ The Bonython is produced predominantly from the fruit of ten year old vines grown on our Bonython vineyard in the Piccadilly valley. A truly handcrafted wine from vineyard to bottle, it shows strawberry and cherry fruit characters with early complexity which will develop progressively with time. Unfined and unfiltered.”

Alcohol: 14.0%

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Merlot 2005

Mr Whirly says;

“ Mr Whirly’s first straight Merlot, moulded in Saint Emilion over centuries this wine is up there with some of the lovely wines from the right bank of the Gironde. Its a big wine mind.  It need’s a decanter!  I love the fact that it’s now almost 6 years old and when I tasted it recently it was still quite young in its makeup, surely a positive thing for a top quality Merlot from this great winery. Lovely intense autumnal berry fruit.”

Winemakers notes:

“ Grapes were sourced solely from the estate’s Bonython Vineyard planted in 1997. The wine was matured predominantly in French oak barriques prior to blending and bottling.”

Alcohol: 14.5%

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Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Voted second best Sauvignon Blanc by James Halliday in his wine companion for 2007.

Sadly this wine is now sold out, and a new vintage will I hope arrive in 2014

2009 Sauvignon Blanc ( arrived November 2010)

Mr Whirly says;

“This is probably the most beautiful compact wine region in Australia and possibly the most exquisite homestead to match. Benchmark, grassy and Bramley apple Sauvignon Blanc. Wonderful exuberant, mineral Sauvignon that impresses with its vitality from the single vineyard Bonython vineyard. I am not normally a massive fan of this varietal but this wine really does knock me sideways with its length and energy. Gooseberries on the palate big style!! This fruit is now so difficult to find in the UK it seems the only way I can get a smell of  it is to stick my nose in a bottle of this wine: it has  some Elderflower too with an added tropical pineapple depth. Gorgeous with a dozen Colchester or Belon natives down at my old haunt Bibendum Oyster Bar, which I managed for 4 years from 1994 to 1997.”

Winemakers notes:

“ A complex spectrum of aroma’s and flavours from grassy, herbaceous and citrus through to ripe tropical fruits will delight you. The Palate is fresh, dry and crisp. Grapes were hand-harvested from three small blocks on Stony rise, a south facing hillside at the Northern end of the Piccadilly valley.”

Price: (Sold out)

Alcohol: 14.o%

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Barratt Vineyards, The Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills

I drove from Barossa and cut south and across country on Valentines day 2006 and then up into the stunning Adelaide Hills at over 400 metres. This was my second visit, having already delved into the hills for a few days in April 2000 on my mammoth 5 month tour. I was slightly more concerned about time on this Valentines day, being that I was on flight 357 at 19.45 on the 16th February and I needed still to find a great Shiraz ( please see Brick Kiln page)  and Sauvignon Blanc. Sometimes your life is blessed and in these next two days I did indeed manage this feat, indeed completely triumphed and added a wonderful Hermitage blend to make up a trio! This region reminds me a little of California and the drive into the hills overlooking Santa Barbara to the wonderful artistic and wine lovers hamlet called Los Olivos where the restaurant scene from “ Sideways” was filmed. It’s a bit greener up here though, a little windier and the roads are a little more European and small and cute, to clone a California saying. There is also a difference in temperature with the hills of the central coast of California. This is cool climate hill country. Nestled high above Adelaide in their wonderfully cool hills there wines show themselves off impressively against rivals from around the world: I would say that the Sauvignon Blanc bucks the trend of some thoughts that this grape cannot be grown very well on the Australian mainland and its best to venture down south to Tasmania or even New Zealand. I would put this up with a top Chavignol Sancerre  (head past Sancerre on your left down a very narrow road and up a windy valley. There’s a wonderful little Auberge on your left that serve goats cheese omelette and large plates of Charcuterie!) and Hubert Brochard, who has a little tasting room in town. The Rose, now sold out, is made purposely from Pinot noir, and is also of supreme quality.

“ Although the Adelaide Hills is viewed by many as a relatively recent grape growing area, it was, in fact, the first region in South Australia that planted wine vines. However with falling consumer interest in dry table wines and great difficulties in controlling fungal disease, grape growing was abandoned in the early 20th century but it revived again in the 1970’s.”

Lindsay Barratt, Owner of Barratt wines

Lindsay Barratt owns two vineyards in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, the Uley and Bonython, and after my visit here in February 2006 I have to say this homestead and vineyard is probably the most beautiful and picturesque that I have visited throughout Australia and that’s some compliment. Cool climate wines of epic proportions.

Please click on the links below to see the vineyard website as well as individual tasting notes and bottle shots for each wine:

*TBC*

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South Australia

I have a strong affiliation with this state since it is where I spent a great deal of time during the vintage of 2000, picking, pressing, pumping over and even blending Shiraz and Grenache grapes as well as many other Barossa varietals, at Craneford vineyard in Truro. To me its not the most picturesque of states but it is very important in terms of wine for Australia. It contains 42% of the nations  vineyards, is responsible for 46 per cent of the annual crush and makes more than 50% of the annual wine output. I love the varied regions, Barossa valley the home of great Shiraz, Clare valley, great Rieslings and then the Adelaide hills further south, great cool climate Pinot and Sauvignon country, McLaren Vale, hot Shiraz country and then the up and coming southerly region of Langhorne Creek.

I work with three vineyards presently. Please click on the links below.

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Lillypilly Shiraz 2007

Mr Whirly says:

“Like the tactful 2003 Shiraz this wine does not suggest it’s in any way Aussie Shiraz at almost 10 pounds a bottle. Not as much toffee as the very popular 2003 vintage yet a wonderful example of a lighter, fresh Shiraz from Australia which is a welcome relief from the majority of bigger styles of this grape that we are normally use to. This is quite a feminine Shiraz from Australia, not at all “ big and brash and manly.”  Still holds some lovely sticky toffee pudding and caramel essences and more proof of how clever the winemaker is here at Lillypilly.”

Alcohol: 14.5 %

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Lillypilly 1998 VP

Mr Whirly says:

“ The 1995 vintage of this wine created quite a storm in the UK and this 1998 vintage, made from Chambourcin and Cabernet ( not Shiraz as in the 1995) is a little softer and rounder than the previous vintage, still with a rich caramel intensity but also with some Mocha coffee and dark Chocolate. Match this with Chocolate puddings, Plum pudding at Christmas and Rich Blue Cheese. I tasted this wine again a few days ago with Jason Atherton’s sommelier at his new restaurant that opens in April 2011 and its really come on well. Incredibly complex and layered now.”

Alcohol: 18.0%

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Lillypilly Tramillon 2008

Mr Whirly says

”  This exciting blend that has now been in the UK top end “ on-trade” and private client market for six years. Lychee, floral and spicy with a stronger hint of elderflower this year.”

75% Gewurtztraminer and 25% Semillon. Floral, limes and elderflower on the nose, with extra depth given by the Semillon. This wine looks after the “ off Dry” crowd that are sometimes so hard to look after ( that means there is very little of quality to look after you!). Great pouring wine for all year round, especially the summer and a wonderful alternative to Champagne.

Press article:

” The 2005 Tramillon is a great partner on the table with Indian food, its perfumed bouquet, fruitiness, slight sweetness and crisp finish making it an ideal match for this and other Asian dishes”

David Ellis, Melbourne Observer, March 29th 2006

Alcohol: 10.5%

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Lillypilly Noble Harvest 2006

2006 Noble Harvest

Please see the 2002 notes on the website for this wine. However,this year, the 2006 is made from a slightly different makeup of grapes, with Chardonnay replacing the Muscat and there’s a little more Semillon and Riesling in this wine and a little less Sauvignon blanc:

35% Semillon

25% Sauvignon Blanc

30% Riesling

10% Chardonnay

Robert Fiumara, winemaker:

“Even at 10% the Chardonnay definitely builds complexity in the wine, adding stone fruits to the bouquet and an extra dimension to palate texture, The aromatic varieties give real lift to the bouquet and there is plenty of zestiness and freshness on the palate.”

Mr Whirly says

“Its very similar to the 2002, a little fresher and not quite so rich but still the tropical fruits shine through like Mango, Kumquat and passion fruit. The alcohol is low at 12.5% and the wine is still a great match with more acidic puddings like Tarte Tatin and Lemon tart.”

Alcohol: 12.5%