Blass in Canada, Max on rose & travel

Postmedia Network, 14 October, Chris Waters

Nine years after bringing the InterVin International Wine awards back, I’m thrilled to see how the program has become part of the fabric of Canada’s wine culture. The top-scoring red wine was the Wolf Blass 2010 Platinum Label Medlands Vineyard Shiraz Barossa Valley. Full article and wine review

The Australian 18 October, Max Allen

The 2016 Freeman Rondo Rose ($20) is a classic (and good value) example of the pale, dry style now in vogue. Made from the Italian rondinella grape, originally from the Veneto, grown in the Hilltops region of NSW, it’s barely a rose colour at all in the glass — just the palest hint of copper, really — with lovely gentle floral aromas and is savoury, creamy and refreshingly dry on the tongue. Drink with antipasto, something salty like anchovy fritters.

Old Jarvie is a colourful new label for McLaren Vale producer Hither & Yon, and one of the best wines in the range is the 2016 Old Jarvie Rose ($30). Like the Freeman wine, this is made from Italian red grapes — in this case nero d’avola (originally from Sicily) and aglianico (from the country around Naples) — but the style of rose produced is quite different. The nero gives the wine lots of plump dark cherry fruit and the aglianico brings up the rear with some smart, snappy, tongue-gripping tannin. It’s the kind of gutsy rose that would be terrific with agrodolce — sweet and sour — fish.

Also from McLaren Vale is the latest vintage of one of my favourite roses, the 2016 High Noon from Noon winery. Made from old grenache vines planted in the 1930s and 40s, this is a deceptively pale wine — a fine salmon pink with flashes of scarlet — that’s packed to the gunwales with a fabulous load of spicy, grenache flavour: cinnamon and clove, some little wild raspberries, then a rich but savoury finish. I enjoyed this immensely over yum cha recently, seeking solace in the sweet pillows of steamed pork buns.

The label of the High Noon changes every year and features an original painting by Raegan Noon. The 2016 High Noon image is of mushrooms. Nice. The wine is only $17 a bottle and, while most is sold direct to mailing list customers, some should be available when the Noon cellar door opens again mid-next month.

And finally, it’s a case of “does what it says on the tin” for the 2015 David Franz 108 Varieties Red Rose ($22). Franz is an adventurous Barossa winemaker who likes to make both classical styles and out-there experiments. The Red Rose falls into the latter camp: a blend of shiraz and a whole heap of white grapes such as riesling, crouchen, white frontignac and vermentino, and squirts of grapes picked from more than 100 other vines in mixed-planting and nursery blocks, all combining in a surprisingly balanced mouthful of pink-fruited deliciousness.

About Travel, 18 October, Sarah Megginson

Top 3 Australian Vineyard Getaways For Wine Lovers

Australia is internationally renowned for its sprawling vineyards scattered across its diverse countryside, so it’s unsurprising that some of our wine regions are amongst the most popular holiday destinations for international and Australian travellers alike!

When visiting a modern Australian winery, there’s plenty more to do than simply sip wine; the vineyards of today are a ‘choose your own adventure’ affair, with farm visits, vineyard movie showings, and hot air balloon rides becoming part of the experience.

There’s even the opportunity to visit a one-of-a-kind Australian division of the Moët & Chandon vineyard in France.

Gordon Bayne, Head of Travel at Scoopon, has made his way around some of Australia’s notable vineyards. He’s giving us the scoop on which wineries are worth every last drop. Full article

Grape Expectations 8 October Max Crus (Simon Hughes)

At some point in the week these reviews and article  will appear in The Daily Examiner (Grafton), Border Mail (Albury), Rotary Down Under (National) and Australian Petroleum Marketer News (National) 

Reviews for:

Beelgara Estate Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016, $9.50. A very festive price matches the very festive label of a colourful bunch of birds, a perfectly suitable metaphor for whom this wine should be shared. 8.5/10.

Beelgara Estate Shiraz 2015, $9.50. Sometimes you look forward to an untaxing night in with a friend, a TV and a bottle of red, such simple pleasures to which this untaxing wine is ideally suited and you hardly pay any at this price. 8.3/10.

Scott Adelaide Hills Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2014, $40. That’s a pretty specific location and you could ride around it in about 30 mins on a motorbike, which is not a bad idea. Not a bad, subtle and suave, chardonnay either. 9/10.

Scott Lo Zingaro (The Gypsy) Adelaide Hills, Shiraz/Sangiovese/Aglianico/Lagrein, 2014, $26. Who can resist the allure, the mystery and history of the gypsy legend…or wine? Certainly not this one anyway. 9.2/10.

Paringa Estate ‘Estate’ Pinot Gris 2015, $22. How many times can the word estate appear on a label, and still be legal and legible? As many times as you like and the fourth occurrence gives you automatic admittance to the journalists union. 8.6/10.

Paringa Estate ‘The Paringa’ Shiraz 2013, $80. $80 is a far bit to pay for a wine, so see if you can get someone else to pay, or buy a lottery ticket at the same time, and you might be able to get two. 8.9/10.

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