Christmas time, Mistletoe and Wine... and why not, we all enjoy a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe and a glass of wine or two at Christmas.
It’s only once a year I get to write an article at Christmas, so I’m going to take the opportunity to publish my wine wish list… Santa, are you listening?
A culmination of jet lag and wine from this year’s travel exploration has left me confused and a little overwhelmed. 2017 has been a cracking year. Australia, America, Italy, France, Blighty… they have all looked after me and helped us to develop our wine experiences and first-hand knowledge on some of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. Well they are all stunning really!
Here are my top three ear ticklers from this year travels:
Ochota Barrels ‘The Slint’ Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills Australia
(1975 bottles produced from the 2015 harvest)
What a great wine. I discovered this cheeky gem of a Chardonnay whilst ‘Lost in a Forrest’, an aptly named wood oven wine lounge, located deep in the Adelaide Hills. Situated in an old chapel, this funky forward thinking pizzeria / cellar door was a great find… whilst sitting at the bar, in true Aussie fashion, I ordered a Buzzbomb pizza and a glass of Ochota Barrels ‘The Slint’ Chardonnay, this turned my world around…
Representing the lofty levels of quality that can be achieved through terroir and winemaking skills, Taras Ochota manages to deliver wines that tickle the ears. Thought evoking and discussion demanding wines, not your run of the mill plonk.
The Slint Chardonnay shows delicate white flowers and orchard fruit. Plenty of tension in the structure. There's oak lowering the pitch of the citrus and some buttery creaminess on the finish. Nectarines and lemon curd deliciousness, leaving you with a mouth watering and an empty glass… oh and a few quid short as these wines are not cheap at £28.95. Worth every penny tho!
The Ochota Barrels tale began on a surf trip, late 2000 along the Mexican west coast in a Volkswagen campervan. A final destination after traveling some of the world’s best wine and surf regions, Taras and Amber Ochota conceived the idea to make super premium wines back home in South Australia. ‘The Slint Vineyard’ is located in the true cool-climate reaches of the Adelaide Hills where the grapes for this amazing wine are hand harvested at night.
Worth a taste and will differ each vintage, truly representing the terroir of the surrounding vineyards.
Yalumba Bush Vine Granache, Barossa Valley Australia
Well this lovely little table wine of a Grenache really surprised me, and at £14.95. Often described as one of Australia’s unsung heroes, Grenache is naturally lighter in colour than Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon but continually provides us with wonderful big fruit flavours. Yalumba is extremely fortunate to have access to some of the oldest Grenache vineyards in the Barossa – with fruit for this wine sourced from vines planted between 1898 and 1973.
We took some time to visit these vineyards back in February, a surreal 18 degrees and raining in the height of the South Australian summer. It was great to see the gnarly old bush vines and taste the fruit directly off the vine, sweet and rich, full of flavour. Sitting on a bed of sand these vines look like their growing on a sand dune although roughly 70 km’s from the sea!
Great value wine with some tasty stuff inside!
Trefethen Estate Malbec Napa Valley California
Both Chris and I were in the US in May, but you already know as we haven’t shut up about it. A great experience, although not cheap, not cheap AT all!! Through the haze of green (the money type) we stumbled across Trefethen Family Vineyards, a wonder of an estate and one with a history that helped Napa be what it is today.
This wine made us smile. It stood out from its Napa Valley varietal piers. In a region packed full of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel & Merlot, Malbec used more often in the big blends resembling those of Bordeaux, although in small quantities. This is more towards the fruit forward Malbecs of Argentina although a seriously smart and sophisticated one. Trefethan seem to champion Malbec as the predominant varietal for their red blends, and rightly so.
With proper vineyard site selection, excellent soil and top-notch winemaking, their Estate Malbec illustrates how exceptional this variety can be on its own. The wine starts with plum and violet aromatics that are followed by cherry and blackberry on the palate. Fine tannins and toasted spice headline the finish.
A real treat and one that we just had to bring back with us.
So there you have it… my wine wish list! I can’t wait for Christmas now you all know what to get me.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!