Allow me to take you on a journey to a little town called Chavignol in the area of Sancerre in central France. Therein lies a genuine producer of Sauvignon Blanc grapes named Gérard Boulay, who works his unyielding soil completely by hand. When it comes to the winemaking part, Mr Boulay allows wild yeast to do their magic and in all intervenes minimally. The Sancerre Tradition is made entirely from vineyards owned by Mr Boulay in the Chavignol area with minimum vine age of 30-40 years. The resultant wine is arresting. For someone who is not always enamoured with the Sauvignon Blanc put before them, I found myself pause and look deeper into this wine than I had with any other example.
On the nose you get elements of freshly cut grass, herbs and cats wee (that is a classic Sauvignon descriptor, I swear). The palate is zippy and steely at first with a semi-creamy mid-palate and a lemon peel tang to the finish. It is focused with gentleness in flavour and texture. I tried this Sancerre with a fresh seafood and lemon zest pasta dish, but you could also try oysters with a squeeze of lemon or a creamy fresh goats cheese.
Stockist: Rathdowne Cellars, North Carlton
NANNY GOAT Pinot Noir 2012
Central Otago, New Zealand
A couple of months ago I attended a wine dinner that was like no other. On this occasion, guests were paired with other unknown attendees and required to prepare the entrée for the evening in a Masterchef-style competition. Everybody’s competitive streak emerged and teams banded together to create their most flavoursome dish out of the ingredients provided. In the end and to my delight, our team won as we best matched the dish with the feature wine by Nanny Goat on offer.
Nanny Goat is a great young winery located down in Central Otago. The area is renowned for making densely coloured and elegant Pinot Noir. The example from Nanny Goat only goes to enhance this reputation, with aromas of wild berries, winter herbs, violets and hints of leather. The palate is incredibly silky with a continuation of the berry fruits and a finish of spicy oak and cleansing acidity. Try dishes featuring game, herbs or earthy ingredients like mushrooms.
Stockist: King & Godfree, Carlton
MOUNT TOWRONG Nebbiolo 2009
Mount Macedon, Victoria
When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? These days we tend to use email or send a text message. However a couple of months ago I received a handwritten letter written by the Cremasco family, who own Mount Towrong vineyards up in the Macedon Ranges. In this letter they explained their Italian heritage and the work involved in having three generations planting vineyards on terraced hillsides at 600m above sea level. One of the grapes they have devoted their time to is Nebbiolo. I was particularly fond of this bottle at first sighting because it simply says ‘NEB’ in capital font on the label. As one who has publically labelled themself as a Neb-head (someone really into Nebbiolo), there was an immediate attraction.
This Macedon Ranges Nebbiolo pours with a thick, saucy ruby red hue. As I put my nose into the glass I am drawn to imagery of the band Guns ‘n Roses. This is because there is a flinty and floral element coming from the wine before me. Overlaying that there are aromas of herbs and spice. While Mount Towrong’s version may lack true Nebbiolo structure, there is still enough weight on the palate with a hint of vanilla flavour on the finish to make this wine incredibly moreish. This is a unique and delicious Nebbiolo with high but balanced levels of acidity and smooth texture to finish. Neb-head happy.
Stockist: Small Patch Wines, Hawthorn, or direct from Mount Towrong online