Sunday, February 6, 2011

Barossa Discoveries

I am currently travelling in the Barossa, looking for new and interesting developments. A couple of winemakers have caught my interest.

The first one is Damien Tscharke. He is a young winemaker who has old vines in the plum Seppeltsfield sub-region at his disposal. He produces the traditional varieties under the Glaymond label, but his eyes really light up when he talks about the Tscharke wines. The red varieties include a Tempranillo/Graciano, a Grenache, a Montepulciano and a Zinfandel. The Graciano gives backbone to the pretty Tempranillo component (similar to what Mourvedre does to Grenache), and the Grenache is very savoury, in the Spanish style. The highlight for me was the Montepulciano, which is an Italian grape variety, grown a lot in Abruzzo in the south and not to be confused with the Montepulciano area in Tuscany. The Zinfandel is better than most. All these wines share an impressive purity of fruit. They are intense, but have sufficient acidity to be lively. Damien believes these wine will suit the hot climate of the Barossa particularly well. I would rate these wines between 91-95 points, and they are attractively priced.

The second winery is Fernfield Wines in the south of Eden Valley. It is still owned by the Lillecrapp family. The first Australian Lillecrapp built the first house in Eden Valley, which is the cellar door today. They make more traditional Barossa wines. The unusual aspect is that the four current family members do absolutely everything and this specific care seems to come through in the wines. They seem to have a lot of integrity and be very true to their place. The wines are (you have to say) really cheap. As I am writing this, I am drinking the 2007 Pridmore Shiraz. It is a big wine, with plum and mint flavours. Despite the 15% alcohol, the wine is quite elegant and not a meal by itself (91 points).


Chris Plummer said...

Did you happen to try Tscharke's 2010 Savagnin Alontin? It's won a lot of friends over here and I'd be interested to know what you think.

Chris P

Alontin said...

He offered it, but I was on a red drinking path, silly me. I should have tried the Savagnin.

Try some of his other wines, though, Chris. Really worth while.