Grapevine Archive for Riesling

There’d be some real, actual blood as well, but what I’m trying to say is that I really like riesling.

Characterful, versatile and downright delicious, it’s the grape that everyone says they don’t like before they actually try it, and this gorgeous example – recommended to me by fellow copywriter compadre Martin Brown – has converted plenty of naysayers recently.

Louis Guntrum Dry Riesling 2016

Bursting with mouthwatering lime, pear and gooseberry flavours, it manages to achieve bracing freshness, while not subjecting the roof of your mouth to that mouthpuckering post-peardrop tenderness that other particularly acidic wines can. A lean, mean mineral seam conjures the breeziness of the Rhein which, incidentally runs through the heart of the Guntrum’s beautiful vineyards.

Back in February, we were lucky enough to be joined for a guest tasting by owner Konstantin Guntrum, whose infectious enthusiasm and obvious passion was as vibrant and life-affirming as the wines themselves.

More interesting than sauvignon blanc, less divisive than chardonnay, this is the perfect bottle to enjoy with friends as summer draws to a close.

Rosie Allen
Content Creator & Editor

£8.95 bottle
£53.50 case of six
View wine details

Find a full archive of Staff Choices on our website here

Categories : Germany, Other Europe
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Tue 25 Oct 2016

Remembering Annegret Reh-Gartner

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Annegret Reh-Gartner, who died this October aged 61, will be sorely missed by all who knew her. Her sense of responsibility, hard work ethic and determination may have been inherited from her father, but I shall chiefly remember her warmth, sense of humour and disarming honesty.

Annegret Reh-Gartner

Annegret Reh-Gartner

Tasting the new vintage in her company at the von Kesselstatt winery in Morscheid was always a joy. The wines were nearly always exciting and beautifully made, but she was the first to admit with humility if one was not a complete success.

Gunther Reh, her father, had bought the historic von Kesselstatt estate and vineyards (with the help of profits from his Sekt business) when it was an almost unmanageable 100 and more hectares with vines and cellars scattered throughout the Mosel and its tributaries. It was Annegret, who had the vision to concentrate her efforts on 36 hectares of its top Mosel-Saar-Ruwer sites, determined only to make top-quality wines.

These include Josephshöfer in Graach, a good chunk of the heart of the great Piesporter Goldtröpfchen amphitheatre, Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenühr, Scharzhofberger, Ockfener Bockstein and Wiltinger Braunfels in the Saar, and Kaseler Nies’chen in the Ruwer. Each has its own distinct personality and stamp of real quality which made those tastings such a pleasure.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt

We were able to draw on these Saar vineyards and also the excellent underrated Niedermenniger Herrenberg for The Society’s Saar Riesling.

Though she and her Michelin-starred chef husband Gerhard had no children of their own, Annegret, as the eldest of Gunther Reh’s children was the one all the others often turned to. Her care and concern for her family, the people who worked for her and her customers was deeply felt and evident.

Her last vintage, 2015, is looking wonderful and will be a living testament to her work that we shall continue to enjoy for many years, because rieslings of this calibre age so well. But when I drink them I shall specially remember Annegret herself, her infectious laugh and warm heart.

Sebastian Payne MW
Society Buyer

Categories : Germany, Other Europe
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Tue 21 Jun 2016

A Celebration of Alsace Riesling

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Millésimes Alsace 2016, an international trade event in Colmar, was only the third of its kind – and a first for me. Superbly organised, if discreetly promoted (whilst there was a strong turnout of UK press, members of the UK trade were few and far between), this is certainly one I will aim to attend again in 2018, and with more time to take full advantage of the additional events on the days before and after.

The event showcased Alsace’s premium wines. Most were grand cru or lieu-dit (single-vineyard) wines, many were rieslings, and from the 2014 vintage which was so good for this wonderfully terroir-expressive grape (see for yourself in our new offer of Alsace wines, the fruits of a trip with my colleague & Alsace aficionado Marcel Orford-Williams back in February).

Millesimes Alsace 2016

This was certainly the most democratic wine show I have ever attended. One large room, the same modestly sized tables for all, no posters, banners or other eye candy, with wines poured by the winemakers and vignerons themselves. Where else would you find co-op wines, in this case from the Cave de Turckheim (and very good they were too), sandwiched happily between two of the iconic names of the region: Trimbach and Domaine Weinbach?

The weather was unseasonably wet, but there’s no getting away from the picturesque beauty of this region. Day two of the event was made up of visits to, and tastings of, some of Alsace’s finest grands crus. Other diary commitments meant I could not take full advantage of this opportunity and I had to leave a fascinating presentation on the geology of the region in the Goldert vineyard.

Goldert

The vineyard lies just outside the village of Gueberschwihr and from above the village we just spotted the local tourist train (known affectionately as the TGV!) which runs along the wine route twice a week from Eguisheim, and generally requires reservation in advance (though few had been brave enough on this wet & misty day). That bit at least is open to non-trade, and with air access to the region so easy via Strasbourg or Basel-Mulhouse, or by car or real TGV of course, it’s no wonder they receive so many visitors from the UK.

Gueberschwihr

And for a break from wine? Colmar’s extended and refurbished Unter Linden Museum comes highly recommended, and Easy Jet’s current in-flight magazine sings the praises of the Vitra Design Museum in Basel.

Jo Locke MW
Society Buyer

Our offer of the 2014 Alsace vintage is available now.

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Janet Wynne Evans gets into hock without breaking the bank…

Janet Wynne Evans

Janet Wynne Evans

What could be better than a classy bottle and a meal that cost next to nothing – apart perhaps from the sterling advice that it doesn’t really work the other way round?

Should you be tempted by our current crop of German wines, here’s a recipe to bring some joy to plate, palate and domestic balance of payments.

It involves that most Germanic of ingredients, ham, a riesling soulmate if ever there was one. The racy acidity of the grape offsets saturated fat while the roundness underlying even in the trockens soothes salinity. And the nobility of the fruit counters the pigsty so elegantly.

But let it also be said that a supple German pinot noir with a thick slice of baked ham is an Ode to Joy in itself.

A ham hock weighing a generous kilo will set you back little more than a couple of your hard-earned sovereigns. Slowly baked in the oven on a rhythm-section of onions, herbs and spices, it will feed four people adequately, or two very generously, with scrumptious leftovers. The cooking juices and not-quite-spent veggies make a superb sauce or can be blended into soup fit for a king, with shreds of the ham and a few pulses thrown in. The meat itself makes hearty terrines and well as peerless sandwiches.

When meat is this cheap, some other kind of investment is needed. Here, it’s time and, by extension, the cost of a longish tour of duty, albeit at low wattage, for your trusty oven. Even so, this meal is belting good value. It’s a much better destination than a food waste bin for unprepossessing bits of vegetable: the unglamorous outer leaves of fennel bulbs, slightly elderly celery sticks, the too-green bits of leek you’re always advised to discard. Any superannuated wine, cider or ale you happen to have around can be pressed into service too.

ham hock recipe

You can boil ham hocks for lipsmacking flavour and pleasing, pull-apart texture, though not photogenic beauty, which this baked version has in abundance. During the cooking, the flavoursome fat renders into the meat, rather than being lost in cooking water. A final blast of hot air gives them a beautiful burnished glow, and – praise be! – crackling!

Don’t try to make the recipe below on impulse. Snap up your hocks, vacuum-packed for extra shelf-life, or store them in the freezer. ready for a call to action. The impending arrival of a Wine Society van, for instance.

Janet Wynne Evans
Fine Wine Editor

BAKED AND ROASTED HAM HOCK WITH BEANS AND ONION SAUCE
One hock will serve 4 – but why not cook two for safety and leftovers?

• 1 or 2 unsmoked ham hocks, skin on about 1.2kg each
• 3-4 onions, or a combination of onions, fennel and leeks, roughly wedged or chunked, enough to cover the base of the dish
• A small bunch of sage leaves, washed and dried
• 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
• 2-3 star anise
• 1 teaspoon of whole white peppercorns
• 100ml dry or medium cider or white wine
• 2 x 400g cans or jars white, butter or cannellini beans or flageolets, drained
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, white or black
• A small bunch of fresh parsley, leaves only, not too finely chopped (put the stalks under the ham before it goes into the oven).
• A pinch of mustard powder (optional)

Ideally, soak your ham in cold water the night before to remove excess salt. If you are seized by impulsiveness, a quick cheat is to cover your joint with cold water in a large pan and bring slowly to the boil. Once the water begins to bubble gently, pour it away and rinse the joint thoroughly in fresh water. In both cases, dry it thoroughly with kitchen paper.

Now score the rind all over with fine lines, close together. This is a simple task provided you have a Stanley knife, the point of which does the job admirably without cutting too deeply into the fat.

Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2 and choose a deepish roasting tin or ovenproof dish that comes with a lid.

Line the bottom of the tin with the vegetables, herbs and spices.

Stand the ham on top, and pour over the wine or cider. Grind in a generous amount of black pepper. Cover and bake for between three and four hours, or until really tender, basting from time to time with the juices. Add a little more liquid if necessary.

Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C/Gas 7.

Transfer the ham onto a platter and carefully pour the juices and vegetables into a clean pan. Fish out the bay leaves and star anise. If you have a stick blender, use this to puree the vegetables into a thickish sauce. If not, cool them slightly and use a blender or food processor. A mouli, or vegetable sieve will also work and if none of these is to hand, simply chop the vegetables for a pleasantly chunky effect. Season and add a judicious pinch of your favourite mustard if you like.

Put the ham back in the tin, scored side up. Rub a little salt into the skin and return to the oven for about 25 minutes or a little longer if the crackling is elusive.

Add the drained beans to the onion sauce and heat through gently on the hob. Sprinkle abundantly with the parsley and keep warm.

Transfer the ham to a board and carve into thick slices or let it fall into shreds.

Serve in rustic fashion with the beans and provide contrast with a short, sharp, crunchy salad, dressed with mustard vinaigrette.

Categories : Germany, Other Europe
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Wed 16 Oct 2013

Rhine & Danube: Shifting the Centre

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Marcel Orford-Williams reveals the thinking behind The Society’s current offer, From Golden Rhine to Blue Danube, and why now is the time to be exploring these remarkable wines.

Maps have always been a passion for me. When friends would queue up for the latest album, I would be in Long Acre, immersed in charts.

Our Rhine Danube map. Click to enlarge.

Our Rhine and Danube map. Click to enlarge.

One of my interests was studying different map projections or simply looking at maps from different angles. After all why persist in seeing a map with north on top? Why not south, or east? Why see the world with our small islands conveniently placed in the middle and, in Mercator’s projection, unduly large?

And so I looked at the layout of Europe’s vineyards which, typically, are centred on the three most important regions: Iberia, Italy and, in between, France. Without the Roman Empire, viticulture might have remained close to the Mediterranean shore. Instead, Hellenistic culture in its vinous form was carried on the backs of Roman legionaries wherever they went, often following great river valleys such as the Ebro, Rhône or Garonne and as far east as the Rhine and Danube which remained a border of sorts until the Barbarian surge.

Rhine Valley

Rhine Valley

Borders are contradictory, being both barrier and passage. They have changed and evolved over the centuries after wars and dynastic ties. Transylvania, Romanian today, used to be Hungarian. Hungary used to be Turkish. The Ottomans lay siege to Vienna twice, which was once the centre of Germany, while Alsace, French today, was once part of the Holy Roman Empire.

This is where Europe comes together, and in so many ways. Not least in music, whereby a river cruise might start with Hildegard of Bingen and end on the Danube with Enescu, by way of Beethoven and Bartók. And, of course there’s the wines – a veritable cross-pollination of tastes and styles.

I think it was the late and much missed Barry Sutton, one time general manager of The Wine Society, who amused himself with the idea of a buying trip along the Rhine with grateful growers coming to our barge with samples to taste and maybe the odd refreshing beer. Now, thanks to a recently built canal, our trip can extend all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea.

The Rhine-Danube basin has become home to a vast number of grape varieties. In modern times, they have been bought in from France or Italy, everything from cabernet sauvignon to sangiovese. Before, though, varieties were often created from happy marriages with wild vines.

Riesling, for instance, almost certainly arose out of crossings between the obscure gouais blanc from France, traminer from Italy and wild vines that would have grown along the banks of the Rhine. Another offspring of the gouais blanc is likely to be Hungary’s furmint.

In the west, maritime influences moderate the climate so that Bordeaux or the Minho are relatively cool and damp. In Central Europe, the climate is distinctly continental with cold winters and hot summers. The Romans loved to plant on hillsides and it’s no coincidence that so many of the best vineyards in Germany, Alsace and Austria are planted on steep valley sides. Long growing seasons and hot summers create certain styles and there is a common feature that links Alsace to Austria and Romania. So many of the wines are fragrant, sometimes heady with exotic scents and many are full-flavoured and generous.

The steep Bacharacher Hahn vineyard

The steep Bacharacher Hahn vineyard

One of the loveliest vineyards is the Bacharacher Hahn, steep and south facing and overlooking the ancient town and the Rhine. Close by is the narrowest point of the river north of the Swiss border. At one point a 120m cliff plunges into the water. There are rocks to snare ships and also, so it was believed, the deadly water sprite Lorelei, to lure watermen to a certain death. Mendelssohn was here and began writing an opera for Jenny Lind, and, just down the river, Hildegard of Bingen lived and meditated. Maybe she had a say in the creation of the riesling grape? Her many interests included botany, after all.

She spent some time in the village of Ruppertsberg where she founded the monastery. Tucked into the Haardt are fabulous vineyards, in Ruppertsberg itself and next door in Forst and Wachenheim, that today are the source of some of the world’s finest dry white wines, made of course from the riesling grape. Riesling may have come from here or it may have come from Alsace or even the Wachau in Austria on the Danube.

All three make stunning dry riesling, each in a slightly different style. So good they were that at one time that these dry rieslings commanded higher prices than any chardonnay from Burgundy. The Rheingau then suddenly stunned the world with sweet wine made from grapes affected by noble rot. But these rare delicacies were known about for much longer. Well before the Bishop of Fulda enjoyed the first Spätlese, or late-harvest wine, Hapsburg princes were savouring the immortal delights of Tokaji.

Opposite Bingen, but slightly downstream, as the Rhein faces north again towards the narrows and the mischievous Lorelei, pinot noir, known in Germany as spätburgunder, occupies some of the best slopes. Burgundy’s finest grape (which actually predates riesling) is a red variety of choice and lovers of pinot can expect to pay high prices and the wines are sometimes good enough to stand comparison with Burgundy. Further upstream , the Rhine marks a border between Germany and France. Curiously, pinot noir used to be a major variety in Alsace and its popularity is on the rise, as it is on the German side in Baden. Pinot Noir has good Central European credentials and lovely examples can even be found right at the end of our barge journey in Romania.

The Danube winding through Austria

The Danube winding through Austria

Austria has become one of the smartest wine countries of Europe, frequently picking up international prizes. It wasn’t always so but in some ways the scandal that nearly destroyed its reputation became its saviour as serious growers were left with no choice but to work for quality. Steep Danubian vineyards produce great dry whites from riesling and the local grüner veltliner while the warm, misty shores of the Neuseidlersee produce great reds and, of course, fabulous sweet wines. Noble rot here is almost guaranteed.

Vineyards in Tokaj, Hungary

Vineyards in Tokaj, Hungary

And so to the east and real promised land that is slowly rediscovering itself after years under state controls. Hungary stands out as it has a sophisticated wine culture and strongly identified grape varieties and styles, dominated of course by Tokaji. This is so obviously a great wine that as soon as state controls were relaxed, foreign investment came pouring in. Rehabilitation of Romania as a wine-producing country has been slower but is nonetheless exciting with new estates, more western in outlook and far more quality minded.

The future for this part of Europe is surely bright. For so long this has been a battlefield confronting the great European Empires. Irredentist squabbles apart, the vast Rhine and Danube basin is surely destined for peace and its wondrous patchwork of vineyards will be allowed to prosper.

Marcel Orford-Williams
Society Buyer

View the current Rhine and Danube offer

Fri 21 Jun 2013

Wir sind ein Stevenager

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The original menu served to John F. Kennedy in June 1963

The original menu for JFK in June 1963

It was 50 years ago this weekend that President John F. Kennedy made his famous speech at the Brandenburg Gate. The menu (pictured), while bound with decorative cord, bore no culinary frills – smoked salmon, grilled chicken, strawberries, cheese platter. Wines on the menu that day included Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt’s Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese.

To celebrate the anniversary, after his own Brandenburg Gate speech on 19th June, President Obama was presented with a bottle of the same wine, but from the 2011 vintage.

As Annegret Reh-Gartner from von Kesselstatt says: “Proof that our wines are still memorable after 50 years!”

Our buyer for Germany Sebastian Payne MW blogged here about The Society’s Saar Riesling, made for us by von Kesselstatt, and The Society currently stocks a further six wines from this excellent estate.

Prost!

Ewan Murray
PR Manager

Categories : Germany, Miscellaneous
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Wed 19 Jun 2013

RACY RIESLING

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The Society's Saar Riesling

The Society’s Saar Riesling: ‘Low in alcohol (11%) but high in flavour, strong in acidity but soft and generous as a sweet ripe peach’

Wine journalists, like Masters of Wine, do not always agree about which wines to recommend, but a distinguished list, including Matthew Jukes, Jane MacQuitty, Jancis Robinson, Anthony Rose and The Wine Gang have recently praised The Society’s Saar Riesling. Most recently David Williams made it his Best Buy for Summer in The Observer Food Monthly.

“This racy German riesling from vineyards around the Saar tributary of the Mosel was made for wasting (but not wasted) afternoons in the garden. Low in alcohol (11%) but high in flavour, strong in acidity but soft and generous as a sweet ripe peach.”

We select and blend it each year with Annegret Reh and her winemaker Wolfgang Mertes from the von Kesselstatt estate – which has an almost unrivalled clutch of top-quality vineyards in the region to make our job more interesting.

The von Kesselstatt estate has a history of more than 660 years, and was bought by Gunther Reh in 1978. Annagret has since taken the important decision to concentrate on her very best sites, 36 hectares in all, reducing yields and only using indigenous yeasts, ensuring vineyards keep their personality.

Our Saar Riesling varies with the vintage, sometimes including grapes from Scharzhofberg, sometimes Wiltinger Gottesfuss and Braunfels, sometimes Oberemmeler Agritiusberg and the excellent but less well-known Niedermenniger Herrenberg.

The wine is just off-dry, sweetness (4), and in fact drier than in earlier vintages as grapes have been beautifully ripe in recent years, but the refreshing balance of a little sweetness and natural acidity makes it delicious both with food or on its own.  With only 11% alcohol it leaves the head clear and spirit refreshed.

Well worth £8.95, in fact.

Stop press

This wine also won its category in this year’s Wine Champions blind tastings. All the winners are revealed here. There will also be an offer of 2012 German Rieslings in July. The 2012 harvest was excellent and rewarding though quantities are down. The wines have lovely freshness, balance and length of flavour. Watch this space!

 

Categories : Miscellaneous
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Mon 30 Apr 2012

Work stops on controversial Mosel bridge

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Contractors have stopped work on Mosel bridge

Members may remember the tale of the 500ft-high bridge and four-lane motorway planned to pass through some of the Mosel?s most prestigious vineyards and the lobbying and campaigning that has taken place, not just by locals but by wine-lovers and wine writers the world over.

Despite fierce protest, legal challenges and political wrangling, construction had started on the new route. However, the latest news from Pro-Mosel, the body set up to channel support against the so-called B50 project, gives fresh hope though, as the construction company involved in the development has stopped all activities until further notice:

?Construction cranes have been dismantled, demonstrably angry workers have been sent away. According to witnesses, the building company Porr have suspended their activities on the construction of the Mosel bridge until further notice. It has been reported that static calculations are missing, and that only the measurements for the first bridge pier have been reliably calculated. Officially, the contractors refuse to confirm this information.?

Apparently, similar problems have already been cited by critics of the project. Last year, a report was produced which criticised a lack of exploration of the subsoil, in particular in the area of the bridge. The Mosel region is susceptible to landslides and with supporting piers designed to reach a height of 160 metres, there is a particularly high risk of instability.

You can read the full press-release and find out more about the bridge and the campaign to stop its construction on Pro-Mosel?s website.

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Wed 01 Feb 2012

Greywacke Races on to the Scene

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Kevin Judd was born in Totton, Hampshire, emigrating to South Australia aged nine (“my parents went, and at that age you just go with the flow”) and then, with his wife Kimberley, on to New Zealand in 1983 where along with David Hohnen he was founding winemaker at LVMH’s iconic Cloudy Bay. He stayed there for 24 years. He says that his one regret is that he didn’t stay for his 25-year gold watch (LVMH also own TAG-Heuer!) but he certainly has no regrets about the path he has followed since.

2009 was the first vintage of Greywacke, so named because most of New Zealand lies upon the eponymous bedrock. The range comprises Sauvignon Blanc, Wild Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Late Harvest Gewürztraminer. At the end of January 60 members were fortunate enough to try six of these seven wines at Peter Gordon‘s Kopapa Café and Restaurant which had been expertly matched by Peter himself and his head chef Leigh Hartnett. We were delighted that both Kevin and Kimberley were there to talk to members about the wines in detail.

The aperitif of Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2011 was a sprightly, fresh, lime and fresh grass sauvignon which demands you have a second glass.

Smoked monkfish carpaccio

Kopapa’s speciality is tapas-style dishes, and so we had four shared small plates as our starters. The two dishes of goat’s curd panna cotta, beetroot yuzu salsa and black olive tuile, and then smoked monkfish carpaccio, white balsamic, caper & parsley dressing were a marvellous foil to the rounded, ripe, savoury, almost minty character of the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2010 (due in February). Rich and yet palate cleansing at the same time, the savoury notes melded with the smoked monkfish as well as the classic sauvignon marriage with goat’s cheese.

The second pair of dishes (pan-fried Scottish scallops, sweet chilli & crème fraîche – Peter’s signature dish – and tempura spicy dhal inari pocket, caramelised coconut, plantain, pickled green papaya) were beautifully matched with Greywacke Riesling 2011 (it’s first showing anywhere in the world – due in June). The wine is fresh, off-dry, open, appealing with lime and mineral notes and should come with a label that says simply ‘Drink Me!’ The 20g/l residual sugar, and the lovely crisp acidity countered the sweetness of the coconut and the chilli spice perfectly.

Twice baked Crozier Blue soufflé

Next to the cheese course, and a twice baked Crozier Blue soufflé (no mean feat to produce 64 individual soufflés all at the same time!) with Jerusalem artichoke cream and a pomegranate dressing went superbly with the soft green apples and tropical fruit of the Greywacke Pinot Gris 2010, with its 8 g/l of sweetness balancing the light saltiness of the soufflé.

The beautifully cooked main course of lamb cutlet & braised lamb shank with white bean purée, kale and fig jus fitted hand in glove with Greywacke Pinot Noir 2010 (due in June). The wine, with its lovely waft of sweet cherries and cream, showed a savoury and mineral depth of huge proportion, and a fresh, almost eternal savoury finish.

To finish, Greywacke Late Harvest Gewurztraminer 2009 (we believe these were the last bottles in existence) with its 90 g/l of residual sugar and its trademark lychee and Turkish delight character, and yet a freshness rarely displayed in gewurz found elsewhere, with another signature dish of banana tarte tatin and sea salt caramel ice cream.

One of three books published by Kevin

As well as arguably being New Zealand’s top winemaker, he is a very talented photographer. He has published three books – details and several images can be found by clicking on this link – and members enjoyed browsing through the books as we ate and drank.

It was a night to remember and to savour. Kevin and Kimberley moved on the next day to Denmark in their four week odyssey of the northern hemisphere, but we look forward to their return to these shores, as well as the very welcome arrival of the new vintages later this year.

Ewan Murray
Head of Tastings & Events

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Sat 24 Sep 2011

Meat & drink!

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Earlier this month 90 members and guests were treated to a wonderful meal at Smith’s of Smithfield, the great eatery just across the road from London’s meat market, owned by chef John Torode. It was a fitting Aussie-owned backdrop for a dinner that highlighted wines from two of Western Australia’s finest winemakers – Vanya Cullen from Cullen Wines in Margaret River and John Durham from Plantagenet Wines in Great Southern.

The weather was kind and as the evening wore on a aperitif-friendly south-facing blue-sky panorama from the terrace with St Paul’s Cathedral as the centre piece gently dimmed into a full-moonlit night.

Vanya Cullen

Vanya was delighted with the full moon, as it became her visual aid when talking about the biodynamic way that her vines are grown and wines made. The Mangan Vineyard Sauvignon Semillon (soon to come into stock) matched beautifully with the scallops expertly prepared by the SoS team, the Mangan Malbec Petit Verdot Merlot 2009 would knock spots off many a similarly-priced Claret and the Diana Madeleine 2002 (we have the 2008 currently available) was simply sublime.

John Durham

John’s vibrant Riesling 2009 got proceedings off to a crisp start, and his Omrah Shiraz 2008 made an interesting gutsy comparison with the aforementioned Mangan Red with our aged fillet steak. The 1999 Shiraz again contrasted robustly with the finesse of the DM, both accompanying the excellent cheeses (Yarg, aged Montgomery and Caerphilly), and his cheeky sweet Ringbark Riesling 2009 matched wonderfully with the pear and lemon dessert.

Members enjoying the evening at Smith's of Smithfield

The wines are very different in style, as are the winemakers, and we got the full picture from both on this moonlit night. The venue doesn’t give itself over to being a quiet and venerable eating place – sociability is definitely the watchword, and perhaps a full moon made members even more gregarious and loquacious than usual … or was it the wine? Either way, a good time was had, the food and service were of a very high standard and the beautiful wines spoke for themselves. We shall return there some time soon.

Ewan Murray
Head of Tastings & Events

Categories : Australia, Wine Tastings
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