August is an important month in the Walkabout calendar – it represents the time when we need to start thinking less about Red wine stocks and look at our supplies of White and Sparkling wines in preparation for the warmer months.
As usual, we’ve been doing a lot of tasting this month, planning some multi-day walkabouts for the coming months (including a possible trip back to Tasmania for some quality sparkling wines: House of Arras, Piper’s Brook… we’re coming…). We’ve also had a chance to do some reflecting on wine-related matters and some thoughts are shared here:
Bargains can be found at auctions, if you have patience. Just for fun one night a few of us went to some online wine auction sites and did a search for some of our “wish list wines”. We found some unexpected bargains: Grant Burge Mesach Shiraz 2010 for under $80 per bottle (normally over $150 on release) and Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz for under $150 per bottle (normally over $300 on release). What was interesting is that we were the only bidders on some of these wines. Needless to say, this will now become a regular activity for our meetings (before the drinking begins of course).
Variety may be the “spice of life” but personal favourites are there for a reason. We sample lots of wine. Usually with an open mind, but we do find ourselves often coming back to the old favourites for special occasions. That said, if we didn’t sample far and wide, we would never have discovered the Tahbilk (pictured) cellar door only wines which have become prevalent in our cellars in recent years.
Personal favourites can be regions as well as specific labels: Barossa Shiraz, Margaret River Cabernet, Yarra Valley Chardonnay, Northern Tasmanian Sparkling, Rutherglen Fortified and Rutherglen Durif are some good combinations to start with if you’re looking for consistent quality and reasonable prices. There are special wines made by special winemakers in each of these regions, and yes there are plenty of other regions growing quality grapes – we just haven’t gotten around to visiting them all yet…
For Victorians reading this who don’t want to leave the state, try the following: Bendigo for Shiraz, Rutherglen for Durif and fortified wines, Yarra Valley for Chardonnay and Sparkling wine, Mornington Peninsula for Pinot Noir and Nagambie Lakes for Marsanne and other less common whites.
We didn’t drink enough white wine this month to name a white wine of the month, but our red wine of the month with an insanely high score was Warrabilla 2015 Parola’s Limited Release Durif RRP $37 per bottle.