With apologies to our regular readers, November’s column has been delayed (we’ve been doing so much tasting we didn’t get around to writing up our notes before the month ended!) Here it is though, and we will make sure the December Diary is published before 2019 has come to a close.
With the changing of the seasons, we have been increasing our tasting of Sparkling wines this last month but have made sure the Whites and Reds have not been forgotten. Here are a few of the wines tasted (and in some cases re-tasted) by the Walkabout Crew this month, with notes on the discussions that followed.
Do critics “scores” mean much? Take the example of Ulithorne “CHI” which a certain well known wine critic scored at 90 points in 2019. As a general rule we think Ulithorne wines are a scored a bit conservatively by a number of critics and this may be because they are a little bit different from other South Australian reds, but this one in particular we really like. The RRP of $49.50 is also a clue that, relative to their other offerings (which are priced in the region of $20 a bottle) this wine is made with a bit more care and focus. Another example is Warrabilla Parola’s Durif (pictured) which is one of our highest ever scored red wines. Good luck trying to find a critic score for this wine however… they don’t really exist! Yet Warrabilla seem to have no trouble selling the entirety of their production each year (the prices are very reasonable, $25ish for the reserve and $37 for the Parola’s)
When the weather is good, get out and see where your wine comes from. Wineries are really beautiful places. In the warmer months this is especially true. By visiting wineries you are helping in three very important ways: you are directly helping a primary producer, many of which are running at a loss in the majority of years and your direct purchases are worth more than multiple purchases through intermediaries. You are also supporting the hospitality industry as many of these cellar doors employ apprentice chefs and your patronage is of immense benefit. Finally, but by no means least important, wine makers really like to hear from customers what they want to drink. What do you like/dislike in a wine? The wine makers want to know! Better still, if they make what you want to drink, everyone wins!
Our pick of the drinks this month is Chandon 2009 Winemaker’s Selection Chardonnay Pinot Noir. A really beautiful drink in many ways, this wine has all the hallmarks of a really great French Champagne, but at a much reduced price of $60 per bottle.