Saturday snapshot – Yalumba Viognier Y series 2012

Feb 09, 13 Saturday snapshot – Yalumba Viognier Y series 2012

Posted by in Australia, Saturday Snapshot

The Queen of Australian Viognier, Louisa Rose was in town recently** to show off her wines and I was happy to be invited to a luncheon and tasting showcasing what she has been able to produce in the Australian  vineyards. Louisa has been working as Chief Winemaker for Yalumba winery, based in the Barossa, since 2006 but she first joined Yalumba in 1993 as, what we fondly refer to in the trade, a “cellar rat“. She has been with Yalumba ever since and has worked her way up through the ranks, learning from the legendary winemakers of Yalumba. Early on in the 1970s, Yalumba was captivated by the Viognier grape  (which originally hails from the Rhone region of France) and they planted what began as an experiment. Over the years they discovered that they vines did very well in  the cool climate Eden Valley region of the Barossa and it is from these vines that the majority of their Viognier is cultivated. They also source fruit from a number of additional sites in South Australia. The Viognier that Louisa and Yalumba are producing is made to be drunk with food. A big difference that I found with Yalumba’s Viogniers were the fact that although aromatic, they were not as aromatic as some Rhone wines. This is a good thing in my book as French Viogniers can sometimes knock you over with their powerful aromatics. Another quality that I admired very much in their Viogniers was the freshness and the minerality that ran through the wine. The most consumer-friendly wine that Yalumba produces is the Y Series Viognier. We tasted the 2012 before lunch and it was a cracker of a wine. Fresh and attractive nose with hints of citrus, melon and papaya it had a medium body with good weight but none of the oiliness that is often found in Rhone Viogniers. It was what I would call a sprite of a wine, a friendly wine to start one on a discovery of the Viognier grape. Although it carried alcohol levels...

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Saturday Snapshot -Kleine Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2011

Feb 02, 13 Saturday Snapshot -Kleine Zalze Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier 2011

Posted by in Saturday Snapshot, South Africa

Okay, so it has been a long time coming but I am being converted to the wines of South Africa. I remember when I first started wine tasting, S. African wines were definitely not my go-to choice. The reds tasted of an odd, burnt flavour and the whites were frankly, lemon water. Happily, the wines, they are a-changing. I have of course tried the wines of Seven Springs vineyards, which I have reviewed here in the past. And just the other day, I received a sample of a red wine from Kleine Zalze Winery. Kleine Zalze it has to be said, have been around a long time. They were founded in 1695 and are still a family owned estate. They make premium red and white wines and are known for their quality. I have had the higher end of their range and it is very good. The wine I had though was from their entry-level range, the Zalze 2011 Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier blend. An interesting take on the classic Shiraz/Viognier blend that is originally from the Rhone Valley, this wine was certainly much more then I was expecting. As I said earlier, I often think of South African reds as having a slightly burnt or smoky (not in a good way) character to them, but this wine was delicious: medium-bodied with loads of blackberry and red fruit notes on the palate, the Viognier gave it a slightly lifted nose with spicy notes mingling in there as well. I like to have my wine with dinner and this one I had with sweet potatoes (I eat them all the time in the winter) and a pork chop. It was a great little wine: good acidity and flavourful, but not overwhelming the food. The best bit is that this wine is available for under a tenner. That’s right, you can snap up a bottle for £6.99 from Ocado. At those prices, I’d pick up a couple of bottles! NOTE* I originally wrote this review for and occasionally re-post wines I...

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Podcast – Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker of Yalumba, talks about their viognier and shiraz viognier blends

Oct 25, 12 Podcast – Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker of Yalumba, talks about their viognier and shiraz viognier blends

Posted by in Australia, Podcast

Recently the “Queen of Australian Viognier”, Louisa Rose, was in town as part of a large contingent of Australian winemakers to hit our shores. Louisa is the Chief Winemaker of the Barossa Valley’s Yalumba Wines and has been deeply involved with the production of their viognier. She’s started out as a cellar rat 20 years ago and in 2006 was made Chief Winemaker. I met Louisa at a small tasting and luncheon at 2850 Wine Workshop and Kitchen  here in London which featured Yalumba’s viogniers and shiraz viognier blends. Before lunch, Louisa and I sat down for a quick chat about what makes their viognier so special. Click on the link below to hear the podcast: Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker of Yalumba. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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A horsey break in the mtns of Cordoba,Los Potreros Estancia, Argentina

“I think it’s gin o’clock, don’t you?” said my hostess and trail boss, Louise (Lou) Begg. After a rough two hours on the trail ( not really, the horses barely broke into a trot) we were back at the estancia in time for a pre-lunch drink. I was spending a few days of R&R between all my visits to various wineries at the Estancia Los Potreros in the province of Cordoba,  in the central/northern part of Argentina.   Los Potreros has been in the Begg family for 4 generations but it originally started out as a farm to breed mules for the Peruvian silver mines back in 1574. It was bought by the Begg family in the first quarter of the 20th century and today the fourth generation of the Anglo/Argentine Begg family (Kevin and his wife Louise) run the estancia as not only a working farm, breeding award winning Angus cattle but also as a country retreat for horse lovers. Horse day trips, working with the gauchos, playing polo, golf, winetastings, trekking, bird-watching or just laying by the pool are all options on the ranch. If you’re a horsey person, this is the ideal retreat. Now, The Winesleuth is not really that much of a horse person but I was game and after the first ride, I was hooked. Lou and Kevin adjust to each rider’s level which means if you’re a beginner like me, there’s nothing too strenuous or long.The two-hour twice daily rides we took were just long enough for me. I asked Lou if they ever get people who don’t want to or can’t ride a horse and she replied that it is actually quite common. Often a partner or child doesn’t want to ride which is why they have plenty of other activities on offer. Of course, if you want to go racing up an down the hills, they cater for that as well. The landscape is just gorgeous, big hills rolling out as far as the eye can...

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Literally in the middle of nowhere,Bodega del Desierto -La Pampa, Patagonia

Picture it: Sicily, 1920, an Italian peasant, boarding the boat for a new life in the new world, all his worldly possessions in a beat-up old suitcase, cradling a tiny vine in his pocket, nurturing it, taking care that nothing happens to it on the long voyage across the sea. Finally, he arrives in the port of Buenos Aires and makes his way across the pampas to the province of Mendoza where he finds a beautiful plot of land beneath the Andes. Here, here is where he will plant his carefully tended vine and make wine. If only that´s the  way that Bodega del Desierto was founded. Instead, what started out as a gas company  looking to diversify it´s investments in the La Pampa region of Argentina has turned into a labour of love. Originally, the gas company was looking to grow grapes and sell them onward but the vines transfixed the family behind the company and before they knew it, they were pouring money and manpower into transforming the Patagonian desert into a vineyard. Helped along early on by expert winemakers, the desert has now produced a vineyard of very high quality. Famed Argentine wine maker, Mario Toso was brought on board to develop the project and he in turn brought on California winemaker, Paul Hobbs, once he realized the potential of the area. At first, Hobbs was reluctant to take on a winery that had only produced one vintage  but Toso convinced him that the area was capable of producing high quality grapes and after a bit of persuasion, Hobbs agreed to contribute his expertise. The first thing they did was decide to make all the vineyard decisions while the vines were being planted and growing. Thus they knew they could get the best quality out of the grapes according to how they raised the vines from the very beginning. The vineyards are literally in the middle of  nowhere, 160 kms from the nearest human settlement, the area was virgin desert land, not having...

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