February Wine Club Wines
The Opportunist, Langhorne Creek Shiraz (2016) — South Australia, Australia
Once and a blue moon a shiraz comes along that’s actually pretty darn good. The Opportunist blew me away with how balanced and almost “old-world-like” it was. Though after discovering that it was made by a Scottish & an Irish transplant that are both MWs (Masters of Wine), this made all the sense in the world! As you see, I myself am on the road to getting my MW certification and within the program there is huge emphasis on searching for balance, length, intensity and complexity in a wine, and I’d certainly say this wine matches the criteria. Well done boys!
This 100% Shiraz (aka Syrah from Australia) is sourced from a single vineyard named Clegett with very old vines, around 55 years of age. The winemakers keep sustainability in mind and adhere to organic practices as much as possible, without sacrificing quality. After harvest and fermentation the wine is aged for 8 months in new and used oak barrels.
This wine has the weightiness of a “typical” Shiraz, yet offers a unique balance you rarely see from this varietal in this part of the world. Exuding deep flavors that include dark red fruits such as plum, bramble, and blackberry, as well as white pepper and toasty characteristics. The palate is velvety and silky in texture, and makes for the perfect pairing with dishes rich in flavor such as barbecue or al pastor pork.
Domaine Turner Pageot, Le Blanc (2017) — Languedoc, France
The husband and wife team of Emmanuel Pageot and Karen Turner are the heart, the soul, the brains and the strong backs responsible for the wines of Domaine Turner Pageot. Karen, an Australian scientist turned winemaker, oversees cellar work. Emmanuel, a French sommelier turned farmer, tends to the vines. They adhere to biodynamic practices and produce wines that are, across the board, balanced and layered with a luxurious mouthfeel that reveal all of their components over time.
The 2017 vintage sees the introduction of Piquepol to the mix for the first time (a varietal typically grown in Southern France), creating an exciting new profile for this already delicious white. The wine is rounded out by two other indigenous southern French grapes, Roussanne and Marsanne.
The Roussanne and Piquepoul are fermented traditionally, whilst the Marsanne sits on its skins for 15 days, this adds not only a little extra depth to the hue of the wine, but also an extra dimension to the aromas and flavors. This is actually what can be referred to as an "orange wine" however, I would say this is an "entry level orange wine" with only minimal skin contact. More traditional orange wines will have the entirety of the grapes left on the skins for an extended amount of time resulting in a wine orange in color, and often exhibiting bitter flavors. The incorporation of skin contact for this wine simply adds a touch of texture and depth, whilst keeping the wine a medium gold color.
The "Le Blanc" has a nose of honeysuckle, peach, apricot, wild herbs and fennel, and really shows quite a lot of complexity for such a you wine. The palate has a relatively rich and gentle oily texture, yet there is an underlying freshness that comes through, along with a zesty/juicy lemony tang, a certain spiciness and impressive length, not to mention genuine saline minerality. This is a lovely winter white that is also a brilliant food wine. It’s a wine that continues to evolve in the glass, and even gets better after 2 or 3 days (though it’s hard not to finish the whole bottle in one sitting). This is truly a fabulous example of how good Languedoc whites can be.
Bodegas Proexa, Vega Valterra Bobal (2016) — Utiel-Requena, Spain
Bodegas Proexa is the first certified organic vineyard & property in Utiel-Requena DO, located just 45 minutes west of Valencia. They use an indigenous grape to their area called Bobal for this wine. The Bobal vines are all nearly 50 years old and grown in poor calcarious soils. The grapes are all harvested by hand and then raised entirely in concrete eggs, which retains the freshness of the wine.
This wine has a beatiful tannic structure along with a great depth of fruit and juiciness on the the palate. There’s lusty blackberry and blueberry fruit notes that are balanced by more savory notes of black licorice and star anise. This is a great wine to pair with fatty and salty dishes, like a great big juicy steak!