TALK to Dan Buckle, Senior Winemaker at Chandon about bubbly, and you’ll very quickly learn that here’s a man most passionate about the fact he’s making Australian Sparkling Wine – not an imitation Champagne.
And while there may be others refer loosely to Aussie bubblies as “Champagne,” he’s adamant that his Australian Sparkling Wine is purely and uniquely that, because just as the French boast of their Champagnes reflecting soils made up of their unique chalk deposits covered with a mix of sand, marl, clay and lignite, his Sparkling Wine is reflective of Chardonnay grown on True Blue Australian red volcanic basalt soils, and known as ferrosols.
His latest Sparkling release, a 2012 Blanc de Blancs (a wine made exclusively from white grapes) was crafted entirely from Chardonnay fruit off vineyards in Victoria’s cool Upper Yarra Valley and the equally cool Whitlands Plateau of the King Valley. And after tirage and secondary fermentation, Dan gave this one 36 month’s ageing on yeast – similar to the important Methode Traditionelle process in France.
Pay $41 to kick off that next celebratory dinner… you’ll find the forward limey and apple-fruit flavours and zesty mineral acidity a great match with mussels in a creamy tarragon sauce, or scallops sprinkled with anise-flavoured slightly spicy Thai basil.
ONE TO NOTE: PETER Logan reckons that after making his Logan Wines’ top of the range Ridge of Tears Shiraz 2013, he should consider renaming the label Ridge of Dreams.
Because he says 2013 was an exceptional vintage for Shiraz – even prepared to call it “the best Shiraz vintage I’ve experienced since I began making wine here in 1997… the wine all but making itself in the vineyard.”
His 2013 Shiraz from his Orange vineyard, a cold climate site at 870m, has delicious red berries, plum, white pepper, cinnamon and beef stock flavours, while the 2013 Shiraz from his Mudgee vineyard 70km away and at a lower 564m enjoys warm days and cold nights, and the wine from here is more about floral notes, dark fruit flavours, liquorice and a deep earthiness.
A couple of cracker drops to enjoy with steak or a roast leg of lamb, each is priced at $45. Peter, by the way, named his Ridge of Tears because his vineyards are all located on ridges – enough, he says, to often bring a winemaker to tears.
PROUDLY True Blue: Australian Sparkling Wine – not imitation Champagne.
CRACKER Shiraz from Central NSW to enjoy with steaks or roast lamb.
Written by David Ellis