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JOHN ROZENTALS finds that this sauvignon blanc from the Adelaide Hills easily passes the second-glass test.

February 8, 2019 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

I reckon that the best Australian sauvignon blancs come from Orange and the Adelaide Hills, and I reckon it’s no coincidence that both areas have a bit of attitude and are coolish.

Without wishing to start any form of cross-Tasman rivalry, that’s why the wines from these regions are better than most of those made in New Zealand’s Marlborough.

They’re not caricatures and they easily pass the second-glass test … not to mention the third–and-subsequent-glass test.

They have the structure as well as the striking bouquet to make them interesting.

And that’s why I’d go for bottles such as Chester Osborne’s d’Arenberg 2018 The Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc over most Marlborough savvies, except for the top names such as Cloudy Bay.

The Broken Fishplate costs about $20, not that much more than most of the Marlborough offerings on the market and I reckon you will notice the quality difference.

The name, incidentally, has nothing to do with the wine’s compatibility with seafood … or indeed anything at all to do with cuisine.

A fishplate is a term for the metal plates that collect grape bunches on a harvester, and often break when navigating around steep, winding vineyards.


Bremerton 2017 Batonnage Shiraz Malbec ($32): Batonnage is the French word for stirring of the dead yeast, or ‘lees’, post-fermentation in the barrel. As shown here it helps greatly in increasing complexity and making this an exceptional dry red. The weather has been all wrong for this type of wine, but drop an ice-cube in the glass and enjoy with a good steak straight off the grill.

D’Arenberg 2016 The Custodian Grenache ($20): Chester and d’Arry Osborne may well have snapped up some bargains during the ill-conceived South Australian vine-pull scheme of the 1980s, but they did save enough old, gnarled wines of grenache to keep the variety noteworthy in McLaren Vale. They really were custodians. This is a good, hearty red with plenty of flavour of dark berries.


D’Arenberg 2016 d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache ($20): This always has been my favourite d’Arenberg wine … and it firmly remains so. Its rich flavours remain alluring, even slurped from a well-used, stained tea mug. While writing this, I’m saving enough to wash down a slice of quality pizza this evening. The two should go very well together, even at the end of a very warm day.

Written by John Rozentals

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