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JOHN ROZENTALS likes Cassegrain’s approach from an excellent Port Macquarie base.

June 2, 2020 Beverage, Headline News No Comments Email Email

It was either the late 1990s or early 2000s that I was working with John Cassegrain at Cassegrain Wines near the NSW city of Port Macquarie and poopooed the concept of using a silver circle to label most of his wines.

But the idea has been one which has served the winery well for about 20 years — and that’s no mean feat in this day and age.

Cassegrain occupies an enviable positon just about right on the highway midway between Sydney and Brisbane, but John and his winemaking son Alex have long realised that the warm area around Port Macquarie is mostly incompatible with quality wine.

Hence they have sought considerable quantities of fruit from cooler areas, particularly from the western side of the Great Dividing Range in NSW — areas such as New England, Mudgee and Rylestone, Orange and Cabonne, the Hilltops area around Young, the Canberra district, and Tumbarumba.


These choices have seen the winery thrive, and assume the NSW-centric position once occupied by Hungerford Hill.


Cassegrain 2019 Seasons Spring Rose ($21.95): The palest of pale salmon colour leads into refreshing sangiovese fruit from the NSW Hilltops, the coolish area around the town of Young. It’s dry, zesty and first-rate. Normally I’d suggest pairing it with a leafy salad, but coming into winter I’m not so sure. Let’s just say it makes a fine, chilled-how-you-prefer aperitif.

Cassegrain 2019 White Label Chardonnay ($25.95): The White Label range forms the core of Cassegrain’s output and hence is where Alex gets to really display his skills, which certainly aren’t lacking. This dry-white blend from Tumbarumba and the Canberra district shows enough natural acidity and just enough varietal flavour to match hearty seafood.



Cassegrain 2018 White Label Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon ($25.95): Merlot gets prime billing rather than playing second fiddle to cabernet. This blend from Rylestone, Orange and the Hilltops has plenty of blueberry fruit flavour and enough tannin to ensure the drinker that he or she is supping red. Try this one with lamb chops, or, if you can afford them, lamb fillets.

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