Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dating back to the 1860s

Our first introduction to the Tahbilk winery was a boat tour on the Wetlands which make part of the Tahbilk Wetlands & Wildlife Reserve. The Nagambie Lakes Region in Upper Goulburn is the only wine region in Australia where the meso-climate is influenced by inland water masses. The lakes keep the climate cooler thereby the ripening of the grapes is slower, retaining the aromatics in the grapes which are very much sought for in varieties like Marsanne.

The visit hosted by Alister Purbrick himself was a fruitful one giving insights on how tradition, history and family are common features that have shaped Australian wineries.

Being such an important variety for the Tahbilk winery Masanne was the first variety featuring in our tasting. Whilst the 2008 and 2009 both featured floral notes, the 2001 vintage produced from the 1927 vines had more complex and richer notes on the nose with ripe apricots, caramelised nuts and orange peel. The palate had a lovely lean acidity balanced off with great minerality.

The line up of Shiraz and Cabernet wines was just startling. The 1996 Shiraz from the ‘1860 Vines’ was one of my favourite; plum intermingling with earthy and savoury notes on the nose, silky tannins with lovely mid-palate fruit, intense but not concentrated. The Reserve Shiraz, 1999 was also surprisingly lifted and fresh; strawberry hints with Mon Chéri chocolate notes, velvety tannins and a long spiced finish. The Eric Stevens Purbrick Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 shows how elegance and harmony are found even at an early age. Ruby red in colour with a black fruit profile of blackcurrants and blackberries, tannins very present yet balanced with a long liquorish mocha finish.

Even if the Australian wine industry is young, drinking the 1996 Shiraz from ‘1860 vines’ made me realise how unique Australian old vines are and how lucky I am to be on this part of the world. A really great tasting and winery visit which brought forward the importance of heritage for Australian wineries.

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