Piggs Peake Winery
By Franz Scheurer
The porcine obsession is obvious, not just in the name of the winery, but the stylised hogís head logo and wine names like Sowís Ear Semillon, Wiggly Tail Marsanne, Silk Purse Verdelho and I Swine, as well as the wineryís Lucky Swine Club. The reds are graded Straw, Stick and Brick (as in the houses of the 3 Little Pigs) and when regular customers kept asking where the wolf was, winemaker Steve Langham created a high-alcohol Zinfandel called Wolfie.
Steve makes wines with a difference. Quite oblivious to current trends he manages to make terrifically confronting wines. These are no quaffers! They are seriously big reds with character. On the 17th of June he will release the 2005 House of Sticks Shiraz, the 2005 House of Bricks Shiraz and the 2005 Wolfie Zinfandel. I had the pleasure of trying these wines recently and, despite the fact that I worried about the slick marketing, perfectly adorable labels and wonderful logo, I must admit that I loved them.
Obviously the House of Bricks is the premium wine. Itís a beautifully enveloping Shiraz at a whopping 16.5% a/v. Itís smooth, full of fruit flavour without being berryish and has layers of complexity with just enough barnyard to hold it all together. This is a wine that comes with a big heart and needs a big glass and a big roast.† The House of Sticks is a barely toned down version with slightly more fruit on the front palate and less forest floor at the finish. This wine might be more approachable right now, but I reckon in 5 years itíll be the House of Bricks Iíll want to drink.
I have tasted a few good Primitivos (mainly from Sicily) and always wondered why I have never tasted a good Zinfandel from Australia. Well, this has now changed. The Piggs Peake 2005 Wolfie Zinfandel is a fabulously misleading wine. Nowhere near as light bodied as the colour might suggest, this is a substantial, dark and captivating wine that I want to match with pheasant that has been hung until it movesÖ It has body, substance and an austere meatiness that bodes well for the future of Zinfandel in Australia.
The last of Steveís offerings I tried was the 2005 Suckling Pig Zinfandel, a dessert wine that is meant to be drunk at room temperature and said to go with chocolate. Now to me chocolate needs a Single Malt. Not even a Tokay really works and everything else is simply a waste of wine and chocolate. So it was with a fair amount of trepidation that I approached this wine with a selection of some heavy duty chocolate. Verdict: milk chocolate any which way: great match. Dark chocolate: if it is really rich it works, otherwise itís no better than serving a Tokay. I reckon the fact that it works if youíre careful, is a good enough reason for any sommelier to look at this wine and surprise their clientele.
All that is left is for me to congratulate Steve on his fabulous wines. I think you will find them on many restaurant lists in the near futureÖ at least you should!
For more information:
Piggs Peake Winery
697 Hermitage Road
Branxton NSW 2335
Tel.: 02 6574† 7000