Wine Notes - November 2009

By Franz Scheurer


Sharpham Dart Vally Reserve 2007

This is a regional English wine, made by the Sharpham winery at Totnes, South Devon. English wine I hear you shudder? A bit like Italian tea? Well, I was as surprised as you. Made from the following grape varieties: Madeleine, Angevine, Phoenix and Reichensteiner the wine has a Colomard-style nose and surprises by crisp, citrus and gooseberry flavours confirming the Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc nose. You are not likely to see this wine here. We tried it both locally in the UK and brought a bottle home to see how it travelled. It’s a surprisingly quaffable white wine and if you’re in Devon you should try it. Just stay away from the Welsh wines…

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Burton McLaren Vale Chardonnay 2002

Burton Premium Wines source the best fruit they can get their hands on from prime growing regions and make their own wine. I have tasted many of their red wines and have always been impressed by the low interference, letting-the-terroir-speak type of winemaking and when I had a chance to try this Chardonnay I was rather keen. A Chardonnay from the McLaren Vale is not so unusual, however a really good Chardonnay from the McLaren Vale is. The 2002 is under cork and is simply a superb wine. It shows off a dark, golden colour (without any sign of oxydation) and has a true Chardonnay nose. The melon and grape-fruit characters are confirmed on the palate where a fruit forward palate is perfectly balanced by the acid and a soft, textured mouth-feel. It has a very long finish that is slightly drying and all you can do is reach out and fill up your glass again. This is truly a good wine. It is probably too heavy and challenging on its own but pairs perfectly with spicy (not chilli) flavours.

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Magners Irish Cider

We don’t tend to drink as much cider as the Eurpeans do and that might account for the relatively small choice. The good news is that Magners Irish Cider is now avaialbe in Australia and it’s worth seeking out. Bottled at 4.5% a/v in a 568ml bottle it walks the line between a cider that’s too sweet and one that is too tart. Perfectly blanced, slightly effervescent, it is a joy to drink. It’s produced and bottled by WM Magner in Ireland, made in Tipperary. Go on, try it! It’s a great summer drink.


Fattori Soave ‘Danieli’ 2008 and Fattori Pinot Grigio ‘Valparadiso’

These take the place of a pair of old favourite. They are an upgrade though, in a number of senses. While Fattori have held the prices, they have repackaged the wines into a smart/simple look and also made them now quite site-specific. The quality and personalities of the wines show a clear step up. This is consistent with Antonio’s relentless improvements, since he and his brother Giovanni began the transition from contract makers of the highest repute – for a number of other well known producers – to makers of their own wines. Over the last decade these have shown, at the very least, great consistency for authenticity of varietal and style and fastidious winemaking.


The two adjacent sites for Soave Classico ‘Danieli’ are on the slopes above Monteforte D’Alpone, probably ‘Soave Centrale’. In order to make sure he ends up with Soave, Antonio has applied his high tech skills to low-yield Garganega, nearly half of which continues to be harvested from the overhanging pergola torte vines of tradition. The result is a wine which glows with fresh fruits, offers the cool Soave texture and finishes with that herbal and savoury zip. A wonderful, near perfect vintage helps a bit!


The Pinot Grigio ‘Valparadiso’ is an IGT delle Venezie, no longer sourced from far and wide, instead coming from 3 sites close to each other on the slopes above the Fattori winery in Ronco. As predecessors have always been, this is benchmark Veneto PG, offering each of the trio of classic area/varietal aromas of herb, mineral and pear, along with the big mouthfeel thing and a fine, crisp finish. It’s never a chore to drink this and like the Soave its all-round adaptability to food is just no surprise.

These wines represent great value for money, too! Distributed nationally by Déjà Vu.

Fattori Soave ‘Danieli’ RRP: $27

Fattori Pinot Grigio ‘Valparadiso’ RRP: $29


Man O’ War Pinot Gris 2008

This wine from Ponui Island, New Zealand is a Pinot Gris that walks the fine line between the austerity of an Italian Pinot Grigio and the fruity sweetness of an Alsatian Pinot Gris. It maybe fruit forward but it’s dry, it’s quite oily and textured but clean with a medium long, dry finish. On the nose it promises stone fruit, which is confirmed on the palate with a curious and alluring hint of roased almonds. The fruit for this wine is grown in a single vineyard at the northernmost tip of Ponui Island, one of the most isolatedd and promising winegrowing areas in the world. The wine speaks for itself; It’s glorious! Well worth seeking out.