On Wednesday the 26th of September, The South Australia Wine Education Program in India held a masterclass and tasting on South Australian wines for industry professionals in New Delhi.
The region stretching from Coonawara to the Barossa Valley, to Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale is the most important wine growing region in Australia. South Australia, produces over 80% of Australia’s premium wine and about 50% of the bottled wine coming out of Australia.
The South Australia Wine Education Program in India was launched in 2017 in partnership between the Govt of South Australia and Group Ritu of India (which is headed by Mr Rajiv Singhal). It is a two year program which aims to give the Indian market an insight into South Australia, it’s wineries, and the rich portfolio of wines and grape varietals that come out of the region. This further includes the different price points at which these wines are available to meet the demand for wines in India.
Mr Brian Smedley, Chief Executive of the South Australia Wine Industry Association started the session which was hosted by Mr Rajiv Singhal, by introducing the audience to the “South Australian Wine Story”, and the different wine regions that would be covered in the masterclass, which set the stage for the tasting.
The master class itself was In this particular tasting, 8 wines were presented in the master class by Mr Richard Dolan, and in some cases by representatives of some of the houses present. The wines were tasted by a distinguished audience from the HORECA trade and importers in India.
The wines were (in order of their appearance):-
1) Pikes traditionale Riesling (Clare Valley) 2017
Appearance: This is a white wine with a pale yellow colour, - paler than the Peter Lehman’s. It is transparent, and has green tints, indicating it has not begun it’s evolution and is very young. It has a thin disk, and has tears flowing slowly and down the side of the glass.
This wine is from a cool northerly or southerly climate.
Nose: On the nose there are mild petrol aromas, where are a sign of finesse and quality in Rieslings. Upon oxidation, the wine reveals aromas of apples, citrus with a lime juice character. There is also some lemon peel. This wine has not been oaked, or if it has, it has been very, very slightly oaked.
Palate: The attack is brief, fresh, and searingly acidic, which is typical of Rieslings of a certain kind. It is mouthwatering. The mid palate sees the lemon peel and the citrus notes come into the fore- lasts about 3 minutes. the end palate lasts a good 5-6 minutes with the notes of the apple and citrus notes making for a lingering finish.
This wine would pair very well with sea food, white meats and Gruyere cheese.
2) Peter Lehman’s Portrait Riesling (Barossa Valley) 2016
Appearance: this is a white wine with a very pale yellow/ straw yellow colour (a bit like a golden apple). It is bright, transparent, and has green tints when observed in the light, indicating it’s youth. It has a medium thin disk, and has tears that are transparent which trickle quickly down the side of the glass.
Nose: On the nose, the first aromas are of Kerosene and petrol. These aromas are signs of good quality in a Riesling. Upon oxidation the petrol aromas intensify, and you also get a little bit of quince (?), green apples, limes, and some citrus blossom.
Palate: The attack is milder than the Pikes Riesling, but still very refreshing. The mid palate is less acidic and there is an air of gentleness with this Riesling. At this point you have the notes of citrus blossom and green apple come to the fore and make themselves felt. The end palate is about 5-6 minutes long.
Like the Pikes, this wine would also go well with seafood- but perhaps something more like mussels in a lemon butter sauce.
3) K1 by Geoff Hardy Sauvignon Blanc (Adelaide Hills) 2017
Appearance: this is a white wine with a pale yellow colour- paler than the two Rieslings tried previously. It is bright, transparent, and has definitely come from a cool northerly or southerly climate. It has a thin disk, and has green tints indicating it’s youth, along with transparent tears that trickle quickly down the side of the glass.
Nose: On the nose, the first nose reveals aromas of peach, and stoned white and yellow fruit such as apricots. The second nose reveals another level of aromas by adding floral aromas to the mix- most likely elderflower. There is also something else (green mango ?)
Palate: The attack is crisp, and brief. The mid palate brings the floral aromas of elderflower immediately to the fore, and lasts a good 3 minutes. The end palate lasts about 6+ minutes, and reveals a harmony between the peaches and apricot detected on the nose with the elderflower. A well balanced and elegant wine.
This wine would go well by itself as an aperitif to on a hot summer’s day.
4) Dominic Rose (Grenache, Syrah Blend) 2018
Appearance: This is a rosé wine with a bright salmon pink colour. It is bright, transparent, and has a medium disk with tears that trickle slowly down the side of the glass. The tints reflect that the wine is very young indeed.
Nose: The first nose of this wine is of ripe, crushed strawberries and cherries. The second nose of this wine sees these aromas intensify and adds summer flowers to the mix. E.g. summer flowers from Provence.
Palate: The attack is soothing to the senses. It is a very refreshing and pleasant attack. The mid palate brings to the fore the lovely fresh, ripe strawberries and cherries detected on the nose. There is a hint of residual sugar detected at this stage. The end palate lasts some 7 minutes.
This is a great wine for a hot summer day. It is light, very refreshing and would go great either by itself or perhaps with fresh figs.
It would also go well with a French onion tart, or a caramalised fig and goat’s cheese tart.
This wine is meant to be drunk young.
5) GMH Pinot Noir By Geoff Hardy, 2016
Appearance: This is a red wine with a less intense garnet colour suggesting that the grapes have either been grown in less sunshine (cool climate red wine) or it is a Pinot Noir. It is bright, transparent and has purple tints/ reflects which suggest the wine is young.
It has a thin disk, and the tears trickle quickly down the side of the glass leaving a slightly purple trail.
Nose: On the nose, the first nose has a lot of cooked fruit, and red fruit. The second nose reveals a hint of vanilla suggesting that this wine has been oaked for at least some time. The red fruit is most likely morello cherries, and perhaps some mulberries (?). There is also just a hint of spices.
Palate: The attack is gentle and smooth. It is evident that this is going to be an easy drinking wine. The mid palate reveals silky, soft, smooth tanins. At this stage the red fruit and vanilla comes into the fore and lead the way to the end palate, which lasts 7 minutes easily.
The wine would pair well with a slow roasted chicken.
This wine is very easy drinking and smooth. The wine will last in the cellar till 2023 easily.
6) The Barossan, Peter Lehman Barossa Shiraz, 2016
Appearance: This is a red wine with an intense red ruby colour. It has a thick disk. It is bright, opaque, and has purple tints indicating it’s youth. The tears trickle slowly down the side of the glass indicating a slightly higher glycerol or alcohol level. This wine has seen plenty of sunshine.
Nose: On the nose, the first nose reveals aromas of chocolate and plenty of vanilla (indicator of oak, most likely American). The second nose reveals beautiful aromas of cherries and plums, along with some warm spices. The nose also suggests that this is a fairly heavy wine with a higher alcohol content.
Palate: The attack is smooth and frank. The evolution reveals notes of bitter chocolate enhanced by the vanilla. The tanins are smooth and silky. It is a very rich and robust wine which promises to be gentle but firm. The end palate lasts at least 7 minutes.
This wine is a treat for the senses. It will go well with hearty mutton dishes or heavy roasted meats.
It will cellar easily for 5-8 years, and has 14.5% alcohol.
7) Yalumba, Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, 2013
Appearance: This is a red wine with a heavy, intense ruby colour. It is bright, opaque, and has slightly orange-ish brick coloured tints, indicating that this wine has begun it’s evolution. The tears leave a slightly brickish orange trail down the side of the glass.
Thus this wine is at least 5 years old. This wine has seen plenty of sunshine.
Nose: The first nose reveals aromas of chocolate and perhaps some cassis (?). The second nose has the aromas on the first nose intensified, and adds cooling herbs such as mint, to the mix. There is also some red currants detected on the nose here.
The aroma profile hints at a certain sense of richness to the wine that is difficult to capture in the tasting notes.
Palette: The attack is very smooth and clean. The mid palate reveals smooth tanins, plum, and chocolate. At this point the cassis and the berry fruit make their presence felt, followed by fresh mint, the cool herbs and spices along with the other other aromatics, and a surprising note of licorice- which carries through well into the end palate, lasting a good 8 minutes.
This wine is rich and intense. It is easy drinking but has a higher alcohol content than the others tasted so far. It will go well with heavy meats- game for instance.
It will cellar easily for 5 years, and in fact would taste even better after 5 years.
8) Helios Cabernet Sauvignon by Penley Estate, Coonawara 2016
Appearance: This is a red wine, with a deep, intense ruby colour. It is bright, opaque, and has a medium thick disk. The wine appears to be very rich and very intense. The tints indicate that it is still quite young- i.e. under 4 years old, and has not begun it’s evolution. This wine has seen just the right mix of sunshine and rain.
Nose: the first nose of this wine is shy, but reveals notes of black currant, and suggests a low alcohol content in the wine. Upon oxidation, the nose reveals that the wine has either seen very little oak- or no oak at all. The black current and Cabernet Sauvignon notes rise to prominence, including some bay leaf and slightly savoury fruit (olive? black olive?)
Palate: The attack is smooth, and clean. The mid palate reveals good tannin structure, and a smoothness to the tannin which is unexpected in a wine so young. The wine now reveals more of the black currant and the savoury profiles of bay leaf and dark, salty licorice. The wine has it’s mix of savoury notes coupled with berry aromas detected on the nose. The end palate lasts a good 8 minutes.
This is an easy drinking wine- more so than the last two. It is also milder and more delicate while being rich in flavor.
To conclude, the masterclass was a very informative and productive session, beginning with Mr Smedley’s perspective on the South Australian Wine Story, and the wine regions that make South Australia, to Mr Richard Dolan’s run through of the wines from prominent wine maker’s of the region. Some of these wines will be available in the Indian market as early as this October, i.e. October 2018. Wish you a happy festive season with much joy and much good wine!