WanderCurtis Wine

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Wine Australia Tour November 2016 Clare Valley (II)


Wendouree Cellars is one of the cult legends of Australian wine.Tony Brady has been winemaker since 1974 and together with his wife Lita are custodians  of this historical wine gem. The first vines were  planted in 1893. Wendouree has 28-acres of vines, all dry grown, yielding around 50 tonnes per vintage. The grapes are handpicked and made with minimal intervention in open top fermenters. The 100-year-old stone winery is virtually unchanged from the day it was built. They switched to screw cap in 2009, having waited for 10 yrs for guala cap. Only a limited amount of quality wine is produced per year, for an exclusive mailing list of customers.

Wines we were luck enough to try –

Shiraz Mataro 2014 80% 20%  1893 vines 1919/20 vines.Tannin smooth well integrated  blueberry and blackberry fruit liquorice herb and spice texture lovely long meaty complex finish 13.3%

Shiraz Malbec 2014 1919/1920 vines.Lots generous  blue fruit.Great length after blueberry concentration.Black cherry great backbone  chalky tannins depth and concentration roses violets 13.6%

Shiraz 2014 1893 vines 13.7 % blue fruit and black pepper spice chalky tannins.Pepper finish delicious tannins full need time !

Malbec 2014 from 1898 plantings blueberry and blackberry  less tannins  Greek Corintiake currents may be present

Cabernet Malbec 2014 graphite pencil shavings cedar perfumed big tannins mouth coating acidic lurking needs a long time hint cassis but not much group thought ferrugenous ( iron like quality maybe from soils).Meaty bloody quality ? Hint chocolate

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Cassis rich intense concentrated fruit tannins  a baby needs 20+yrs so concentrrated rich intense not complex yet. would love to try his old stuff fruit covered tannins chalky long long

Everyone agreed wow factor

Muscat of Alexandria 2014 1940 east vineyard planting slightly fortified to 17%.Grapes luscious delicious no one spitting ! Ripe apricot perfume floral length amazing  just awesome .so balanced and long orange blossom +++

A truly memorable experience with everyone hankering after a bottle !





Dave and Diana Palmer were generous hosts for the evening at their boutique family-owned and operated winery located in the heart of the picturesque Clare Valley. Seated outside on the verandah and under the shade of an old olive tree, overlooking the cottage garden and the vines we were treated to some real gems and delicious local cuisine.

Skillogalee shiraz 2012 spicy rich intense fantastic length and balance

Skillogalee Gewurtztraminer beautiful restrained Gewürztraminer with lovely florality

Skillogalee Riesling clean crisp lovely long finish

Wood vale  2014 Shiraz black intense blue and black fruits pepper spice long.

Mcnichol 2004 shiraz  fragrant complex with dark fruits .Made by the lovely Hilary Mitchell who’s magical smile lasts long in the memory.


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Wine Australia Tour November 2016 – Clare Valley (I)

Riesling has become synonymous with Clare Valley. The typical style is restrained and austere when young, with lime and mineral notes. They can evolve for decades and most benefit from over 5 years of ageing. Clare Shiraz is full flavoured with ripe blackberry and spice characteristics. There is a large diurnal shift with drops in temperature from 40C  in the day to 1C at night common during the ripening months. This allows for acid retention and vibrant fruit quality. We were lucky enough to visit some of the iconic wine producers – Jim Barry Wines, Grosset, and Wendouree .

Jim Barry Wines

An evening with Peter Barry and family at his lovely colonial home was one of the highlights of not just this wine trip but all previous tours. In his Garden the much anticipated Assyrtiko was unveiled, The glorious end product of his vision following  a  family holiday to Santorini  in 2006.Ten years on, following a lengthy process of importation and quarantine of the cuttings, we were lucky enough to be amongst the first to try it . Crisp,fresh and acidic and fittingly served with fresh anchovies. It was clear to  see Peter is a visionary in the wine industry.He then served the delicious Florita Riesling, lovely floral nose and fresh lime zest.

We moved inside for dinner. I could barely hide my excitement at the array of wines chosen. Two vintages of the majestic The Benbournie Cabernet Sauvignon . Mcrae wood Shiraz 1994 ,1998 . The Armagh 2002 and 2010, and many more. When he brought out  a range of silly hats from a Morrocan Fez to a Mexican Sombrero, Peter and his lucky guests hit full song . The evening’s finale lay in The Jim Barry cellars sampling a rare old home matured Rutherglen and his own ‘Sauternes’ 1981.

We left in fine fettle . This night will long go down in the memory.


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Jeffrey Grosset is internationally recognised as one of the most influential winemakers in the world. He hosted a Riesling Masterclass ( 9am 11 th November) We started with a review of the geology in the Clare Valley. The region’s soils are 500 to 800 million yrs old it’s phylloxera freeand vines are  on their own rootstock .Clare has up to 110 yrs of unbroken winemaking history. Grosset is situated in the south of Clare , which is 25 km in length  . We tasted  six 2016 Rieslings in pairs from different sites to demonstrate the expressiveness of different terroirs , followed by six older Rieslings to demonstrate the marked changes in ageing .


Grosset Polish Hill 2016 Lime zest/blossom clean crisp piercing acidity linear hint white flower,closed

Pokes Merle Riesling 2016 Lime clean acid pear apple lemon grapefruit closed generally

Crabtree Watervale Riesling 2016 Red loam limestone watervale region,boot polish musty nose reduced,Crisp fresh lime on palate

Jim Barry Florita Riesling 2016 More floral Jasmine white blossom.Lime juice long finish open fresh

Celtic farm Riesling 2016 Floral white yellow blossom open nose honeysuckle stone fruit peach warmer site mandarin more open wine more lush complex mineralty salty

Naked run Riesling 2016 Pear apple hint mandarin lime and salty finish

Aged Riesling flight

2014 Hill River Clare Estate Riesling Petrol beeswax fuller richer palate length depth lime more developed than expected for 2 yrs

2013 Leo Buring Leonay Riesling Petrolic reduction TDN

2010 Kilikanoon Morts Reserve Riesling  dry acid crisp lime length petrol

2009 Paulette aged release Riesling Petrol honey longer complex sl toasty marzipan beeswax **

2005 Mount Horrocks Riesling Tropical fruits honey beeswax marzipan.Long finish nutty toast

2004 Mitchell’s Watervale Riesling Beeswax honey nuts toast,petrol long

The wines were generally bone dry (less than 4gl or nil).Value wines not expensive given beautiful development over few years.Production is low.


We then drove to  the Gaia vineyard through Montero slate country. Jeffrey specifically chose this isolated east facing slope  20 years ago for his Cabernet Sauvignon.We sampled the lovely Gaia 2013- Herbaceous, black currant leaf,casssis capsicum good acid backbone and length


Lunch  at Paulett vineyard , Polish Hill River with alternative varietals tasting followed


Pauletts Helmsford semillon2015 by Polish Hill Lemon citrus fresh clean

47/74 hand crafted Malbec Cabernet 2010 Cassis black plum mint liquorice concentrated fine chalky tannins good acidity length

Artwine Fiano Wicked Stepmother 2016  fresh lovely texture oily mouth coating

Matriarch and Rogue 2016 Vermentino hint peach pear good crisp acidity

Mount Horrocks Nero d’Avola 2014 Low tannin not great depth concentration black fruits light  only planted 2007 young

Artwine Montepulciano Leave Your Hat On 2015 dark wine  packed full of dark cherry fruit dark plums spice good backbone med tannin length

Matara kilkanoon 2013 Good intensity black fruit med tannin good balance acidity sl savoury


The day was still young.  The iconic Wendouree and an evening dinner at Skillagolee was yet to come ….