Archives for March, 2015

New queensland wines: Spaniards, Italian, French and more

Queensland wine regions just keep coming up trumps: there are more wines to bedazzle.

The changes are quite quick now because the Australian wine industry has to innovate rapidly to stay abreast of the sway of importeds now found in supermarkets.

Often the multiples bring it to you based on price, not quality, but at least they are developing a better understanding drinkers’ marketplace.

So don’t feel thwarted if wines called lagrein, sagrantino, fiano, nero d’Avola, petit manseng or saperavi come at you, they have grown elsewhere for centuries but are now at a cellar door near you.

And if I have my way, in a restaurant near you too.

I continue to visit or locate local producers making outstanding new Australian varietals.

I have seen a couple (fiano, shiraz viognier) now used by the Adelaide-based organisation A+Plus Australian Wine presenting its one day wine school to Australian wine professionals in most capital cities.

A+Plus seems to fly under the radar a little but I trust they will move over this continent a little more.

Why the change in grape types? Well being first to make a fiano in this state (the grape grown in the home of pizza country-Naples) makes it a select group that sell it, as there are only about thirty fiano brands to date in this country against a sea of chardonnay.

That makes fiano wine special and when it becomes a Strange Bird varietal (wine trail on the Granite Belt); it is even more visible to white wine drinkers bored with sauvignon blanc.

Golden Grove maker Ray Costanzo on Sundown Road tells me he has stripped down his chardonnay production to a few barrels; buyers wish for his vermentino (Sardinian grape) instead.

IMG_3616 red

As climate change develops further the traditional cool climate habit varieties imported from France will keep struggling: riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot, cabernet sauvignon will suffocate as day temperatures elevate and the warm parts of the early growing season extend.

Meanwhile the southern Mediterranean-origin (southern Italy, France or Spain), Strange Bird varieties just love it. Heat is their natural bed partner, no more so than in southern Sicily where the red nero d’Avola grows so well over the past four hundred or so years.

Recent regional Queensland reviews in Smart Farmer have featured:

Symphony Hill Wines in February-March 2015

Dusty Hill Wines in December 2014-January 2015

Ravens Croft Wines in October-November 2014

Moffatdale Ridge Wines in August-September 2014

Golden Grove Estate June-July 2014

Buying Bordeaux wine: not easy in Oz

Now that Uncorked and Cultivated is an ambassador for the newly-created Bordeaux negociant and maker Domaine Serisier (first harvest 2012), there are deals to be done selling you Serisier wine.

But first why Bordeaux? Well it is the largest expanse of grapevines grown under one Appellation (regional boundary) in France. About 220,000 hectares.

Then you’d think that such a big part of that wine country would find its way onto Australian wine shelves and restaurants. Well no, not really and the sales have fallen further as the only the occasional importer does indent wine.

Uncorked is selling Domaine Serisier wines in Australia because its owner Richard Serisier is Australian.

In fact until Richard departed Brisbane to begin restoring Chateau Cadillac-en-Fronsandais (2004-2008) he was a Brisbane businessman, still owns property in the River City as well as a sheep run west of Cunnamulla.

Vines; merlot, then cabernet franc and a little cabernet sauvignon were planted. The local law says these are the grapes to be used in making red wine of the region, so he could not use his common sense to plant the grape Aussies love-shiraz.

The French wine bureaucracy control much of what you do. Domaine Serisier cannot use the name Chateau Cadillac on its wine bottle even though this chateau has been called that since circa 1530.

Chateau rear view

Chateau rear view

Uncorked is selling the wine under the invented name Le Bout du Monde (wine from the end of the world or better explained, made by a man from the other side of the world!) The first vintage is 2012.

If you live in Brisbane or the surrounds, a good time to try Le Bout du Monde will be on Thursday April 16 at The Wine Emporium or Tuesday April 21 while Richard Serisier is in town.

Gambero Rosso : tre bicchieri 2015 world tour

Uncorked visited Sydney Town Hall on March 2 to taste 61 wines which took *** three glasses by Italy’s most prestigious ratings agency-Gambero Rosso (established 1986) as part of its Tre Bicchieri 2015 World Tour.


The “Pink Prawn” book has been my reliable guide for some time now. While the Uncorked tour is in Tuscany annually in September, the awards are  announced with a great fanfare in Rome. It would be great to attend one! Unfortunately the English version of the annual Gambero Rosso book is usually delayed by six months (Italian efficiency) yet now the web version gives us information zealots the immediate results.

Memorable in Sydney was the divergence of Italian wine styles and the continual innovation from producers in unexpected regions. All regions were on taste.

The Winery of the Year, Tenuta Sette Ponti, which is on the far eastern outskirts of Tuscany near Cortona, showed two super international Super Tuscans (Oreno 2011 and Crognolo 2012).


Also notable were the wines made from old vine malvasia (Friuli) and carignan (Sardinia).

As with Australia’s interest in bubbly, there is massive investment in metodo classico wines from long lees age chardonnay (Lombardy and Trento), and given the Australian popularity of champagne.


Domaine Serisier: old family, new Bordeaux

Jean-Emile Serisier set out from the Aquitane city of Bordeaux in 1850, then a very civilised place, to the wilds of Sydney in the Great Southern Land (Australia). One does not really know what was in his head at the time.

Fast forward 138 years later and great, great grandson Richard Serisier had completed the return to Bordeaux. Not exactly to the family firm of Serisier et Lafitte who were shipping agents directing all the Claret exports to the thirsty British drinkers from the Quai des Chartrons, but to a property in the Canton of Fronsac.

Richard did not set out to buy gold plated vineyards in Pauillac or Pomerol (millions of euros per hectare). He sought a derelict chateau with a lovely view, not over hundreds of rows of glistening-green vines but one across plane tree plantations down to the statuesque Dordogne River. The rebuilding period took four years (2004-2008) where Richard moved his family from Brisbane in Queensland to Chateau Cadillac-en-Fronsandais built © 1530 after the end of the Hundred Years War and the British departed.

Following the building restoration, it became a logical step for an investigation into the history of the property; and through the 1800s while Jean-Emile Serisier was planting vines around Dubbo in central western New South Wales, Chateau Cadillac-en-Fronsandais was a horse breeding facility, though vines have been grown around the property for the past four hundred years.

Since 2008 Richard has replanted the industry-expected merlot and cabernet sauvignon grafted vines on 9 hectares on the rich loamy terraces behind the Chateau, adding also some cabernet sauvignon and malbec to complete the historical Bordeaux mix.

First harvest was 2012 and this author is now the Queensland and New South Wales ambassador for two Domaine Serisier wines, a rose and a merlot red.


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