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The Real Review – Top Rank Wines dinner at OTTO Brisbane

The Real Review dinner of Top Rank Wines at OTTO Brisbane in South Bank shone a light on twelve great Australian and New Zealand gold ribbon wines. The restaurant vista, close by the Brisbane River on a stormy spring evening, charged the tasters’ expectant palates.

The large agnolotti parcels were in true Piedmontese fashion, simply coated with gremolata to tease out the relative textures and flavour intensities of each pinot.

OTTO executive chef Will Cowper pitched his matching plates in the frame of an Italian osteria, his understated seasoning clearly allowing the subtleties and characters of the wines to shine and contrast.

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First course

The chardonnay lineup served with the first course of Fiori di Zucchini

The chardonnay lineup served with the first course of Fiori di Zucchini

Fiori di Zucchini—fried zucchini flowers, ricotta, parmesan, peperonata

The wines

The Single Vineyard Villa Maria with its layers of flavour, crème brûlée, smoke and nut complexity contrasted the single-parcel Talisman with its delicious grapefruit aromatics. The Collector chardonnay, older and slower-maturing, emphasised struck-match character and its linear acidity highlighted its understated development. It will be a long-liver.

Melted cheese and chardonnay go well together. All three wines shone, the lighter body and bright acid finish of the Collector was consistent with contemporary high-end Australian chardonnay.

Second course

The pinot noirs pours with the agnolotti—‘OTTO Reserve’ by Rangers Valley brisket and bone marrow filled pasta, mushrooms, cavolo nero, gremolata

The pinot noir pours with the agnolotti—‘OTTO Reserve’ by Rangers Valley brisket and bone marrow filled pasta, mushrooms, cavolo nero, gremolata

Agnolotti—‘OTTO Reserve’ by Rangers Valley brisket and bone marrow filled pasta, mushrooms, cavolo nero, gremolata

The wines

Three single-vineyard pinots were well matched with this dish. Quealy, grown at Balnarring, has a massive backbone and linear texture when pitted against the svelte floral, soft and silky outlook of the Moorooduc, grown in the low-altitude Tuerong-Moorooduc area. Mountford, from half a hectare on this vineyard’s highest slopes, is a deeply-flavoured, full-bodied, broader textured wine.

The large agnolotti parcels were in true Piedmontese fashion, simply coated with gremolata to tease out the relative textures and flavour intensities of each pinot. Soft (Moorooduc) to bold (Quealy); beefiness contrasting the meatiness of the wines’ whole-bunch ferments.

Third course

Agnello—Longreach lamb rump, green asparagus, peas, zucchini, broad beans, goat’s feta, mint

The wines

Grenache and its blends are styles enjoying some popularity at last. These wines were starkly different. Toby Bekkers (64% syrah, 36% grenache) is from five vineyards on multiple soil types yet it meshed so well: poised, subtle and long-flavoured with minerality in the finish.

Dandelion Vineyards Menagerie (75% grenache, 20% shiraz, 5% mataro), is all from one 80-year-old Tanunda vineyard. The lamb was cooked at low temperature then finished rare and charred to impart a delicious smoked surface, with simple spring vegetables underneath. It was no distraction from the divide between the Bekkers’ silky texture against the Dandelion’s brute Barossa dry-grown concentration.

Fourth course

The reds were served with the Formaggi—Parmigiano Reggiano served with quince paste, pane carasau & fruit bread

Formaggi—Parmigiano Reggiano served with quince paste, pane carasau & fruit bread

The wines

Warm-area shiraz with this much class appealed to many diners’ palates. Pepper Tree Coquun (Coquun is local First Nations dialect name for the Hunter River) has intense colour, a surprise from this region, and comes from 56-year-old vines. It’s sumptuous and mouth-filling. So agreeable.

The most popular match was the lamb with the Bekkers Syrah Grenache.

Heirloom from Willunga grapes eclipsed the former wine with a grander taste of elegance, fine tannin and towering richness of flavour.

The Yangarra Estate, from a nearby vineyard and blended from several blocks, has black fruits, severe structure and a great compromise between fruit and savoury qualities, oak and natural tannin dryness. The wine is an ideal ambassador for Yangarra.

With a structure as tannic as any cabernet sauvignon, the Taltarni, from the original 1969 plantings, is outstanding. A savoury style, with mouth-sweetening tannins and dark fruits to sustain the dense flavours. The parmesan had crunch, but the best enjoyment came from eating the cheese then drinking this selection solo.

The diners expressed a divided response to modern funky chardonnays, while the multi-layered tapestry of flavours in cool-region wines remains popular. Tasters were doubly enthusiastic about the future of warm-region grenache in their weekly wine diet, yet the overt tannins of the Barossa GSM challenged more timid palates.

The most popular match was the lamb with the Bekkers Syrah Grenache. It was cooked sous-vide to a juicy pink and successfully released the wine’s spice and licorice flavours so beloved by Australian drinkers.

The Real Review

Visit the Real Review for authentic, unbiased opinion on the most interesting, current wines in Australia and New Zealand. You can expect:

  • insightful commentary and news about wine and food
  • food and restaurant trends relevant to the wine loving Australian and New Zealander.

4BC Sunday Tipple: Wine Adventure with Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith

Let Peter Scudamore-Smith take your palate on a wine adventure. From McLaren Vale to the Granite Belt, this podcast explores:

  • Nero D’Avola from Golden Grove, a varietal originating from Sicily, excellent potential here given the changing climate as drought-resistant
  • Montelpulciano from McLaren Vale, a varietal originating from Abruzzo on the eastern coast of Italy 
  • Aglianico 2020 from Hidden Creek, from the home of pizza, high country outside of Naples, grapes grown in the Murray Valley, wine hand-made on the Granite Belt by Andy Williams, a perfect pairing with pasta

You can visit  to stream the podcast online and catch up on 4BC Weekends with Spencer Howson and Fleur.

Vintage flies: Queensland’s South Burnett wine region verdelho

Vintage 2021 is here in Queensland’s heart of warm climate winemaking, Moffatdale, in the South Burnett Geographic Indication (GI).  Master of Wine Peter Scudamore-Smith shares his experience of witnessing the first harvest of the 2021 season in the South Burnett Wine Region at Lightning Tree, Moffatdale.  Lightning Tree Wines vigneron Peter Stewart is the proud owner of the verdelho vineyard featured above, ready to harvest its vintage. 


Producer Lightning Tree Wines First Harvest #v21

Peter Stewart, Lightning Tree Wines owner, quips:

“We have very contrasting verdelho harvest dates; this year 4 January, last year 23 December (2019), several years ago it was late January — the vagaries of climate change are borne out”.

Peter Stewart owns Lighting Tree Wines on Tipperary Road, Moffatdale

The first pick of vintage 2021 is a small team effort — Clovely Estate’s contract mechanical harvester trundled down the verdelho vines yesterday morning at 5 am. Owner Peter Stewart, a local viticulture professional from Lightning Tree vineyard at 167 Tipperary Road, surveyed his beautifully clean berries.

Clovely Estate Pellenc harvests Lightning Tree Wines Verdelho Grapes. Image courtesy of Peter Stewart

Verdelho thriving in the South Burnett Geographic Indication (GI)

In this part of the wine world, the sub-region of Moffatdale in the South Burnett Geographic Indication (GI), verdelho is the go-to white variety. These vines make a great contrast in a sub-tropical estate of rolling green hills, Ironbark ridges and straw-brown fence lines.

Verdelho is a hero grape in the Moffatdale sub-region. Image courtesy of Peter Stewart

A variety with origins in the Portuguese island of Madeira, it likes the hot and dry, and in rare bouts of rain (currently in five years of drought), the vine canopy dries out and presents great fruit for harvest.

And for the winemakers around, Peter Scudamore-Smith reports,

“Baume 12.25,  pH 3.15, titratable acidity, 7.8 grams per litre, dominant pine and lime flavours.”

“By the sound of this, we need to taste this very soon. I have booked my tasting sample and I see my colleague at qwinereviews has done likewise.

“So I am witnessing my 24th vintage in the South Burnett Wine Region.”

Louis Latour: Old Burgundy Drink Makers

Maison Louis Latour – is a family company that spans every part of Burgundy, having an intriguing collection of wines. And an age-old establishment story.

Denis Latour had his first vineyard by 1731, and later Corton Grancey, where Uncorked wine tourists visit, by 1749. Chateau Grancey was the first purpose-built winery in France; established in 1831.

After the French revolution Jean Latour purchased prime vineyards from a cash-strapped government, confiscated from previous church and noble ownership.


Our France wine tours take guests through the regions of Burgundy; the Cote de Nuits, the Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise and Macon; offering introduction-only visits to caves, only some open to the public. If you’d like to find out more about this exclusive guided experience for lovers of wine and food, you can call Denise on +61 427 705 391 or email

Latour, having owned the vineyard around it, bought the chateau (with winery) in 1891.

Formal establishment of today’s family brand which buys, trades and makes wine, accumulating 48 prime hectares of vineyards, happened in 1797.

Seven generations of Latour’s (three have been called Louis), and hence the survival of the name, steered the firm to make great white wines.

The vineyards of Corton (main photo) have been Latour’s most famous. And after the phylloxera vine ravage of the Corton-Charlemagne in the 1870s for 30 years, the Latours took the odd step of replanting the common aligote variety and pinot noir, with chardonnay.

This appellation produces some of the greatest chardonnays in all Burgundy. I really like them.

Part of the success of Corton-Charlemagne from this maker is their differing approach to barrels. Since 1898, Latour has made its own barriques (2500 of 228 litres). They have a tonnellerie.

Latour Tonnellerie Savigny-les-Beaune

Latour Tonnellerie Savigny-les-Beaune

Even more remarkable is that just one type of barrel is made; medium toast firing of a secret oak supplied from a blend of forests.

Where used new, this oak is applied to high-end chardonnay and pinot regardless of appellation. The barrel taste effects are constant at Latour. One size fits all grand cru and premier cru vineyard lots.

Barriques of Corton- Chateau Grancey

Barriques of Corton- Chateau Grancey

Moxon Oak imports and sells hundreds of these barrels to Australian winemakers. And now local winemaking technocrats may buy Latour wines made with the same oak they and Louis Latour use; currently the 2015 vintage is available.

Here is a Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 2015 (AUD 280) just starting its taste journey; oak shows but subtle over the lemon curd aromas of the fruit; palate now austere from oak dryness but great fruit length and grip. Great chardonnay has grip.


Corton-Charlemagne 2015

Uncorked tour guests tasted Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 2014 at Corton Grancey winery in 2016; far more restrained yet oak is aniseed-like, the fruit is more shy from the vintage conditions, and flavour not as broad or orange-creme as a riper year.

This is Louis latour Corton-Charlemagne 2008 tasted underground at Corton Grancey winery in 2015; emerald green, hints of gold, no oak on nose, fungal, marmalade fruit aroma, palate powerful, filling every taste bud in the mouth, complete, rounded, acid still linear, coiled in concentration.

Corton-Charlemagne 2008

Corton-Charlemagne 2008

This is Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 2005 drunk in Brisbane in 2009; pale green, not much colour actually, nose of limes and nuts, crunchy, sweetened fruit and oak impact; drying but rich marmalade in the mid palate, long flavour, tingling acid with creaminess, wine starting to open up; maturation span 25 + years.


Corton-Charlemagne 2005

Samples, tastings and purchases of Louis Latour 2015 chardonnays are available from NextGen Wine Merchants. For more information and price list please email


Year Cooperage established-Beaune


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