Queensland’s Burnett Valley Vineyards, the holding company for Clovely Estate Wines gave a spotless display of its drinks last Saturday at its Red Hill City Cellar door.

Billed as a Winemaker’s dinner because company CEO and Chief Winemaker Luke Fitzpatrick was a big contributor to the wine discourse, the event ran as a degustation-six courses.

Paired with the Clovely brands were similar or contrasting wines from the nearby vineyard of Barambah Wines on Goschnick’s Road, Moffatdale.

Starter wines were Clovely Estate Left Field Semillon 2006 (AUD 20) and Barambah First Grid Unwooded Chardonnay 2008 (AUD 19); showing an unwooded semillon with some bottle maturity although it didn’t show it, and a funky-style chardonnay with creamy texture and palate attitude.

Verdelho is the patron wine of the South Burnett, now a very successful general drink; Clovely White Label 2009 (AUD 13) and Barambah First Grid 2007 (AUD 19) were paired with a micro-ocean trout salad doused very gently with buffalo mascarpone (Vannella in Cairns); using the unwooded nature of verdelho to maximum effect with its steely bright acidity.

A pair of hefty white chardonnays were put up to complement a sliver of roasted duck breast in a tart. The Clovely Reserve 2007 (AUD 28) and Barambah First Grid 2008 (AUD 27) were poured; terribly contrasting as the Clovely was fruit-preserved and punchy, no oak showing, pale colour and mouth-filling. Barambah was more forward, funky-nosed from indigenous yeast, giving tastes of secondary flavours and substantial oak dryness to integrate.

Both wine producers are very committed towards making top chardonnay; a variety they believe is the primary white grape in this world, capable of enormous complexity, style and above all drinking interest for those who open or share a bottle. South Burnett has a natural fine underlining acidity and line to which both brand hold much respect; they preserve this fineness in their chardonnays.

The melting moment with this course was the fungal aromas from the Blue Opal soft ripened cheese permeating the butternut pumpkin in its wafer-soft tart.

Shiraz was served with a tiny ball of shaved/ minced/ ground wagyu fillet (cleverly reformed), pink with mushroom worked though the fat flavours. These were Clovely Reserve 2007 (AUD 28) and Barambah First Grid 2007 (AUD 32).

Being from the same area both shiraz had the same underlying fruit aromas; plum, licorice and red fruits; while maturing the Clovely in American barrels had softened off the wine with total integration, while newer French Allier in the Barambah produced a more tannic wine with quite complex nose/oak overtones. Both wines seven to 10 years to go.

A double lamb cutlet under Mediterranean-influenced ratatouille (Clovely also have a 37,000-tree olive grove) came with a pair of cabernets. Clovely Reserve 2007 (AUD 28) and Barambah First Grid 2005 (AUD 29) both showed fuller bodied cabernet characteristics from the warm climate environment of the South Burnett coupled with good leafy and herbal aromatics, both modest in drying tannin levels pointing to shelf lives around three to five years.

The finale came with two dessert wines; Clovely Estate Left Field Botrytis Semillon 2009 (AUD 20 for 375 ml) and Barambah Rack Dried Semillon 2009 (AUD 24 for 375 ml) with vanilla bean ice-cream contained in a petit apricot frangipane tart.

Clovely’s wine is conventional botrytis infection, stainless steel aging and early bottling giving the unctuous style. Barambah’s wine is dried on racks to semi-wither, then re-combined with dry semillon to ferment a second time (Italian passito method) followed by aging in barrique for eight months to make a dry/savoury/textured style of sticky.

Clovely Wellington-born chef at Red Hill Jason Winter excelled with his portion management, flavour matching and food polish. Visit www.clovely.com.au

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