2021 Oakridge Vineyard Series Pinot Noir ‘Henk’
    13.2%  Yarra Valley, Victoria RRP $45

    Excellent, but affordable Pinot Noir wines are rare beasts. But even at its retail price ($45), this young wine stands out. It’s years since I wrote about the 2019 Oakridge Willowlake Chardonnay – it’s a first that for this issue’s Westsider my wine recommendation comes from the same company again.

    Oakridge is renowned for its Chardonnays (especially the ‘864’ range); but here’s a super-impressive Pinot Noir. It’s a bright ruby colour, with lovely, floral red fruit fragrances – red cherry, rose, rhubarb, and savoury spices; and like all the very best Pinot Noirs it owns sensuality on the palate as well; those mixed red fruits and spices just linger on the taste-buds, begging for further exploration. It’s light in style, but very serious in its intent and delivery.

    Choices: Hard to err with any duck dish- or chicken, quail, ham or even rabbit; plan a visit to the scenic cellar-door too -there’s a wide range of high-quality wines (and no duds) at varied price levels. As a bonus, the terrific restaurant is a hard-to-beat experience. 


    Hewitson ‘Old Garden’ Mourvèdre 2019
    Barossa Valley 
    RRP $88, ABV14%

    The French call it Mourvèdre, the Spanish call it Monastrell, us Aussies call it Mataro. But it’s all the same grape. Rarely do you find this as a straight variety, it’s almost always blended with Shiraz and Grenache to make up the classic GSM. It’s quite a versatile variety, often offering earthy, leathery, chocolatey platforms with which to build a complex blend. But in the instance of Hewitsons’ ‘Old Garden’, you can expect quite the opposite. This is elegant, lifted, floral, herbaceous and red fruited. It’s a perfect fit for a ‘summer’ red and a cheeky side step from a pinot noir or Sangiovese. You’re also drinking a little slice of history with this fine wine. Planted in 1853, the fruit in this drop is from the oldest Mourvèdre vines on the planet, quite remarkable to think, really. It’s all about subtlety here and it’ll take you a good few glasses (I’m sure you won’t mind that…) to notice all the amazing characteristics on offer; orange peel or campari, cacao dust, redcurrants, black cherry and Mediterranean spices; it’s just so balanced. And the texture, the mouthfeel really does complete what I rate as one of the wines of the year. Critics rave about this too, offering multiple scores in the high nineties across multiple vintages, including the 2019. This would sit rather nicely on the table with your Christmas lunch.

    Pair with: Honey leg ham and roast turkey with cranberry sauce and all the trimmings. 

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