Wine vs wine



    2021 Kirrihill Regional series Shiraz 14.5%
    Clare Valley, South Australia, RRP $19

    It’s said that the first duty of wine is to be red. But regardless of colour, I want my wines to be memorable, not nondescript. Ordinary wines are deflected for cooking, lesser wines for the sink.

    The scenic Clare Valley produces numerous flashy Rieslings, but many other thrills, red and white. Sometimes their reds have a whisp of regional mint/gumleaf/eucalypt, but that sometimes happens in other areas too! Wendouree’s red wines are in high demand (with a waiting list for their mailing list, and even then no guarantee of allocations). 

    I know little of Kirrihill except its large vineyard holdings and the worthy bling on this bottle. Anyway, my third cheapie in a row taunts with a regal, serious purple/crimson colour. Vibrancy continues with blackberry, coffee cream, and a hint of choc-mint. Thankfully, oak is restrained allowing full fruit expression and this wine presents very smoothly with deep savouriness, spices, and texture. Terrific tannin management! Just a winner.

    Happy days are here; it’s not a wine for extended cellaring, but an admirable value-for-money full-bodied wine with a touch of class, to go with gourmet snags, pasta, pizza, or slow-cooked meats where the honest flavour team will be completely satisfying. Splash it in a big glass and revel.


    Sevenhill ‘Inigo’ Field Blend Clare Valley 2021
    RRP $27 ABV 11%

    The love affair with Clare continues! 

    My wife (her name is also Clare) and I hired some push bikes and set out on a journey along ‘The Riesling Trail’, which is highly recommended should you find yourself exploring this gorgeous region. Vineyards stretch all the way to the horizon as you pedal your way to countless cellar doors for a well earned tasting.

    Our final stop was Sevenhill; established in 1851, making it Clare’s very first winery. It’s a stunning place. The ‘Inigo’ field blend captured our imagination due to its ‘off dry’ style. An ‘off dry’ wine, for those of you playing at home, is made by cutting short the fermentation process (by way of ‘rapid chilling’, in this instance) so that the yeast does not fully convert all the sugars into alcohol; thereby leaving residual sugar and a lower alcohol wine. 

    Us Aussies tend to shy away from wines with a bit of sweetness as we seem to relate it to poorer quality, but we shouldn’t, especially if you pair it with the right food. A clever blend of Gewürztraminer which was fermented on skins to build texture and extract a stunningly deep, golden colour was then blended with Riesling and Pedro Ximenez. Think honeysuckle, apricot nectar, yellow peach, almonds and soapstone. Its rich and unctuous texture over the palate is cleverly washed away with a clean finish thanks to its lively acidity. 

    When you’re done sampling (and buying) all the wines from the cellar door, pop on down to the Sevenhill pub where you might get a chance to meet the resident python named Monty!

    Pair with: Air-fried salmon fillet marinated in seeded mustard, maple syrup, garlic and lemon juice. Hand cut potato wedges in sweet paprika and lashings of caramelised onion.

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