The Quiet AchieversThe term "quiet achiever" has been used to describe those who don't set out to make a lot of noise about what they do, day in day out, those who seamlessly co-exist amongst us doing what they believe in passionately and really well, all with a minimum of fuss. It's one of those phrases that you seem to hear develop as a cliché for a while, then it goes away out of fashion nearly as quickly as it has emerged. Anyway I thought it was timely for me to explore the phrase in a wine related context in bringing to you a whole heap of "quiet achiever" wineries that I believe deserve more attention and recognition than they are currently getting! These wine folk are the ones that are toiling away day in day out, doing what they want to do, how they want to do it, nurturing their vines, crafting their wines, experimenting with something new and passionately working away to bring us the best wine they can. They are also invariably the smaller to mid size boutique style wine producers who are making solid, decent and good value for money wines. So here are a few of these folks; -
Broke Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
This boutique Hunter Valley wine is made from the Ryan Family's estate vineyard and is an interesting red that has a dash of Cabernet Franc in it to round it off. A deep dark inky purple, the wine exudes classic blackcurrant, blackberry as well as an amalgam of sweet spicy coconut oak, smoky hints as well as cedary nuances. Soft and well rounded on the palate, it has a satin like finish along with fine tannins. It lingers long, quite elegantly and with smoothness. Drink 2006-2013. About $30.
Milvine Estate Heathcote Shiraz 2004
A deep dark inky purple that exhibits youthfulness and vibrant fresh black fruits. Quite a savoury style of wine yet still with loads of blackberry, stewed plums and mulberries along with sweet oak nuances. This is also coupled with soy and liquorice characters. All of this makes for a soft and smooth wine on the palate - quite big, typically Heathcote along with fine puckering assertive tannins. Still a very young wine with loads of potential. Try it with grilled rump with mushroom sauce. Drink 2006-2014. Around $30.
Cuttaway Hill Estate Pinot Noir 2005
This Southern Highlands Pinot Noir is a lovely ruby red colour. It has a pleasantly earthy spice filled nose. Think strawberries, a touch of game and truffle all accompanied by soft acidity, this wine is fruit driven and balanced. Medium dry with good length, it provides a well rounded easy drinking feel. Try it with grilled Italian sausages. Drink 2006-2009. About $15.
Koonara Ezra's Gift Shiraz Viognier 2003
Dru Reschke makes this Coonawarra estate grown red blend. Garnet red, it is restrained and tight at first. Quite savoury in style yet with plenty of blackberry, plums and earthy notes. Spicy and intensity of fruit character ensues as does the slightest of hint of apricot. A smooth silky long length follows, making it for easy drinking. Try this with roast pork stuffed with apricots and walnuts. Drink 2006-2012. About $25.
Rochford Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2004.
I really like it when I discover a really good Pinot Noir. I quite dislike the process I have to go through however to discover such. You see they can be few and far between at times. You can have runs of truly good stuff hitting the desk day after day to taste at times (yes I know it's hard work) and then a veritable drought for literally weeks on end (I know - how do I manage to cope). Well, folks any drought has been well and truly broken with this one. Gorgeously fragrant with delicious sweet cherries and plums and raspberries, it is an evocative and complex Pinot. Classy vibrant and exotically spicy, the wine develops over time to become a very good Pinot Noir. Drink 2006 -2012. Have it with roast duck. About $30.
Joseph d'Elena Pinot Grigio 2006
Everyone is on the Italian varietal bandwagon at the moment from grape grower to wine drinker. It helps in this case however that someone with good Italian heritage and stock has put this one together and is gutsy enough to stake his reputation on it by naming it after his daughter. Joe Grilli is a leading South Australian winemaker who isn't afraid to experiment with alternative varietals, winemaking methods and has a really good and long track record at delivering the goods (have a try of his Colombard if you don't believe me). This one really hits the mark. Delightful, youthful and fresh and vibrant, it has your typically gushy ripe pear aromas as well as a touch of spice, almonds and green apples. Mouthfillingly luscious in delivery, it's one that you wouldn't have any reservations naming after your daughter. Drink now with spaghetti con aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil - yes, it sounds and tastes better in Italian). About $28.
Chain Of Ponds The Amadeus Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Cabernet Sauvignon can be a bit of a fickle freddy of a grape varietal. When it comes off, it goes off big-time with glorious well rounded blackcurrant fruit characters but when it doesn't it can be a touch lean, green and downright mean. This one is a cracker of a wine and really is a benchmark example of what the varietal can do when you pick the grapes ripe, give it the winemaking works and leave it all alone for a few years. Classic with good black fruits, well balanced and with a lovely smoothness on the palate all makes for one very very good drop of wine. Just beautiful drinking and a really good food wine. Try it with slow cooked lamb shanks. A bargain at around $30. Drinking 2006 - 2017. What else do you want, I ask?
Schild Estate Alma Schild Chardonnay 2005.
Really good Chardonnay can be a bit x-ey (now there's a new word in the making). But seriously, you have to give it a bit of everything, the works in fact to ensure it is going to come up trumps on you. This one comes from all places, the Barossa and is the premium label of this very good boutique red wine producer. They needless to say can make a really good white as well. Classically varietal, expect all peach, melon and cashew oak and it delivers upon you a succulent luscious finish. A perfect food wine to have slow roasted pork. I love a good Chardie and this just drinks superbly. About $38, well worth it, and its special occasion stuff to impress your favourite gal or guy. Drink 2006-2011.
Kay Brothers Amery McLaren Vale Shiraz 2004
Experience counts. Almost anyone can in theory stick some vines in some dirt, wait a few years, grow some grapes and turn it into a wine. Sometimes even a really good young vined wine emerges (now try saying that a few times after a couple of glasses). Kay Brothers have been making wine nearly since Captain Cook stepped off the Endeavour, well almost - a long time nonetheless. The Kays are pretty experienced winemakers, know their stuff well and make really really good red wine from the McLaren Vale region. All of this explains why this Shiraz is so good. Laden with vibrant intense earthy plums and deep sour red cherries with good blackberry fruit underpinning this. This and some good oak produce a soft smooth lingering red with a savoury element to it. Try this with roast lamb. About $25. Drink 2006 - 2018.
Paul Ippolito writes about wine for publications across Australia, overseas and the Internet. He speaks on radio and writes a free monthly wine newsletter for consumers. Paul can be contacted by email at Paul_Ippolito@hotmail.com where you can also request to be placed on his mailing list for his newsletter.
or visit his website at: www.paulippolito.com.au
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