Talking ‘interesting wines’ on the Food in Focus radio show
It can seem a bit silly sometimes to single-out wines that could be called ‘interesting’, purely as it’s such a subjective notion – that is, what interests me could be obscure/irrelevant/complete shit to somebody else.
Still, there are certain wines/wine styles/varieties etc that have enough of a ‘story’ to make them interesting, or at least enough to talk about.
Yesterday I was, rather randomly, tasked with finding 3 wines that might be counted as being ‘interesting’, as I ended up as a guest on the Food in Focus radio show. It was short notice, and the fridge was empty after a housewarming party last weekend (no beer either. I’m slipping), but I ended up with these three (happily) charismatic wines.
Better still, everyone on the show rather enjoyed this trio, which just made the discussion flow that little bit more effortlessly. Of particular note was the positivity towards the Blaufränkisch, which surprised even me at how delicious it was…
Rene Geoffroy Cuvee Empreinte Brut NV (Champagne France) $87.95 – 750ml
This is the last bottle from a case I bought a year ago and it’s been an enjoyable ride to see how it has developed. A Pinot dominant style, that was fermented mostly in large oak foudres and looks quite mature and aldehydic as a result (only a light bead too). Still, it is fresh to finish, with that combination of weight and acidity means this works nicely as a richer, ‘I’ll drink this with dinner’ style. I think this particular bottle would have been a better drink 6 months ago (as it’s look a bit cheesy and developed), but still attractive and well complex enough. 17/20 90/100
Hahndorf Hill Blueblood Blaufränkisch 2010 (Adelaide Hills, SA) $35
I’m not sure how I missed this when it first turned up (some time ago), however it’s still available from the winery and I think well worth a punt. What I really like is how varietal this looked – genuinely, surprisingly varietal. I’d perhaps a little less oak richness. but there is still that combination of blue fruits and notably prominent high acidity, the wine very much driven by its juicy mid palate, yet still an utterly savoury, fruit-and-acid-balanced (with a nice full-stop of dry tannins) wine.
I just liked drinking this, and if it is indicative of the potential quality of Hills Blaufränkisch, then let’s get planting. 17.7/20 92/100
X by Xabregas Spencer Vineyard Syrah 2010 (Mt Barket, WA) $50
Conspicuously, this looked the least ready to drink of all the wines on the day, a thoroughly uncompromised, structured and very serious red that had a dryness and un-sweet power so often missing in Australian Shiraz, even those wines with ‘Syrah’ stylistic leanings. Meaty, cranberry and purple fruits, with more than a little leafiness and loads of black pepper and anise. So much spice! Dry, powdery tannins to finish and, looking at the numbers, topped off with strictly natural acidity.
Initially this seems mid weight and a little lightish to start, but the closer you look the drier those tannins become and the firmer and deeper the wine looks. Further, I think this carries its ‘Syrah’ tag quite successfully – you can see a little Cornas in there for sure (in the best possible fashion).
Guaranteed to be an impressive wine with bottle ageing, I was really impressed. 18.5/20 94/100
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