Today I had a very interesting tasting with the good people at Maison de Grand Esprit, a great collaboration between French and Australian winemakers, producing some more modern styles of classic French varietals. It was a real eye-opener, especially in regards to Pinot Gris/Grigio. Kevin McCarthy (formerly of T’Gallant) was with running us through some of his favourites in the range, and was so charismatic and knowledgeable that I couldn’t help but feel as though I was really learning about some of these French styles for the first time. They have a great entry level range called Les Petites Vignettes, and I was very impressed with all of them to be honest. So impressed that I figured they were worthy of the coveted Weekend Wine Picks! - Becca
Les Petites Vignettes Pinot Blanc 2009
I’m the first to admit that I’ve not had a superb amount of exposure to Pinot Blanc. Have tried a few Alsatians before, and a couple of Kiwi ones more recently. But having tried this guy today, it’s definitely a wine style I’m going to be exploring a lot more of. It was incredibly aromatic and floral, almost with a few rose-like notes. It was really interesting in the mouth, was quite weighty and slightly viscous, but cleaned that all away with a really great green apple like acidity. It also had this lovely, almost spicey warmth that hit the back of the palate which I really enjoyed. I think, while it is a great aperitif, it is a wine that will really come into it’s own when consumed with food. It had a really persistent length, I’d be having this with some spice personally, something like a Thai Larb salad - full flavoured food for full flavoured wine.
Les Petites Vignettes Pinot Noir 2007
I’ll be straight up with you: at this price, this wine is a real bargain. Plain and simple. BUT… you have to enjoy the Burgundian style of Pinot Noir to get the most out of it! Here in Australia we are presented with lush, fruit-driven Pinots - some of which are brilliant, naturally! But the French style is a lot more subtle, and has a lot more of those savoury, earthy notes (that I happen to adore in really good Pinots). This is because the French have long focused on producing wines that are good with food. This is a great example of a Burgundy, fantastic ruby colour, a few fruity things coming through on the nose, but then giving way to those oaky, earthy aromas. On the palate it’s bright and fresh, but balanced with some drying tannins. It leaves you wanting another sip, and for me, craving duck breast with sour cherries and Pommes Anna.
Yalumba Y Series Riesling 2009
This is exactly what I come to expect from South Australian Riesling. This is one of the best made Rieslings that I have tasted as of late. A wine that is almost clear with only a slight gold tinge to it. This wine has a beautiful floral and perfumed nose of lime and pungent grapefruit. It has strong citrus (lemon and lime characters) flavour with a surprising length of palate. Fabulous value wine. Well worth a go.
Hungerford Hill Fishcage Shiraz 2009
Southern New South Wales
Another cheap and cheerful red from New South Wales. These wines are really hitting the spot with me at the moment. More medium bodied and drinkable than some of the other Shiraz out there. The Hungerford Hill has a intense dark red colour to it. Probably a little darker than some of the other New South Wales stuff that I have tried. This has an interesting nose that for me was more spice/dried herb than any big fruit style. Blackcurrant, plums and berry fruits all feature. Good stuff. Perfect with a nice steak sandwich.