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I panicked when I first got the email for this assignment for Gourmet Traveller Wine. Am I going to be articulate enough? What if they don’t understand me? I don’t know the first thing about wine or the making of wine. What will I write about? I can’t write, no way. Do I like wines? Yes. That’s a good start!
All I know is, having lived in New Zealand previously for seven years and working in the hospitality industry then, I was always surrounded by wines and winemakers for wine tasting days at the hotel where I worked at. I even lived across a vineyard by Burnham Camp in New Zealand. That is in the South Island, about 15 minutes out of Christchurch city. We had Giesen Wines vineyard right outside our doorsteps. Weekends were spent going on their tours. The part that I enjoyed the most is not the chemistry lesson; I love the wine tasting part, so I would get restless, and tried not to look bored whilst thinking to myself “Err, hurry up and let’s get drinking already.” This is why I love vineyards and cellar door sales, it’s the wine tasting. I know what I like and I buy what I like. It’s not a hard sell, just pour me some samples and there you go. I‘m sold! So when I was asked to review a wine magazine, what can I say, sheer panic! I thought I might give it a go and bought myself the magazine, if anything, I will learn more about Australian wines. I am severely lacking knowledge in this area.
Looking at the cover photo of the magazine, it had a photo of a glass of red with some berries and cherry. I had to laugh. Not because it was funny or anything, because that was how I would have described my wine. To describe any of it really, it’s like drinking fruity sunshine!
My favourite article in this Wine magazine
is the “Coonawarra Unearthed” article which was featured in the Travel section and it’s no great surprise there, as I love travelling myself. I love reading travel articles, even more when there’s food or wine involved. I like to imagine that I was strolling thru the vineyards under the warm sunshine. I like this article because I can relate to it; it’s about cabernet sauvignon, which is one of my favourite red wines. Plus, it’s in South Australia, so it’s not too far to travel.
Someday I may visit Adelaide and do all the wine trips along the way in the countryside. Coonawarra is almost midway between Adelaide and Melbourne. This is a red wine country like no other place in Australia. It beckons me! Do you know what else appealed to me about the article? The images, on the front of article alone, there’s this huge tree and as far as your eyes can see it, lay the vineyard in its glory.
Wow, and this is why Coonawarra is the most celebrated vineyards. What lies beneath the surface is what matter most, the soil. Apparently, this is where Coonawarra aligns with Champagne, The Loire, Alsace and Burgundy in Europe. The secret weapon is limestone. Limestone is what regulates the soil. I learned that limestone sucks away the entire heavy deluge and retains the moisture and Coonawarra has the best iron rich, rusty red soil also known as terra rossa. This is what the locals claimed to be the best agricultural soil.
So from reading this, if you stop at the front of Balnaves Coonawarra Estate, you will see in between the vine is a deep soil pit, proudly displayed to show you the depth of the terra rossa. The terra rossa is six inches deep over limestone and just a meter away, terra rossa in a full meter in depth. Travel magazines. So a bit of history here, viticulture was first introduced in Coonawarra in 1890 by a Scottish pioneer named John Riddoch. What a good man, I’ll say!
Who doesn’t like a glass of red every now and then? Isn't it supposed to be good for you or something like that? Anyway, just across the highway is Yalumba, who hasn’t heard of Yalumba wines? Why, it’s famous! I am sure that I have drunk a few Yalumba wines. However, before this article on the wine magazine, I didn’t even know that it came from Coonawarra, there you go, I learned something new today. This red wine country is where you get the best Cabernet, Shiraz and Merlot. Merlot is the natural partner to Cabernet. To describe it in plain English, well, at least to me anyway, it softens the blow. Cabernet is this rich powerful red wine that hits you full force, but the addition of merlot mellows it down. I love it. It’s beautiful.
You can taste the rich berries in it, it’s fruity and yet warm, it’s intense in colour and it taste really good. Take my word for it or go out and buy a bottle of red from Coonawarra. You will not regret it. Another wine partnership that I really enjoy is the Cabernet and Shiraz blend. All I know is that it is fabulous with a big juicy thick steak. You get your rich berry with pepper spicy taste. How good is that? I am definitely visiting this place. Who wants to come on a great wine drive with me? No? Well, what about a competition just by buying a subscription to any of the Travel magazines then?