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Wine

Celebrating Christmas with Brown Brothers

We recently caught up with Ross Brown from the iconic Brown Brothers to talk Prosecco and Christmas.

Your Brown Brothers Vintage Release Single Vineyard Prosecco 2014 is our Wine of the Month for December – what makes it so special for this time of the year (or anytime really)?

Sparkling wine is all about celebration with friends and Prosecco is the new exciting fashion for Sparkling. It’s fine, zesty, dry and refreshing and just perfect for those lazy summer days.

Brown Brothers has over 126 years of history in Australian winemaking and family is obviously very important to you. How is your family planning on spending this Christmas?

Having all the immediate family around the Christmas dinner table is mandatory, but just a bit more complex this year, as Emma our youngest daughter is living in Napa Valley, California. We have all made a commitment to be in Mammoth Mountain, a ski town for Christmas. We will go by the local market and buy oysters and salmon for entree and duck for mains. My wife Judy's confit of duck recipe is a family legend.

What wines will your family be enjoying over Christmas?

This year as Emma is hosting, she's sourcing the wines with the brief to surprise us with the best of California, especially Pinot for the duck.

Can you remember the first wine you ever tried?

No, not really. There was always wine on the dinner table, and I was always allowed to taste, as long as I described the taste and aroma. It was no big deal as wine and food was a natural.

When did you fall in love with wine?

Growing up in the 1960s drinking wine socially was a risky business – real men drank beer! In the 1970s wine became fashionable and I had lots of friends curious about what wine I had brought to the party. I guess that was when I fell in love but not only with the wine.

It’s a tough question, but do you have a favourite wine or varietal?

When I'm asked which is my favourite wine, my reply invariably is the "next one".
In truth Riesling is my favourite white varietal – the flavour dimensions are remarkable with lean and minerally Tasmanian styles through to rich, ripe and generous Noble Riesling.

With reds I'm fascinated with Pinot Noir. For me it’s about the silken texture – fine and powerful and so reflective of the vineyard. It matches so many different foods and I'm already thinking about that duck for Christmas.

What is your favourite wine memory?

This is an impossible question as my entire life has been wine. I have been just so fortunate to grow up in a thriving family business, based in beautiful North East Victoria, and to share a wine and food lifestyle with so many wonderful people.

Having dinner with friends and finding that gem that has remained hidden in the cellar for far too long, and it opens fabulously, along with a flood of memories around the year the wine was made, is the ultimate Saturday night filled with lots of laughs and short memories!

How do you spend your time when you’re not making wine?

With my daughter Katherine now winemaking, I'm delighted to run away and admire her good work, especially knowing she has the best mentors in the world.

Judy and I love the ‘hunting and gathering’ lifestyle, we are crazy about fishing and love Tasmania. There we can catch crayfish, calamari, and flat head or fly fish for trout all in one day, and if it's a really tough day, fit in a game of golf just for the frustration.

For me seeing another generation, my three daughters, excited and totally engaged in the wine business is the greatest reward, especially if they find a great Riesling and Pinot for Christmas dinner and don't forget the Prosecco!

What is your choice at Christmas:

Carols by Candlelight – love them or loathe them? A must on Christmas Eve. 
Sparkling Shiraz, Champagne or both? Prosecco is the new Champagne.
Plum pudding, pavlova or trifle? Depends on the age of the Noble Riesling.
Turkey, glazed ham or seafood? Seafood, seafood and more seafood.
Christmas lunch or dinner? Don't know the difference as it starts around 11am and goes on and on....
Boxing Day recovery? This calls for exercise and this year given a white Christmas, we will all be skiing probably until lunch.

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Wine
Claymore – 20 years of hits
Esteemed Clare Valley producer, Claymore Wines, is celebrating 20 years of premium winemaking this September with the release of their iconic Joshua Tree Riesling. Alongside his family, Claymore’s founder and owner Anura Nitchingham has three great loves in his life – wine, music and football – and he celebrates all of them with Claymore Wines . As a young medical student in Liverpool, UK, Anura became a fan of one of the sport’s greatest ever football teams, Liverpool FC. Sitting in the stands at Anfield, he couldn’t imagine that one day he would have an exclusive relationship with the world famous club. After a successful medical career, Anura had the great fortune to find his way to one of South Australia’s most renowned wine region, the Clare Valley , to start Claymore Wines over two decades ago. Today, his range of award-winning wines includes Liverpool FC-related drops, such as, the Robbie Fowler Signature Shiraz , the You’ll Never Walk Alone Grenache and Sauvignon Blanc and the This is Anfield Sparkling . Music in a bottle From the very start of Claymore, Anura has also entwined his love of music by naming his wines after his favourite songs and albums. Wines such as the Bittersweet Symphony Cabernet Sauvignon , the London Calling Cabernet Malbec , and the Purple Rain Sauvignon Blanc, resonate beyond their time and across generations – very much like the songs they are named after. And, along with bringing a fun vibe to wine, naming wines after songs has struck a chord with music lovers, who form an immediate understanding and sentimental attachment to their favourite varietals. “It allows us to have a more personal conversation with the customer,” says Claymore’s General Manager, Carissa Major. “People come to our cellar door, pick up a Bittersweet Symphony Cabernet and say, ‘this is from my generation, I get it’.” Time to celebrate In 2018, Claymore celebrates 20 years with two wines that have stood the test of time – the Joshua Tree Riesling and Dark Side of the Moon Shiraz (which will be released in the coming years). U2’s classic album The Joshua Tree contained a plethora of great hits including Where the Streets Have No Name , With or With You and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For . With the Joshua Tree Riesling, wine lovers will find stunningly beautiful expression of Riesling, that resonates almost as much as these amazing tunes. The Clare Valley is renowned as the home of Riesling in Australia and the Joshua Tree is one of the region’s best examples with vintage after vintage consistently producing a wine boasting lime and savoury spice aromas, a tight, fresh palate punctuated with delicious citrus flavours and all held in place with seamless, balanced acidity. The 2018 is no exception, a simply wonderful wine that is befitting of a 20 year celebration.
Evolution in the winery Coinciding with their 20-year anniversary, Claymore Wines are also pleased to announce that they have a new Chief Winemaker in Nathan Norman. An eighth-generation winemaker who grew up on in the region on his grandfather’s vineyard at Angle Vale, Nathan spent his formative years at Peter Lehman Wines before vintages in far flung corners such as Sicily, Spain and England. He returned to the  Barossa Valley to work with Tin Shed Wines and then at Claymore as assistant winemaker under the expert guidance of Marnie Roberts. With Marnie moving on to pursue her own venture, Nathan is excited to be able to imprint his personality to the Claymore Wine range as Chief Winemaker, particularly in this celebratory stage of the Claymore Wines story. “Winemaking is something that is in my blood,” says Nathan. “My dad, my brother, my sister, my grandad – it’s a family thing.” “To be here in the Clare Valley, the Riesling capital of the world; I wouldn’t have it any other way!”  The 2018 Joshua Tree Riesling is released in September. For more details on the Claymore range and special 20-year celebrations, visit claymorewines.com.au
Wine
Vine Change for the Good Life
Words by Jackie Macdonald on 27 Nov 2017
Ever dreamed of making a vine change? Meet some daring individuals who took a leap of faith to embrace the good life – vinous style. We’ve all been there. Visited a winery, wandered through the vines, dreaming of days spent pruning tips and tasting wines straight from the barrel. Of course, this romantic picture glosses over the constant stress of too much or not enough rain, grape-eating pests and the changing tastes of fickle consumers. But for a special selection of wine producers, the challenges were never too great. Their dream of a life on the land was enough motivation to pack in their career and take up the secateurs for a life dictated by vines, veraison and vats. For Todd and Jeff of Belford Block Eight in the Hunter Valley , it was love at first sight of their property’s driveway. As Jeff explains, “Todd and I turned off the car, listened to nature, admired the olives, turned to one another and said, ‘this is it.’” Jeff gave up his job in the finance department for CanTeen and Todd left Ebay, where he’d worked for 12 years in strategy, marketing and analysis. Neither knew anything about winemaking. But on their property were around 12,000 vines, so, as Todd describes, “Jeff and I tracked down a bottle of 2006 Brokenwood Block Eight Semillon, a single vineyard release made only using our grapes and it was truly remarkable. So, we thought, maybe there’s an opportunity to make some nice wine from these grapes, let’s give it a go!” And given it a go they certainly have with their first ever wine, the 2014 Reserve Semillon now an award-winner. It hasn’t been all plain sailing, though, and they’ve learnt some valuable lessons. Apart from the vagaries of harvest, the necessity of tractor headlights and that their deckchairs are just for show, they also know that un-neutered piglets turn into boisterous 150kg boars and goats can be as loyal as dogs. But regrets? “No bloody way, mate!” is Jeff’s answer, “One day we’ll sit on those deck chairs, sipping on a 20-year-old Block Eight, admiring what we’ve built.” Healthy vines
Back in 1997, while Jeff and Todd were still slogging away in the corporate world, over in South Australia’s Clare Valley, medical professional, Anura Nitchingham planted his first vineyard. He’d chosen Clare because, he says, “The region is really an unsung hero in the world of viticulture. It’s unique and has some really great producers in a very small, but beautiful region.” That first planting has grown into Claymore Wines , one of Australia’s most unique wine brands. While Anura hasn’t left his medical career, he says that winemaking provides something medicine can’t: “Vines don’t complain! And there’s wine!” The medical theme is also part of the story of Hobbs of Barossa Ranges . Allison Hobbs was a nurse and her husband was a former policeman turned firefighter when they bought their vineyard in the Barossa. Their decision to make a vine change was borne of a desire to provide a rural lifestyle for their children. Like Jeff and Todd, Allison and Greg knew very little about making wine, but the stars aligned, providing them with some strokes of good fortune in the early years. Foremost was they happened to buy the property next door to local winemaking expert, Chris Ringland, who provided invaluable advice and made their wines. While being a nurse, police officer or fire fighter might be worlds away from making wine, Allison and Greg feel they brought vital skills from those professions to their new endeavour. As Greg says, “attention to detail is very important to both nursing and winemaking”, and Allison adds, “the observation techniques you learn in nursing, the police and fire brigade are important as we wander through the vineyard and take note of what’s right and what’s not.” Livin’ in the 70s
Although Allison, Greg and Anura faced challenges in the mid-1990s, things were even more basic in the 1970s. Having left successful careers in the emerging computer industry, Linda and Ian Tyrer bought a property in WA’s Mount Barker region to establish Galafrey Wines . Again, they had no experience, but, as Linda describes, she arrived at their new home four months pregnant, armed with a few thousand grape cuttings – “naive but starry-eyed, full of enthusiasm.” A lack of money meant a lot of back-breaking work, but by 1985, they had won their first Trophy and Ian’s tireless dedication saw him awarded the George Mulgure Award for outstanding service to the industry in 2003. Unfortunately, the same year, Ian lost his battle with cancer. However, his legacy lives on with Linda still at the helm, along with daughter Kim, who left her own career as an artist to return to the vines. One thing all these people would agree on is that a life among the vines is a hard slog. But is it the good life? Absolutely!
Wine
The Best McLaren Vale Wineries and Cellar Doors 2019
Pristine ocean views, exceptional wine blends, an abundance of new varieties… what’s not to love about the birthplace of the SA wine industry? Take a tour of the best McLaren Vale wineries and cellar doors for 2019 with this guide from Wine Selectors. Home to some of the world’s oldest grapevines and with over 80 cellar doors and vineyards accessible just 45 minutes from Adelaide, McLaren Vale is a wine-lovers dream. Nestled between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the beaches of Gulf St Vincent, this region is the gateway to the stunning Fleury Peninsula, evocative of the stunning coastline around Lisbon, Portugal. This warm, Mediterranean-style climate and proximity to the sea goes a long way to explaining the fantastic range of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese varieties on offer throughout the region. Alongside the deservedly celebrated Tempranillo , Zinfandel, Sangiovese , Vermentino, Fiano and Touriga Nacional varieties on offer, a sense of adventurism abounds in the countless alternative varieties and superior red wine blends coming from the region, with something new to discover at every winery and cellar door. Trent Mannell, Wine Selector’s Tasting Panellist and Wine Show Judge is effusive in his love for McLaren Vale region. “It’s a region where the vines meet the sea, so it has a unique coastal vibe and the wines reflect the influence of the maritime climate. The cellar doors are so peaceful; it’s the most tranquil wine region I know.” Read on for Wine Selector’s picks for the best McLaren Vale wineries and cellar doors for 2019, and discover more about the wines you can explore in our McLaren Vale region guide . The Best McLaren Vale Wineries Hither & Yon Built from the soil up and lovingly curated by a truly invested team, Hither & Yon celebrates not just the rolling nature of the region, but the easy-going nature of the Brothers Leask and this family-and-friend run business. Their cellar door – originally an 1860s Willunga butcher’s shop – retains its local slate flooring and limestone walls, yet has been refreshed to reflect the artisanal vibe of a vine to table sensibility. With wine tastings, cheese platters, and a fireplace to kick back and savour a fine Shiraz, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Blanc or Nero D’Avola (among others), Hither & Yon emphasises sustainable grape-growing that celebrates the geography and maritime influence of McLaren Vale. 17 High St, Willunga Open Daily 11 am to 4 pm Visit the Hither & Yon website SHOTTESBROOKE The Shottesbrooke story actually begins just outside the South Australian hamlet of Myponga, with the quality fruit produced by founder Nick Holmes. A new era for the label began when he purchased a McLaren Flat property, where the Shottesbrooke winery and cellar door were built and some of McLaren Vale’s most exciting wines were brought to life. Nestled amongst the company vineyards with magnificent view to the surrounding Mount Lofty Ranges, the cellar door offers a diverse range of excellent wines made at the winery right next door, presented by a passionate and experienced staff. You can make a day of it with an all-inclusive full-day tour , and take a journey into the heart of the winemaker’s craft; or, stroll through the estate vineyards for a three-course lunch prepared by the award-winning chefs at The Currant Shed, best enjoyed alongside a hand selected range of matched Shottesbrooke wines. 101 Bagshaws Road, McLaren Flat Open Daily 10 am to 4.30 pm, Sat – Sun 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Shottesbrooke website D’ARENBERG d’Arenberg  is a McLaren Vale institution with d’Arry Osborn and his son Chester, Chief Winemaker, renowned for their fantastic Shiraz and Grenache. Formerly housed in a beautifully restored 19 th -century homestead, the d’Arenberg cellar door has now soared into a bold new era with the daring d’Arenberg Cube, a multi-venue experience that is home to masterclasses, à la carte or degustation dining, as well as a contemporary art museum. You can even play winemaker for the day, blending and bottling your own wine. And, of course, you can also explore an extensive range of quality wines, guided by their always entertaining cellar door staff. Learn more about The Cube in our interview with Chester , and explore The d’Arenberg Experience at their website. Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the d’Arenberg website BATTLE OF BOSWORTH Want to learn how organic wines are cultivated? Then make sure to stop by this charming cellar door and sample the wares of boutique winemaker Joch Bosworth, who took the reins of the family business back in 1995 and drove a return to the old ways. Such pride in tradition is suitably reflected in quality examples of Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional. Located just outside the historic township of Willunga, the cellar door occupies a restored 1850s stable with views over the vineyards and west to St Vincent. 92 Gaffney Rd, Willunga Open Daily 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Battle of Bosworth website HUGH HAMILTON WINES A sweeping, 270-degree view of one of McLaren Vale’s signature vineyards awaits you at the Hugh Hamilton Wines cellar door, a must-stop for anyone visiting the region. Recognised as Australia’s oldest wine family, the passion and knowledge of the cellar door staff is on clear display and the range on offer is exceptional with everything from a classic Shiraz through to the exciting new blends and alternative varieties the region is so rightfully famous for. Our tip? Book a hosted wine and cheese flight of their single vineyard wines for a trip you’ll always savour. 94 McMurtrie Rd, McLaren Vale Open Daily 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Hugh Hamilton website GEMTREE WINES Gemtree Wines  operates on a simple philosophy – minimal intervention in the winemaking process, and a more eco-conscious farming system. The result is a range of wines which are powerful, concentrated, and expressive of the true characteristics of each grape variety and the region. The relaxed and unassuming outlook created by husband and wife duo Mike and Melissa permeates every aspect of the cellar door experience, which features views all the way to the sea from their outdoor verandah. Sample their fantastic wines while learning more about  organic  and biodynamic farming practices, and make sure you take the time to explore the 10-hectare wetland eco-trail while you’re there. 167 Elliott Rd, McLaren Flat Open Daily 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Gemtree website LECONFIELD & RICHARD HAMILTON WINES Looking for the perfect place to sample Richard Hamilton’s Estate, Single Vineyard Reserve and select Leconfield wines? Then set a course for Leconfield cellar door , where you can appreciate the natural qualities imparted by the family-owned vineyards in McLaren Vale as well as the vines surrounding the cellar door itself. With its sweeping lawns and verandahs plus generous platters of local regional food on offer, Leconfield will delight the senses. Find out more about Chief Winemaker Paul Gordon’s process in our Wine Selectors Q&A. 439 Main Rd, McLaren Vale Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Leconfield & Richard Hamilton Wines website SERAFINO Steve (Serafino) Maglieri arrived in Adelaide in 1964 as a teenager from Italy with little more than a passionate dream to make great wine. After many highs and a few lows in the wine industry, eventually the Serafino label emerged and the Maglieri family was able to craft their own piece of paradise amongst the gumtrees of their McLaren Vale winery. The warm, friendly and familiar ethos of Serafino is evident in the cellar door, charming restaurant, and four-star accommodation, making it the perfect place to position yourself for a weekend getaway… the better to enjoy Serafino’s great range of Italian and alternative varieties such as the Bellissimo series of Vermentino, Fiano and Montepulciano through to reserve Grenache and Shiraz. Kangarilla Rd, McLaren Vale Open Daily 10 am to 4:30 pm Visit the Serafino website OLIVER'S TARANGA Contained within an original 1850s stone worker’s cottage built by the first generation of the Oliver family, Oliver’s Taranga cellar door retains both an authentic charm and a deserved reputation for exceptional wines. In addition to its excellent range of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon you’ll also find small batch wonders like Fiano, Grenache, Mencia and Sagrantino to delight the palate. Planning a visit? Be sure to check their events page before you go, as the venue hosts many unique food and wine events to enjoy, including monthly Porchetta Parties, Twilight Pizza events, and even pop-up happenings in Adelaide.  246 Seaview Rd, McLaren Vale Open Daily 10 am to 4 pm Visit the Oliver’s Taranga website CORIOLE Set within sight of the sea amidst the undulating McLaren Vale hills, this small boutique cellar door can be found in an old 1860s ironstone barn, surrounded by the Coriole Estate vineyards which are celebrating their 50 th birthday this year. Famous for its pioneering efforts in introducing alternative varieties to the region – most notably Sangiovese in 1985 and the first Australian Fiano in 2005 – Coriole’s range has an impressive diversity that includes Sangiovese, Barbera, Picpoul, Nero d’Avola, Fiano, as well as exquisite examples of the classic Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties. If you’re lucky, you may even get to sample a rare single vineyard Shiraz, or perhaps a Mourvedre. It’s only a small cellar door so if you’re travelling in a group of eight or more you will need to book. Chaffeys Rd, McLaren Vale Mon – Fri 10 am to 5 pm, Sat – Sun 11 am to 5 pm Visit the Coriole website PENNY'S HILL This charming winery, set on the stunning grounds of the historic Ingleburn property, is the perfect place to stop for a long lunch during your travels through McLaren Vale. Two Forks recipient Chef Tom Boden has crafted a menu celebrating the artisan food producers of the region at the Kitchen Door Restaurant, presenting classic meals prepared in contemporary style. After your meal, wander through the Red Dot Gallery or soak up the farm yard atmosphere and chat with the chooks. The talents of celebrated Winemaker Alexia Roberts, winner of 2016’s World’s Best Cabernet at the Concours International des Cabernets in France, are on fine display with elegant, fruit-driven, single-vineyard estate-grown wines that display the very best qualities of McLaren Vale wines. 281 Main Rd, McLaren Vale Open Daily 10 am to 5 pm Visit the Penny’s Hill website MORE INFORMATION Before visiting McLaren Vale, be sure to check out the official  McLaren Vale region website  or stop by the McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Information Centre in the centre of town. Or, if you’d like to sample some of the wineries listed in this guide prior to setting out, explore our wide selection of McLaren Vale wines and learn more about the wineries listed here in our  Meet the Makers section . With the Wine Selectors Regional Release program, you'll experience a different wine region each release with all wines expertly selected by our Tasting Panel. Plus, you’ll receive comprehensive tasting notes and fascinating insights into each region. Visit our  Regular Deliveries  page to find out more, and explore more great wine regions with our Wine Selector’s Cellar Door Guides. Enjoy!
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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