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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

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Meet Carissa Major and Marnie Roberts of Claymore Wines
Get to know the ladies behind Claymore Wines -General Manager Carissa Major and Winemaker, Marnie Roberts Carrisa, you say you “had the good fortune to fall into” the wine industry days after your 18 th birthday – what’s the story behind that good fortune?  As in real estate – location location location! I grew up at the southern end of the Clare Valley, had travelled throughout my 17 th year (thanks to the possibly misguided generosity of my parents) then landed back into the Clare Valley …a little bit jobless and without a sense of purpose. The idea of university for uni’s sake was less than appealing so my one year gap turned into two and through friends of the family I wound up with a position at Knappstein Wines Cellar Door. Tim was still on site then and I found the whole staff tastings both inspirational and intimidating but got enough out of them to want to learn more. Andrew Hardy had a similar approach to staff engagement so what started off as a spark became something a little more…so basically, I had the right door open at the right time. Got sucked in and found this amazing industry that brings people together while opening up the world. Given the quirky nature of the brand, do you have to bring out your inner quirks too? Well it’s not hard really…they are never too far from the surface! The best thing about the brand is that link to music informs so much of the fun every day and provides a motivating backdrop to the workplace. There is nothing better than an impromptu Friday afternoon singalong with customers as Meatloaf cranks out of the sound system (and yes that really did and does happen!)  Are you a Voodoo Child, or do you like a splash of Purple Rain, or do you hear London calling? (i.e. what’s your favourite Claymore wine and does your love of the wine match your fondness for its namesake?) Oh there are too many to choose from; from a wine perspective though I do have a soft spot for London Calling. It took a few years to win the boss over to Malbec – he’s more of a Merlot kind of guy – but it just shines in Clare and paired with cabernet it makes for such approachable drinking without compromising depth and intensity. One day I may be able to release that straight Malbec…not sure what label I’d choose though. Can you recall the first wine you tried? Easy one – we grew up farming on the outskirts of Auburn in the shadow of Taylors wines so it was their white wines that graced our family table for special occasions. From the age of about 12 I was allowed a half pour if their amazingly bone dry, fully worked Chardonnay which I would duly sip over the course of a meal. It was dry, acid and complex for my junior palate and I recall grimacing after the first taste but would never dare leave a drop…it was wayyyy too special! What do you think is special about your wine region? There is an easy intimacy to the Clare Valley that you don’t see in many other regions; intimate without being aloof or removed. From a wine perspective there is an underlying elegance to the wines we produce here – even those 15.8% brooding monsters carry an underpinning structure that balances that intensity. Any region that can pull off our delicately structured Rieslings that defy expectation with just how powerful they can be and at the same time produce complex, finely drawn cabernet and nuanced yet flavour busting shiraz has to be special. It’s a multi-faceted little dynamo that continues to surprise and delight..and the locals aren’t a bad lot either! Do you have a favourite holiday destination/memory? We spent many early years holidaying at Elliston on the West Coast in the family shack – total beachfront, tumble down tiny fibro thing that we’d have to drive seemingly endless distances to get to while listening to the Australia Open on the radio (?). Fishing off the beach and jetty, grandma’s garfish and squid for breakfast pan fried in truckloads of butter and playing tennis on asphalt courts then jumping into the ocean to cool off. Oh – nostalgia overload! Now I like to recreate that sense of simple pleasure and we still holiday in shacks (just closer to home on the Yorke Peninsula) and chase fish and squid from the jetty and beach while fossicking in rockpools, building sandcastles and eating hot chips. Except now I chase it all down with a Riesling or two – best ever with fresh shucked oysters! And Marnie, as Claymore Wines winemaker do you have to make the wines to match the songs? Or does lyrical inspiration come after the tasting? The link of wines and songs seems to naturally evolve. The base constant is always to create the best wine to start with and I suppose, yes, doesn’t everyone get inspired in some way when they are drinking wine?! Certain labels do make complete sense to me. Nirvana is a Reserve Shiraz and drinking it you hope to reach a state of Nirvana. Dark Side of the Moon is our Clare Shiraz and it has the elegance and dark seductive fruit layered over oak. Do you get to name any of the wines? We all have input and suggestions which can be quite amusing. I got Skinny Love across the line which came to me in the car while singing it at the top of my lungs….the Claymore version of 'Car Pool Karaoke'. Was it your dream of being a rock star that drew you to Claymore? The Rockstar dream is still my back up occupation if the winemaking thing falls through. So far, the music world is safe. I do love the idea of the music and wine. I think to make good wine you have to have an element of love for the arts and the creation of things. Wine and Music just make sense  - both are so evocative and amazing for setting a sense of  place and time. All those great moments, you know the BIG celebrations in life can usually be tracked back in the memory banks tied to a particular wine or song! What is your favourite wine to make? I don’t think I could pick a variety or a style as such. I love the process and the chance to follow it the whole way through. From the vineyard basics of pruning and harvesting to ferment to batching to oak to tank to bottle to mouth….it’s an amazing journey that I get to guide these babies through. When did you fall in love with wine? Growing up on a block in Mildura that went from citrus to dried fruit to winegrapes, I have always had an appreciation for the fruit. The love of wine was the next step. I remember the cask wine in my parents’ fridge in the 80s and then the big purchases of wine in a bottle. I remember one night, when I was around 19 or 20, going to a friend’s house who was studying to be a winemaker and he opened a 1994 Lindemans Pyrus. A wine from Coonawarra that is a Cabernet Sauvignon /Merlot and Malbec blend. IT WAS MASSIVE and I thought wow, I need to try more wines. It really blew my socks off as I hadn’t tried anything as big and succulent as that before. Can you cook? If so, what is your ‘signature dish’? I love to cook. With a toddler and husband that works away, time is limited but when I can, I love to invite friends around and cook. Homemade pasta with a trio of different sauce options is always a winner. The other is a stuffed squid. A recipe I have had for about 20 years and it never seems to fail. What do you do to relax away from the winery? I love to chill at home but my favourite getaways are anywhere near the water. I love the beach in winter and the river in summer. Anytime with my family is a bonus and I have great friends who are around for a catch up…which usually includes wine and food!
Wine
Meet Alex Russell of Alejandro Wines
More and more alternative wine varietals are being grown and produced here in Australia. We catch-up with Alex Russell to chat about his passion for these delicious drops and his exciting alejandro range. Your alejandro label focuses on a diverse selection of alternative varieties of European origin including Montepulciano, Nero d’Avola, Fiano and Arneis – why these varieties? Shortly after starting work for Angove in Renmark, the then chief winemaker Warrick Billings, introduced me to Riverland Vine Improvement Committee (RVIC). RVIC at the time was an importer of new varieties and they would propagate the vines and produce trial wine from them. I agreed to produce trial wine for them on a voluntary basis. I bottled their 2008 vintage and started making wine for them in 2009, in addition to my role at Angove. Before long, we were crushing far more than anticipated and the facility was filled with small winemaking equipment I had been accumulating since the early 2000s. As far as choosing different varieties, I’ve never accepted the status quo. In 2011, Fiano , Vermentino and Montepulciano were bullet-proof during the worst vintage we had had in 30 years and the latter two went on to win Gold medals at the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. From there I led RVIC into their own label, Cirami Estate. It was a little too entrepreneurial for RVIC and we parted ways after vintage 2014 at which point alejandro was born. I didn’t choose these varieties, they chose me. These varieties are perfectly suited to being grown in the Riverland and Mildura and produce textured, flavoursome and distinctly varietal wines. What would you say to our Members to encourage them to try more of these varieties?

If you enjoy wine enough to purchase through Wine Selectors, you know enough about wine to broaden your horizons. Have an open mind, ignore the name, even set up a blind tasting with friends, and just take the wine for what it is – it’s much easier to remember Saperavi or Bianco d’Alessano when you’ve had a great experience with them.

What makes the Riverland region so suited to growing Mediterranean-style and alternative varieties? Riverland and Mildura regions are equally suited to alternative varietal wines. If you’ve travelled to Spain or Italy during summer months, you’ll know the climates in Mildura and Renmark are very similar. The regions are hot and dry, with low disease pressure and there is so much sun. These varieties love sun and heat with Montepulciano ripening among the latest of all – late April for vintage 2017. Many of these wines, Graciano and Tempranillo , are as boozy in Spain as they are here. That said, the whites are produced with moderate alcohol to retain their fresh, distinctive flavours. Can you recall the first wine you tried? My parents always drank wine – from a cask. We had sips of wine here and there, but the best memory of my first wine was following work selling pies at the footy – the MCG. I was 14 or 15 years old and I had made my first wine by this stage, but I remember this fondly because it involved getting wine from the super boxes of the old northern stand. The foil capsule had been removed from these reds and were therefore unsalable. I took the bottles home with quite a number of Four’n’Twenty pies and my father and I sat on the couch and we ate pies and drank red wine together. Making it more memorable for me was how hot and red in the face I became having bumped consumption from a few sips to a couple of glasses. When did you fall in love with wine? I think I fell in love with making booze before I fell in love with wine. I was always close with my dad, he’s gone now, but he loved his beer. I used my pie selling income to buy a home brew kit from Kmart and produced Coopers Lager – though this was after I’d made my first mash beer using 4.5L demijohns and every item of stainless in the kitchen. Do you remember that moment? What happened? After the first mash came, Coopers, ginger beer, apple cider, elderberry wine and in Year 10, I made my first Shiraz, ironically from Shiraz juice concentrate out of a can from the Riverland ’s Berri. Another memorable moment was vintage 2002 in Mildura, working for Littore Family Wines. At the time they had a Merlot block in Gol Gol with 2000m long rows. I found a rogue vine in row 57 from the north end, 16 panels to the south. It was an off-white variety, I picked the fruit and soon realized it was Gewürztraminer. My housemates and I drank that wine before it had finished fermenting. Do you have an all-time favourite wine to make? Why is it this wine? That’s like asking who your favourite child is – all wines are different and there’s an occasion for each. I do like making Montepulciano, but mainly drink Tempranillo and Durif. Now with a vineyard in Tasmania, I also produce Pinot Noir which is a very interesting wine. There’s a wine for every occasion and every appetite. There are some 15 wines in my range – gives me a lot of choice! Other than your own wine, what is the wine that you like to drink at home? I like to compare competitors’ wines, like varieties and other obscure varieties, but the quaffers I like are Rosé wines. I’m not a fan of Cabernet Rosé or ‘drain off’ Rosé but give me a purpose produced Rosé with four days cold soak and I’m all over it. What is your ultimate food and wine match? My first experience with such food was at the 2012 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show where Stephano di Pierre cooked and we had Vermentino with freshly shucked oysters with lemon and fresh oregano. Tempura Sardines are great with Bianco d’Alessano. In Tasmania we grow Wiltshire Horn sheep for meat. They mow the vineyard down in winter and keep hard to slash areas clean during the growing season. The meat is rich, tender and moist – Lagrein is a good match for this lamb. Can you cook? If so, what is your ‘signature dish’? My wife and I lived in China for 12 months, near the North Korean border. I used to cook a lot more but now my wife cooks anything and everything, she has a knack for it. When I cook I go Chinese and cook the dongbei cai from the north east of China, Dalian and Pulandian. These are better suited to Tsingtao and Mi Jiu and although considered qiung ren cai (poor man’s food) they are simple and delicious: Ban san ding is chopped cucumber and red onion with fresh roasted peanuts (skin on) with fish sauce and sesame oil dressing (and a dash of MSG). Tu dou zi is shredded potato with carrot, green chilli and garlic, stir fried for about 30 seconds with fish sauce and sesame oil. Xie hong shi chao ji dan is stir fried egg and tomato, again with fish and sesame, and don’t forget the garlic. It’s simple and really quick to prepare. What do you think is special about your wine region? Tasmania is now home and we are expanding our vineyard. Pinot is a great variety to grow and produce and the whites are excellent – although most visitors are left a little wanting for a big red. Riverland and Mildura (and Riverina) are the work engines for Australian wine and where I gained all my experience. They are quickly snubbed by many but do produce good wine. My greatest criticism of South Australia and the Riverland is that even many Riverland businesses dismiss their own wines when tourists ask for something local, offering Clare or Barossa instead. Do you have a favourite holiday destination/memory? Spain. Fly into Barcelona and jump in a rental car and head up to Ainsa, Mont Serrat. We have a winemaker friend named Ara there who I worked at Zilzie with in 2008. She came back to Australia for vintage 2012 in the Riverland and might have helped a little with alejandro in 2016 when she was here on holiday. Ara lives in Hellin and produces wine from Murcia region. Spanish food, wine and beer – ahhh! What is your favourite… Movie? Gladiator. I’m a wanna be Maximus, and the sound track I used to play when I slept – my housemates were worried at the time. TV show? Dexter, everyone loves it when a baddie gets it. Big Bang Theory because I was one of those nerds – a cross between Howard and Leonard. Sport/Sporting Team? Cricket…. Beer? My taste constantly changes depending on the day or the menu, but I love hoppy beers and stouts and pilsners with saaz and hallertau hops.
Wine
Six of the Best Clare Valley Wineries and Cellar Doors
Discover the best Clare Valley wineries and cellar doors to taste and experience the region’s delights with our guide and interactive map . Less than a two-hour drive from Adelaide, the Clare Valley is home to some of the world’s best Riesling and offers fantastic food and wine experiences that are just waiting to be enjoyed. The region is blessed with a climate ideal for premium grape growing and the combination of consistently good winter rains, hot summers tempered by cool nights and a long ripening period produces grapes of exceptional flavours and balance delivering exceptional regional Riesling , Cabernet Sauvignon , Shiraz and more. With more than 30 cellar doors to choose from, visitors to the Clare Valley are spoilt for choice, and with many of the wineries family owned and operated, you’re bound to meet the people whose wines you’re tasting. Here are of our Top 6 Clare Valley Wineries to Visit. Claymore Wines
With all their wines named after popular song titles , Claymore Wines offers a fun, memorable and delicious tasting experience at their Leasingham cellar door. Meander your way through a mixed tape of top tunes – Purple Rain Sauvignon Blanc, Joshua Tree Riesling, Skinny Love Summer White Viognier Whole Lotta Love Rosé, Dark Side of the Moon Shiraz, Bittersweet Symphony Cabernet Sauvignon and more. Take a seat outside and enjoy the sunshine with a platter of South Australian cheeses and local produce with a glass of wine or prop yourself up on a stool at the bar and lose yourself in the wine tasting experience. You can also treat yourself to some local produce including olives and oil from Evilo Estate, sauces from Patly Hill, soaps from The Sugar Shack Soap Co., Chickpeas from Pangkarra and Hot Wine packs from Kooky Drop Co. 7145 Horrocks Highway, Leasingham Open daily 10am to 5pm Visit Claymore website Eldredge
Take a drive along the Spring Gully scenic drive route and you’ll discover the picturesque Eldredge Vineyards. Located directly west of Sevenhill, Eldredge is on the boundary of the Clare Valley and overlooks the Blyth Plains, with the vineyard rising to 530 metres. Their Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Malbec and Riesling are all produced using 100% Clare Valley fruit with the focus on creating premium quality, yet affordable wines that reflect the region’s unique character. A 98 year-old stone cottage houses their cellar door and restaurant, which was opened in 1994 after many months spent carefully renovating the lovely old building. Settle in for a relaxed tasting, enjoy a shared platter or a light lunch featuring a range of local products. Spring Gully Rd, Spring Gully Open daily 11am to 5pm Visit Eldredge Vineyards website Koonowla
Located just east of Auburn, Koonowla is one of the district’s most iconic properties with its historic stone buildings and rolling broad acre hills. The property was first planted in the 1890s by John Tothill, who also built a winery to produce wine for the thriving export trade to England. The business continued to prosper and expand until a disastrous fire in 1926 destroyed the winery and wine stocks, and the property was converted to grain and wool production. In 1985, eight acres of Cabernet Sauvignon were planted, relaunching Koonowla wines. Current owners, Andrew and Booie Michael, purchased the property in 1991 restoring the old homestead and boosting the vineyard plantings to almost 50ha of Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Shiraz, Merlot and Semillon. Today visitors to the cellar door are welcomed to taste the fruits of their labour – Koonowla Cabernet, Shiraz, and Riesling, along with Merlot and Semillon. 18 Koonowla Road, Auburn Weekends and public holidays 10am to 5pm. Monday to Friday by appointment Visit Koonowla Wines website Mitchell Wines
Andrew and Jane Mitchell established their winery in 1975 and have created a fantastic tasting experience, showcasing a true Australian family-owned and run winery. On arriving at the cellar door, Jane welcomes you like you’re one of the family and you can tell her and Andrew are proud of their wines and vineyards. Mitchells Wines have four vineyards that are located in and around the Watervale, Auburn and Sevenhill sub-regions with vine age ranging from five to more than 55 years-old. Within their quaint cellar door, they present stunning single vineyard Rieslings, as well as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Semillon. “There is always something special about wines where the same family develops and cares for the vines, makes and bottles the wine and then sells that wine,” says Andrew “An old fashioned ideal perhaps, but our reputation is at stake with each bottle of wine we sell.” 246 Hughes Park Road, Sevenhill Open daily 10am to 4pm. Closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day Visit Mitchell Wines website Paulett Wines
Located in the Polish Hill sub-region of the Clare Valley, Paulette Wines is owned and operated by winemaker Neil Paulett and his wife Alison. The couple established the cellar door 35 years ago and with fantastic wines and absolutely stunning views, it’s a ‘must visit’. "Thirty years ago, visiting a cellar door was not that common, so we felt we had to offer that extra inducement to bring people to the Valley,” says Neil. “Our cellar door, our premium wines and the spectacular views all enhance the sense of well-being that wine lovers have come to expect from Paulett's Winery." In addition to the staples of Shiraz and Riesling, you can expect to taste a Late Harvest Riesling, Sparkling Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet and Malbec blend and Cabernet Merlot. To top off a fabulous experience you can dine at the winery’s Bush Devine Café which is inspired and partly sourced from the adjacent Bush Food Garden that boasts over 80 different species and 1000 plants. Sevenhill-Mintaro Road, Polish Hill River Open daily 10am to 5pm – cellar door Open daily 11am to 4pm – café, bookings essential. Visit Paulett Wines website Stone Bridge Wines
Family-owned and operated, Stone Bridge Wines started out as a hobby but has turned into a successful business for Craig and Lisa Thomson, and their daughters Lauren and Sarah. Their boutique winery currently produces Shiraz from their own vineyard, plus Riesling, Pinot G, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec using select parcels from local growers in the Sevenhill, Watervale and Armagh areas. Drop into their earth-rammed cellar door to taste their award-winning wines, stroll around the picturesque grounds, and if you’re visiting on a Sunday in September to May, you can also enjoy a gourmet pizza cooked in their wood-fired oven. Gillentown Road, Sevenhill Open Thursday to Monday 10am to 4pm Visit Stone Bridge Wines website Clare Valley Winery Map Planning a trip to Clare? Download our interactive Clare Valley winery map. To save on your browser or device,  click here And, if you’re the energetic type or into pedal power, a day spent cruising the Riesling Trail on a bike is a must do. Wine Selectors Membership Consultant, Elliot Watt, shares all his tips for touring through this spectacular wine region on the Clare Valley Riesling Trail .
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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