Charlie-Helen Robinson had the vision – lets have a wine dinner with a group of people from Adelaide coming to a venue in McLaren Vale to celebrate the knowledge and experience that our grandparents have and what this role means to on-coming generations.  In particular in the McLaren Vale wine scene and what role this older generation means to today’s wine industry.

Within what seemed like a short period of time the big day was upon us and the Cellar at The Victory Hotel was descended upon by a 30 strong group of keen and enthusiastic people from diverse backgrounds all brought together by Charlie.  Great job Charlie!

The Victory Hotel Cellar

The venue was well set up and when the bus arrived it was all go.  The first course soon arrived.  The chicken and seafood was matched well with a 2008 Karra Yerta Eden Valley Riesling, that was full of limes – particularly lime zesty.  The second course of rabbit pie came with a 2010 Kay Brothers Mataro.  2010 was an excellent vintage and this wine was no exception with flavours of cherry and plum with hints of violets and a meatiness that I tend to find with this variety.  The tannins were a little grainy but this is part of what Mataro is usually about.  Without letting Colin Kay, the current head of Kay Brothers, finish his rabbit pie he was standing up and sharing with us some of the rich history of the Mataro grape in Australia plus the even richer history of the Kay family in McLaren Vale.  We were all delighted with his stories and also delighted that Colin was willing to share with us copies of his family daily records from the late 1890’s.  These documents had me convinced on how well their fortified sales were back then – only to be told that Tawny was the name of one of the family cows and the volume mentioned was not the volume of Tawny “Port” sold but how much milk Tawny (the cow) produced daily.

Colin Kay at Unearthing Grandfathers

The third course was for me a steak and I enjoyed the Rudderless 2006 Grenache which is made from the vines surrounding the hotel.  As a fan of McLaren Vale Grenache I was looking forward to and was not disappointed.   The perfumed red fruits combined with fruit strength and mid weight tannins was just what we were looking for.

A wine options game with 2 wines was an interesting venture during the night.  Each person was given their own stash a fake Deadred Dollars and were able to bet on 1 of 3 options for the category of what vintage did the wine come from, what grape variety the wine was made from and lastly what winery the wine came from.  There were 2 wines that were covered to ensure nobody could cheat.  The wines ended up being a Zinfandel from the Inkwell stable from 2009 and 2010.  These wines are so different and so it was interesting to see the reaction when people were told the 2 wines came from the same winery, same vineyard and same winemaker.

The Vintage Cheddar with dried muscatels, quince paste and crackers went down a treat mixed with the Graham Stevens Wines 2010 Vintage Shiraz.  This wine is just essence of Shiraz mixed with clean spirit.  It is interesting that the Vintage fortified style is not a big seller however almost all in the room were delighted with the finishing wine of the night.

A big thanks to all that attended that made the night something to remember but special mention must be made for Colin Kay for the generous giving of his time and experiences, for Ron who was the bus driver and had to sit and watch most of us indulge in good wines and to Charlie for bringing the night together.

I already look forward to the next Unearthing Dinner……