Yesterday (6th November 2011) was a McLaren Vale celebration of it’s Italian heritage. The grand opening of the McLaren Vale Pizza della Valle. The project has been evolving over the last few years and a couple of Million Dollars culminated in this exciting day celebrating the link between McLaren Vale and the Italian’s who settled here all that time ago.
The Piazza will serve as a centre piece for the street front of McLaren Vale – and lets face it the street front needs some work. It will also be a meeting place, a resting place and even a central entertainment area.
There is a story of the immigration depicted on four glass panels that are placed along one side of the Piazza.
The photos show the large crowd that was on hand for the official opening, the Italian foods plus some good wines including some Italian Prosecco.
In line with the celebration I tasted a couple of red wines in the Fall From Grace store (across from the Piazza) and a recently released unusual offering from Oxenberry Wines (owned by the Scarpontoni family). Check out my reviews below.
I have been watching the progress of this small wine label for the last couple of years and I have been consistently impressed. Firstly the wines have always been first rate. Secondly, Andrew Wood (winemaker and owner) has been looking at how to maximise his exposure. This brought him to using initiatives such as QR codes (see the below photo), that will take you to the Waywood website – a great idea so you can use a QR code reader on your smart phone and hey presto there is the web site on your phone telling you about the wine and the winery. He also provided the National Wine Centre a dozen of his wines were supplied, one each to 12 local wine bloggers. These bloggers were given the chance to write about the wine and their review were rated by followers of the National Wine Centre to determine their favorite blogger. This person has now been given free entry to a number of National Wine Centre functions and hopefully blog about their experiences. I was hoping to be one of those 12 bloggers however I got my application in to late.
2010 Quattro Vini ($A28)
A blend of 35% Nebbiolo, 25% Sangiovese (both from Blewitt Springs), 30% Cabernet (from Willunga) and 10% Sellicks Hill Shiraz. What an interesting blend this new release is. The aromas are firstly dominated by the plum of Shiraz and blue fruits, with a little vanilla sweetness. The the wine opens up more and more with spice – I certainly got hints of fennel and anise. As I drank the wine there was blue and black fruits with lots of spice – these things coming mainly from the Shiraz, Cabernet and the oak. What you finished with was a wonderful savory acid and tannin structure that is probably from the Italian varieties of Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. This wine is highly enjoyable not, however I can see this wine becoming something else entirely in a couple of years time when the Nebbiolo and Sangiovese may come to the fore and take the wine to the next level. At this price I will be putting some of this away in the bottom of the wine fridge to be unearthed in a few years time.
2009 Cabernet Franc ($A28)
Unusual to find this variety as a varietal wine, as it gets blended into so many other wines where a small amount can make a big difference. On it’s own the wine is a hard sell and that is unfortunate when you drink wines of this caliber. As soon as the wine was poured I got this wonderful uplifted aroma out of the glass. Lots of berries, licorice with floral and herbs – particularly dried Italian herbs like oregano and rosemary. In the mouth I got fresh berry compote with just so many layers of structure from the good acid level, fruit plus wood tannins and the quality of the fruit just shines out. As Andrew said himself – “If I cannot sell it at least I have 10 years of drinking 10 dozen excellent wines every year”. Andrew, you could do a lot worse by by drinking this wine over those 10 years – I may just have to help you.
Grapple Cider ($A7.90 for 500mL bottle)
The team from Oxenberry Farm have just released a part grape, part apple sparkling cider (70% grapes and 30% apples). This is just in time for Summer and I think they are onto a winner. Firstly, in a sea of alcohol products that have a sameness about them here is something different, plus the result is light and refreshing. The Grapple Cider is about 8% alcohol and comes in 2 forms – a Red or White. The white is made from Chardonnay grapes plus the apples of course and is slightly sweet and very, very refreshing and moreish! The Red version is made from Gamay grapes (they use this grape variety to make their Rose style wines), is a little sweeter and I can see “refreshing” written all over it. This wine had strawberries and cream in a bubbly that would be oh so good on a hot summers day.
Well done Oxenberry Farm and the team!