7.42am, Thursday 26th August, Yalumba Clocktower, Angaston, Eden valley, South Australia
Rain, rain and more rain! It’s a very soggy valley right now, but a lovely thing to see. We’ve had 48mm or nearly two inches of rain from 7am yesterday to 7am today – and given that our average rainfall for the area is only 18 inches annually – that’s a huge result! I only wish I had half a dozen more rainwatertanks hooked up to the house – this year they would all be overflowing! Probably not great weather if you’re trying to get that last bit of pruning finished – but otherwise, let it keep coming down!
PS I wouldn’t mind if it stopped for about four hours on Saturday afternoon, as my football team – St Kilda – is coming over from Melbourne to play the last game of the season against the Adelaide Crows, and it would be nice not to get soaked while we watch!
Back to the winery, though, and I’ve talked about our Jansz ‘methode Tasmanoise’ sparkling wine world before – where the Hill Smith family has a passion for all things champagne in style, and where in the top right hand corner of Tasmania – Australia’s ice bucket – we have Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards planted that seem ideally suited to making our version of that style.
Yesterday we did an early morning brunch tasting of the Jansz Non Vintage, Jansz Non Vintage Rose, and Jansz Vintage 2004 wines with poached fruits to offset the flavours, aromatics and texture of each.
Just by good fortune, there had been a back vintage tasting of Signature Cabernet Shiraz for a journalist the day before, and the bottles were still set up, so we were able to contrast the 1966 Signature with the unreleased next Signature due out – the 2006. It’s very rare that we get to see a 40 year split for any wine, and the 1966 is still in shape through the palate although showing a touch of flattening dusty oxidation on the nose. The 2006 is a big blue purple bruise of a thing with lashings of dark fruit in the aromatics, with a wall of solid but elegant oak and fruit combined settling down into the palate. It will be good to see that one go out into the world sometime early next year. Carnivores prepare your favourite dishes!
And here’s our Toronto restaurant rock star visitors ‘in the tasting tank’ – an underground tank beneath the Clocktower that used to be used years ago for fermenting out fortified wines – with Robert Hil Smith. From left to right: Kevin (was at the St Andrews Golf Hotel and is the resident haggis expert) is from Spice Route, Anton (yep – very tall 6′ 3″ and it’s his birthday today) is from Niagara Street Cafe, Dave (who has the Barry White voice!) is from The Harbord Room, Howard distributes the best of Barossa wine in Toronto, and Dean has a whole raft of places under his hand, including the excellent Reds where we’ve done several trade lunches. Catching up with the troops in their various places of wine and food business next year come May will definitely be something to look forward to.