We had some friends over for dinner recently and thought it would be a good opportunity to work our way through the wine that was sent to us by Raidis Estate. We’d been looking for an excuse to have a crack at these and this was the perfect one… not that we need an excuse to drink wine. Having an excuse does help though, it creates a context and builds a story. So we always try and find an excuse! 😉
Coonawarra, where Raidis Estate is located, is one of Australia’s 72 wine regions, and a very important one at that. It sits right down in the south east of South Australia and is probably one of our most isolated wine regions. That matters not considering that it sits upon a magical stretch of “terra rossa” soil that is only 15km long by 2km wide, a stretch of earth that produces sensational wine, especially Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Shiraz does well here too, and creates a unique style, as does Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Vines were planted in Coonawarra in the late 1800’s by the wine pioneer John Riddoch but it didn’t take off until the 1950s when Samuel Wynn saw the potential of the soils, took over the Riddoch cellars, and began planting Cabernet wherever he could. He was closely followed by Penfolds, and then the region really took off. Some notable wineries with cellar doors are Wynns, Rymill, Brand’s, Balnaves, Katnook, Leconfield and Majella. Penfolds, Lindemans and Yalumba all have vineyards on the soil.
Raidis Estate regard themselves as a relatively new “kid” on the block, hence the image they use of the young billy goat. They are a family operated boutique winery that produces wine from low yielding hand-pruned vines thus achieving the maximum potential out of their grapes. Their first Cabernet vines were planted 20 years ago so being the “new” kid on the block is a relative term I guess. In saying that, their first ever Shiraz was only bottled a few weeks ago. They’ve “promised” to send us some… can’t wait (I’ll be hounding)!
Raidis sent us 4 bottles of their wine. Apparently there was meant to be a 5th, their award winning Billy Cabernet, but it didn’t get dropped into the box. Gutted! I would have loved to have tried that one too… but they’ve also promised to pop it in when the Shiraz is ready… they’re really building up some suspense here!
So anyway, friends over for dinner and like all good friends, they love their wine! You know you’re around wine lovers when they are happy to try all the wine on offer and do their best to enjoy the subtleties of each wine. Either that, or your’e around some serious boozers!
First up was the 2012 Cheeky Goat Pinot Gris. This wine had me intrigued from the moment I pulled it out of the box. Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio, is usually made as a dry white wine, but this was almost pink. Now I say almost because it wasn’t quite pink and it wasn’t quite white. It looked both golden and pink at the same time to me. Weird! See… intriguing. Was it going to be a slightly sweet rosé or something else.
What it was was an interesting wine. It wasn’t like a typical rosé at all. It was very dry and the fact that it had been left on skins for some time had created an almost husky mouthfeel with quite a bit of texture that left you flicking your tongue around. There was some subtle fruit flavours in there to balance out those savoury notes. I wouldn’t say that the flavour lasted for any great length but it was still enjoyable and definitely an interesting wine worth trying just so you can experience something different… you may like it!
The Kelpie 2012 Sauvignon Blanc gave off some serious tropical fruit aromas when it was opened. This made it extremely inviting. On sipping it I instantly got that Sauvignon Blanc zing along with zesty tropical fruit flavours… quite a well balanced wine indeed. It wasn’t an overly intense Sauv Blanc but it would be perfect as a quaffer sitting around outdoors on a lazy warm afternoon.
Raidis have a couple of recipes on their website for dishes that would pair well with these two wines.
It was dinner time and we’d cooked up a delicious roast pork, well I reckon it was delicious, that had the best and most well-formed crackling you’d ever want, well I reckon it was the best. My wife cooked it. I’d held off the Riesling just for this dish. I had a feeling that the Riesling would compliment the pork, with its likely apple dominated flavours.
On opening The Kid 2012 Riesling, an award-winning wine, I immediately got a whiff of what I was hoping for… apple! A good start. And on the sip, there it was, along with peaches and apricot and a hint of spice that lasted in the mouth. And with each bite of dinner it just got better. This was a lovely wine and was a favourite of some at the table.
Lastly, The Trip 2008. What a name for a wine! Where as the Pinot Gris had me intrigued for its colour the name of this one had me intrigued for the journey I was hoping to be sent on. At $50 a bottle, versus $20 for the other three, this is their premium wine. Coonawarra is often called the Bordeaux of Australia because there are a lot of similarities in the climate and The Trip is Raidis’ Bordeaux styled Cabernet Merlot. Of course it would have its own unique take on the blend but would it live up to my expectations?
Oh, indeed it did. I loved this wine and wished I had another one. If there’s a case of “you get what you pay for” in wine then this is just such a case. And if we, The Wine Wankers, continue to get to taste bottles of wine like this then we’ve truly hit our mark. On opening this wine I was hit with so many complex aromas that I found it hard to pin them down. It was a nose of flavour with radiating berries and hints of chocolate, actually, lots of it. On the sip the complexity was confirmed with there being all sorts of berries and fruit along with liquorice and various spice… and the chocolate! Yum.
Like I mentioned above, Raidis have “promised” to send us their reds when they are ready and after The Trip I can’t wait!