The Wine Wankers were lucky enough to be invited along to the Qantas epiQure Wine and Wheels night the other week. epiQure is the Qantas airline’s wine club and tonight they were showing off their new range of wines.
The location was the most amazing place tucked away in suburban Sydney and is worth a mention in its own right. The Magical Fairground Follies at St Peters houses a collection of vintage fair ground equipment, merry-go-rounds, carnival pipe organs and other paraphernalia that felt like stepping back in time. Full points for setting an incredible atmosphere.
Scattered around the room were the various wine representatives showing off their latest and greatest. While my wife and I waited for Conrad to join the fray we kick the night off with a bubbly while chatting to one of the Qantas crew who were staffing the evening all the while I was tingling with anticipation at all the great names and wines here.
Shortly after Conrad arrives and we meet the lovely people from the Qantas social club who put the event on they introduce us to a few other journos present for the evening, and it always goes a little like this:
“This is Conrad and Ben, they are the Wine Wankers”…….
“I’m sorry, what?”
While it is expected it still gives us a laugh, however the said journos were rather quick to brush us off as a couple of…well… Wine Wankers!
So on to the good stuff, there was a reasonably solid list of wineries around the room, Penfolds, Wirra Wirra, McWilliams, Taylors and Peter Lehmann to name but a few. Amongst these names were tables littered with some great drops from a vast range of wineries. The only real problem I saw here is that it would be impossible to taste everything and still walk out. Yes I know you can spit but if I spent 5 years cultivating something, barreling it, tending to it like a penguin does its egg and then watching it blossom into something so magical as great wine only to see it spit back into a bucket I would feel a little dejected. Was the wine really so bad that you couldn’t let it finish it’s journey, it’s purpose…its reason for being?!
Anyway, being catered we went and grabbed some food and formed a plan of attack for the evening.
In a previous blog I made note of rediscovering the much maligned Chardonnay and tonight I was determined to keep this journey of rediscovery alive and again I was treated to something joyful, but I will come back to that.
Conrad, my wife and I started making our way through the list of wines, and we found some really good drops along the way. Whilst I could rattle them all off it would lessen the few amazing experiences that really were worth the space in our humble blog.
About mid evening we ended up at the Rosabrook stand where we met the very knowledgable Amy.
Located in the Margaret River district in Western Australia this family run business is not one I had sampled from before but this is where we found our first gem of the evening. The Rosabrook 2011 Single Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was that gem. From the instant the nose got over the rim of the magnum sized Riedel glasses we were dragging around with us, I knew we were about to experience something special. I taste, swirl and look over at Conrad and we both pause look at each other and think the same thing, wow. Maybe not just wow, but WOW!
The nose, the flavours, the whole package is just perfect.
We chat with Amy for a good ten minutes about this wine and wander off thinking that you could not ask for a better wine. A beautiful deep red almost purple colour in the glass, rich ripe dark fruits but with an incredible smoothness through the mouth that would have lasted till we went home.
Suitably impressed we wandered off to the Penfolds stand to check out their offerings. I have been a long-term fan of Penfolds with my collection to St Henri and the odd 40 year old Grange all finally finding a reason to be enjoyed, so I am looking to rebuild here in preparation for the next 40 years.
We go through the bottles on offer, Bin 28 to start then into the Bin 138, Bin 128, Bin 407 and then the Bin 389 all of which impress but I think Conrad is particularly taken with the 389, not just for what it is now but what it will become after sitting in his cellar for a few years. I have to agree with him and his talent for picking a wine that is going to do great things with age.
The night is drawing to a close and I have yet to find a Chardy to match my desires. Yes I am still on a mission to find the best of the new breed of Chardonnay – if any wineries reading this are confident they make one, please let me know!
It turns out Peter Lehmann has one, and it’s magic. The 2012 H&V Chardonnay is handed to me, lovely gentle straw colours (though the low lighting made it hard to judge) a beautiful soft creamy fruitiness through the nose and that taste I have been searching for fills my mouth. A beautiful blend of citrus and melon that melts into the back of the palette. The most important part for me is how it lasts and what happens to the wine while you are processing the taste. It is generally at this point the stereotypical dreaded Chardy is let down. The H&V just wants you to sip again, hold it, close your eyes and let the subtleness of the myriad of flavours take you somewhere you have not been for many years.
This was the second real stand out for me and proof that there is merit in this quest, this one will find a home in my collection.
As we meander towards the exit we stop one more time at Rosabrook for another hit of the Single Vineyard Cabernet just to confirm our initial impression. We all agree this wine is perfect and while we did not get to sample everything tonight, this was the one wine that blew us away.
We will be doing an in-depth review of the Rosabrook wines in the coming weeks and I cannot wait, keep an eye out for it.
A big thanks to the Qantas epiQure wine club for putting this on and inviting the Wine Wankers along, we had a truly wonderful evening.