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Gusto Vino

AS the 2003 grape vintage is beginning to get under way I have found my way back to my computer and, like many others who are just returning to work, I am finding it a little difficult to let go of the festive season and the holiday outlook it brings to your life for what seems an eternal two weeks.

Two weeks of finely tuning and conditioning your body to cope with the pressures of over-indulging is a demanding exercise, which is why I try to balance this demanding period by ensuring that I do quite a deal of pre-season training to ensure I am in peak form over the Christmas period.

I found some fabulous wines over the past few weeks with a highlight being a couple of the wines from Tamar Ridge in Tasmania.

Situated about 45km north of Launceston a number of the wines from this winery have received acclaim over recent years, in particular their riesling and, to a lesser extent, the pinot noir.

Over the past few weeks I have had the chance to taste three of their new release wines. Each was stunning and well worth seeking out to see for yourself.

Tamar Ridge 2002 Riesling rrp $19       18.75/20

This wine has an amazing intensity, displaying citrus aromas with touches of apple blossom and a degree of mineral complexity. The palate is quite intense at present with ripe lime citrus characters that flow right through, showing persistence and serious length. Dynamic acidity is a feature of this 2002 riesling that would have been made under less than ideal vintage conditions.

Tamar Ridge 2000 ‘Josef Chromy Selection’ Late Harvest Riesling rrp $24 18/20

Only small quanities of this wine were made, with the fruit picked towards the middle of July and a beaume level of 23 degrees.

As you would expect, this wine has plenty of intense sweet fruit on the palate that is finely tuned with expressive acidity and a lush, lasting finish.

Tamar Ridge 1996 ‘Joseph Chromy Selection’ Blanc de Noir rrp $34 19/20

This is a simply stunning wine that you must seek out and try. As the name would suggest it is made in the traditional French style from 100 per cent pinot noir grapes.

It has been matured for 4 years and then kept on cork for about another year before release. Sporting really enticing aromas that show complexity, there is a host of layers that include lime, lemon, brioche, cashew and nougat aromas.

The palate displays striking acidity that is intertwined with several layers of fruit and mineral flavours.  The wine finishes with a powerful long kick that will have you quickly coming back for more.

Tamar Ridge wines are distributed through Tucker Seabrook 9248 2150.

Closer to home a new product for the ultimate wine lover was launched late last year.

It is called ‘wine essence’ and is designed to help you recognise the flavours that you can smell in wine. Anki van der Staay has put together 76 essences that will help you to identify aromas found in wines.

Anki worked in Europe as an independent scent consultant, designing perfumes and other scents for companies. His latest project was developed with the help of several wine experts and features Anki’s expertise as a master of scents. The kit includes an essence book that helps you to identify smells and associate those smells or aromas in the various wines that you drink.

It is a great tool of the wine tasting trade and the essences that I sampled were a good indication of what you will find in a glass of wine.  The Wine Essence collection is available through www.wine-essence.com.au

While on the subject of learning more about wine, the Wine Education Centre wine classes begin again for 2003 on February 3 with courses being offered Monday to Thursday.

The eight-week courses give you background knowledge on wines from around Australia, how to taste, and how to identify some of the various grape varieties.

An eight-week primary course costs $240. Contact the Wine Education Centre on 9385 1699 for further details.

Just before Christmas I wrote about the formation of the Western Australian Chapter of ‘Club Neb’, a tasting group formed to appreciate the wonders of the Italian grape variety Nebbiolo.  Just in case you have been looking to enrol and found it hard to contact ‘Club Neb’, that is because I gave the wrong email address. Stuart Pym is the man to contact and can be reached at sfa@highway1.com.au  Sorry about that.

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