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Gusto Vino

Working in the wine industry’s not all about drinking the stuff, as David Pike discovers, although he manages a bit of that too.

I AM becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of mild temperatures, clear blue skies and long afternoon lunches – outdoors. So you can imagine my disappointment with the weather last weekend. I spent the whole weekend indoors.

Things didn’t get off to a good start on Friday, as I spent the day happily avoiding working in the rain until around 3pm, when it seemed that most of my fellow vintage workers abandoned the night shift crew in a hurry. It was right about the time that the bulk of fruit needed processing. Left with no alternative, I donned my school boy yellow rain coat and headed off to crush fruit. I worked tirelessly as the temperature plummeted, the rain bucketed down, winemakers headed for their spreadsheets and the vineyard boys were enjoying their second pint.

So, with a dark cloud hanging around me I left the winery, wet, cold and a little miserable.

The heater was working overtime as I pulled into the driveway at home. As I turned off the engine I came to two conclusions – that I might just have to start wearing jeans to work instead of King Gee Stubbies, and secondly that we didn’t have any dry wood with which to light a fire, even though we live on a bush block. 

With storm clouds thundering all around our house I decided to warm myself from the inside out, and so opened a bottle of Xanadu 2000 Show Reserve Semillon.

Some friends soon arrived with food to feast on and, while the wood was still wet, a taste of Redman Cabernet Merlot and a bucket-load of the scrumptious Seppelt’s Grand Muscat DP63 helped me forget about the thunderclouds outside.

Not surprisingly, they reappeared inside my head the following morning.

Xanadu 2000 Show Reserve Semillon rrp $29 17/20

Some complex notes flow through the aromas of this wine. Lemon citrus together with ripe pineapple and banana notes integrate with vanillin oak and some solid touches.

The palate shows ripe sweet fruits touching on peaches, pineapple and some citrus.

A fresh herbal undertone with integrated acidity and smart oak influences highlight the wine’s ageing potential.

It is quite viscous across the mid palate with a slight phenolic note and grasp finish, which will benefit from a bit of time in the cellar.

Redman Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 1999 rrp $27.99 17.75/20

Opening this beauty you are greeted by leathery oak characters, briary notes, a fragrant lashing of cassis, a touch of spice and red current fruits with a smoky vanillin undertone. Sweet red fruits lead off on the palate before you find a concentration of cassis and damson notes that combine with spice a smidgen of chervil and dusty gravely tannins. Length of flavour, together with the balance of a rack of lamb, will delight.

Seppelts Grand Muscat DP63 rrp (a warming) $26 20/20

Seriously, this wine is tremendous value and should be bought in six-packs. Alluring fresh rancio hints of Christmas cake and raisin spice aromas, and harmonious viscous flavours flow across the palate, which is rich and encompasses the spirit with integration and depth. This is a must for the winter months.

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