Going against the grain – tasting notes

People tasting wine

MMI wine expert Paul Hopkins chose these three bottles as examples of great tasting wines from unorthodox or frankly eccentric winemakers.  They stuck their necks out and literally went against the grain of opinion.  You may have felt reticent about putting them in your basket but take the plunge and taste along with Paul.

Hello I’m Paul Hopkins, MMI wine category manager, and I chose these three wines to blow away some preconceptions that you might have about wine and take you on a mini journey into the unconventional.

Chat pack wines

First up is Singing Grüner Veltliner, Laurenz V.  Here’s what the wine maker has to say about it:

The grapes for the Singing Grüner Veltliner are grown mainly in loess and gravel soils of the Kremstal region. By adding some Veltliner grapes from the Weinviertel region the wine takes on the typical spiciness and a touch of white pepper. Laurenz und Sophie “sings” on the palate – is lively and vibrant still balanced and very food friendly.

How to describe Grüner? – think of the floral perfume of a German Riesling, the refreshing zip of a Loire Sauvignon Blanc and the lusciousness of a Northern Italian Pinot Grigio, all in great harmony.  Lenz Moser is on a dedicated mission to bring Grüner to a wider audience – this is his most accessible wine and is a great introduction to the changing wine culture of Austria.

Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc, Waterkloof is a Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa and there’s a steely, mineral quality due to the vineyards’ exposed position on the upper slopes of the estate that rivals the best of New Zealand.

These are succulent and beautifully balanced Sauvignon flavours. A really classy wine that treads the middle ground between a fine Loire Sancerre and a full fronted tropical fruit bomb from New Zealand. A really appealing, food-friendly wine.

The Footbolt Shiraz, d’Arenberg This winery’s slogan is ‘the art of being different’ and who else would name their wine after a horse? Joe Osborn, founder of d’Arenberg and patron of the turf, bought his first McLaren Vale vineyards with the winnings of his racehorse, Footbolt, whose name lives on in Shiraz form here.

The young Footbolt Shiraz has a deep red-purple hue, with the immediate hallmarks of spicy, lifted ripe peppery mulberry and blackberry fruit aromas. Richer chocolate, stewed plum mint and spicy, cedary, pepper smells and cinnamon follow the initial attack of primary fruit characters.

So do you agree with me? Strongly disagree? Please pitch in below (in the comments box).  I’ll be dropping by to add my voice to the discussion so feel free to ask questions as well as opinion.**

** Strong and lively opinions actively encouraged, but comments with unacceptable or abusive language will be removed by our moderator.

Posted in ask an expert


  • wino63
    Wednesday 5th January 2011 4:35 pm

    I tasted the Singing Gruner Veltliner wine at the Oz Clarke event and really liked it. I agree with your description and as a usual Sav blanc drinker will be visiting Austria more often! Would it be a good match for smoked salmon or would you recommend a different white wine?

  • Paul H
    Thursday 6th January 2011 3:18 pm

    I think it would be great with Salmon as you need that crisp acidity to cut into the texture of the fish. I also think that the wine would work well with an Indian Vindaloo curry or a garden salad with balsamic and olive oil dressing.

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