Spring’s here, folks, so you can put the lid back on that heavy shiraz and crack open something fun. Something to drink under a tree with your shoes off. Something to enjoy by a river with Neil Young on the car radio and a fishing rod in your hand.
These five crackers fit the spring bill perfectly, selected by Caitlyn Rees, head sommelier at Fred’s restaurant in Paddington, Sydney.
2015 Eric Bordelet ‘Poire Granit’ – Normandy, France
Sparkling perry (or pear cider) made by former Arpege sommelier Eric Bordelet. This cider and perry producer is without peer and the Poire Granit is my personal favourite, made from biodynamically farmed 300-year-old pear trees. There is some sweetness but it is beautifully balanced by acidulated apple flavours. With only 4.5 per cent alcohol it’s a perfect aperitif.
Stockists include Annandale Cellars (NSW) and Prince Wine Store (VIC).
Ota Shuzo Dokan Umeshu – Shiga, Japan
Made by infusing one-year-old sake with green ume (a Japanese stone fruit similar to an apricot or plum) and rock sugar for six months. Bottle aged until release, it’s slightly sweet, floral and sour with some marzipan in the background. At Fred’s I pair this with our pistachio panna cotta and rhubarb jelly with macerated strawberries. Very spring!
2017 Sanglier Rose – McLaren Vale, South Australia
This wine is just about to go on the list at Fred’s and I’m predicting it will fly out the door! Sanglier is a personal project of Michael Corbett, head winemaker of Vanguardist in South Australia. Inspired by wines from Bandol, France (light, dry and complex) and made with grapes from 50-year-old grenache vines grown organically and biodynamically with no irrigation.
2013 Schloss Gobelsburg ‘Renner’ – Kamptal, Austria
Single vineyard, premier cru gruner veltliner from the second oldest winery in Austria. The wine is aged in large, old oak barrels which promote a slight oxidative character that imparts a nutty aroma. A rich, complex white wine with juicy fruit complemented by nuts and mineral-saline notes.
Stockists include Annandale Cellars (NSW) and Milton Wine Shop (VIC)
2017 Shobbrook ‘Nouveau by Tommy Ruff’ – Barossa Valley, South Australia
A different kind of Barossa Valley red wine. Made with organic and biodynamic fruit from Tom Shobbrook’s vineyard in Seppeltsfield, the Nouveau is 50 per cent shiraz and 50 per cent mourvedre, each treated slightly differently and then blended and bottled early to retain freshness. It’s a medium bodied, vibrant and very pretty expression of the valley.