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Thursday, September 8, 2011
SOUTH AUSTRALIA GEMS FROM MORAMBRO CREEK
Brad Rey, Brand Manager at Morambro Creek, the home of Jip Jip Rocks and Mt Monster, was at Karwig Wines in Carrigaline last Wednesday and oversaw one of the most fascinating tastings I’ve ever been at.
And it wasn't just because of the wines, which included a few surprises for this punter and were all of outstanding quality, that I’ll remember Brad. It was mostly for his convictions about wine and his common sense.
The Canadian born and raised Brad brought a breath of fresh Rockies air to the proceedings.
“Most of New World Chardonnay..is concocted crap.”
“Oak shouldn't be the dominant characteristic. Wine is made from grapes and should taste of the fruit.”
“The earth is like a tea bag. All that grows in the vicinity...elephant fennel, wild rosemary..eucalyptus..finds its way in.....and ends up in the glass.”
“Don't wash your wine glass with water (fluoride in Ireland!). Wash it with wine, maybe bottled water.”
There were three sparklers on the table. A Mt Monster brut, an easy drinker, something like an “Aussie Cremant” was the first. Then came the Jip Jip Cuvee from 2009. Very pleasant indeed and again easy drinking.
Brad maintains that Aussie sparklers are on the up and up. They were up too, many moons ago. They’ve been making them since 1890s and they were extremely popular in Oz in the early 1900s, then seemed to lose their way but are now on the firmly on the way back.
And the third sparkler seemed to confirm this. It was Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz, a medium bodied mouth friendly wine. A very pleasant surprise indeed and Brad recommended using it with pork or duck or “anything you’d use Pinot Noir with”. Must try that.
After knocking much of the New World Chardonnay, Brad opened his own bottle. “I try to let the fruit speak, let Mother Nature do the job.” And this unoaked bottle spoke the fruit. Gorgeous and refreshing with a little richness added through limited contact with the lees, perhaps another lesson from the Loire which Brad knows and likes.
And France was in his mind too when making the Jip Jip 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. Citrusy and soft, fresh and clean and well balanced, made that way because Brad doesn't like high acidity.
He was delighted with his Mt Monster Shiraz of 2008. “Good, the way I want to see it. Very minimal oak. May be served slightly chilled. It is light fruit, blueberries and raspberries and the tannins are fruit tannins. This is about balance and reminds me of the joven I used to make in Spain.”
Then we moved on to a more traditional Shiraz, the 2009 Jip Jip, a multi medal winner that has spent quite a while in 2, 3 and 4 year old French oak. But the oak doesn't dominate. “Drink it on its own; it is easy drinking.”
He was quite proud of the next one also as it has been his “first go” at Morambro Creek Shiraz. This 2008 had been in 20% US oak but from now on it will be 100% French barriques. The annual spend on oak is now massive, well over a million Australian dollars. Good wine, though!
The finish was a beautiful Mt Monster Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. No oak, lovely and bright, not heavy, tannins enough and easy drinking, according to Brad who admitted to being “chuffed by that”. Remember, Brad hasn’t seen most of these wines for a while as they are long gone from Morambro.
The fennel is in here, fresh mint, cassis, blue and red fruits, all in a rich texture with velvety tannins. It has been getting a great reaction.
Morambro is certainly a name (three names really) to watch out for and to make it easier, you can get all three at Karwig Wines.