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The Soave grape, but grown in Australia? It works! Sourced exclusively for us by Mac Forbes, it’s certainly something a little different but its fresh stone-fruit flavour and hint of spicy appeal mean it’s also the consummate crowd-pleaser. A deserved Wine Champion in 2020.
Product Code: AU22231
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The Society’s exclusive range of Blind Spot wines is one of our most exciting ventures in recent years and helps our members to get the best of Australian vineyards at what many leading wine critics agree is incredible value. It was developed because our Australia Buyer Pierre Mansour realised we were missing out on opportunities to sample some of the country’s most interesting treasures: the tiny parcels of exquisite grapes that are often swallowed up in large-scale Australian blends. Although most of The Society’s Australian producers are small-scale winemakers making top quality wine, the industry is still dominated by much larger companies who have access to fruit from a huge and diverse range of vineyard sites. Some of these are hidden gems, doomed to remain in the collective “blind spot”. It’s impossible for us to find them by ourselves, so we needed to find a man who could, to act as our eyes, ears and palate when it comes to grabbing these excellent but limited opportunities. Mac Forbes was the obvious candidate for this role: not only is he a fantastic winemaker in his own right, but his extensive experience working for big Australian wineries means he knows exactly where to look for these intriguing parcels of grapes. He sends The Society samples of the most promising selections, and we then carefully streamline his suggestions, choosing only the ones that best suit our members’ tastes. Mac even bottles the wines for us, and this - combined with the fact that his expertise allows us to buy in bulk with confidence - is exactly why we can offer them at such a competitive price. One of the most interesting features of the Blind Spot range is its opportunism: because we rely on one-off discoveries, we may not be able to replicate future vintages of many of the wines in our range, but the wines we do feature will always be something special. For instance, we may have exhausted our supplies of the popular Sangiovese we sold the year we launched the range, but the following year we managed to find a benchmark example of a Clare Valley riesling and sell it at a price accessible to all members. That’s the beauty of Blind Spot: it’s a moveable feast, constantly evolving and bringing us new discoveries to enjoy each year.
Victoria is the southernmost state on the Australian mainland and contains within its borders a diverse collection of terroirs, perhaps the most varied within Australia. This diversity has helped the state to earn an enviable reputation for the quality of its wines, the areas that they hail from and its wineries.It has a long history since the first settlers in the region planted vines, but the catalyst for expansion was the gold rush of the mid-19th century which saw many a vineyard established. This promising start was stalled dramatically by the arrival of phylloxera in the 1870’s and to this day the Victoria produce less than half the amount produced in neighbouring South Australia despite having many more vineyards. Despite its small size (it is the smallest state other than Tasmania) it has an amazing diversity of terroirs, from the dry, torrid north-east where fortified wines are king, to the positively chilly by comparison Mornington Peninsula due south of Melbourne on the coast. It also embraces a fair chunk of the Murray Darling region where irrigation makes the vast expanses of vineyard a possibility and from where three quarters of the state’s grape yield derives.The Yarra Valley is a short car ride to the north of Melbourne, and has a wide selection of tourist diversions to prove it. It also has an array of excellent estates and vineyards at various elevations and in a variety of soils, from clay and sand to volcanic. Rediscovered in the 1960s and prized for its cool nights and warm, sunny days, it has become synonymous with excellent pinot noirs and elegant, intense chardonnays that are doing much to reclaim Australia’s reputation for the variety. Shiraz has also proved a success in a more restrained style.To the south of Melbourne, and benefiting fully from an unrelenting oceanic influence on its doorstep is the Mornington Peninsula. Surrounded by the Southern Ocean and Port Phillip Bay on three sides, and moderated by the breezes these expanses of water generate the summer climate on the peninsula is for the most part temperate. This is a region of small estates producing some of the most elegant and refined pinot noirs in the new world let alone Australia. The soils vary from volcanic deposits to sandy clay and after pinot noir there is fine chardonnay and an increasing volume of pinot gris. Close to Melbourne the area of Geelong enjoys a windy, maritime climate but is slightly warmer, making plump pinot and some delicious shiraz and chardonnay.In the north-east lies one of the great wine regions of Australia, though it is not shiraz, or chardonnay nor riesling for which it is famed, but rather the muscat grape, made into a fortified treasure that is unique to the area and which is one of Australia’s great vinous jewels. Rutherglen Liqueur Muscats, and Muscadelles, can hold their head up in the company of any great port, sherry or Madeira for their rich, complex, silky and concentrated character. The summers here are torrid, the landscape arid and the grapes full of sugar. And the red table wines made are dense, brooding examples that are improving all the time. But it is the joyous fortifieds that steal the show.
It’s hard to give a blanket picture of how Australia has done in any particular vintage as, frankly, it’s huge! Regional variation notwithstanding, 2019 generally looks good in most regions after an excellent 2018. Drought, though, continued to be a problem, and rising temperatures in places such as McLaren Vale mean that alcohol levels are only going in one direction.However, I would urge members not to base their view of the entirety of Australia on what is going on in Barossa or McLaren Vale. 2019 in Margaret River produced some excellent wines and this continues to be a world-class region for elegant, silky and delicious cabernet-based wines. Tasmania, Yarra and Mornington Peninsula have also shone in the 2019 vintage and demonstrate how fantastic Australia is for cooler-climate winemaking. Thanks to Margaret River and Mornington Peninsula’s sea influence (therefore keeping temperatures cooler) and the microclimates of Yarra Valley and Tasmania, these regions are set to become increasingly important and worth following.
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"This is very dull and, like a persistent brown stain on a high-quality reusable nappy, it represents a conspicuous blemish on the otherwise impeccable tapestry that is the Blind Spot range."
Mr William Davies (17-Jan-2018)
"Liked label. Classy new money arty style. Wine very estery indeed. Like being in a sweet shop. Off dry. Clean. Very pleasing, if a little vulgar. Definitely a place for this."
Mr Edgar Bettridge (13-Jun-2017)
"Pleasant, rounded . fruity, reminded me a bit of a Southern French Viognier/Marsanne at times..."
Mr Frederick Matthews (21-May-2017)
"Vibrant dry lemon tinged wine. Much preferred it the Coffele Soave. Refreshing on its own but would be a good match for seafood."
Raymond A Fulton (05-May-2017)
Sunday Express (21st May 2017)
"Here’s an attractive,
fruity wine with zingy lemons and white peach flavours, as well as good texture
and a delicate saline edge. It has a hint of green tea, too, so it’s a complex
but exquisitely pure Australian white. - Jamie Goode"
joannasimon.com (18th Apr 2017)
"Best known for its
role in Soave, garganega shows real promise in King Valley, Victoria.
Unoaked, spritely, medium-bodied with a gentle perfume of stored apples and
jasmine, and lemon-cum-grapefruit, green apples and chalky minerality on the
palate. Delightful. Drink as an aperitif or with seafood, salads or simple
pasta. Bring on the spaghetti alle vongole. - Joanna Simon"
Newcastle Journal (28th Mar 2017)
[Australian wine is] not all about 'in-your-face' fruit ... Garganega is the
main ingredient in Soave, the gentle, pear-scented white wine of the hills
above Verona. This shows the distinctive character of the grape really well,
but in a slightly brighter way than anything the Italians would normally
craft. Unoaked and very fresh, it's delicious with fishy things.- Helen Savage "
wineanorak.com (18th Mar 2017)
"This is a really
attractive fruity white with lemons and white peach, with nice texture and a
delicate saline edge. This has a hint of green tea, too. Delicate and pure.
Lovely. - Jamie Goode"
"Excellent wine. Fresh appley flavours and enough but not too much acidity."
Mr Colin Mitchell (21-Apr-2016)
JancisRobinson.com (2nd Aug 2016)
"Delicate aroma – almondy
citrus. Very crisp on the palate but surprisingly deep and a little viscous
without loss of freshness. Finely chalky texture. Good example of this variety
in a warmer climate – no loss of varietal character. 15.5/20 Julia Harding"
Jamie Magazine (11th Apr 2016)
Aussie take on garganega, the main grape in Soave, Italy, comes from northern
Victoria. Crisp and unoaked, with notes of pear and cooked apple. Food match:
pea and watercress pesto pasta with lemony salmon.
- Tim Atkin
thewinegang.com (1st Apr 2016)
"There's not an awful
lot of garganega planted outside its home in the Veneto in North East Italy,
and in this quirky new addition to The Wine Society's reliable Australian
own-label range it's a dead-ringer for the pastel-shaded wines of Soave, a
gentle dry white with a delicate apple-and-pear scent, the merest hint of
almond bitterness and a wash of soft acidity. 86/100"
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