Earlier tonight I had the privilege of attending my first exclusive bloggers wine tasting. Put on by Trialto Wine Group of Toronto and winealign.com I was honoured to be asked to participate and in hindsight certainly glad I took them up on their offer.
The featured winery was Grant Burge Wines of Australia and our host Nick Doumanis is a winemaker at the vineyard. Now before I get ahead of myself let me first admit that I had never had a single Grant Burge Wine and in fact I hadn’t even heard of them. But now I sit here as the converted not only to the Grant Burge wines themselves, but to the possibilities of Australia wines that I hadn’t previously given true credit to.
Grant Burge Wines is a family owned winery in the heart of the Barossa Valley in Australia. For those who may not know the Barossa is famous for big, bold, in your face Shiraz wines and they are notable all around the world. Also for those who may not know I am not a fan of Australian Shiraz… at all. To the point where I told the winemaker himself that to be sure my bias was on the table. I also guessed (accurately) that the big, bold, in your face Shiraz we tried was their top selling wine in Australia. But none of that is the final impression I am left with having just tried 6 of their wines. Sure we tried two typical Barossa Valley Shiraz wines, but I don’t need to rehash my thoughts on those. In fact my favourite wine we tried was a Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend, called “Holy Trinity, GSM, 2008” made in a very old world style and available now at the LCBO (Vintages #236257, $33.95). But even beyond that I was left with a new found appreciation on another level. We opened with a 2010 Summers Chardonnay and I was pleasantly surprised. On the top is a sour apple flavour, but it’s simple with a long finish and again a bit old world France in style. It sounds like it will be available as a general list in the LCBO by the end of June at $19.95 so look out for that. The other one I was surprised by was the last one we had which was a 2009 Coryton Park, Cabernet Sauvignon and it was unanimous that this was one of the top wines served. All tasting notes aside I wrote in my book “Is this the next Australian great?”… what more needs to be said.
I will use this space to echo my final commentary from the actual event itself. I think this market is getting a bit sick of Australia Shiraz but also understands that Austrailia is a winemaking powerhouse. As such I think this market is ready to try some of the other wonderful things that wine region is doing. If you can open your mind to this… look out for the future of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. If Grant Burge Wines are any indication of what Australia can do with these two worldwide powerhouses then I think we are all in for a real treat. The only catch will be another hotly discussed topic at this event… getting the LCBO to carry some of them.
Side note: We set out to try 6 wines but were treated to a bonus 7th… a 10yr old Tawny Port. It’s not available in Canada but it should be. Wow it was amazing and made you realize that we don’t have access to enough good quality Port here in Ontario. Who knew that Grant Burge wines was hauling award after award around the globe for their production of fortified wines? Now I know why.
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman