1. WINTER / SPRING E-NEWSLETTER info info 31-Aug-2016
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Gundog Estate wine news and events

WINTER / SPRING E-NEWSLETTER

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

 

 

WINTER / SPRING 2016 E- NEWSLETTER

 

NEWS

A RECORD RESULT IN
JAMES HALLIDAY’S 2017 WINE COMPANION

 

The recent release of James Halliday’s hotly anticipated 2017 edition of the Wine Companion was certainly cause for celebration at Gundog Estate. In our most successful showing yet, eight of our wines scored 95 points or higher, with a further four wines rating 94 points!

Individual highlights included 95 points for our 2015 Indomitus Albus, accompanied by this (somewhat provocative) tasting note, “…Natural wine addicts, get back in your hutch. This isn’t yellow or orange, it is pale straw-green, it has no phenolics, and is as fresh as a daisy. There’s a hint of spice on the bouquet, which may or may not be due to the gewürztraminer; other than this, it’s lemon/lemongrass/citrusy acidity all the way to the bank.

96 points is also the highest rating any of our Estate Shiraz’ have achieved, and the glory is with the 2014 vintage. This wine has looked great from day one, with the warmer Canberra season delivering flavour and intensity in spades, which was eagerly praised by Halliday, “…Glorious colour sets the scene for a wine of great elegance and (yet) intensity.

However, the greatest acknowledgment must fall to the 2014 Rare Game Shiraz, which landed our highest ever rating, with an incredible 97 points! This limited release was borne from one of the best vintages the Hunter Valley has ever seen, and is a tribute to the unique “Hunter Burgundy” style of medium bodied Shiraz first made famous by the region many years ago.

The Rare Game was also named amongst Max Allen's favourite 2014 Hunter Shiraz' following a blind tasting of almost 100 wines

Here’s some of Halliday’s tasting note, “…This has the complexity, richness and power of a vintage that has been compared to the ’65. It fills every corner of the mouth without effort, and stays long after it has been swallowed. Despite all its manifest dark fruit richness, it also has freshness, reflected in its modest alcohol.” Halliday then goes on to advise a cellaring potential of up to 2054! For those that can’t wait that long, I think it will be drinking beautifully by 2024. 

The combined success of our wines cements our prestigious FIVE RED STAR winery rating for another year. Well done team!

Enjoy!

 

THE GUNDOG ESTATE CORK ST. CELLAR IS COMING

 

The historic stables in Gundaroo provide an evocative setting for our new Cellar Door.

 

In what may well be a first for a boutique Australian wine producer, Gundog Estate is delighted to announce that we will be opening a second cellar door, over 400km’s away from our base of operations, in the Hunter Valley!

In what will be known as the Gundog Estate Cork St. Cellar, we are moving into the historic stone stables, located in a prime position behind the hugely popular GRAZING restaurant, in Gundaroo village. The evocative space is perfect for a cellar door, and up until recently was the home of Capital Wines. The owners of GRAZING and the stables, Mark and Jennie Mooney, sold Capital Wines in July, and the cellar door was closed, making this beautiful space available for a new winery tenant. 

"With their vineyards just out of the village, the high quality wine that they produce, and their experience operating an award winning cellar door in the Hunter Valley, Gundog Estate is the perfect winery to take over this beautiful space. Gundog complements GRAZING really well and will offer visitors to Gundaroo another first class tourism experience," says Jennie Mooney. 

With Mark and Jennie having already achieved so much success with Capital Wines in the location, and with so much hard work already put into making the location an iconic destination for tourists and locals alike, we are determined to deliver a similarly unique, and high quality, cellar door experience. In addition to being able to sample and purchase our range of Gundog Estate, Burton McMahon, and Indomitus wines, visitors to the cellar door will also be able to enjoy locally sourced cheeses and charcuterie, along with fine tea and coffee.  

Since the inception of the Gundog Estate brand in 2008, Canberra Shiraz (under our Estate, Marksman’s, and Indomitus labels) along with our Gundaroo-grown Rosé, have been high quality staples of the range. We’ve certainly talked about opening a cellar door in the Canberra District for long enough, so it’s hugely exciting to finally see this concept come to fruition, and it will be great to have a local base in which to present our wines. We are also looking to expand our range of whites to include one or more incarnations of Canberra District Riesling, with a continued eye to innovation, to sit alongside our current range of five Hunter Valley Semillons. 

We are working towards opening just prior to Christmas this year, following a minor refurbishment.

 

 

Calendar of Events

 

 

We’re already well into our 2016 events schedule, with fantastic lunches held at Pony Dining and Chiswick in Sydney. I've reproduced the list of venues and dates for the remainder of this year’s Member's & Friends functions below.

If you are interested in attending any of these events, I suggest you email  winemaker@gundogestate.com.au an expression of interest so I can hold a spot for you.

Generally, these events sell out within an hour or two of the official invitation being sent out. Invitations are usually sent 3-4 weeks prior to the event. I look forward to seeing you at one of these locations!

 

PONY DINING SYDNEY - Saturday and Sunday lunches, 7th and 8th of May

 
CHISWICK SYDNEY - Saturday and Sunday lunches, 23rd and 24th of July
 
PONY DINING BRISBANE - Saturday lunch, 22nd of October
 
AUBERGINE CANBERRA - Saturday lunch, 12th of November
 
OTTO SYDNEY - Thursday dinner, 24th of November

 

 

 

 

Wine profiles

 

 

2016 WILD SEMILLON

 

Our Wild Semillon was our first wine to bottle from the 2016 vintage. The concept for this wine came into being in 2011 when I sought to produce a Vouvray-esque interpretation of Hunter Semillon; textural and flavoursome, still carrying hallmark Semillon acidity (hopefully with the promise to deliver a long life in bottle), all in check with carefully judged residual sweetness. 

Being one of our most unique and innovative products, we have always been eager to keep the style moving, and encouraged by the response to our Indomitus Albus releases (from media and consumers alike), I was prepared to take bigger risks with the 2016 Wild. We upped the percentage of naturally fermented cloudy free-run and pressing juices to around 56%, with another 13% fermented on skins (our ripest component), and 6% in old barriques. The balance of the blend consisting of settled juice ferments, some arrested early. All portions spent four months on light yeast lees. Most significantly, residual sugar drops over 20% from the 2015 vintage - down from 10.5g/L to 8.3g/L. The reduced sweetness, increased phenolic content, and higher acidity are driving the most significant evolution in style that we’ve seen across the Wild Semillon’s six vintages of production. I believe there is definitely a “sweet spot” in assembling the blend; a point where each component of the wine seems to weave together to form an almost seamless, compelling tapestry of aromas, flavours and textures. In some vintages we have been more successful in finding this magical point than others, but none more so than the 2016…. or at least I think so!

“Wild fermentation took place on skins and some residual sugar has also been retained. This is Semillon like you've never known it. Clever stuff. Pretty aromas - delicate florals, a hint of pineapple husk and green apple. Its textural but not dense. It's thought provoking but so easy to slurp. There's plenty of width and breadth and a damn heap of pleasure. That residual sugar looms late and cleanses nicely. I'd buy a bottle for sure (and do my best not to share it).”
93 POINTS QWINE
 

 

 

 

2015 ESTATE SHIRAZ

 

Our Estate Shiraz continues to tell a single vineyard story, with fruit sourced exclusively from the Dahlberg Vineyard in Murrumbateman. Here, we have the luxury of working with three different clones of Shiraz, each delivering very distinct wines year to year. The 2015 Estate Shiraz is a blend of Bests (33%), SA1654 (26%), and BRVC12 (36%) clones, with 5% Viognier included in each of the batches. Fermentation was allowed to commence naturally in open top tanks after a 3-day cold soak period, and then over-seeded with M2 yeast. Maturation was carried out over 12 months in 30% new French oak puncheons. The 2015 season certainly looks like going down as one of the greats from the Canberra District, with wines already showing amazing poise and balance, particularly when compared to the much warmer bookend vintages of 2014 and 2016. There is also lovely tension and drive across the palate with this release, ultimately delivering unprecedented length of flavour, relative to the other wines we have produced from the region thus far.

“Mellifluous wine of soft, supple fruit, dark fruits, gentle spice, well integrated everything and an ease to drinking that will have mass appeal. What sets it apart is its lift of fragrance, silky tannins, length of flavour. It’s got charisma and drinkability in spades. The lingering thought is ‘white pepper’ too. So likeable.” – 92 POINTS MIKE BENNIE
 

 

 

 

2015 HILLTOPS SHIRAZ No.2

 

 As the name implies, the 2015 Hilltops Shiraz No.2 is our second release of Shiraz from this exciting region. Like the preceding Hilltops Shiraz No.1, released earlier this year (which just picked up a gold medal at the Australian Boutique Wine Awards), this wine is produced from fruit grown at the Freeman Vineyard near Prunevale. Contrasting winemaking approaches have, however, delivered very distinct wines. Where the Hilltops Shiraz No.1 was about highlighting the generosity of pure fruit flavour from the region, No.2 looks at how that intensity of fruit might be tempered, and more complex layers added, through the use of oak and maturation time. As such, the Hilltops Shiraz No.2 spends an additional 3 months (12 in total) in 25% new French oak puncheons (versus 20%). This release is also a little warmer to bottle at 14.4%, which the wine seems to take it in its stride quite comfortably.

This is definitely a generous style of Shiraz; layered and complex, with sweet fruit giving way to spice and more savoury notes across the palate. Such intensity, delivered with signature cool climate poise, is definitely the thing that gets me most excited about working with Shiraz from this region. 

GOLD MEDAL – 2016 NSW Small Winemakers Show
 

 

 

THE BURTON McMAHON RANGE MULTIPLIES

 

 The 2015 vintage in the Yarra Valley was an excellent one which managed to produce outstanding wines across all varieties, and in good quantities. The combination of great quality and healthy yields has not been seen in the Yarra Valley for some years, and was gladly welcomed by the industry. 

It was a mild start to the growing season with October and November producing some beautifully warm spring days coupled with good rainfall. This laid the foundation for a great start to the season and kicked off growth in the vineyard. Mild conditions, with no heavy winds, followed through flowering which meant that a high percentage of fruit set was achieved. 

Summer was also mild with average temperatures and below average rainfall. This produced significant growth in the vineyard and management of canopies became vital. Some high disease risk days, over the Christmas and New Year period, put pressure on our growers to stay alert and spray when needed. This paid off for us as there were many reports of powdery mildew outbreaks around the valley at this time. Reasonable disease pressure persisted through mid-January and then during February warmer, drier, conditions set us up for a great harvest.

Vintage was again early with our Syme on Yarra Pinot Noir picked first, on the 22nd of February, at 12.8 Baume. The fruit looked great; small bunch weights and good concentration coming from the small, thick skinned, berries. 

The two Chardonnay blocks (A. George and J. D’Aloisio) were picked close together, on the 1st and 3rd of March respectively, with very similar ripeness levels of 12.0 Baume. The juices looked amazing, showing bright citrus acidity with pure melon fruits. Post-ferment both wines were focused and edgy, and it was a great pleasure to see them unwind and fill out in barrel.

In 2015, we were once again able to source Gippsland Pinot Noir from the awesome Lightfoot vineyard. This vineyard has become highly sought after so we were extremely happy to secure 2.5 tons. It was also an early vintage in Gippsland, with harvesting taking place on the 9th March, at 12.5 Baume. The wine is delicate and fine, and those who enjoyed the 2012 will be very happy with this edition.

Enjoy!

Dylan McMahon

 

 

CHARDONNAY

 

The winemaking for both Chardonnays is very similar. First the fruit is hand-picked to insure only clean, healthy bunches are selected. The grapes are whole bunch pressed, and the juice is settled overnight in tank. This is followed by a light racking, directly to barrel (approx. 95% solids), where natural fermentation then takes place. MLF is not encouraged, and wines are sulphured directly after primary ferment. The wines are then matured for 10 months in 30% new (225 – 500L) French oak barrels. 

 

 

2015 BURTON McMAHON D'ALOISIO CHARDONNAY

 

The D’Aloisio Vineyard is located in the Seville township; it has a north facing slope, on red volcanic soils, with an altitude of 230 metres above sea level. The Chardonnay clone used in this vineyard is I10V1.

“…. Pleasant touches of reduction on the bouquet, the palate fine, long and well balanced; the flavour spectrum is of white peach coupled with some grapefruit and a touch of nutty oak.” - 95 POINTS JAMES HALLIDAY

 

 

 

2015 BURTON McMAHON GEORGE'S VINEYARD CHARDONNAY

 

The George’s Vineyard is situated in Seville East, approximately 180 metres in altitude, featuring grey soils on a north facing slope. The Chardonnay clone used in this vineyard is also I10V1. This cooler sub region of the Yarra Valley is perfect for making focused and pure Chardonnay styles.

“Awash with flavour, especially up-front, but it quickly turns refreshing and zippy as it runs down and through the finish. White peach and nectarine, spicy/cedary oak, and a cleansing wash of acidity. Excellent wine. Excellent value.” - 94 POINTS CAMPBELL MATTINSON 

 

PINOT NOIR

 

Fruit is handpicked and de-stemmed into 3t open fermentation tanks, where 30% whole bunches are added. The must is cold soaked for four days prior to wild yeast fermentation, with no temperature control used. Open ferments are hand plunged daily. The wine is gently pressed off skins and ran straight to French oak for maturation on lees. Approximately 30% new oak is used, in larger format, 300 & 500 litre, barrels. Following maturation (10 months), the wine is carefully racked and bottled, with no filtration or fining.

 

 

 

2015 BURTON McMAHON GIPPSLAND PINOT NOIR

 

The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Lightfoot & Sons vineyard in East Gippsland. The vineyard sits on a ridgeline that overlooks Gippsland Lakes, and is situated between the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and Bass Strait. The soils are terra rossa over limestone, with an altitude of 60 metres above sea level.

“Curiously, I notice the stem character even more on the nose of this Gippsland Pinot, the aromatics really quite meaty and spicy. Yet the palate delivers fresh raspberry fruit to cancel out the cloves and spice, delivering something quite satisfying, complete with softer tannins and a little x-factor. There’s still a healthy dose of whole bunch spiciness, but this feels like a complex and satisfying, low acid, sappy/juicy Victorian Pinot in a clever modern style.”
93 POINTS ANDREW GRAHAM

 

 

 

2015 BURTON McMAHON YARRA VALLEY PINOT NOIR

 

This wine is produced from the Syme on Yarra vineyard in the Upper Yarra Valley. Situated on the red volcanic soils of Seville, this east facing block produces perfumed, yet structured, Pinot Noir (MV6 clone). 

“It’s a markedly different beast to the Gippsland release. This is firm, tight, structured and stringy. Herb-infused fruit, bridled with tannin. Cranberries and red cherries. If it was a band it would be called: Woody Herb and the Stalky Stalks. There isn’t a lot of fruit depth but it’s full of tension and puffed with woodsmoke. It needs a year or two. There’s interest galore here.” - 93 POINTS CAMPBELL MATTINSON

 

 

CELLARING GUIDE

 

I’ve updated a table I originally prepared for a newsletter in 2015 showing every vintage of each wine (except the fortified products) that we’ve produced since 2009. There is a column showing maximum cellaring potential, and another column indicating a drinking window that I feel would suit the majority of people.  Please keep in mind that this table is just a guide, and that for some of our more innovative wines we’ve been more conservative with maximum cellaring as there really hasn’t been a precedent to compare with. 

 

Whites and Rosé

 

Wine

Vintage

Maximum
Cellaring

Ideal Drinking
Window

Poacher’s Semillon

2010

2025

Now - 2018

Poacher’s Semillon

2012

2023

2017 - 2018

Poacher’s Semillon

2013

2028

2017 - 2022

Poacher’s Semillon

2014

2030

2019 - 2023

The Chase Semillon

2015

2034

2020 - 2025

The Chase Semillon

2016

2035

2021 - 2026

Hunter's Semillon

2010

2020

Now - 2017

Hunter's Semillon

2011

2019

Now

Hunter's Semillon

2012

2020

Now - 2017

Hunter's Semillon

2013

2020

Now - 2017

Hunter's Semillon

2014

2024

2019 - 2022

Hunter's Semillon

2015

2030

2020 - 2024

Hunter's Semillon

2016

2031

2021 - 2026

Wild Semillon

2011

2021

Now - 2017

Wild Semillon

2012

2022

2017 - 2020

Wild Semillon

2013

2020

Now - 2018

Wild Semillon

2014

2026

2019 - 2021

Wild Semillon

2015

2027

2020 - 2024

Wild Semillon

2016

2031

2021 - 2026

Indomitus Albus

2014

2024

2017 - 2020

Indomitus Albus

2015

2025

2018 - 2021

Off-Dry Semillon

2011

2016

Now

Off-Dry Semillon

2012

2016

Now

Off-Dry Semillon

2013

2018

Now

Off-Dry Semillon

2014

2019

Now - 2017

Off-Dry Semillon

2015

2020

Now - 2018

Off-Dry Semillon

2016

2021

Now - 2019

Rosé

2010

2016

Now

Rosé

2011

2018

Now

Rosé

2012

2019

Now

Rosé

2013

2020

Now

Rosé

2014

2022

Now - 2017

Rosé

2015

2023

Now - 2018

Rosé

2016

2024

Now - 2019

Burton McMahon Chardonnay

2012

2020

Now - 2018

Burton McMahon Chardonnay

2013

2020

Now - 2018

Burton McMahon Chardonnay

2014

2020

Now- 2020

Burton McMahon D’Aloisio
Chardonnay

2015

2025

2017 - 2021

Burton McMahon George’s
Chardonnay

2015

2025

2017 - 2021

 

Reds

 

Wine

Vintage

Maximum
Cellaring

Ideal Drinking
Window

Burton McMahon Pinot Noir

2012

2022

Now - 2020

Burton McMahon Pinot Noir

2013

2023

Now - 2020

Burton McMahon Pinot Noir

2014

2024

2017 - 2021

Burton McMahon Yarra
Valley Pinot Noir

2015

2025

2018 - 2023

Burton McMahon Gippsland
Pinot Noir

2015

2025

2017 - 2022

Hunter’s Shiraz

2011

2022

Now - 2020

Hunter’s Shiraz

2013

2022

2017 - 2020

Hunter’s Shiraz

2014

2025

2019 - 2022

Hunter’s Shiraz

2015

2025

2020 - 2023

Estate Shiraz

2008

2018

Now 

Estate Shiraz

2009

2020

Now - 2018

Estate Shiraz

2012

2021

2017 - 2019

Estate Shiraz

2013

2024

2018 - 2022

Estate Shiraz

2014

2029

2019 - 2024

Estate Shiraz

2015

2030

2020 - 2025

Gundagai Shiraz

2012

2020

Now - 2018

Squire’s Shiraz

2012

2022

2017 - 2020

Squire’s Shiraz

2013

2023

2018 - 2021

Smoking Barrel Red

2014

2024

Now - 2020

Smoking Barrel Red

2015

2025

2017 - 2021

Rare Game Shiraz

2014

2029

2019 - 2024

Marksman’s Shiraz

2010

2026

Now - 2021

Marksman’s Shiraz

2012

2027

2017 - 2022

Marksman’s Shiraz

2013

2028

2017 - 2022

Marksman’s Shiraz

2014

2029

2019 - 2025

Indomitus Rutilus

2013

2028

2020 - 2025

Indomitus Rutilus

2014

2029

2018 - 2022

 

 

Letter from thE GUNDAROO vineyard August 2016

 

A chill wind on this sunny winter day is blowing through the vineyard where the recently pruned vines look particularly exposed and vulnerable. Hardly a bird can be seen and the resident kangaroo family, now numbering around thirty, huddle on the lee side of large rocks and clumps of native bush shrubs. It seems to have been a particularly cold winter here in the Yass Valley, but the stats indicate the mean temperatures have been fairly average, with the occasional spike of sub-zero cold throughs, as fronts from the west roll in to remind us that it is precisely these conditions that brought us here in search of the ideal cool climate terroir in which to grow our GUNDOG ESTATE Shiraz grapes.

 

The dormant grapevines during the Gundaroo Winter.

 

Like most of the eastern seaboard we have also experienced our share of extreme rain events this winter but the total rainfall this year so far at 440mm is still on average. Testing the soil in the vineyard indicates an ideal amount of sub-soil moisture to ensure an even and healthy bud burst when the temperature rises in a month or so leading, hopefully, to a spectacular growing season and another great GUNDOG vintage.

One of the truly great winter delights of living in the Canberra Region is that the three months of June to August coincide with the harvesting of Tuber melanosporum, the fabulous Perigord black truffle, that local growers are quickly defining as an excellent example of this exotic, elusive, and delicious, culinary ingredient.

For visitors and locals alike, one of the best ways to experience the truffle over this period is by visiting the 25 or so restaurants and food outlets in the region that are presenting menus featuring fresh truffles, extending from simple single dishes to full-on truffle degustation dinners.

Local produce markets, and gourmet food outlets, also sell freshly harvested truffles by weight, allowing one to experiment in your own kitchen with the fascinating aromas and tastes of this complex little fungus. Although one can find various truffle products throughout the year such as truffle oil, truffle salsa, truffle rice etc., it is not possible to successfully preserve the truffle and enjoying it fresh, in season, is immeasurably the best way to consume this delicacy. 

Like most people I was somewhat daunted by the prospect of cooking with fresh truffle for the first time, intimidated by its price (which has been consistently at $2000 per kilo for the past few years), but as one needs so little in most recipes, I found that it is generally no more expensive than any other ingredient in the dish.

Fresh truffle is also one of the easiest ingredients to use; the less you do with it, the more effective it is and will provide an entirely new taste enjoyment level to many existing favourite dishes, both savoury and sweet.  Cooking the fresh truffle itself is to be avoided – incorporating it into other ingredients, in finely chopped or thinly sliced pieces, is the best approach in my opinion. Truffle loves fats, creams, eggs and other carbs – stirring finely chopped truffle into freshly scrambled eggs, combining truffles with melted butter and stirred through your favourite pasta or dolloped onto a hot steak. Try truffles folded into mashed potato, or truffle shavings layered with ripe creamy cheese.  These are only some of the simplest ways to enjoy this luxury taste. Investing in a quality truffle hand slicer is a great idea and ensures you don’t get too generous with the slice thickness.

 

 

Truffle shaved on ripe, creamy cheese is one of the easiest and best ways to enjoy this luxurious ingredient.

 

There are many chef’s recipes available for home cooks that incorporate fresh truffle into their flavour components. Some of the older French classic chefs maintain indulgent luxury status for their truffle dishes, while many of the more contemporary chefs are using truffle in a much more casual and organic way.  Matt Moran, for instance, whose kitchen expertise is well known to the GUNDOG Cellar Club Members who attend our regular lunches at Matt’s CHISWICK Restaurant, has a recipe for Fricassee of chicken with peas, baby onions, and cos lettuce, finished with truffle slices; which seems to me to be a perfect example of a modern, truffle, one-dish meal.

 

Truffle cultivation, and its increasing adoption into Australian cuisine, may be a relatively new thing, but the nobbly black, and white, varieties of the fungus have been around for a very long time, reportedly as early as 1600BC. The Greeks and Romans ate and enjoyed around 20 species of truffle, the most prized being Caesar’s mushroom (Amanita Caesarea). During the centuries of the Dark Ages interest in the pleasures of the truffle disappeared along with the general extinction of culture and learning. The truffle became known as the devil’s handiwork, grown from the spit of witches.

The golden age of truffles really began in Italy and France during the 15th century, as the rare delicacy came to be fancied by the powerful and rich. Francois Pierre de La Varenne, chef to Louis XIV (the Sun King), recorded in his recipe book, Le cuisinier Francois (1651), more than 60 recipes featuring truffles; including his famous pairing of foie gras and truffles.

Throughout its history, the mysterious truffle has been thought to possess magical powers and medicinal virtues, none of which has ever been proven. It does not appear to have any nutritional value or qualities as a food, other than as a gloriously aromatic flavour and pleasure enhancer. Inevitably since earliest times it has been considered an aphrodisiac; Aristotle called it “a fruit consecrated to Aphrodite”. The writer, Prunier de Longchamps, warned priests and nuns that the consumption of truffles was inconsistent with a vow of chastity. In the 1820s the great French savant of haute cuisine, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who regarded the truffle as “the jewel of cookery”, took it upon himself to explore the erotic pleasures of the fungus and concluded “the truffle is not a true aphrodisiac but in certain circumstances it can make women more affectionate and men more attentive”. Not an unusual expectation when convivial companions enjoy a fine truffled meal, with similarly fine and appropriately matching GUNDOG ESTATE wines, one would think.

The CANBERRA TRUFFLE FESTIVAL runs through June to August each year and is the best guide to hunting, buying, cooking and eating truffle. Check out: www.trufflefestival.com.au

 

 

Recipe

 

Madeleines

 

A childhood spent in rural NSW holds many, often fragmented, memories of winter tastes and sensations. Morning visits to a neighbouring farm, sitting next to the fuel stove in the kitchen, munching on a warm scone, just cooked, with lashings of butter, is one I recall with great pleasure. Sometimes these days you come across similar scones at CWA cake stalls on country town streets, but the context is all wrong.

 

 

Marcel Proust famously wrote about the fragmentary nature of memory in his ‘In Search of Lost Time’. In this case, his first-person character has a bite of a petit Madeleine cake which prompts memory of an, otherwise forgotten, childhood experience, when on Sundays, before Mass, his Aunt always gave him a fresh Madeleine dunked into a Tissane tea.

Frankly, I think the Madeleine beats the Scone hands down as a morning coffee/tea cake and it’s great to see it becoming much more widely on offer in local coffee shops. For those who like to dunk, as is common in France, the Madeleine is of course the perfect vehicle.  It can even be deliciously dunked in a sweet wine, or a Muscat, or an early morning Eau de Vie, as one often sees at French truckie stops.

The following MADELEINE RECIPE comes from Matt Moran. Madeleines are easy to make and cook quickly. The only real necessity is a tin Madeleine mould which are readily available in kitchen accoutrement shops.

 

INGREDIENTS

100g unsalted butter
35g honey
100g icing sugar
40g almond meal
40g plain flour
4 egg whites
olive oil spray or butter for greasing
a little caster sugar (optional)

METHOD

1. Melt the butter and honey in a small saucepan.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

2. Combine the icing sugar, almond meal and flour in an electric mixer.
With the motor at slow speed, slowly add the egg whites.
Once incorporated gradually add the butter and honey mixture and combine well.
Cover with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C.

4. Lightly spray the madeleine tray with olive oil or grease with butter and sprinkle with caster sugar for a nice crunch. Half fill the moulds with the batter and bake for 8 minutes, or until golden and well risen.  Immediately turn out the madeleines onto a cooling rack. Serve while still warm. Yum.

Bon appétit.


See you at the next GUNDOG ESTATE event.

Geoff Burton

 

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Latest News: The Cork St. Cellar is coming!

Friday, August 12, 2016

 

Latest News: Summer / Austumn E-Newsletter

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
 

SUMMER / AUTUMN 2016 E- NEWSLETTER
NEWS
Difficult Vintage Delivers Miraculous Wines
 
Until this year, 1972 held the dubious honour of delivering the wettest Hunter Valley January on record with 175mm of rainfall. This year we’ve had a touch over 300mm. So it’s fair to say conditions have been fairly challenging! Having said that, the Hunter Valley has an uncanny ability to deliver extraordinary wines in the most difficult seasons. 1972 is a noted vintage for Hunter Semillon, and in a similar vein, we have some parcels of Semillon fermenting away that look brilliant. The style will be similar to 2015; light, bright, focussed and balanced. There are generous citrus flavours paired with fine acidity, largely brought about by the cooler conditions, that also suggest this is a year for classic, age worthy wines. The Semillon from our wonderful dry-grown vineyard in Mount View is amongst the best we’ve seen from this property, and is a true credit to our growers, Dave and Sue Vernon.
Pristine Mount View Semillon that has no right to be, given the tough conditions!
We also have an amazing batch of our ever-popular Wild Semillon bubbling away, so no need to worry about shortages!

Our precious blocks of 45 and 50-year-old Shiraz at the Somerset Vineyard are hanging in there, and given a few warm days, we should see some miraculous reds emerge too. Overall, volumes will be down, but I’m confident what does make it to bottle will be of a very high standard.
Left: The Wild Semillon is safely in tank…no need to panic!
Right: A bunch of Shiraz from the Somerset Vineyard, two weeks from harvest.
Conditions further south are being very kind to our vineyards in Gundaroo, Murrumbateman, and the Hilltops. Drier than average, but not too hot as to cause concern. If current weather patterns prevail, we may well be looking at another cracking cool-climate vintage very much along the lines of the amazing 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons.

Speaking of which, our 2014 reds have been getting some great press of late (see REVIEWS below), and we are just starting to trickle out some of our early-bottled 2015 Shiraz, including a very exciting first release from the Hilltops region. These are looking every bit as good as the stellar 2014’s, with lots of generosity and balance while still only young.
 
Enjoy!
Calendar of Events

Due to the popularity of our events in 2015, I've put together a list of tentative venues and dates for this year’s Member's & Friends functions.
If you are interested in attending any of these events, I suggest you email me winemaker@gundogestate.com.au an expression of interest so I can hold a spot for you.

Generally, these events sell out within an hour or two of the official invitation being sent out. Invitations are usually sent three to four weeks prior to the event.
 
I look forward to seeing you at one of these locations!
PONY DINING SYDNEY - Saturday and Sunday lunches, 7th and 8th of May
 
CHISWICK SYDNEY - Saturday and Sunday lunches, 23rd and 24th of July
 
PONY DINING BRISBANE - Saturday lunch, 22nd of October
 
AUBERGINE CANBERRA - Saturday lunch, 12th of November
 
OTTO SYDNEY - Thursday dinner, 24th of November
Indomitus Released!
We’ve just released the second vintage of our landmark Indomitus wines. As with the first release, we have produced two wines; a 2015 Hunter Valley Semillon (Albus) and a 2014 Canberra Shiraz (Rutilus). The source vineyards are the acclaimed Somerset and Vernon vineyards in the Hunter, and our much-loved Dahlberg vineyard in Murrumbateman. The goal was to create two wines that will challenge some of the winemaking and sensory norms usually associated with the two varieties, and evoke a sense of discovery in the drinker.

The emotive label imagery is based on photographs taken of the 12th century Ta Prohm temple located within Cambodia’s sprawling Angkor Wat, taken by my photographer brother, Aaron. Untouched, the Ta Prohm ruins demonstrate the rule of nature over man-made monuments, once protective hands are withdrawn. We hope the label art helps to evoke this sense of mystery and discovery in the wines, and draw symbolic comparison with the winemaking techniques employed.

In the production of the Indomitus wines, I’ve once again sought to marry natural process with carefully placed winemaking artefact.

For Indomitus Albus, we fermented cloudy Semillon (with 2% Gewürztraminer) juice on 25% skins with naturally occurring yeast. The wine was then left to mature on skins and lees for 6 months, prior to bottling without fining. This was 3 months longer than with the 2014 release. The two reasons for the extended maturation were to a) evolve the style further, arguably making the wine more edgy and challenging than the 2014 release, and to b) give the wine more time to build body and flavour, considering the fruit was much more delicate in 2015.
The 2013 Indomitus Rutilus proved to be our most critically acclaimed red of the vintage. The irony of this is that relative to our other incarnations of Shiraz, the Rutilus sees minimal intervention in the way of conventional processing additions, new oak, or finings prior to bottling. The quality of the 2014 Canberra vintage is no less impressive than the 2013; the wines showing a rare generosity of style and flavour while so very young. I think in the case of this wine, given room to express itself away from conventional processing aids, and oak influence, the true quality of the vineyard and season is on show. Whole bunch, wild yeast fermentation, including 4% Viognier, followed by 12 months’ maturation in seasoned French oak were the tools we used here.

As with the first release, I think these wines, particularly alongside the rest of the Gundog stable, really do challenge what we’ve come to expect from Semillon and Shiraz. The wine will once again be available for purchase as a mixed two or four bottle pack from our cellar door or via our website. A two pack is priced at $90.
Reviews

2014 MARKSMAN’S SHIRAZ

“This is a beautiful, effortless shiraz in the modern cool climate style. The aromas are fragrant and inviting. It’s light to medium bodied, with light, caressing tannins. Utterly lovely.” - 95 POINTS, HUON HOOKE
 
“The combination of licoricey fruit and clovery/nutty oak is a winner here, particularly given the added presence of juicy (black) cherry and dry woody spice notes. It glistens with both fruitfulness and savouriness. Tannin is ultra-fine. Acidity is lively. In short it tosses class at every turn.” - 95 POINTS, CAMPBELL MATTINSON

2014 RARE GAME SHIRAZ

"Ruby red with a little purple, there’s a quite old school Hunter earth to this, but tempered with purple fruit. Old and new. It’s still a modern purple fruit wine, but with a savoury and quite grippy core and acidity that tastes, well, not like it has come from a bag. You could probably pass over this at first without realising its glory. But the closer you look, the more this looks like a real classic red for the long term. Drink 2016-2035." - 94 POINTS, ANDREW GRAHAM

2014 ESTATE SHIRAZ

“Cracking wines coming from Canberra District from a vintage that ebbs and flows with quality wines. Matt Burton shifts his gaze from the Hunter Valley to further south during his vintage period and his wines from cool climate are excelling. This is pitch perfect medium weight, red fruited, shows whiffs of peanut brittle and spice. It’s great to drink.” - 93 POINTS, MIKE BENNIE

2015 ROSÉ

“Cabernet sauvignon from the Gundaroo Vineyard, picked exclusively for this Rosé; 24 hours’ skin contact, then pressed and cool fermented; 590 dozen made. Vivid, clear crimson, this is a boisterous rosé, jumping with fountains of pure cassis fruit cut by riverbed of stony acidity and a twist of herb. Seriously impressive.” - 94 POINTS, JAMES HALLIDAY

2014 BURTON McMAHON CHARDONNAY

“From Matt Burton (Gundog Estate) and Dylan McMahon (Seville Estate), this is sourced from the D’Aloisio vineyard and George’s vineyard in the Upper Yarra. It looks awfully clever too, a green straw coloured wine with gentle honey and sulphides on the nose before a notably taut, similarly refreshing, acid driven palate. There’s a gentleness to this wine that is genuinely appealing, and I really quite enjoyed it, drinking it. It’s not quite as robust as the former two wines, but the cool, delicate, nutty lees meets acid style is quite appealing. Good.” - 93 POINTS, ANDREW GRAHAM

“Such a pleasurable wine. Flesh, thrust, sweetness, savouriness. Grapefruit and pear, oatmeal and toast. Mineral. It takes power and finesses it. Highly recommended.” - 94 POINTS, CAMPBELL MATTINSON
 

2014 BURTON McMAHON PINOT NOIR

“Both the 2014 Burton McMahon wines are characterised by their finesse. This is an elegant, complex wine with macerated cherry, dry spice and foresty notes rippling through a finely judged and massaged palate. Tannin is firm, grain and sure. Not a foot wrong. Will mature well.” - 93 POINTS, CAMPBELL MATTINSON
Wine profiles

2015 THE CHASE SEMILLON

Gold medals at the Royal Queensland Wine Show and NSW Small Winemaker’s Show. This wine is a blend of Semillon sourced predominately from the Somerset and Tinkler’s Vineyards (50 and 43-year-old plantings respectively). We selected these blocks planted on lighter, sandier soils to deliver a citrus-driven, focused style. Bunch selection during harvest was critical in ensuring only ripe, clean fruit made it to the winery. Double racking was undertaken prior to cool fermentation. Maturation on yeast lees for 4 months prior to light fining just before bottling. In The Chase Semillon, we are really looking to produce a wine offering great longevity in combination with strong early drinking appeal. 

2015 HUNTER'S SEMILLON

Silver medal at the Hunter Valley Wine Show. Relative to The Chase Semillon, we are sourcing fruit from blocks on heavier soils, offering bolder flavours and more structure. The principle sources being the dry-grown Vernon Vineyard in Mount View, and the 69’ and 89’ blocks of Semillon at the Somerset Vineyard. Ripeness levels from these vineyards / blocks are consistently higher (by around 0.5 Baume) than those servicing The Chase Semillon. The intention with this wine is to deliver a modern style of Hunter Semillon which offers outstanding early drinking appeal in combination with an ability to age over the short to medium term. The frame is still fine, but the flavours are more generous.

2015 HILLTOPS SHIRAZ No.1

Like the Canberra District, the Hilltops region strikes me as one of Australia’s most exciting emerging winegrowing areas, delivering truly world class wines, particularly Shiraz. The 2015 Hilltops Shiraz No.1 is the first of two single vineyard releases from this region for Gundog Estate. Produced from Shiraz grown at the Freeman Vineyards, this wine is designed to showcase the amazing generosity of style from the area. Deep purple in colour, it is a wine loaded with dark fruit aromas and flavours, boasting excellent natural balance, and great length of flavour. We were eager to preserve as much of this fruit intensity and depth of flavour as possible, so we fermented warm (rather than hot) and bottled after 9 months in French oak (20% new). We are very happy with the results of our first Hilltops “experiment,” and look forward to an ongoing fruit supply arrangement with Brian Freeman.

2015 SMOKING BARREL RED

The 2015 Smoking Barrel Red is the second vintage of an eclectic blend of Shiraz from our Hunter and Canberra vineyards. The 2014 release proved to be amazingly popular, and we have similar expectations for the 2015 vintage. The blend started life as a playful exercise on the tasting bench during a broader classification of our 2014 reds. The theory was to marry the plum, blackberry and exotically spiced characters of the Murrumbateman Shiraz with the more savoury and earthy aromas of our old vine Hunter Shiraz parcels. Relative to the 2014 release (which was blended in fairly even ratios), we had a significantly reduced quantity of 2015 Hunter Shiraz available, which meant we were limited to a little over 10% in this wine. On the tasting bench we decided it was most definitely still worthwhile as an inclusion, being an amount that served to soften the young tannins of the Canberra component, and add a really lovely savoury element that enhanced the overall complexity of the blend.
Recipe
Lobster Salad
This dish has become a permanent addition to the family cooking repertoire, with at least two (non-competitive!) incarnations enjoyed over the Christmas / New Year break. It’s a wonderfully simple dish to serve as part of an elegant Sunday lunch, and pairs beautifully with an aged Gundog Estate Semillon, or vibrant young Gundog Rosé.

I lifted the original recipe from the Gourmet Traveller WINE Magazine, and then added the Salmon roe for even more decadence; just for those special occasions!

Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS
Serves 6

120ml extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
500g lobster, cooked and meat removed from shell and chopped into large pieces
1 celery heart – trimmed and roughly chopped
250g mixed cherry tomatoes – halved
4 spring onions – trimmed and roughly chopped
3 tbsp capers – drained
2 cups watercress sprigs
1 small bunch basil – leaves removed
1 small bunch mint – leaves removed
1 tbsp Atlantic salmon roe
 
METHOD
  • Combine olive oil, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl and season
    generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Place lobster, celery, tomatoes, spring onions, capers, watercress,
    basil and mint leaves in a serving bowl or on a platter.
  • Carefully mix, pour over the dressing, garnish with the salmon roe,
    and generously season again with sea salt and
    freshly ground black pepper just prior to serving.
Letter from thE GUNDAROO vineyard February 2016
From the western window of the vineyard office there is an outstanding view of our hard-working Cabernet Sauvignon block – the grape source of GUNDOG ESTATE Rosé, of which the 2015 vintage was recently awarded 94 points by James Halliday. “Vivid, clear crimson, this is a boisterous rosé, jumping with fountains of pure cassis fruit cut by a riverbed of stoney acidity and a twist of herb. Seriously impressive,” writes James.

As the setting sun, which has been rimming the leaves of the vineyard’s canopy with golden halos, becomes lost amongst dense gathering storm clouds I wonder about the forthcoming harvest and how the precious boisterous berries will handle the weather extremes they are still experiencing as the El Nino influences on our climate gradually fade away.  Currently the vines are at growth stage 33 of the 47 steps to maturity and harvest (as per the modified E-L scale), with about 8 weeks left for the berries to fatten, soften, change colour and create sugar to the level that Matt requires. Always optimistic, I think we are comfortably on track to deliver.

One of the major risks to the grape crop during these periods of alternating rain events and extremely hot days is the proclivity to produce moulds and mildews on the grape skins which can easily develop into fruit rot. Viticulturists have an armoury of safe but effective sprays to combat this threat provided they get the application time right.

Recently whilst pursuing more detail on the phenology of grapes I discovered that the plants themselves have their own inbuilt defence systems against these vineyard hazards. Under stress the vines are able to produce a powerful compound that encourages cell longevity and strength. This compound is known as Resveratrol (C14H12O3).

First identified by a Japanese scientist in 1940, researchers over the following decades confirmed the powerful anti-oxidant qualities of resveratrol and undertook animal and human testing of its health effects. Many claims have subsequently been made: it can prolong cell life by 70%, lowers LDL cholesterol, improves blood cell health including erectile dysfunction, improves eyesight, prolongs brain cell life, improves memory, limits the growth of cancer cells. A true Elixir of Life!

Public interest in ingesting resveratrol via its presence in red wine (it is transferred to the wine from the skins of red grapes which generally soak in the ferment for extended periods unlike the production of white wines) came to a head in the late 1980’s by way of interest in the so-called French Paradox. How come the French enjoy a high fat, high cholesterol diet yet have one of the lowest incidences of heart disease in the world?

People began to look at other components of the diet that could explain this paradox and France’s higher consumption of red wine was a strong favourite. In 1991 CBS in the USA broadcast a documentary on the Paradox supporting the view that it was all up to the resveratrol in red wine.  During the following year red wine sales in America increased by 44% with some retailers advertising their wines as “health food”!
Considering the effort Matt and his winery team put into hand plunging the red skins of our Shiraz grapes I suggest that if you are interested in exploring the beneficial qualities of resveratrol a very good source could be GUNDOG’S ESTATE SHIRAZ and MARKSMAN’S SHIRAZ.

See you at the next Member’s and Friends function!
Geoff Burton

Wild Semillon Success

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Wild Semillon Success 

July 2015 Newsletter

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
 

Tide turns for unsung drop

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
 

JH Cellaring 12 Marksmans Shiraz

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
 

May 2014 eNewsletter

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
 

James Halliday rates Gundog Estate 5 Star Winery

Wednesday, August 14, 2013
 

Gundog Estate named “Best Small Cellar Door” in the Lower Hunter!

Monday, May 06, 2013