By John Rozentals.
Wines has just about the perfect location for those travelling between
south-east Queensland and Sydney — right on the Pacific Highway, not far from
Port Macquarie and just about at the journey’s midway point.
that the spectacular beauty of the winery grounds, an excellent restaurant and
some exceptional wines and it quickly becomes an almost obligatory stop.
John Cassegrain is one of Australia’s craftiest winemakers and he has realised
that his coastal NSW home base is a tad too humid and warm to consistently
product top-rate wines.
he has increasingly sourced his grapes from cooler, higher climes such as
Orange, in the NSW Central Ranges geographic area, and New England, just south
of the Queensland border and virtually an extension of the Granite Belt, widely
recognised as the Sunshine State’s premier wine-producing district.
I find John’s
Edition Noir range particularly interesting because it allows him and Alex, his
son and now senior winemaker, to go out on a limb and produce some quite edgy
wines, though inevitably ones with elegance and the potential to reward
2016 Edition Noir Three Tiers ($28) is a Rhone-style dry white blended from
viognier, marsanne and rousanne. It’s dominated by apricot flavours but its
greatest appeal lies in how food-friendly its mouth-filling complexity really
is. It has the palate structure and length to match well with quite full
flavoured white-meat dishes. A richer seafood dish would be my first choice,
2016 Edition Noir Sangiovese ($28) provides plenty of evidence why this Italian
red variety is gaining a serious following among Australian winemakers — and
even the proudly Gallic John Cassegrain isn’t immune from its considerable
charms. Dark red fruits, especially black cherries, some to the fore but
there’s also some lovely mouth-drying tannin that works a treat in balancing
foods with plenty of natural protein. Try it with hard cheddar-style cheese, or
better still a piece of really good steak.
Pyrenees Estate 2014 Merlot ($26) provides a very pleasant departure from many
Australian mainstream merlots, which have long had the American sweet tooth in
mind. This Central Victorian red, like good Bordeaux merlots, is completely dry
and shows the intensity of varietal flavour that comes from knowing about
clones, soil types and aspect, as well as winemaking. Rare roast beef comes
immediately to mind when thinking of food matches, though a hearty
mushroom-based stew would also suit if you’re sidestepping meat. For more
information, visit here.