Corks 'n' Forks May 2020

Dear Members – I trust you’re all well.

As I tucked into my fabulous RACA takeaway angus beef pie the other night, I was thinking about our Corks ‘n’ Forks trips away over the last few years, the ‘characters’ we’ve met, and some of the great wines they made. Many of their wines somehow made their way into Corks ‘n’ Forkers’ cellars, and I’ve been drinking some of mine during lockdown.

So what I thought I’d do this month is reflect on some of the unique and more popular wineries we visited. There’s been many, however I decided to concentrate on some small family owned wineries whose wines are different, not expensive and provide great value.

Barossa Valley 2015

This was our first trip away, 2 of the standouts being Tscharke Wines and Cirillo Wines. The Tscharke family was one of the Barossa’s original Lutheran settlers, and 6th generation Damien Tscharke is the current winemaker. I opened a bottle of his 2012 Montepulciano the other night.

Another recent lockdown opening in the Jones household was a 2007 ‘Ancestor 1850 Vine’ Grenache made by Marco Cirillo at his small winery in Light Pass. Marco’s father bought the vineyard after WW2, unaware at the time that it contained the oldest surviving and still producing Grenache and Semillon parcels in the world.

Rutherglen – 2016

My pick from a top field of wineries was Chambers Rosewood, owned and operated by the Chambers family in the same spot since 1858. It’s like a vinous Aladdin’s cave. I’ve never seen so many different bottles on a tasting bench before or since. Their Rosewood Rare Muscat with viscosity akin to sump oil is a Corks ‘n’ Forks treasure.

Yarra Valley/Mornington Peninsula – 2017

Who’ll ever forget Syd Bradford from his ‘Thick as Thieves’ winery in Healesville? We arrived there at 10am and left early in the afternoon. He’s a one man band who produces excellent interesting wines, many of which Corks ‘n’ Forkers acquired after a long tasting accompanied by some very good cheese and Elvis Presley. I opened a bottle of his 2015 Nebbiolo as part of my lockdown strategy.

Clare Valley – 2018

My pick again from a top field is Mitchell Wines, owned and operated by the Mitchell family at Sevenhill. It’s the only place I know where one of the current release wines is from the 2010 vintage - the 2010 ‘McNicol’ Riesling – a wonderful isolation wine.

Orange Wombats - 2017

‘Orange Wombats’ was the theme for one of Corks ‘n’ Forks tastings in 2017, so called because we tasted and compared wines from the ‘Angullong’ winery in Orange and the ‘Wombat Crossing’ vineyard in the Hunter Valley. Angullong is owned by Ben Crossing and Wombat Crossing by Ian Napier, both members of the Club. I have both of their Chardonnays in my lockdown selection.

Let’s all hope the Club can reopen soon so that Corks ‘n’ Forks can resume its vinous activities.

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