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Latest Wine News

Wine Party

 

Wine Image Tasting notes
Brave New Wine

Sunshine and Hercules:

Batard Sauv:

 

Bobar

 Viognier

Shiraz Viognier: This expression has a larger volume of Viognier than is traditionally added, creating a light, bright and lovely style of red wine. Bright red berry fruits, soft earthy notes, and lean acidity. Interesting, moreish and almost too easy to drink.

Petit Verdot: A beautiful and aromatic style, similar to the one released by Gentle Folk in 2016. Plush red and black berry fruits, violets, musk, and subtle earthy notes. Lighter than traditional Petit Verdot (which can be big inky affairs) and very lovely to drink.

Gentle Folk

Rainbows:

Blossoms:

Vin de Sofa:

Harkham
   
     

 


Posted: 13/12/2017
New Rose Wines

Édouard Manet A Bar at the Folies–Bergère 1882.

We have seen a surge in new rosés over the last few months, and with summer (mostly) here and Christmas fast approaching we thought we'd round up a selection of the best rosés we have in store. We currently have rosés from Argentina, Australia, Austria, France, Georgia, and Hungary.

Personally, I was a little sceptical of rosé until a couple of years ago. A few things happened: I discovered Bandol – the prized region for rosé in Provence (in particular the stunning wines of Domaine Tempier and Château de Pibaron), and I spent some time in Nice with family, where rosé is served like Evian. More recently, we've been trying new local rosés all through Spring. It's a tough gig but someone's gotta do it.

Besides, rosé history is actually pretty interesting. Rosé wines are considered to be the oldest wine style. The techniques used for making red wines today weren't available in antiquity (such as extended maceration, creating rich tannic red wines) and the theory goes that red wines were often made like rosé because they would otherwise be too harsh.

Rosé became popular after WWII, lead by none other than the formidable Mateus (meaning 'gift of God'). Side note: the trivia section for Mateus on Wikipedia is something to behold: Elton John once sang about Mateus, and it was one of the wines stockpiled by Saddam Hussein.

But I digress. There are generally three ways to make a rosé. Skin contact, saignée, and blending. Skin contact allows red grapes to have some skin contact but not enough to make a red wine. Saignée is French for 'bleeding' and it's the process of removing part of the freshly pressed juice of a red wine. Blending mixes both white and red grapes. Rosé wines can be still or sparkling, almost clear in colour to a light red, and can range between bone dry and sweet.

Our summer rosé picks are listed below. As usual, for clarity, the single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices are displayed. If you are an Oak Barrel member you will receive your 10% discount on all single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices. Click through the products to see your total discount.

Not a member? The Oak Barrel's membership is a one-off $25 fee. It's for life, and it gives you 10% off products in store and online, including tickets to events. If you want to become a member and get a discount instantly, add the membership product to your cart (alongside any products you were after) and the discount will be immediately applied!

Drink well,
Beth

Name Image Tasting notes Price In any mixed 6 wines
La Negly L'Ecume Grenache Rose 2016   Aromas of crushed rose petals and wild berries. Citrus fruits and light spices on the palate. Light to medium bodied, dry, and textural. This has been our go–to rosé for a few weeks now.

Grenache (60%), Syrah (35%), and Mourvedre (5%).

This wine is also available in a magnum.
$19.95 $14.95 
Chateau Bouisset Grenache Rose 2016    Beautifully aromatic with delicate red berry fruits, white peaches, pear, lychee, and floral notes. A light but complex palate with fresh lean acidity. This wine is silky smooth and almost too easy to drink.

Grenache (55%) and Syrah (45%).
 $22.95 $16.95 
La Negly 'La Natice' Rose 2016

 A saignée wine made from Mourvedre, like the great rosés of Bandol – for half the price. Delicate aromas of strawberry, red currants, and citrus fruits. A refreshing palate with lean acidity and perfect length. An elegant wine.

Mourvedre (70%), Syrah (15%), Cinsault (15%).

 $29.95  $24.95
GilGraves Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2017  

Pale golden peach in colour. Highly aromatic with gumnut blossom, apricots and rose petals. Dried apple, rosemary, lemon, and mandarin on the palate. Hand picked, whole bunch pressed with a combination of old French oak and stainless steel. A lovely minimal intervention wine from Kaye Graves and Ken Gilchrist (made with Boomtown wines).

A beautiful and delicate rosé made from Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Heathcote, Victoria.

 $29.95  $26.95
Stuart Proud 'Up the Mountain' Rose 2017   A fun and light minimal intervention and sustainable wine from the legend that is Stuart Proud (drummer for Yarra Valley industry band Yeastie Boys and custodian of the famed 1000 Candles site).

A blend of Chardonnay, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir.

This wine is also available in a 1.8L flagon here.
 $34.95  $31.95
Patrick Sullivan 'Pink Pound' Rose 2017   A light and aromatic Pinot Noir rosé from Patrick Sullivan. It's dry in style but not without being rounded and generous. The grapes for this wine are dry grown (meaning they are not irrigated, producing better quality fruit) and certified organic.

See all our Patrick Sullivan wines here.
$34.95  $31.95 
Peter Wetzer Kekfrankos Rose 2013 
  A stunning, complex and aromatic wine with aromas of papaya, prickly pear, star anise and spice. Dry and savoury with fantastic acidity. It spent two years in barrel and two years in bottle. This wine came about as a happy accident, and it's one of the best rosés we've ever had.

See all our Peter Wetzer wines here.
 $37.95  $33.95
Do Re Mi Tavkveri Rose 2015
This is a rich and flavoursome style of rosé made from the indigenous Tavkveri grape. Aromas of bright red berry fruits and musk are matched by herbal and earthy notes on the palate. Excellent tannin structure gives this wine plenty of length. Drinks best lightly chilled.

See all our Georgian wines here.
$54.95 $48.95
Pheasant's Tears Tavkveri Rose 2015   Bright and aromatic with strawberries, cranberries, and hibiscus on the nose. A rich and dry style palate with raspberry vinegar and dried herbs. Definitely not your typical Rose, this is more akin to a light red. Nice acidity and good tannin structure with a long finish. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. A stunning living wine. 

Pheasant’s Tears wines are made using traditional methods. Their grapes are farmed organically, and their wines are fermented in qvevri: clay vessels lined with organic beeswax and buried in the earth.

See all our Pheasant's Tears wines here.
 $59.95  $53.95
Gut Oggau Rose 2016
  Gut Oggau painstakingly restored a 17th century winery abandoned for at least 20 years (including its 200-year-old screw press). The vines’ two decade period of neglect was fortunate, as this meant all pesticide and chemical treatments had washed away. This let them begin working immediately on vines biodynamically, and they are now fully Demeter certified.

When they began to work with the wines, they noticed each seemed alive with its own persona, so they decided to craft labels centered around the personality inside each bottle. They created a family of wines: each wine is given a name of one family member and their face is illustrated for each label.

This wine is a blend of Blaufrankish, Zweigelt, and Roesler. The grapes for this wine are hand harvested and destemmed. The wine is a direct press Rosé. The wine is bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with zero addition of sulfur.

See all our Gut Oggau wines here.
 $110  $99

Need some tunes for your hot summer rosé party? You can find songs written about rosé here and here.


Posted: 07/12/2017
Italian Wine Appreciation Tasting Night

In a night of wine tasting, chatting and education, The Oak Barrel will be hosting an Italian Wine Appreciation evening Wednesday 31 January.

An introduction to Italy and its wines, the famous and historic wine producing region can seem impenetrable and dauntingly complex. This night will untangle the dense world behind Italian labels and unveil those names that don’t always correspond to the grapes inside the bottle. With its 377 indigenous wine grapes and a vaster wine-toponomy with regional denominations and their multiple styles… Italy is a never-ending adventure of new wines to try.

Italy has 20 regions, each one producing its unique range, highlights scattered all over. This tasting evening will pin-point a few of those selections, as we tour from the north to the south with stops here and there along the way to discover what to source and where to source it.

Hosted by The Oak Barrel’s Italian wine expert, we won’t be worrying about too many comparisons with more familiar ‘drops’, or breaking down of wines into small pieces to examine them under a microscope. What we will be doing is opening a few bottles of wine and have a lot of fun telling you their name and where they come from. We’ll let the wines do the talking from the glass for your enjoyment, and share them at a communal table, as is the Italian way.

What we'll be trying:

Le Vigne di Alice Prosecco 2016
Peter Zemmer Pinot Bianco 2015
Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco 2016
La Calcinara Rosato 2016
Schiavenza Dolcetto d’Alba 2015
Azienda Agricola Benevelli Piero Nebbiolo 2016
Poggio Scalette Chianti Classico 2015
Vigne Surrau Cannonau 2013
Madonna delle Grazie Aglianico Bauccio 2009

WHAT: Italian Wine Appreciation
WHERE: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St, Sydney 2000
WHEN: Wednesday 31 January 2018, 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start
PRICE: Members $25 / Guest $35
TICKETS: [MEMBERS] [GUEST]


Posted: 07/12/2017
New Wines From Lucy Margaux and Jauma

 

After 10 years in the hospitalty industry, Anton van Klopper (Lucy Margaux / Domaine Lucci) decided it was time to get his hands dirty. He graduated with first class honours from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Science (Oenology), and he spent the first several years after University travelling the world, working vintages in Germany, New Zealand, and Oregon, USA.

Of his wines, Anton says “we aim to produce wines that express themselves. To achieve this at the highest level I would never consider adding yeast, bacteria, acid, sugar or any of the other artificial or natural additives. A winemaker can choose to be an artist or a chemist. I believe that winemaking is a craft; all our decisions are made with the aid of a wine glass and traditional skills, with the aim of developing the wines true identity. We are now part of the Basket Range community and take small parcels of fruit from friend’s small vineyards that surround this unique part of the Adelaide Hills."

Anton, along with fellow winemakers James Erskine (Jauma), Tom Shobbrook (Shobbrook Wines), and Sam Hughes (dec., Dandy in the Clos) started Natural Selection Theory, popularizing the natural wine movement in Australia almost a decade ago.

Anton scaled back his production in 2017, so these wines are very limited. However, this release comprises 13 new wines, so there's plenty to choose from.

For clarity, the single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices are displayed. If you are an Oak Barrel member you will receive your 10% discount on all single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices. Click through the products to see your total discount.

Not a member? The Oak Barrel's membership is a one-off $25 fee. It's for life, and it gives you 10% off products in store and online, including tickets to events. If you want to become a member and get a discount instantly, add the membership product to your cart (alongside any products you were after) and the discount will be immediately applied!

Drink well,
Beth

P.S. Don't forget, our second annual Champagne and sparkling wine event is happening on Saturday December 2. Tickets are selling fast so book early. Information and tickets can be found here.

Name Image Tasting notes Price In any mixed six wines
Lucy Margaux 'La Petit Champignon' Sauvignon Blanc 2017
  A unique style of Sauvignon Blanc with citrus fruits and nutty notes from the light oxidation. Light and refreshing. No added preservatives.  $29.95  $26.95
Lucy Margaux Chardonnay 2017   Musky white flowers on the nose with hints of summer stone fruits. Quite light on the palate, a bit oxidized, with fresh yellow peaches. Stunning minerality and structure. Whole bunch pressed. A fun and unique style of Chardonnay. No added preservatives.  $32.95  $29.95
Lucy Margaux Pinot Blanc 2017    A fun, easy drinking style with light tropical fruits (pineapple, passionfruit, mango). Nice acidity, not overly fruit sweet for a Pinot Blanc. Well balanced and refreshing. No added preservatives.  $26.95 $23.95 
Lucy Margaux 'Tête d'oeuf' Pinot Blanc 2017
  This is the same Pinot Blanc but fermented in amphora. Highly aromatic and textural. Abundant tropical fruits and ripe stone fruits. Potentially the best Pinot Blanc I've ever had. No added preservatives. Limited release.  $32.95  $29.95
Lucy Margaux Pinot Gris 2017
  A fleshy, herbaceous style of Pinot Gris with lots of leafy berry fruits like strawberries and mulberries. Textural and chewy on the palate with nice tannin structure. Whole bunch pressed (stalks and all). A fascinating and refreshing wine. No added preservatives.  $27.95  $24.95
Lucy Margaux 'Vin de Soif' Pinot Noir 2017
  Light and delicious pink wine, it's all crushed watermelon, red berry fruits and some subtle leafy notes. Perfect chilled. No added preservatives.  $24.95  $21.95
Lucy Margaux Cabernet Franc 2017
  A juicy, fleshy, and fruit driven wine. It has a stunning aromatic nose with red and black berry fruits. A plush and velvety palate with a hint of confectionary. Light herbaceous notes. Medium to full bodied with excellent tannin structure. No added preservatives. $27.95   $24.95
Lucy Margaux Sangiovese 2017   A vibrant and fun expression of Sangiovese. Aromatic and textural with ripe red fruits and spices on the palate. Well structured with striking tannin structure. Fantastic length. No added preservatives.  $31.95  $27.95
Lucy Margaux 'Wildman' Pinot Noir 2017
  A bigger style of Pinot Noir than the Noir de Florette (below). Dark fruits, cassis, and leafy stemmy notes on the nose and palate. Rich tannins and fantastic length. 100% whole bunch pressed. No added preservatives.  $32.95  $29.95
Lucy Margaux 'Noir de Florette' Pinot Noir 2017 A light style Pinot Noir. One third juice, one third stalks, and one third destemmed fruit all pressed and fermented in French oak. Bright red fruits (cherries, raspberries) and soft spices. A gentle, floral Pinot with nice acidity and earthiness.  $32.95  $29.95
Lucy Margaux Gamay 2017   A fantastic Australian Beaujolais style Gamay. Aromas of just ripening red berry fruits with light vegetal notes and spices. Light on the palate with vibrant, musky red fruits. Soft tannins, I can't wait to smash this one over summer. No added preservatives. Limited release.  $36.95  $32.95
Lucy Margaux Trousseau 2017   Only a handful of Trousseau can be found in Australia. Similar to Pinot Noir, it has light berry fruits, floral notes, and excellent tannin structure. A fantastic Jura style wine for close to half the price. No added preservatives. Limited release. $39.95   $35.95
Lucy Margaux 'Out of Control' Pinot Noir 2017   This is Anton's single barrel Pinot Noir. Complex, wild, and delicious. I imagine this is what it is like to eat wild berries in the Black Forest. No added preservatives. Limited release.  $41.95  $36.95

 

Jauma frontman James Erskine completed an Honours degree in oenology and agricultural science through the University of Adelaide and the University of California, Davis. He’s a trained sommelier and in 2008 was voted the Gourmet Traveller Australian Sommelier of the Year. He’s a Len Evans Scholar, judged prestigious wine competitions, has travelled the world working vintages in far–flung places such as Austria and South Africa, and hosted hybrid wine–art performances in Berlin.

Jauma (it’s pronounced yow-mah) are minimal intervention wines: nothing is added or taken away. There is no fining, filtration, or added preservatives.

Jauma Chenin Blanc Pétillant-Naturel 2017 Lightly fizzy Chenin, with swooshy, cleansing acids, apples and pears and a lace of minerality. No added preservatives. $36.95 $32.95
Jauma 'Thousand Fires' Semillon Chenin Blanc 2017   A blast from the past, naturally we've thrown a spin on this classic Aussie dry white blend which one rarely sees today. Think Hunter Burgundy, Swann Valley dry white, Barossa Chablis. The Semillon (farmed by David Gartelman, who has also worked with Anton of Lucy Margaux) is fermented whole bunch, the Chenin (farmed by Fiona Wood) is on skins in barrel. The wine? A honeyed hue, super slurpy with a Chenin acid ping to finish. Lightly tropical. No added preservatives. $32.95 $29.95
Jauma 'Tikka the Cosmic Cat' Shiraz Grenache 2017
   

Crunchy, purple fruited Shiraz (80%) and opulent, spicy Grenache (20%) from sandy soils. You've got a gob smacking, slurpable but light Shiraz Grenache, a brooding colour in the glass with plenty of fresh red cherries and plums. No added preservatives.

Tikka is the Jauma winery cat.

$34.95 $31.95


Posted: 30/11/2017
New Release Wines From The Other Right!

Wine lovers,

Summer is around the corner and we have just the thing for those brighter, warmer days. Enter The Other Right, from winemakers and good folk Alex Schulkin and Galit Shachaf in the Adelaide Hills.

Their winemaking philsophy is simple: everything is kept to a minimum. There are no additives so the wine has to be given time to slowly evolve. Their aim is to capture the youth and freshness of the fruit. They make wine they like to drink: wild, textural and full of life.

If you want to meet The Other Right in the flesh, Alex will be at Rootstock this weekend (along with fellow South Australians Gentle Folk, Jauma, Lucy Margaux, Manon, Ochota Barrels, Shobbrook, Sigurd and many more).

For clarity, the single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices are displayed. If you are an Oak Barrel member you will receive your 10% discount on all single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices. Click through the products to see your total discount.

Not a member? The Oak Barrel's membership is a one-off $25 fee. It's for life, and it gives you 10% off products in store and online, including tickets to events. If you want to become a member and get a discount instantly, add the membership product to your cart (alongside any products you were after) and the discount will be immediately applied!

Drink well,
Beth

P.S. Don't forget, our second annual Champagne and sparkling wine event is happening on Saturday December 2. Tickets are selling fast so book early to avoid soul crushing despair. Information and tickets can be found here.

Name Image Tasting Notes Single bottle price In any mixed 6
The Other Right White Young Thing 2017
  White pétillant-naturel (natural sparkling wine). Alex and Galit describe this as the classiest of the three pét-nats of this release. Aromatic and plush Chardonnay with bubbles. Super refreshing and some yeasty complexity for good measure. No added sulphites. $36.95 $32.95
The Other Right Bright Young Pink 2017
  Bright and pure. This wine has been disgorged so it's closer to a traditional sparkling wine. Too easy to drink at 9.1%. Linear with a savoury edge, perfect for summer. 100% Pinot Noir. No added sulphites. $32.95 $29.95
The Other Right Bright Young Thing 2017   Red pét-nat! Made from the same fruit as the Bright Young Pink. Unmistakably Pinot Noir, it really is a result of a very unique season (full of flavour at 8.9%)! As the name suggests, it's bright and vibrant, although on the darker end of the fruit spectrum in comparison to the Pink. Fine tuned and civilised. Probably the most refined of the Bright Young Things ever made. No added sulphites. $36.95 $32.95
The Other Right Moments of Strange Magic   Skin contact Viognier. What a season! Tastes like ginger, apricot and bergamot gave way to green and black pepper and cardamom. A really unique orange Viognier. No added sulphites. $32.95 $29.95
The Other Right Away With The Pixies 2017
  It has been a couple of years since Alex and Galit first made this wine. This year's expression is a tribute to Jura (Alex spent some time at the highly sought after Les Chais du Vieux Bourg in Jura). A bit hectic, a bit reductive, and very exciting. Smooth and easy going, an absolute joy to drink. Comes with a warning: it is difficult to put this bottle down. 100% Pinot Noir. No added sulphites. $37.95 $33.95
The Other Right Love Potion 2017   Light, slurpy, delicious Shiraz. Each year it just gets better. Crunchy and carbonic. Uncomplicated and easy going. Full of joy. No added sulphites. $32.95 $29.95

 Want more Strange Magic?

 


Posted: 23/11/2017
New Natural Wines From Australia, Italy, and Germany!

The spring releases have started arriving and I am so excited to have new natural wines on the shelf.

Stay tuned for new releases to be announced from Lucy Margaux, The Other Right, Jauma, Bobar and more! We're also welcoming back some old favourites from SigurdDelinquente, and Patrick Sullivan. See all our new wines here. We're also populating an area for all our natural wines here.

For this week's not-to-be-missed newsletter we've selected a range of the wines our staff are drinking this week.

For clarity, the single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices are displayed. If you are an Oak Barrel member you will receive your 10% discount on all single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices. Click through the products to see your total discount.

Not a member? The Oak Barrel's membership is a one-off $25 fee. It's for life, and it gives you 10% off products in store and online, including tickets to events. If you want to become a member and get a discount instantly, add this membership product to your cart (alongside any products you were after) and the discount will be immediately applied!

Drink well,

Beth

Wine Image Tasting notes Price In any mixed 6 wines
 Costadila 330slm Prosecco
 
Costadilá is one of a few Italian producers redefining Prosecco. Their mission statement is "Articoltura" - which means Art, Agriculture, and Culture: natural, social, and sustainable practices. The '330' of the name refers to the elevation of the vineyard. This is a slightly oxidative frizzante style with stone fruits, brioche, and grapefruit flavours. No added preservatives.
 $42.95  $37.95
Yetti & the Kokonut 'Beach' Savagnin 2017   The 'Beach' Savagnin is perfect for summer: aromatic, textural, fresh, and packed full of tropical fruits. The palate shows some fantastic acidity, keeping all those wonderful fruits in check. Made from 100% Savagnin.
 
P.S. The last few bottles of the Yetti & the Kokonut Pet Nat are available here.
$36.95   $32.95
Chapter 'Savvy Bee' Sauvignon Blanc 2016 
  Definitely not your average, run-of-the-mill Sauvignon Blanc. A mostly savoury style wine, with lime, green fruits, some grassy notes, and light tropical fruits (pineapple, passionfruit). Hints of pepper (of the green / jalapeno variety). Fantastically cloudy and textural. Almost too easy to drink on a warm day.

Hand made in small amounts. Fermented in old oak and ceramic. Slightly oxidised, and no added preservatives.
 $32.95  $29.95
 Sanglier Grenache Rosé 2017  

A dry rose with hints of strawberries and cream, raspberries and spice on the nose, that carries to the palate. Naturally fermented in old oak, it is textural with a crisp finish.

From 47 year old dry grown organic bush vines. Picked early for bright acidity and vibrancy, the fruit was foot crushed before being whole pressed directly to old oak, where it went through a natural fermentation. The wine was held on full lees for around five months prior to being racked by gravity and sent to bottle. Minimal SO2 is the only additive in this wine. It is neither fined or filtered. Made to drink well now with its youthful vibrancy, it'll gain complexity and interest over the next five years.

 $31.95 $28.95 
2naturkinder Fledermaus White 2016 
 

A dry style natural wine from Germany! Aromas of stone and citrus fruits, white flowers and honeysuckle. A bright and fresh palate with just ripening pineapple, yuzu, a funky cider apple character, and a healthy dose of acidity. Almost effervescent and so fun to drink. Low alcohol and zero residual sugar, making this perfect for the warmer months.

A blend of Müller-Thurgau (75%) and Silvaner (25%). No added sulphites.

$42.95   $37.95
 Borachio 'Hen's Teeth' 2016
 

 A skinsy Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc hanging out with straight-pressed Savagnin from Mark Warner and Alicia Basa (of Jauma). This is a damn fine amber wine. Rich and textural with poached peaches and orange rind. I wish I made tasting notes but I was too busy enjoying it (I've had 2 bottles already). Chills in the bottle for a year, loves a bit of air on opening. Very limited. No added sulphites.

Check out the rest of the Borachio range here.

$41.95   $37.95

 


Posted: 16/11/2017
Hold onto your hats because here comes Muscadet!

Muscadet is a wine producing area of France near the town of Nantes at the western end of the Loire Valley.

Forget the thin, low alcohol, acidic Muscadet of the eighties and early nineties; a revolution is underway.

So, what is all this fuss(cadet) about Muscadet?

Well, my take is that the biggest export market for Muscadet back then (the UK) collapsed due to the flood of full flavoured white wines from the New World winemakers. Areas planted with Melon de Bourgogne nearly halved and land prices dropped, allowing new young winemakers to buy vineyard land and start introducing more modern and innovative techniques in wine production.

One innovation in particular that greatly impacted the quality of these wines is the practice of maturing the wine on lees (residual yeast). To qualify as “sur lie” wines have to spend one winter on lees and then be bottled between March and December. Muscadet is usually fermented and aged in large, shallow underground vats and ageing on lees has added texture, mid-palate weight and longevity.

Historically this grape variety originated in Burgundy and was grown there until its destruction was ordered in the early 18th century. In the vineyards around Nantes and the western Loire, however, the harsh winter of 1709 destroyed so many vines that a new variety was needed, and the Melon grape was introduced. Since then it has been used solely in the production of the light dry white wine Muscadet.

Map of the Loire Valley region (Wikipedia).

The next step forward came with producers in particular geographical areas, delineated by differing soil types getting together to make rules to govern the production of muscadet in that area. Hence the first three “cru” to be recognised are Clisson, Gorges and le Pallet under these new rules.

The hierarchy of Muscadet now looks like this:

- Cru Classé about 2% of total

Clisson, Le Pallet, Gorges
- The Mid Tier about 20% of total

Sèvre & Maine, Coteaux de la Loire and Côtes de Grandlieu
- Muscadet AOC just under 80%

These cru wines are made under stricter rules than those for ‘straight’ Muscadet – yields limited to 45/hl/ha compared to 55hl/ha for ACs Muscadet: Sèvre et Maine, Côtes de Grandlieu and Coteaux de la Loire. The grapes have to be riper – minimum of 11% and the time “sur lie” is longer – 17 months for Le Pallet and 24 months for Clisson and Gorges. Due to the vagaries of the “sur lie” regulations these crus, communaux cannot put “sur lie” on their labels as the current rules dictate that a “sur lie” must be bottled by 30th November of the year following the vintage.

Four more cru communaux are due to be recognised: Château-Thébaud, Goulaine, Monnières-St-Fiacre and Mouzillon-Tillières – all in the Sèvre-et-Maine.

Each of the cru already recognised have different characteristics representative of their soils:

Clisson (granite) showed a clear identity with its energy, broader, fuller and more powerful style.

Le Pallet (mix of granite,gneiss and gabbro) wines tend to be fruity and forward.

Gorges (gabbro) tighter and more restrained in character.

Of the areas still to gain cru status, Monnieres- St-Fiacre (gneiss) offers a much more elegant style with floral characters.

The extra time “sur lie” has enhanced the complexity and body of the wines and the longevity is extraordinary. Some of our offerings are 20 years old. These wines offer exceptional value.

At the Oak Barrel we have actively sort out these wines to provide to our customers. We have imported from two producers directly; one from the village of St-Fiacre and the other, a biodynamic vineyard from the village of Clisson.

Explore wines from:

Domaine des Cognette

Chateau du Coing

Château de la Gravelle

Or, view our complete range of Muscadet here.

We will have some Muscadet open to try this Friday on the front counter for free between 4 to 7pm

 


Posted: 08/11/2017
Illuminate II: A Champagne and Sparkling Wine Event

“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” – Dom Perignon, the moment he discovered Champagne.

It's a quote from the 1600s that carries through to today and Champagne is a wine that has marked more than a few of the landmarks in our lives. A wine that epitomises celebration and excellence, it’s a style that embraces innovation whilst staying rooted in strong traditions.

It is with this exploratory spirit in mind that we invite you to join us at Illuminate II: A  Champagne & Sparkling Wine Event at The Oak Barrel this December. 

Hosted at our Sydney CBD store, it will be a chance to experience historic, traditional Champagnes alongside the new world of Sparkling from Australia and other parts of the world.

With a selection of over 50 of the best International and domestic Champagnes and sparklings wines, this will be an impeccable way to welcome in the festive season.

Your ticket price includes entry and all your tastings for the day. Upon entry you'll receive a glass for the day and then you can make your way around the various tasting tables, each with their own unique sparkling wines and stories.

When: Saturday 2nd December
Time: 2pm to 4.30pm
Where: The Oak Barrel, 152 Elizabeth St. Sydney CBD
Tickets:    $35 for members (CLICK HERE);    $45 for non-members (CLICK HERE)

We will be tasting Champagne & Sparkling from these Winery's and labels on the day

Archille Princier - France
Arunda - Italy
Aubry - France
Agrapart - France
Balter Trento -Italy
Bortolin Angelo - Italy

Chartogne Taillet - France
Christophe Mignon - France
Domaine Joussett - France
Domaine Landron - France
Damien Bureau - France

Frerejean - France
Gardet - France
Jamsheed - Australia
Jeaunaux Robin - France
Jeeper - France

Laherte - France
Moorilla - Tasmania
Nocton - Australia
Paltrinieri - Italy
Philippe Balivet - France
Prince Estivac -France

San Martin - Italy
Santus Franciacorta - Italy
Tenute Olbios - Italy

This is an initial list and is subject to change based on availability.

The Champagne Fair is open to over 18s only and strict RSA regulations will apply. List of exhibitors may change due to unforeseen circumstances. We ask and expect all our punters to respect our Fair Play Policy (available here) and are sure that everyone will act like grown-up adults and have a thigh-slapping good time as a result. Tickets are transferable and non-refundable.


Posted: 01/11/2017
Introducing Ricca Terra Farms

Ricca Terra Farms are one of the leading producers of alternative grape varieties in Australia. A snapshot of their range includes Italian varieties Bianco d'Alessano, Fiano, Lagrein, Montepulciano, Moscato Giallo, and Nero d'Avola; French varieties Carménère and Durif; the Balkan variety Slankamenka Bela, and the Egyptian variety Zibibbo (Muscat of Alexandria).

Ricca Terra began in 2003. Owner and winemaker Ashley Ratcliff has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Viticulture and a Masters in Wine Technology, and has received numerous accolades since 2004. In 2013 and 2015 he was recognised as Viticulturalist of the Year; he's also been the ABC's Horticulturalist of the Year (2013), and the Riverland Wine Industry Winemaker of the Year (also 2013). Huon Hooke discusses Ashley's career here.

This is the very first release of the Ricca Terra range. Until now Ricca Terra have grown grapes for some of our favourite lo-fi wineries, including: Amato Vino, Astro Bunny (Tim Wildman MW), Brash Higgins (Brad Hickey), Bellwether (Sue Bell), David Franz (son of Australian winemaking royalty Peter Lehmann), Delinquente, Sassafras, and Unico Zelo (Brendan and Laura Carter).

Ashley wanted to promote some of the lesser known varietals grown in Australia (he's particularly interested in Portuguese grapes), and his unique Mediterranean blends. His wines are highly aromatic and approachable in style, perfect for the warm climate of the Riverland in South Australia.

For clarity, the single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices are displayed. If you are an Oak Barrel member you will receive your 10% discount on all single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices. Click through the products to see your total discount, or see the full range of Ricca Terra wines here.

Not a member? The Oak Barrel's membership is a one-off $25 fee. It's for life, and it gives you 10% off products in store and online, including tickets to events. If you want to become a member and get a discount instantly, add the membership product to your cart (alongside any products you were after) and the discount will be immediately applied!

Drink well,
Beth

Wine Image Tasting Notes Price In any mixed 6 wines
Ricca Terra 'Bronco Buster' White The 'Bronco Buster' is a blend of four varietals. Three Italian: Vermentino, Fiano, Greco, and the Portuguese variety Arinto. This is an intensely floral wine with aromas of lemon citrus and musk. The palate is deftly balanced with fresh acidity and great length. $24.95 $21.95
Ricca Terra Arinto Arinto is a Portuguese varietal with a history dating back to 1712, making it one of the oldest varieties in the country. In Portugal it is renowned for high acidity and a distinct lemon citrus character. This is quite possibly the first expression of Arinto made in Australia. It's an aromatic wine with fresh lemons and limes on the nose. The palate is full but well balanced with hints of green apple. $29.95 $26.95
Ricca Terra 'Calmness' Rose This Rosé is a blend of Nero d'Avola, Negroamaro, and Tempranillo. It has aromas of strawberries and cream, and the palate is light and dry with red summer fruits (cherries and plums) balanced with great minerality and length. $24.95 $21.95
Ricca Terra Tinta Baroca    Tinta Barroca is a little known Portuguese variety used to make Port, but this expression couldn't be futher from a big, rich, tannic wine. It's more akin to a Pinot Noir / Gamay blend, with brambly forest fruits and a light, moreish earthiness. $29.95 $26.95
Ricca Terra 'Bullets Before Cannonballs' Red
  This wine is a blend of Nero d’Avola, Lagrein, Negroamaro, and Tempranillo.

The red grapes used to make this wine are some of the standout Mediterranean varieties found planted in Australia. The aim of this wine was to craft a wine that ‘shouted a statement’ to the world that blends of Mediterranean grape varieties grown in the Riverland would make great wines. 
$24.95 $21.95
Ricca Terra 'First & Final' Red (Chalmers)   The first release of this wine is a blend of grape varieties, wine regions and families. The wine reflects the efforts of the pioneering viticulturists of the Chalmers and Ratcliff families, who have both been at the forefront of growing Mediterranean grape varieties in Sunraysia (Victoria) and Riverland (South Australia).

The varieties: Refosco, Nero d’Avola, Montepulciano and Lagrein. The Refosco used in this wine was grown at the Chalmers’ property in Victoria, while the Nero d’Avola, Montepulciano and Lagrein was grown by the Ratcliff family in Loveday, South Australia. All four grape varieties were harvested and co-fermented together. The result is a full flavoured and velvety wine.

Both families are recipients of the prestigious Gourmet Traveller of Viticulturist of the Year.
$29.95 $26.95
Ricca Terra 'Broken Forklift' Tawny
  This fortified wine is a blend of Zibibbo, Vermentino, and Muscat. Ashley reckons this might be the only Australian fortified to use Vermentino. It's named after the small 1950s forklift that could access the rusty shed housing the Muscat barrels. The forklift broke down, and Ashley wasn't able to access the barrels for almost 9 years! The result is a rich, smooth, and absolutely stunning fortified wine. This is very limited. $39.95 $35.95

 

Winemaker Ashley Ratcliff, image from this article in Gourmet Traveller Wine.


Posted: 26/10/2017
New Wines From Sigurd, Dormilona, and Xavier Goodridge!

Spring release wines are beginning to arrive! First up we have the great lo–fi wines from Dan Graham of Sigurd in the Barossa Valley.

Dan Graham is dead set one of the nicest blokes in Australian wine. He's warm and generous with his time, and happy to chat all things wine.

The name Sigurd is a tribute to Dan's great grandfather. As a young man in the 1910s Sigurd travelled from Norway to Australia looking for work. He soon realised that the quickest path to citizenship was to join the army, and he was soon sent back to Europe to help the war effort. The story goes that he was caught AWOL after having recovered from being shot, and as punishment was sent to the front in France. There he was shot again (this time in the arm so he was unable to use a rifle) and he was sent home to Australia.

Dan shares part of his name with his great grandfather (and the legendary hero of Norse mythology), and is proud to name his wines after him.

Sigurd is Dan's dream come true. Dan grew up in Yenda, NSW. He started working for Jacob's Creek before taking on a double degree in wine and viticulture in Wagga Wagga. He completed vintages locally (in the Hunter and the Barossa Valley) and across the pond in Central Otago before moving to the grand old regions of Bordeaux and Barolo. The first vintage of Sigurd was released in 2012.

All Dan's wines are minimal intervention, with natural yeasts, no fining or additions except for a small amount of sulphur at bottling.

For clarity, the single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices are displayed. If you are an Oak Barrel member you will receive your 10% discount on all single bottle and mixed 6-pack prices! Click through the products to see your total discount, or see the full range of Sigurd wines here.

Not a member? The Oak Barrel's membership is a one-off $25 fee. It's for life, and it gives you 10% off products in store and online, including tickets to events. If you want to become a member and get a discount instantly, add the membership product to your cart (alongside any products you were after) and the discount will be immediately applied!

Drink well,
Beth

P.S. This week we also have new wines available from Dormilona and Xavier. To see all our new wines, click here. Stay tuned for a new shipment from Western Australia's Brave New Wine, New England's Jilly, South Australia's Yetti and the Kokonut, newcomers Boracchio (Mark Warner, Jauma), Victoria's favourite sons Boomtown Wine, Minim, and Little Reddie, the return of Patrick Sullivan's Jumpin' Juice and more!

Name Image Tasting Notes Single Bottle Price In Any Mixed 6 Wines
Sigurd Rosé 2017   This Rosé is made from Grenache (50%), Shiraz and Mourvedre (20%), and Gewurztraminer (10%).

A floral and fruit driven nose with aromas of cherries, strawberries, and hints of rose water. The palate is dry in style with nice acidity and minerality, though it's not without those lovely Grenache red berry fruits. Textural and fresh and dangerously good drinking.
$29.95 $26.95
Sigurd White Blend 2017   An aromatic and textural blend of Riesling, Garganega, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, and Viognier.

Beautifully perfumed nose with delicate floral notes, just ripe stone fruits and hints of dry spice. Some light skin contact with citrus fruits on the palate.
$34.95 $31.95
Sigurd Red Blend 2015    An interesting take on the GSM blend. Grenache (50%) with Syrah, Mourvedre, and Nebbiolo. Light and juicy with plenty of red berry fruits and floral aromas. A nice amount of tannin and acidity on the palate, keeping those berry fruits lean and fresh. This is a great Spring red. $34.95 $31.95
Sigurd Syrah 2016   Aromas of dark berry fruits, coffee beans, with hints of spice. The palate has rich black cherries and plums. Smooth and velvety, this is a beautiful expression of Australian Shiraz. $39.95 $35.95 
Sigurd 'Hoyde' Chardonnay 2017   Dan was excited for us to try this one. Inspired by both French and Australian Chardonnay, aged in 100% new Meursault oak. This wine is full flavoured, textural, and complex. An aromatic nose of honey nougat, citrus fruits, apples, and floral notes. The palate is generous with stone fruits kept lean by a healthy dose of minerality. Plenty of length and depth.

This is a damn fine Chardonnay. Very limited (only a single barrel was made). 
$46.95  $41.95

Still here? Please enjoy this happy photo of Dan with a puppy:


Posted: 18/10/2017