Sundays for me are reserved for lazing about home, catching up on housework, perhaps reading a book and general chilling. I know, I know, I’m starting to sound old when I talk like that but it’s nice to start off the working week relaxed and with a clean house! However this past weekend I broke the routine (shock horror!) and went to a wine tasting in the Swan Valley. I have to admit drinking red wine as the sun set over the grapevines was a pretty lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday – it definitely wins over housework!
A huge thank-you to the team at Upper Reach for inviting me along to their Cellar Club Robust Reds wine tasting to try some of their new release red wines and snack on Hungarian meatball butty’s – Mr. Spittoon and I had a fabulous time and met some very lovely fellow wine-lovers (that’s you ‘Sharron’)!
The tasting was held in the Upper Reach cellar door. It’s such a beautiful setting with the cellar door opening up onto a deck which overlooks the vineyard down to the river. Laura and Derek, the owners of Upper Reach spent the evening mingling with guests to chat about all things wine and Upper Reach. At the end of the tasting everyone had a chance to buy with the added bonus of if you purchase 2 cases then you get a case of Black Bream Red free (which is a very tasty tipple if I do say so myself).
To make the experience educational I took notes, here is what we tried (minus ‘The Gig’ pictured below – hence why I just HAD to buy it 😉 ) and some of my thoughts on them:
Black Bream Red
This $20 tipple is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (all grown at the Upper Reach Vineyard). It’s a purple-red colour on the eye with aromas of red & black currants, vanilla, sweet spices and it has a touch of mint. On the palate it’s juicy with flavours of cherries, toffee apples, a touch of spice and a nice fine tannin structure.
Upper Reach’s suggested food pairing: Weeknight dinner – pizza, spaghetti bolognaise
The Tempranillo grapes for this $30 vino are sourced from the Chittering Valley. Laura & Derek are in the process of growing their own Tempranillo grapes at the moment on their Swan Valley property which they hope are ready next vintage. The 2014 is a deepish magenta colour on the eye. On the nose aromas of cherries & raspberries emerge from the glass followed by savoury herb notes. Both Mr.Spittoon and I were picking up distinct aromas and flavours on the palate of what I’d describe as creaming soda/raspberry cordial. It’s medium bodies on the palate with a neat tannin structure and it makes me crave an afternoon of eating tapas and drinking this wine!
Upper Reach’s suggested food pairing: Spicy pulled pork and slaw, paella
2012 Frankland Cabernet
The 2012 Cabernet ($45 per bottle) is made from grapes coming from the Frankland River, so it’s a cool climate Cab which is quite different to what Swan Valley grown cabernet is like. It’s a medium bodied wine with lovely structure and a certain minty chalkiness to it, Derek said. He said it was quite an astringent wine the first year of aging but then it smoothed out quite nicely – I agree! On the eye it’s a violet colour with racy red hints. On the nose aromas of dark chocolate, blackberry, vanilla custard and a certain minty leafiness came through. On the palate it has plentiful berry sweetness and a nice earthy undertone.
Upper Reach’s suggested food pairing: Peppercorn steak
2012 Reserve Shiraz
The Reserve Shiraz at $38 per bottle is Upper Reach’s flagship wine. It’s their pride and joy and it’ll last 10years+. It’s a full-bodied wine with soft fruit and is most definitely a food wine Derek told us. On the eye it’s a pretty deep mauve colour with aromas of subtle smokiness, plums and black pepper spice. On the palate its big, bold and has an awesomely long finish. To me, it’s a meal in a glass – I just imagine sitting with one of those extra big wine glasses in front of a log fire for an entire night.
Upper Reach’s suggested food pairing: Just a glass and comfy chair… but also with a steak or beef cheeks.
2011 Petit Verdot
I actually already have a couple of bottles of this beauty in my stash in the spare bedroom. From first sip I was in love!
Upper Reach have only a very small planting of Petit Verdot grapes which produce only 3 barrels a year! They’re now into their 3rd vintage for the PV and I hope they keep making it. Laura mentioned it’s most definitely a winter and food wine with distinct menthol characteristics. On the eye it’s a super deep dark purple-red colour. It has a lovely floral perfume which is all class, it’s Upper Reaches Channel No 5 if you ask me. On the palate it has a super silky mouthfeel with great length and lovely flavours of dark rich fruits. a powerful yet elegant wine. $50 a pop from the cellar door.
Upper Reach’s suggested food pairing: Game meat, venison or a well-aged cheese (like Stilton)
We ended up walking out with 1 bottle of each of the reds to take home and enjoy at some point (the Tempranillo was long gone in a matter of hours after the event!).
I love that Upper Reach are really passionate about making small batch wines with an emphasis on food-friendly wines as seriously you can’t go wrong with a great wine and complimenting meal. I am most definitely looking forward to trying some of their food and wine matching suggestions!
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