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Cricket-playing nations, and their wines

Clos Henri Winery chapel in Marlborough, New Zealand (Photograph supplied)

Today we will head to the Southern Hemisphere and visit Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, as this is the time to have cricket on our minds – and hopefully wine – as these three nations do both passionately.

The Jim Barry Winery is situated in South Australia in the renowned area of Coonawarra, which is the Aborigine word for honeysuckle. Thirty acres of their land holdings was originally the Penola Cricket Grounds that they purchased in 1996 when this sports facility closed.

A few of their wines reflect this heritage. Our thoughts are on one of the most graceful and beautifully executed shots that a batsman can make as we open a bottle of 2018 Jim Barry Cover Drive Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes grown in Coonawarra and Clare Valley. This wine packs a punch on the nose, with dark red fruits, musk, spice, black cherry, brambles and a hint of vanilla bean. Slippery on the entry, the palate displays upfront dark red fruits, that instantly move into layered darker fruits with delicate tannins and a brambly finish. The Wine Enthusiast awards this 100 per cent cabernet sauvignon 91 points. $25.15 (Stock #6421). Natalie MacLean of Canada rates the 2017 91/100 and you may still find a few magnums in our shops. $47.35 (Stock #6428). Look for the batsman on the label.

As we are in Australia you may be thinking of shiraz, so how about 2017 Jim Barry Lodge Hill Vineyard Shiraz? The wine is a deep red with a bright magenta hue. Vibrant aromatics of red and black berry fruits, a lift of violet florals, clove spice and mixed garden herbs. The palate is dominated by a lively burst of berry fruits, which are well framed by fine, powdery tannins. Juicy plum and blackberry flavours persist through the finish, with sweet spice to close.

Wines & Spirits magazine has this to say: “Peter Barry makes this wine with fruit from his family’s Lodge Hill Vineyard, in the hills three miles east of the township of Clare. It’s a shiraz with vibrant flavours of red and black raspberries, showing off the cool side of Clare in 2017. Fresh and bright, opening to graceful intensity, this is ready to take on crisp-edged grilled pork. 92/100.” $29.05 (Stock #6419).

Winemaker Tom Barry tells us that Lodge Hill sits at 480 metres above sea level and is one of the highest vineyards in the Clare Valley.

“Its cool, south-facing slopes makes it ideal for producing world-class riesling. Made in a dry style, the wine displays generosity of citrus and stone fruit, with a long, dry finish.” He is referring to their 2020 Lodge Hill Vineyard Dry Riesling. The winery is particularly known for this wine and one reviewer, Nick’s Wine Merchants, awards it 95 points; another, 94/100. It has even been suggested that this wine will still be drinking well in the year 2030! Riesling has a remarkably long life cycle compared with most white wine grapes. $26.90 (Stock #6418).

When the Henri Bourgeois family, so well known for their sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley in France (sancerre and pouilly fume) decided to set up in New Zealand they did not do it halfway! They planted over 200 acres that they farm organically in Marlborough, an area famous for enhancing the varietal aromas of sauvignon blanc. Their 2019 Clos Henri Bel Echo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was rated 92 points by James Suckling who wrote, “A vibrant and fresh style with ample lemon as well as zesty, tropical-fruit notes.” $26.90 (Stock #7065).

Their top offering is 2019 Clos Henri Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that is a fantastic expression of what their Greywacke river stones are capable of. This sauvignon blanc has a fresh acid backbone, and delicate salinity that leads to a mouth-watering mineral finish. James Suckling gives it 95/100 and comments, “This is so polished and concentrated. It has superbly fresh lime, passion fruit and guava, as well as some fresh herbs and wet stones. The palate has attractively detailed and focused flavours with a zesty, fresh line of acidity and plenty of intense, lively and refreshing lime and passion-fruit flavour. Sleek and polished.” $35 (Stock #7064).

Now we will hop over to South Africa, and the white wine grape that they are particularly well known for, as we consider 2020 Cederberg Chenin Blanc. Fifth-generation winemaker David Nieuwoudt leads a talented team to produce their award-winning wines from the highest lying vineyards in this country. They flourish in a pure, virus-free environment. This chenin is aromatic with grassy notes of capsicum, gooseberries, white asparagus and lime zest. The finish is very refreshing. $26.95 (Stock #7180).

Our 2017 DeMorgenzon DMZ Syrah, from the coastal region of South Africa, has a deep purple core and a rich, berry fruit nose with lots of ripe, red plum and whiffs of white pepper. Some floral notes are in the background, including violets, lavender and spring blossoms. Full in the mouth with layers of berry fruit and developing spices of pepper, cinnamon, clove and vanilla. Gentle oak integration is complimented by black tea, vanilla and dark chocolate. $27.85 (Stock #7187).

• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at mrobinson@bll.bm. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm

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Published July 22, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated July 22, 2022 at 7:49 am)

Cricket-playing nations, and their wines

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