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The Independent Weekly thirst
Philip White http://drinkster.blogspot.com/
Kalleske Eduawrd Old Vine
$75; 15.5% alcohol;
Classical dry country northern
Barossa red, this. It has the prettiest
confectioner's bouquet, with
marshmallow sugar, fairy floss and
musk sticks giving the lollyshop top
notes, while below simmers the
licorice, the deep dark berries, the
prunes, dried figs and pithy tannins, l
ike dried apple. There is no intrusive
oak, and while the alcohol is big, the
wine has the density to balance it,
and the structure to ensure it lasts a
good twenty years. The Kalleske family
was amongst the first in the Barossa
to embrace hard-core organic and
biodynamic practice; their wines are
increasingly lively and bright as a result.
Taltarni Methode Traditionelle
Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meun
$26; 13% alcohol;
Fruit from the colder bits of Victoria and
the Adelaide Hills, and some of the best
bits of Tasmania, fizz around politely but
cheekily in this bonnie glass. The naughty
salmon hue is the result of a little red
wine being added to provide the taché --
the stain. It has the dry, husky aroma of
a field of wheat ready for harvest, with
that red blush helping to accentuate the
strawberry side of the Pinots. It has a
delightful measure of sweetness -- not
too much -- to counterpoint the dry
tannins of the Pinot meunier, and that
stretched grainy phenolic which makes
you crave more than hors d'oeuvres and
Rick Burge is Grant Burge s
cousin. They run completely
separate businesses, and wide
apart they are -- in flavour, size,
attitude and presentation. Like in
those fast, post Krondorf/Burge &
Wilson years when Grant was pass-
ing everything in the only brown V8
Porsche ever seen, Rick was quieter
and quicker on his caf racer.
In 1986, Rick and his wife
Bronnie bought Grant out of all
the old family Wilsford winestocks,
winemaking equipment, and the
family s Draycott property.
Rick had been making wine at
Rutherglen, much in the footsteps
of his dad, Noel, a fortifieds expert
who d worked twelve years at Berri
Estates before taking his place at
Wilsford. Grant s father, Colin,
retired in 1981.
Since those days, Grant and
Bronnie have quietly run their
Burge Family Winemakers at
Lyndock, increasingly managing
their small suite of precious vine
gardens along organic and biody-
namic principles. They now reserve
the Wilsford brand for the stunning
ancient fortifieds from the old
family cellar, established in 1928.
Rick makes about the smartest
Semillon in South Australia.
Semillon, the white of Bordeaux
since the early 1700s, was one of the
first whites grown successfully in
Australia, beginning in Sydney and
the Hunter Valley.
Captain Charles Sturt was sent
off to Cape Town to buy more white
cuttings when a smoky roomful of
affluent South Australians passed
the hat around in the new South
Australian parliament. As much
of the Cape s whites were various
types of Semillon, we imagine that
most of what he brought back was
It went to Clare and the Barossa.
In the Hunter, it was variously
called Shepherd s Riesling, Hunter
Riesling, Chablis, White Burgundy,
or just plain Riesling, until the
1980s. In the very early days it seems
the Barossa called it Clare Riesling,
which, confoundingly, was the Clare
winemakers name for Crouchen
until about the time the Hunter
began using the name Semillon.
In those early 80s, when I
suggested the Clare winemakers
should call their Clare Riesling by
its proper name, Crouchen, and
instead call their "Rhine Riesling"
Clare Riesling, they were convinced
people would think their true
Riesling was Crouchen.
At least we got that sorted.
Crouchen disappeared. Some lucky
buggers even got paid for removing
it in the Vine Pull Scheme. Not a
great variety, Crouchen.
There s even a slightly bronze or
pink-skinned type of Semillon in
some Barossa vineyards, which is
called Red Semi in the local patois.
This is a stunning grape. I suspect
this may be what the Hunter blokes
labeled Verdelhao until things
began getting real in those crucial
I don t know of any of the
original Hunter Verdelhao surviv-
ing, so I ve never checked this itch.
From dim memory of the amazing
65 Lindemans Verdelhaos, the
flavours are very similar. I d better
ring Karl Stockhausen. He probably
Last week Rick presented me
a glass of his 2010 Semillon. He
has chosen, after many wooded
vintages, to make this one without
any carpentry. It seems to have
freckles, so pale and shy it be. It
smells of beurre blanc, the sauce
one makes with butter and lemon
and pours upon whiting fillets
wrapped about prawn mousseline,
with which Cath Kerry broke hearts
in the late 70s. I d like to have some
now with this wine. But this 10
also has a layer of cool cucumber,
which chills everything just so neat
and true you feel just like that. Like
thaaat. Sliced onto the eyelids. The
original Issye Miyake for lasses.
It should last fifteen? Twenty
years? Another reason to stay alive.
Then he poured the 2002 model.
Oaked. And this was the last year
he used cork, so they vary. This was
the prettiest, lightly buttery drink.
It reminds me of the 82, 84 and
86 Quelltaler Estate Wood-Aged
Semillons made by the brilliant
Michel Dietrich at what is now
called Annie s Lane in Watervale.
It s the telling decade, that first
one after bottling: once the fresh
lemony primary fruit begins to
segue into the butter-and-toast of
maturity you can see which wines
will simply chug on forever: I recall
drinking the 65 Hunters in the
early 80s: they were still stunningly
fresh, corks willing.
Dietrich s Semillons are still
majestic, totally seductive wines
when the corks permit, and I think
some of the best wooded whites yet
made in this state.
This 02 Burge Family is still
pale and polite, and so goddamn
elegant it seems to belong in a 1870s
Adelaide diary of Edith Caroline
Tomkinson or a 1905 pamphlet by
Thistle Anderson. But whilst salon
savvy and gently curved, it has a
taut equestrienne within.
Rick makes some delicious reds
too. He d decanted them, poured
them back into their bottles, so
they d had 24 hours of air when we
tasted them. And now, another 24
and they re still awakening.
Go visit the Burge Family. Take
Quality runs in the family
Close ties: Rick Burge (pictured) is cousin of winemaker Grant Burge and son of fortifieds expert Noel Burge.
Ravensood Lane, Hahndorf,
phone (08) 8388 1250
Adelaide Hills Most Innovative Cellar
Door, Bistro & Winery Experience
Appreciate Exquisite Single Vineyard Wines.
Linger over lunch in the Bistro, Open 7 days.
Savour James Brinklow's elegant new menu.
See a new state-of-the-art small batch winery.
Discover sweeping views.
Friendly service. Casual Bliss!
OPEN 7 DAYS FROM 10AM
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