The Vino Geek – Vintage

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Winter is coming … and what does that mean?
Amongst the wood fires, the coats and the shorter days, Red wine also comes to mind!

How good is it to come home from work, kick off the shoes in front of the fire and grab a glass of delicious red!
I thought in this edition of FOCUS, I’d give you a few wines to match with some winter warmers.
The 2012 Toppers Mountain Wild Ferment Nebbiolo: this is now officially a gold medal wine, recently winning gold at the Berlin International Wine Trophy. Nebbiolo matches phenominally with mushrooms, so I’d recommend a maybe a slow cooked beef and mushroom stew … wowser, I’m making myself hungry!

Taking you to the north of the region and to Kurrajong Downs, not far from Tenterfield. The 2012 Black Duck Shiraz is well worth a look, and offers a great New England Shiraz. Plenty of body and character, perfect with a roast beef or lamb.

If you’re looking for some seriosuly wicked wine, try one of the reds from a very small producer based in Clunes (Just outside of Lismore), called Jilly Wine Co. Whilst their wine is made outside of the region, the fruit primarily comes from the New England, and damn it’s good! Jilly uses wax tops, cloth labels and some out there winemaking techniques, but a more unique wine you will not find. Get your hands on some of Jilly’s reds for the winter … guaranteed warmer.

April marked the end of the 2015 vintage for all the local wineries. A mixed vintage for the whole of the New England region, with scattered rain throughout the harvest in certain weeks, and summertime temperatures in others. Whilst some yields were low, quality is proving to be good, and the fruit that was harvested could be some of the best in recent times. In the north of the region, around Tenterfield, conditions early in the growing season made for a difficult start to the season. Limited rain throughout the spring forced growers to irrigate; however, in late November, the rain arrived, and plenty of it over the next month and a half. Throughout the remainder of the region around the towns of Inverell, Glen Innes, Armidale and Tamworth, rain was scattered in this important veraison (the process of ripening in the grape) time. Some experienced plenty of rain ensuring great fruit growth, while others in the centre of the region had a dry spell.

More scattered showers through the picking season mixed in with some warm temperatures made harvest tricky in places, but most vineyards were able to get fruit off the vines in good time, ensuring the fruit quality remained. Yields throughout the region varied and all hinged on the early spring rain and irrigation.
Plenty of heroes will come from the 2015 Vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc are all looking good, with plenty of Pinot Noir throughout the region also looking promising.

About the Vino Geek: Sam Watson, the Vino Geek, focuses on making good wine more accessible and fun! Check out his website (, like him on Facebook (, and follow him on twitter & instagram (@TheVinoGeek) to keep up to date with reviews, news and special offers!

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