We all want to be seduced… So when I heard about a “speed-dating” inspired wine-tasting, I was intrigued. When I heard that the wines for this fascinating event were going to be from none other than Australia’s First Families of Wine, suddenly May 26th became a highly anticipated day on my calendar!!! The countdown was on.
Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) was founded in 2009 and came together to raise the profile of quality Australian wine at home and around the world. Twelve family-owned wineries belong to this prestigious group: McWilliam’s, Tahbilk, Tyrrell’s Wines, Wakefield, Yalumba, Brown Brothers, Campbells, d’Arenberg, De Bortoli Wines, Howard Park, Henschke and Jim Barry Wines.
As per the organizer’s instructions, I arrived at the Art Gallery of Ontario at 1h30pm sharp and was warmly greeted, given a table number, an empty glass and a booklet describing what was to be served. The Chairman welcomed us and candidly informed us that the aim of this afternoon’s event was to seduce us.
And then it began.
The first bell moved the thirsty crowd to their assigned tables and the first two wines. A second bell sounded six minutes later, indicating a move to the next table and another two wines. Eleven of the twelve families were represented, so there were 11 tables to visit and 22 wines to taste in just over an hour!
We were romanced by the most exquisite selection of wine, from the driest, most unusual whites to the fullest bodied reds - even a sweet botrytised nectar!
The wines were alluring, stunning, and at times jaw-dropping, but do you want to know what “seduced” me the most? The intense passion of each speaker (and oui, the Australian accent was a caress in my ear!). At every table, a member of the family, or even the winemaker himself, welcomed every one of us and lovingly shared as much as they could in the allotted 6 minutes about their land, their family history, and of course, their wines! Their enthusiasm is transformed into an obsession to craft wines that represent the bond they feel to their vineyards and their family.
The diverse panoply of wine styles represented by these 11 families was of the highest quality. Australia may be a powerhouse in new-world style wine production, but AFFW is a reminder of the country’s ability to craft unique, artisanal, yet world-class wines as diverse as its soils, climate and wine regions.
So was I seduced? Too right mate!
2010 Brown Brothers Patricia Chardonnay
2009 Brown Brothers Patricia Cabernet Sauvignon
2013 d’Arenberg The Monkey Spider Roussanne
2006 d’Arenberg The Ironstone Pressings
2014 De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir
2013 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Sémillion
2012 Henschke Mount Edelstone 60th Anniversary Vintage
2005 Henschke Hill of Grace
2014 Howard Park Porongurup Riesling
2012 Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon
2013 Jim Barry The Florita Riesling
2006 Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz
2013 McWilliam’s Appellation Tumbarumba Chardonnay
2012 McWilliam’s Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Tahbilk Museum Release Marsanne
2009 Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz
2010 Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 1 Sémillion
2011 Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 47 Chardonnay
2012 Wakefield St Andrews Shiraz
2009 Wakefield The Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier
2005 Yalumba FDR1A Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz
For my review on all the wines tasted at the event, check WINENOTES!
*Article published on nataliemaclean.com