Welcome to a trio of fantastic Monster wines including the 2013 Mount Monster Shiraz — deep purple with the lovely pink hue that I find so inviting. The nose displays spicy black olive, redcurrant and blackcurrant and is quite assertive when you dip your nose into the glass. The palate is rich and flavoursome with savoury coffee flavours combined with deep sour cherry, plum and blackcurrant notes (rrp $16).
The 2013 Mount Monster Chardonnay has apricots, citrus and green apples on the nose and palate. This fruit-driven wine has ample acidity and fruit to match, with no sign of oak. A clean-cut chardonnay, just like they used to make years ago before oak became the dominant feature (rrp $16).
Monster by name and monster by nature is the 2013 Mount Monster Cabernet Sauvignon. This cabernet certainly over-delivers on nose and palate. The fruit on the nose overflows with red/blackberry. The fruit cascades from nose to palate and really bites with quality and flavour. The oak is prevalent but also in check while the tannins are firm and intense. The fruit struggles slightly to exert itself above the tannins but manages to do so. The flipside is a full-bodied wine at a very reasonable price from a winemaker who’s been in the business for more than 100 years (rrp $16).
Bilgavia was established in 2003 in the Singleton region of the Hunter Valley. The 2014 Bilgavia Hunter Valley Pinot Noir offers sour cherry and raspberry with a whiff of spice and French oak. The palate is light-bodied with Cherry Ripe flavours and a touch of cinnamon and herbs. Again, French oak is evident but not overly so. The finish is dry and fruit-driven (rrp $26).
The pale lemon colour of the 2014 Berton Vineyards Metal Label White Viognier has eye appeal. The nose offers lime and plenty of it, with hints of apricots and peach. The palate is awash with musky, limey, apricot flavours. The wine has balanced acidity. Although this is a grape variety that many people can’t pronounce they should endeavour to seek out this wine. It’s perhaps a little one-dimensional in the lime department but I liked it because it made me sit up and take note. An excellent wine that comes highly recommended at an excellent price (rrp $12).
The nose of the 2013 Angullong Fossil Hill Shiraz Viognier oozes with musky aromatics with underlying peppery spice and redcurrant and black cherry. The palate has a soft mouth-feel of fruit, alcohol, oak, tannins and acid all in harmony with each other. The wine is full-bodied with copious amounts of fruit with a firm dry finish. A lovely pristine wine with depth of flavour (rrp $24).
Tyrrell’s, one of the first families of wine, has been sourcing grapes from its Heathcote property, purchased and first planted in 1994, for the 2013 Tyrrell’s Lost Block Heathcote Shiraz. Heathcote has quite a name for making this style of wine. The palate is soft with plum, blackberries and raspberries as well as coffee notes. The oak is supportive and appears to be minimal. This full-bodied wine displays fruit aplenty and is a winner for $18 (rrp).
As dessert wines go, they don’t come much better than the 2008 Nugan Estate Darlington Point Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon, with Golds and two Trophies attached. Winemaker Darren Owers has honed his skills well in the years he’s been at Nugan Estate and it shows across Nugan’s whole wine portfolio. This wine is deep amber with a lifted floral bouquet of apricots, quince, orange marmalade and spice and a warm and rich palate, with pineapple and nectar to the fore. The wine waxes the gums with lovely powerful fruity overtones which linger. A brilliant wine (rrp $17.95 — 375ml).
Orange Food Week, now in its 24th year, will take place from Friday April 10 to Sunday April 19. The diversity and range of products emanating from this region is nothing short of astonishing. Interested visitors can register online.
Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE.