Our Featured Wine Club Wines For December are
Like many grape varieties, Chardonnay first came to Australia in the collection of James Busby in 1832, but it only really took off in the 1950s. It is most significant in South Australia, New South Wales — especially the Hunter Valley - and Victoria. One of the first commercially successful Chardonnays was produced by Murray Tyrrell in the Hunter Valley in 1971. Tyrell's vineyard was planted with Chardonnay cuttings that he "borrowed" from Penfolds' experimental plantings by hopping over their barb-wire fence one night and pruning their vines. The export driven Australian wine industry was well situated for the Chardonnay boom of the 1980s and 1990s and Australia responded with a unique style of wine that was characterized by big fruit flavors and easy approachability. To compensate for the very warm climate, richness was enhanced by the use of oak chips and acid was added during fermentation. During this period the number of Chardonnay plants increased fivefold and by 1990 it was the most widely planted white wine grape in Australia and third most planted overall behind Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Leave it to the Aussies to take the noble French grape and turn it into the wine equivalent of a full-on party. The Chardonnays of Australia continue to wow wine drinkers around the world with their unabashed celebration of opulent fruit and vanilla-oak, full-bodied flavor. Our Chardonnay is no exception.
Full, supple, buttery and fruity, this golden wine delivers from start to clean, lingering finish. Ideal with chicken, fish, salads and cream-sauce pastas.
ITALIAN AMARONE SP
Few wines are as bold as Amarone. Made in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, this specialty wine is produced alongside Valpolicella, a usually medium bodied blend of Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes. Italian Amarone takes the same raw materials and makes them into a treasured, powerful red table wine. The finest Amarone grapes come from bunches that have two well-spaced clusters sticking out to allow the sun to ripen the whole bunch evenly. The secret lies in fragrant, perfectly ripe grapes and how they’re treated. During the harvest a portion of the grapes are diverted from the crusher and set aside to dry on straw mats, eventually turning into extremely sweet raisins. When they’re added to the fermenting wine, they explode into new activity, driving the alcohol content up and increasing the color, flavor and aroma to dizzying heights from the extra skin material.
The Amarone SP is a slightly off-dry wine, although this is offset by the tannic finish of the wine. It is a very intense and complex wine, with a wide array of flavors and aromas. Deep ruby red, this heavyweight wine exudes aromas of sour cherries, dark chocolate, stewed plums, dried fruits, anise, raisins, bitter almond, tobacco, leather and molasses, and has a spicy-earthy bittersweet finish that lengthens on indefinitely from the huge volume of tannins.Delightful with food, Italian Amarone is often enjoyed by itself, sipped outside of mealtime with good conversation and good friends.
Food pairings: Intensely flavored roasts, game and grilled meats, pasta with rich meat sauce, osso buco, or chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Ageing: While the intense fruitiness combines with powerful tannins to make this appealing to drink right away, only after a year of age will the heady perfume of dried fruits and spiciness come out.