Red Wine Frog’s Leap Zinfandel 2018. Frog’s Leap takes its unusual name from the practice of frog farming which took place back in the 19th century on the land where the original winery sat. Today considered one of Napa’s most iconic estates, the modern winery was founded in 1981 by John Williams and Larry Turley who started out their careers working at top wineries like Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. To found their own winery the duo were forced to sell their motorbikes since they were unable to find a bank willing to fund such a risky endeavour as setting up a winery. The winery then moved in 1995 to a new location at the Red Barn in Rutherford, developing a greater focus on both quality and sustainability. They now only work with organically grown grapes and do not irrigate their vines unless absolutely necessary. Above all their wines are elegant and complex, taking inspiration from the finest examples on the market and interpreting their greatness in a way that is distinctively their own. A great example is this classy Zinfandel which was made in the style of the elegant Zinfandel-dominant field blends produced in California in the 1940s and 1950s. Rather than being incredibly powerful and full bodied, this refined Zin boasts a complex and intensely perfumed nose followed by luscious berry flavours, smooth tannins and a very long finish.
Red Wine Frog’s Leap Zinfandel 2018
Red Wine Gattavecchi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2018. The Gattavecchis are one of the oldest winemaking families in Montepulciano with viticultural roots that stretch back at least five generations. Over the years they have helped play a key role in the modern winemaking revolution in Tuscany. Today they own some of the top vineyard sites in both Montepulciano and San Gimignano and a modern winery run entirely on renewable energy which are taken care of by Valente Gattavecchi and his children, Luca, Gionata, and Daniela. This classic Vino Nobile is made with Sangiovese fruit from Argiano and Ascianello along with a small proportion of other native Tuscan black grape varieties. Once in the winery the fruit is slowly macerated and fermented according to the strict requirements of the DOCG. The young wine then spends two years maturing in a combination of small French oak barrels and larger Slavonian oak casks. In the glass you’ll immediately notice the classic deep garnet colour of the Sangiovese and subtle hints of red cherry, baked earth, and ripe plums which linger in the air. The first sip reveals a smooth medium body with soft tannins and a solid core of ripe red fruit. The easy-going nature of this wine makes it a great match for many Italian dishes like pizza or tomato-based pastas.
Red Wine Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz 2018. The Glaetzer family first arrived in the Barossa Valley in 1888 after leaving their native Brandenberg in Germany to make a new home for themselves in Australia. Here they became some of the first recorded grape growers in Barossa and the Clare Valley. This tradition was continued by Colin Glaetzer who founded his own winery in 1995. Colin’s son, Ben, also followed in his family’s footsteps and in 2004 he was awarded Qantas Young Winemaker of the Year. Today Ben is winemaker at Glaetzer which specialises in producing exceptional Barossa wines in tiny batches. The family is currently experimenting with 35 grape varieties, but the king of Barossa remains Shiraz. This distinguished bottling bears the family name of Colin’s wife and showcases an elegant take on this powerful variety. Grapes are sourced from 30-120 year old vines in the cooler Ebenezer sub-region of Barossa with a long maceration to extract plenty of colour and tannins. The young wine is then aged in new and used French oak barrels for 16 months before bottling. Rich cassis, dark cherry and dried fruit notes define the nose while the first sip reveals a luscious full body, ripe tannins and well-rounded texture with a very long spiced finish. A great wine to keep in the cellar for another decade or so, although it can also be enjoyed now with hearty red meat dishes.