Congratulations to Kilikanoon on being named James Halliday’s Australian winery of the year 2013. James Halliday is author of the Australian Wine Companion and is a well respected writer, author, judge, ex-winemaker and general promoter of Australian wines. We’re long term fans of these fabulous wines too so to celebrate their success we’re offering 12.5% discount on all Kilikanoon wines until the end of August – we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.
Kilikanoon are based in South Australia; they have vineyards in the Barossa and Clare Valleys and the quality of the wines is truly exceptional.
Many of you may be familiar with their ‘Lackey’ Shiraz, which they describe as their workhorse wine. The distinctive label with a humble pair of workboots on the label belies the quality of the liquid inside the bottle – this stuff is head and shoulders above any mass produced syrupy Shiraz currently flooding the market.
At the other end of the scale, they make a range of small quantity, superb quality premium wines from their best vineyard sites: M Shiraz from McLaren Vale; Green’s Vineyard Shiraz and R Reserve Shiraz from Barossa; and Oracle and Covenant from Clare. Each of these wines is exceptional, delicious and speaks of where it comes from, exactly as great wine should.
Kilikanoon is firmly rooted in the traditions of South Australia which is why you’ll find some of the regions classic wines in their portfolio. The Medley is a Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvèdre blend inspired by the wines of the Southern Rhône. We sampled the 2005 vintage at our Merchant tasting last November and it was definitely one of the stars of the show. The Killermans’ Run Shiraz is a blend of grapes from Barossa and Clare and is a perennial JN favourite.
It’s not all reds at Kilikanoon either. They do a lovely Clare Valley Riesling which is utterly delicious in the sunshine. It’s called Mort’s Block after founder and chief winemaker Kevin Mitchell’s father, Mort. Their barrel fermented Semillon is also worth investigating, Semillon is a sadly underrated variety but it ages brilliantly and when young has a distinctly Sauvignon Blanc freshness but with much more body and complexity.
Cheers to all the team at Kilikanoon - we salute you!
When it comes to choosing red wines for summer drinking it helps to consider what the wine is for, i.e. who will be drinking it and when and with what. Not wishing to overcomplicate the situation (at the end of the day we are of course talking about having something to drink, not brain surgery) but having a glass of wine should surely be as pleasurable an experience as possible.
We may think of white wines being more appropriate for summer but let’s face it; our climate doesn’t exactly require serious effort to remain sufficiently cool and hydrated! Depending on your taste and the occasion, different styles of red wines may be more enjoyable.
Soft and fruity reds (available as 6 or 12) are not necessarily light in flavour, but they have a soft and relatively delicate texture. These wines are great for picnics and summer parties and because they are lighter they are great for drinking on their own, without food, or on long afternoons in the sun (or rain, who cares?!). The softness comes from the actual grapes themselves, some grape varieties have thinner skins and more pulp so they make softer, juicier wines. These particular wines are also made to be enjoyable when young so they don’t need to age and they suit their upfront fruity character. These are probably the most friendly and easy going red wines available.
In contrast, rich reds (available as 6 or 12) can certainly be very smooth and fruity but they have a stronger taste, they are more concentrated and dense and they have more tannin and acidity and may age for longer. Tannins give wine structure and leave that drying sensation on your gums and the insides of your cheeks, much like very strong tea does. Tannins actually help to break down the protein in food so wines with stronger tannins go well with meaty dishes. The wines in these cases have stronger, more robust flavours and go really well with meats in all kinds of sauces from chillies to barbecue sauces and relishes - brilliant with all that charred meat we’re grilling up on the barbecue at this time of year.
We also have a mixed case of every style – light whites, sumptuous whites, soft and fruity reds and rich reds for anyone interested in exploring the different styles of wine available. When the case is finished you can always come and talk to us about the wines you’ve enjoyed and we would be delighted to help you find some more bottles to suit you.
The winds of change are blowing gently through the Artadi vineyards. 2011 was the first year they strictly adhered to organic agricultural principles in all their plots. On top of this, they have started to apply biodynamic agricultural principles to some of their plots. The Artadi family have always had a deep respect for their land; when winemaker and owner Juan Carlos López de Localle was last here he told me that leaving his vines to travel felt like leaving his babies. This man truly understands the individual nature of each of his plots and how these differences and details reflect in his wines. It’s completely fascinating and inspiring to hear him talk. Juan Carlos may not speak English like a native, but he can absolutely convey his passion and knowledge with the utmost clarity. I defy anyone to spend some time in his company and not be won over by this man’s passion, skill and charming humility.
The old adage that great wines begin in the vineyard is absolutely true. A great winemaker can make a good wine from less than perfect grapes. A terrible winemaker can make bad wine from fabulous grapes, but to make a truly outstanding wine you need superb quality raw materials and the talent to make a wine that fully expresses its nature and beauty. It takes quite a leap of faith to completely surrender to the whims of Mother Nature when your livelihood and reputation hinge on getting a great natural product. It’s one thing to respect Mother Nature, it’s quite another to decommission all the weaponry you can call upon should she make life difficult. So when the Artadi people decided to go fully organic in 2011, there must have been a few sleepless nights when the weather didn’t exactly pan out as a perfect growing season. 2011 turned out to be an uncharacteristically dry year, with a cooler than normal summer which led to a long ripening season - but the grapes were really healthy. August and September saw a radical increase in temperature in the lead up to harvest so all in all this was a far from typical year in the Rioja region.
And the result? In the words of Juan Carlos: “Today, the tasting of these wines show cleanliness, transparency, fruitiness, freshness, muscular energy, the force of youth, and when we taste our emblematic plots, we can feel more deep vibrations, more reflection, voluminous sensations, text and sounds more difficult to interpret which predict a vintage of great merit”.
We look forward to their arrival.
Click here to see 2011 Artadi wines available to purchase en primeur.
Click here for some Artadi wines available for purchase now.
Click here for a list of all our wines currently available to purchase en primeur, including 2010 Artadi wines.
Bordeaux’s reputation as a wine for status seekers and showoffs, backed by slick marketing campaigns to attract buyers with more cash than caution, may be a bit of an old chestnut, but therein lies a grain of truth – at least when applied to the huge prices commanded by the Le Pins and Lafites of the world. This largely undeserved reputation has the unfortunate effect of persuading serious, but recession-hit wine drinkers that Bordeaux is an area to avoid. JN Wine hopes to explode the myth and Jim Nicholson has personally selected 3 affordable Bordeaux (from hundreds tasted on his April tasting trip to Bordeaux) that offer really good value for money. All the wines are ready to drink now. We are offering a case comprising 4 of each for the knockdown price of £140 (a saving of over £25.00):
Trio of Clarets Case includes 4 of each of the following:
Chateau Maquin 2009 From the excellent 2009 vintage a great petit chateau which is drinking beautifully. Raspberry and plum fruit in abundance, lovely silky texture, creamy with well integrated ripe tannins. (Jane Boyce MW, JNWine) £11.95 per bottle
Chateau Chollet 2005 Mineral black fruit and graphite on the nose. Lively palate with fine grained tannins. Very well balanced; elegant, fresh style (Jane Boyce MW, JNWine) £12.95 per bottle
Chateau Lamothe Bergeron 2007 Black fruits, spice, smoke and rose. Serious, with good extraction of flavour, oak and structure. Fresh and long. Drink from 2010 (www.decanter.com) £16.50 per bottle
The wines will be open for tasting in the shop this Saturday (21st July) from 12-5pm. Come and see for yourself.
My taste in wine has evolved somewhat over the years and it seems to follow a particular pattern. I stumble across a wine that I love then I drink around it - I look for wines made from the same grape(s) or from the same area to try to really understand what it is that I loved about the original bottle and how to find more wines in a similar vein. This is how the whole world of wine has opened up to me - in little pockets which lead on to other little pockets. Admittedly there have been a few horrors along the way but at the end of the day it's a labour of love and I'm happy to persevere.
Part of the fascination of wine is the huge variety of wines out there to be discovered. There is always something new to learn, something else to try, but with such endless possibilities available we sometimes need a nudge - a reason to try something new or a hint that something is just what we're looking for. We all love recommendations so we've put together some mixed cases to inspire some new discoveries. The wines are grouped together by style; the essential characters of the wines are the same but there is enough variation between them to keep it interesting and varied. All the wines are great quality and very enjoyable.
Light whites (available as 6 or 12 bottle case) are wines that are fresh and fruity with no oak (for the 'anything but chardonnay' people). These are very easy-going white wines that can be drunk alone or with food. If you love the fruity nature of Sauvignon Blanc and the delicate freshness of Pinot Grigio then these are similar in character and well worth a try if you’re looking for something new.
Sumptuous whites (available as 6 or 12 bottle case) are rich, generous and broad flavoured. These white wines have more body and fullness than light whites. Because they have more depth and flavour they go really well with food and will stand up to roast chicken or pork or even cheese or creamy dishes. Some of these wines will have been aged in oak barrels but the oak is never overpowering – it supports the fruit and gives the wine a savoury, warming edge. Chardonnay would generally fit into this category as do the gorgeous wines of Alsace and there are some fabulous blends to discover too.
We’d love to hear what you think, what’s your style?