Friday, September 3, 2021

On the weekend of October 22-24, the Riverland will be celebrating and showcasing its best at the Riverlation Wine & Food Festival.

The Riverland wine region has come a very long way since I spent nearly three years working up there at the turn of the century. In those days there were almost no wines which said “Riverland” on the label. They were usually labelled as, South Australia, as the region had such a poor reputation.

Then it was basically a bulk wine producing area with probably the most “boutique” winery in the area being the then recently opened, Hardy’s Banrock Station. There was a food and wine festival each year, held just outside the Berri Hotel on the banks of the river, however, it was much more a “celebrate with friends” affair than a discover and taste new wines and food.

In less than two decades the region has significantly transformed. Yes, the big guys are still there making mega-litres of wine, but there are a rapidly growing number of genuine boutique wineries which are producing some sensational wines, especially from emerging variety wines.

The Riverland’s dry, hot climate makes it ideal for many of the native Mediterranean grape varieties which are much more heat and drought tolerant then the “classic” French varieties. Today the region is producing some of the best examples of Mediterranean varietal wines made in Australia, with an ever increasing number of varieties becoming available. For example, 2020 was the very first vintage of the vibrant Portuguese, Fernão Pires white, and the exciting Spanish red, Prieto Picudo, made in Australia – both in the Riverland.

Riverlation Wine & Food Festival (RWFF) offers a wide range of wine, food and cultural experiences across a number of venues, in the Riverland. The event is designed to showcase the very best the region has to offer, and kicks off on the Friday night with a formal seven course degustation dinner at the Riverland Wine Centre, on the banks of the Pike River. The dinner will feature medal and trophy winning Riverland GI wines from the 2021 Riverland Wine Show.

Having attended the awesome “Stars of the Riverland” degustation dinner in June, I can assure you that the meal and wine matching will be sensational. The food will incorporate a number of native ingredients, all carefully matched so as to complement the award winning wines from this year’s wine show.

This excellent venue will then be the wine “village” at the centre of the weekend’s events, ably supported by a raft of local cellar doors who will be serving food and music to accompany their excellent wines along with exhibitions by local artists.

RWFF will showcase the very best that this evolving and exciting region of South Australia has to offer, and it will make a seriously great event of a weekend up in the Riverland. So if you are in South Australia and currently unable to visit the wine regions of Europe, why not consider a weekend “just up the road” and discover some truly awesome wines being made in our very own Riverland. It will be an exciting adventure which you will not regret.

For more details on this tremendous event you can visit the following website link: www.riverlandwineandfood.com

Or, email: events@riverlandwine.com.au

This Week's Wine Review:

This week’s review is all about CHARDONNAY. I have always been a big fan of good quality Chardonnay. Not the old fashioned lumps of timber that used to be served up in the 1990s, nor the battery acid, Sav Blanc ‘wannabes’ that some people dished up last decade, but rich, round, flavourful Chardonnays, with some creaminess and toasty characters, yet having a solid, even steely central core. Oh, Yum – I salivate just at the thought of them.

Tasmania produces some stunning, cool-climate Chardonnay which are tight and austere when released and demand a degree of patience in order to appreciate them at their best, usually around five years after vintage, but thriving through till they become teenagers. All the while gaining colour, depth, complexity and losing their tightness and astringency.

Here is a ‘classic’, top-class, Tassie Chardonnay in the making – just needs a bit of time to round out and soften off a tad. It is the already divine, DALRYMPLE 2018 ‘CAVE BLOCK’ PIPERS RIVER (TASMANIA) CHARDONNAY.

What a stonking great wine this is, with a sophisticated bouquet of stone fruit, citrus and just a smidge of buttery toast. The palate is creamy, rich, yet steely and tight with lashings of divine Chardy-flavours leading to a tight, austere, refreshing finish.  

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS and just in need of a bit of time, say two to four years to round out, soften off and become TOTALLY SUBLIME.

Next time you are your local bottle-o, keep an eye out for this beauty or if not there grab hold of another Tasmanian Chardonnay – it won’t disappoint as the Taswegians make some of the best, most sophisticated Chardy’s in the land. Go and check them out!!!

Cheers, have a great week and remember to always #chooseaustralianwine.

Winery Link: www.dalrymplevineyards.com.au