Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Ducks in a Row

Well, it's official. I'm feeling very, very sorry for myself. You see it all started yesterday when an invisible force smacked me hard in the face with a nasty head cold which, today, left me stuck on the couch choosing between Ready Steady Cook and MacGyver.

Yeah, I've had better days. Like, last Sunday. I drove to McLaren Vale to visit the lovely and passionate couple behind Ducks in a Row: Amanda and Glenn James Pritchard. Of course I can't not mention their very affectionate and wonderful wine dog, Roger, who I instantly fell in love with. And, after trying to eat my cardi and my dress, I figure he took a bit of a liking to me, too. Aw, Roger. Oh, so pretty.

Amanda and Glenn have been making wines under the Ducks in a Row label since 2009, with an aim to explore and produce new and lesser known varieties. I was lucky enough to have a tasting of the Fiano, Nero D'Avola, Tempranillo/Graciano/Mataro (TGM) and the Mataro - all from the 2011 vintage, and all of which were pretty damn fine. My favourites were the Fiano ($25) and the TGM ($25).

To be completely Frank, I've never quite understood texture in white wine - until I tasted this Fiano. Glenn, who has been making wine for decades, including for Penfolds and Hardys, puts it down to the making of the wine.

"Hand-picked grapes, minimal winemaking intervention, naturally fermented and then matured for 12 months in contact with its own yeasts and without oak, minimal suflur used prior to bottling, this wine is complex, aromatic and textured," he says.

For me, the TGM screams complexity: parcels of red fruit run in parallel with savoury notes while the Graciano provides a vibrant lift all the way through the wine.

But it's not just the the wine from Ducks in a Row that sparks my interest. The wine labels, individually, represent particular pieces from the below painting, which was crafted by the very wonderful, French-born Australian artist Mirka Mora.

There's some exciting news coming from Ducks in a Row, too. They're about to bottle and release a very special wine from grapes picked during the 2011 vintage. The wine? A Vermentino, Moscato Giallo and Fiano blend, to be known as Pandora's Amphorae.

What makes this wine unique is the way in which it has been made - in a terracotta vessel, or amphorae, originally used to make wine back in the heyday of the Greeks and the Romans. Only 800 bottles will be bottled in total and about half have already sold. For an interesting read on the winemaking process and how it affects the fruit and resulting wine, check out this post, written by Glenn just after the 2011 vintage.

You can also keep up-to-date with the latest happenings at Ducks in a Row here.

Until then, happy drinking. No drinking for me, though. I have to stick to my Lemsip. Doctor's orders.

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