When Pyrenees winery Taltarni recently got in touch and asked if we’d like to give readers the chance to win two double passes to dinner with winemaker Robert Heywood and food curated by former Masterchef Ben Milbourne at Stokehouse City, the answer was an immediate “yes”.
Each double pass to the September 12 event, is worth $300 and this is a money-can’t-buy experience, only available to Taltarni’s Cellar Key Club members.
To enter, head to our Facebook page, find the photo of Ben Milbourne, tag a friend you want to take with you to the dinner and let me know which of the Taltarni wines is your favourite. Winners drawn Monday, September 7.
I’ve given a few tasting notes below to help you on your way.
Now to the wines and the Pyrenees – a region I have a real weakness for.
The Pyrenees French connection
Like many wine regions with gold mining histories, the Pyrenees story dates back to the 1880s. Wine production ceased as the prospectors moved away and the land was used for grazing until the 1960s, when French brandy producer Remy Martin set up Chateau Remy just outside Avoca. It’s now the Blue Pyrenees winery but there is still a strong French presence in the region. Taltarni is owned by the Goelet family and has a history of employing French winemakers, while Michel Chapoutier, one of France’s most revered makers of shiraz, has bought vineyards in the region.
Read more about the Pyrenees here.
Taltarni Cuvee Rosé 2011 (Victoria, South Australia & Tasmania)
Here’s a sparkling bargain to stock up on for the spring. This pink is a traditional blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier that’s made in the methode-traditionelle manner and spends four years ageing on yeast lees. It gets its salmon hue from a top-up of 18ml of Tasmanian pinot noir when the wine is disgorged. Aromas of red berries, Scotch Finger biscuit and lemon zest are complex and alluring. It’s zippy, zesty and concentrated in the mouth. 93/100
Taltarni Fumé Blanc 2014 (Pyrenees & Tasmania)
Pyrenees sauvignon blanc is a much underrated wine. Fumé blanc on a label indicates the wine has been fermented in oak barrels, meaning complexity and texture. It treads a complex line between herbaceous, grassy notes and bright, tropical fruit aromas. It’s similar in the mouth, with a smooth texture, bright mineral-laced acidity and a refreshing finish. 92/100
Taltarni Blanc de Pyrenees 2014 (Pyrenees)
A field blend of grapes that’s mostly sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, with semillon, riesling and viognier in the mix. Smelling of honeysuckle, apricot (viognier’s influence) and tropical fruit, it’s a heady combo of aromas. It’s textured and bold in the mouth, with stone fruit, papaya and passionfruit flavours, plus zesty lemon-flavoured acid. 90/100
Taltarni Shiraz Viognier 2013 (Pyrenees)
Shiraz is co-fermented with viognier (8% of the mix) and when the two come together they produce a floral red of texture and concentration. That’s what we have here, black cherry, plum and blackberry aromas, and a smooth texture that delivers floral perfume in the mouth along with blackberry and blueberry flavours. A structure of vibrant acid, sandy tannins and a powerful finish makes for a tasty, accomplished wine. 92/100
Taltarni Old Block Estate Shiraz 2013 (Pyrenees)
It’s 87% shiraz with a touch of cabernet sauvignon and mourvédre in the mix. Picked over a two-week period to ensure optimum ripeness (looking for harmony between fruit flavour and acid) and whole berries were fermented. It has produced a wine of complex blackberry, dark cherry, liquorice and dark chocolate aromas. Rich and concentrated, with sweet blackberry, plum, cherry, tar and spice flavours, it’s also a wine of restraint. There’s energy and vibrancy to the acid and grippy tannins that drive an earthy, lengthy finish. 92/100
Taltarni Old Block Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Pyrenees)
There’s 12% shiraz in the blend, which is no bad thing in my books. Grapes were sourced from a block of vines planted when Taltarni was established in 1969. The blackcurrant, blackberry, spice and a hint of eucalypt on the aromas are complex and alluring. These characters are mirrored on the grippy, bold palate, along with malty oak, loam and a choc-redcurrant flavour on the finish. 92/100