Food, wine, travel, music
A treat for wine lovers is a new Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia. Donal O’Dwyer is new to winemaking, buying a prime plot in the Clare Valley and producing his first vintage of his wine in 2008. It’s a beautifully made wine, with subtle warm fruits with a decent backbone, no excessive cedar flavours. While oak aged for 20 months in French oak (new and one and two year old casks), it’s not overdone. It may well keep for ten years, but I wouldn’t waste time testing it. It’s just right, just now. €49 is a lot for a bottle of wine, but for a treat for self or as a gift, the carefully handpicked grapes from vines many of which are 8 years old, it’s worth considering. Imported by John O’Dwyer (www.odwyerwines.com) who has list of retail and restaurant stockists.
Donal and Judith O’Dwyer moved to Australia in 2004 and soon found that the Clare Valley was the most likely spot to help them realise their dream to make high quality wine. Sweet Briar, a10.6 hectare property of which six hectares were already planted, was ideal. One parcel was of particular interest. With 70 year old Cabernet Sauvignon vines, it is used produce grapes for the O’Dwyer Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon.
The O’Dwyers join a star studded cast of players on the wine stage. Irish families are well established there. Born in 1855, at the age of 27, Michael Barry left Ennis for Australia and joined the police force. His grandson James Brazill (Jim) became one of under twenty qualified winemakers to work in the Clare Valley. Jim Barry’s range of wines includes The Armagh Shiraz salutes his history, while the Gleeson Ridge label remembers Edward Gleeson who named Clare Valley after his home county and founded Inchiquin vineyards, as well as becoming the first mayor of the town.
Noel Kelly whose parents emigrated to Australia from Newtownards, Co. Down established Clos Clare made wines typical of the region – Riesling and Shiraz. In 2007 the vineyard was bought by neighbours Sam and Tom Barry, grandchildren of Jim Barry who continue to produce Rieslings of exceptional quality.
The Irish continue to pepper the landscape of wine in Australia. More later.