I have been in hospitality for 25 years—starting in hotels, then moving to Italian restaurants in the North of England. I came to Australia in 2002 and began working at Café Dell ‘Ugo in New Farm, which at the time was a Brisbane institution for high-end Italian dining. It was there that I began my real obsession with wine, and particularly Australian classics. In the UK, we were being constantly fobbed off with brands such as Jacobs Creek and Wolfblass, so it was eye-opening to see real deal Aussie wine! After years of holding roles from Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, 2017 was when I moved to Trieste in Italy and travelled through France tasting many fine wines. Back home in 2019, I took the positions of Group Sommelier for City Winery Brisbane and Manager of Carl’s Wine Bar in Newstead. For this week’s Sofa Sommeliers 6-pack, I wanted to show some examples of Old World and New World wines—so you will find 3 of each in your pack. Having gained my initial experience with wine in the Old World before moving to the New, I feel it is interesting to look at examples and see how they reflect the varying terroirs and techniques of both worlds. I hope you enjoy, and keep raising glasses!

- Mark Whitaker, manager Carl’s Wine Bar & Bistro

Dear friend of Carl’s Wine Bar & Bistro,

welcome to your sofa!

A little bit about me… 

From the famous most-northerly region within Burgundy (that lies in the frost pocket valley of the Serein river) comes this quite wonderful expression of Chablis from 5th generation family winemakers, the Gautherons. 100% chardonnay grapes, fermented in stainless steel, this wine undergoes 9-months of lees stirring to add significant structure and texture. 

Tasting notes: aromas of green apples and zesty, bouncy lemon. Signature crunchy, mouth-puckering acidity combined with Chablis famed steely mineral edges make for a clean, elegant and refreshing wine. Sophistication in a glass!

Domaine Gautheron Chablis - Chablis, France

Meaning ‘all white’, this wine is a blend of savagnin, chardonnay, viognier, and pinot grigio. It shows the personality of the estate’s land and terroir. Soumah is tucked away in the Warramate area of the Yarra Valley, prides itself on sustainable practices, and has a love affair with northern Italy. Some of you may not have heard of savagnin, which is an ancient varietal originating in Alto Adige in northern Italy. The grapes are small and thick-skinned, and whilst they ripen late, can still retain wonderful acidity. Due to the blend of grapes, this can be fun to dissect as each grape offers something unique to the mix. 

Tasting notes: aromas are abundant with white blossoms and lemongrass, with a dash of sweeter honeysuckle and white peach. Super crisp and refreshing with sharp acidity, yet with good structure this is perfect for sitting on the balcony at the end of the day as an aperitif.

Soumah Tutto Bianco Field Blend - Yarra Valley, Victoria

Alsace is famed for its ‘King and Queen’ white varieties of riesling and pinot gris, which thrive in the moderate continental climate. 

The house was established in 1836 around the stunning hillsides of the picturesque fortified village of Bergheim, and is now one of the largest family-owned producers in Alsace. The vineyard soils are composed of clay and limestone. 

Tasting notes: this réserve riesling is a classic dry style with a pale yellow colour, and aromas of lemon curd, lime, and Jasmine flowers. Hints of apple pop through the mid-palate, and lively, bouncy acid combines with great structure and a clean finish. This is a wine made for food matching. I tasted it with some washed rind goats cheese and was blown away by the pairing! A quality riesling such as this is perfect for ageing for a few years, so if you can resist the temptation to dive straight in, put it away in the wine fridge for 3 years or longer and see what magic occurs!

Gustave Lorentz riesling - Alsace, France

From Tasmania’s smallest and youngest wine region in the far north, with a cool maritime climate perfect for the revered yet notoriously temperamental pinot noir grape. Ghost Rock was formed as late as 2001, yet have developed an enviable ability to make great wines with pinot, and it has become the bedrock of their estate and portfolio. This is a pretty robust Pinot from 3 single vineyard sites. 

Tasting notes: surprisingly dark fruits and long, persistent tannins mean this is a serious pinot. A savoury, earthy edge combined with a super fresh finish shows that this is true blue Tassie pinot!

Ghost Rock ‘Supernatural’ pinot noir - Cradle Coast, Tasmania

From a tight-knit family estate in the Frankland River area (Western Australia’s most isolated wine region) comes this delicious cabernet franc. This charming and romantic grape is often derided as an ugly sister to the more masculine cabernet franc, yet adapts better to cooler climate regions and can show more finesse and elegance when nurtured properly. This particular cab franc has been aged on lees for 16 months in large format, seasoned French oak. It is unfiltered and unfined and minimal sulphates are utilised. 

Tasting notes: the wine shows fresh, lifted red and black berries with spicy herbaceous undertones, and a wonderfully rewarding medium palate weight with supple yet textured tannin. Bursting with finesse and rather quaffable, so be careful! 

Frankland Estate cabernet franc - Frankland, WA

Known as Spain’s ‘noble variety’, tempranillo is an early ripening yet relatively thick-skinned variety that thrives when warm temperatures are moderated by altitude. The plateau of Castilla La Mancha is situated at altitudes between 500 + 900 metres, and is located south of Madrid. This particular wine is classed as a Crianza—meaning that it must be aged for a minimum of 6 months in barrels, and 24 months in total before release. The Capa itself is sourced from 30-year-old bush vines and is aged in a combination of French and American oak. 

Tasting notes: the wine shows notes of blueberry jam, dark cherry, and roasted coffee beans with a splash of milk chocolate. The palate is full, generous, and complex with firm tannins and solid length. For a food match, I would recommend barbequed lamb or venison with blueberry jus.

Capa Single Vineyard tempranillo - Castilla-La Mancha, Spain

Do you love one or more of these wines?

RRP $225

1x Domaine Gautheron Chablis 

1x Soumah Tutto Bianco Field Blend

1x Gustave Lorentz riesling

1x Ghost Rock ‘Supernatural’ pinot noir

1x Frankland Estate cabernet franc

1x Capa Single Vineyard tempranillo

Carl’s Wine Bar & Bistro Discounted Pack Price $180

Includes 6 wines as suggested by Mark.

i. Shipping flat rate fee of $6 across the Brisbane region.

ii. Retail Sales (process and delivery) are conducted by Hotel Carrington Liquor License 205917. Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 it is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 years (penalty exceeds $6,000) or for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or receive liquor (Penalty exceeds $500). Ph (07) 3844 8958

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