I still rather like this label design. The “Pig in the House” is an organically grown chardonnay from Cowra in New South Wales. In the glass, there are aromas of lemon and meal. The palate is mid weight, the length good, the acidity racy and refreshing and the flavours youthful reminding of lemon and nectarine. A well made chardonnay that will suit current drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
I tasted today through five Australian new release chardonnays, all blind, with prices ranging from $22 to $68. The average quality level in Australian chardonnay is very good indeed if you are able to spend $20 or more per bottle. The cooler climate regions of the Mornington Peninsula and Orange shone more brightly than the warmer regions, and Ten Minutes by Tractor’s Mornington Peninsula McCutcheon chardonnay shone brightest.
Huntington Estate Mudgee Chardonnay 2017
This wine has restrained aromatics that remind of lemon, pear and talc. The palate is dry, with firm acidity, a medium to full body, some depth of flavour, a heated spice expression and a medium length, warm finish. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 13.1%. Price: $22. Source: Sample.
Rowlee Single Vineyard Orange Chardonnay 2016
This wine has pronounced aromatics of lemon, nectarine, cedar and, initially only, smoke and struck match. There is some evidence of oak. The palate is dry, with medium to firm acidity, medium to full body, long length on the finish, and a mineral and crystalline character. From a hitherto unseen label, this is good drinking. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $40. Source: Sample.
Ten Minutes by Tractor Chardonnay McCutcheon Single Vineyard 2015
This wine has restrained aromatics of almond meal and cedar and a golden colour in the glass. There is evidence of good quality new oak. The palate is dry, and the acidity quite linear and zingy. It has refined bones of lemon and minerals, a medium body, good length and quite a subtle bearing. This is an outstanding chardonnay release, and I was not surprised to see this very good producer’s name on the reveal. Rating: Very Good to Outstanding. Abv: 13.8%. Price: $68. Source: Sample.
Pig in the House Organic Chardonnay Cowra 2017
This wine presented with unusual and pronounced aromatics that reminded of dust and green capsicum. The palate is medium to full bodied. There is a roundness to the acidity, but it is not portly. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
Heggies Vineyard Estate Chardonnay Eden Valley 2015
This wine has restrained but primary fruited aromatics of stones, almond meal and lemon zest. There is some evidence of oak and the acidity is quite zingy, spritzy and almost a little hard. The body medium to full and the length quite subtle but persistent. This is a good chardonnay. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $31. Source: Sample.
This is a sangiovese based rosé from organic producer Pig in the House in Cowra. It has restrained and savoury aromatics of raspberry and strawberry. Old oak influences the palate, which has a light to medium body, mid range length, spice and raspberry on the finish and a loose knit but pleasant expression. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
This wine has such a lovely label. In the glass, it has an initial, rich warm climate shiraz impression of baked plums and pepper, before settling to reveal a fruity expression of fleshy blueberries. The palate continues the juicy blueberry theme. (Region: Cowra, New South Wales, Rating: Good, Drink: now)
Other vintages reviewed:
I thought this sauvignon blanc was a rather good one. The label’s great too. Classic SB nose of lemon and gooseberry. The palate is fresh and crisp and the balance just right.
Vendors and website: http://www.piginthehouse.com.au
I usually don’t comment on labels, but this one is very likeable. The wine inside (the 2014 vintage) is good too. Its aromatics are all pepper and plums. The palate is pleasant and savoury, with pepper and earth characters. A good release.
Vendors and website: http://www.piginthehouse.com.au
Cowra is a hot region (for wine) and the warmest of the three New South Wales Central Ranges districts with a mean January temperature of 24.2c. The 2014 chardonnay is nonetheless crafted in a leaner style, suggesting earlier picking, a stylistic choice or perhaps both. Its aromatics remind of lemon, stone and straw. The palate has flavours of lemon, straw and cheese, with some youthful spritz and noticeable quite tart acidity that affected the wine’s balance. Acceptable
Abv: 13%, Price: $17.99, Source: sample, Vendors and website: http://www.windowrie.com.au, Tasted: 2015
This is a pretty good cabernet sauvignon release too from “Pig in the House” in Cowra. It has aromatics of fresh blueberry and pepper. The palate has flavours reminding of blueberry, spice and plum and is balanced with a slight chalkiness. The primary fruit characters of this wine are really rather bright and pure, and it appeals.
First, a couple of thoughts. The first is a response to the question: where’s Cowra? The answer is that the Cowra wine region is a relatively new wine region situated roughly south west of Orange in New South Wales and (much further) north of Canberra. It has a warm, dry and continental growing climate and altitudes of around 300 to 380 metres.
The second is the reference to “organic” on the label. The word evokes “caution” in my mind when it comes to wine, despite being generally partial otherwise to organics (provided of course it’s “better”). I am aware this is not a particularly logical position to take. Doubly so given that the word “biodynamic” does not engender the same caution in my mind. Paradoxically the latter is of course a far more extreme and some would argue more hocus pocus version of viticulture than organics. Probably I rather suspect it is because the early organic wines I tried simply weren’t particularly good – more organic as an excuse, rather than a reason for quality. But I digress.
This organic wine however from “Pig in the House” is nothing like that; it is very good indeed. This is a very rich and pure fruited expression of shiraz, with aromatics reminding of dark plum, pepper and dark cherry. These flavours carry through to the palate and there is relatively long length on the finish to round things out. Overall, this is a very good release of a full bodied, full flavour style of shiraz.