WineAlign

Find the right wine at the right price, right now.

Wynns of Coonawarra: Where Cabernet Soars Solo

By David Lawrason

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

For all its fame and glory, cabernet sauvignon can be difficult to love. Yes, it can sport great aromatics and tannic structure – making it age-worthy and collectible – but in most cases and places, its gruff tannic exterior and penchant for greenness needs tempering, either by blending other grapes like merlot, and/or liberal oak ageing. There are few places in the world where it flies solo, and though many wineries attempt it, few do it well.

One of those successful places is in Coonawarra in South Australia, and one of those few wineries is Wynns, making their 100 percent cabernet Black Label for 60 years.

Winemaker Sue Hodder was recently touring Canada, pouring Black Label and other wines for enthusiasts and trade. We got a good look at the 2013 vintage Black Label, plus the famed John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, the super-premium plot and barrel selection only made in better vintages.

What impressed me about both was their sense of purity and cohesion, their refinement within the context of cabernet’s thick skin. Cabernet’s blackcurrant was in perfect form, not underripe redcurrant, not overripe jam. There was a genteel minty greenness, not strident eucalyptus. There was subtle ferrous/graphite minerality. The tannins were firm but fine.

So the evening we spent with Sue Hodder in Toronto at least, and in other cities as well I suspect, was a great opportunity to try to understand more about her unparalled Oz success with cabernet. Earlier in the day, we sat down with Sue to capture her remarks on video:

The simple answer is that Coonawarra, situated in a remote southern semi-coastal area of South Australia, has the ideal climate for ripening this late-ripening variety. It is one of the cooler regions of Australia – prone to frost – but obviously plenty warm during the growing season. It fits cabernet’s growing cycle like a glove.

But so do other regions like Margaret River in West Australia, Alto Maipo in Chile, mid-Napa Valley in California and various aspects within the mountain slopes of Stellenbosch, South Africa. And let’s add the mid-Medoc of Bordeaux, the classic homeland of cabernet sauvignon. All make great cabernet-based wines, but even in these regions, merlot is often used to flesh them out.

Thus, the reason that Coonawarra can do solo cabernet so well must lie below ground, in its vein of famed terra rossa soil that pushes up close to surface, creating a cigar-shaped mound with elevation barely perceptible to the naked eye. Just below the unremarkable-looking surface lies a layer of red oxidized limestone that was once under the sea. And below that lies white pure limestone. All of these strata are close enough to the surface to be penetrated by the vine roots.

Sue Hodder - Wynns Coonawarra Estate

But what does the soil relationship mean for the wine? I asked Sue Hodder what the terra rossa is delivering – the minerality, that ferrous character? Nope. She simply said “balance”, the secret structural ingredient that cabernet misses in so many other places. It is created by the way the terra rossa mitigates water retention and vine vigour, growing balanced grapes, and in turn, produces balanced wines.

Perhaps the most measurable aspect of balance is the natural and consistent 13% alcohol level that shows up in the wines. Wynns wines are rarely “hot”, and in an era when climate change and consumer preference has been driving alcohol levels higher and higher, this is a welcome relief.

When Sue Hodder arrived to make wine in Coonawarra in 1993, fresh from viticultural work with Penfolds and a graduate degree in agriculture from Roseworthy, the vineyards at Wynns were already decades old. There were some great old vines, but management of the vines over the years had not been optimal. By the time she assumed the chief winemaker role in 1998 it was obvious to her that a major vineyard rejuvenation project was required. She enlisted the help of viticultural specialist Alan Jenkins and they set about replanting, employing new rootstocks, re-aligning, re-trellising and fine tuning the vines to become better conduits of the balance that the soils so naturally provided.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate

That process of tweaking and improving and learning about the soil relationship continues unabated today, partially to engineer the vineyard for global warming, but also to create even more complex and interesting wines.

“Even within the terra rossa zone we are identifying subtle soil differences” Sue explained. “It is leading us into projects like the V & A Lane Cabernet, and other single plot wines”. Another wine in the cabernet line-up is called The Siding, a younger vine, somewhat juicier, less structured cabernet that will be appearing in Canada this year.

Cabernet is the lynchpin of Wynns, but other varieties are also on the docket. A more supple shiraz, a grand single plot shiraz called Michael, a complex cabernet-shiraz called The Gables, the iconic re-striped cabernet-merlot-shiraz, a very fine riesling, and an effortless, fresh chardonnay that nowadays is showing very little oak.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Release 2010Wynns Coonawarra Estate V & A Lane Cabernet Shiraz 2012Wynns Coonawarra Estate The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon 2011Wynns Coonawarra Estate The Gables 2013

But the Black Label is the real storyteller for Wynns. A couple of years ago during the blind tasting challenge called So, You Think You Know Wine?, I was able to deduce this wine as a Coonawarra cabernet, right down to the correct vintage. But I missed a perfect 10 score by over-estimating the price by about $10. Not only is it an excellent wine and an excellent cabernet, it is an affordable lesson and pleasure.

Affordable enough to be the bedrock cabernet sauvignon in not only a budget minded cellar, but any wine lover’s cellar.

Cheers,

David

On a regular basis WineAlign hosts functions for our Members to attend where winemakers and their wines are profiled. These events are often hosted by a WineAlign principal critic. Our critics independently, as always, taste, review and rate the wines – good, bad and indifferent, and those reviews are posted to WineAlign. We then may independently recommend wines to appear in the event profile. Wineries (or their agents) pay for this service. Ads for some wines may appear at the same time, but the decision on which wines to put forward in our report, if any, is entirely up to WineAlign. 


Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , ,

An Exclusive Gourmet Dinner & Tutored Tasting Featuring Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon – Ottawa

‘Terra Rossa Trends’ –Discover the Latest Chapter in the Wynns Coonwarra Estate Cabernet Story

On Thursday, January 28th, WineAlign is pleased to present an exclusive gourmet dinner and tutored tasting featuring wines from Coonawarra’s pre-eminent wine producer, Wynns.

WYNNS woodcut

Join us for an intimate (only 16 tickets) tutored tasting and gourmet dinner at Ottawa’s Restaurant e18hteen with Wynns‘ senior winemaker, Sue Hodder. Sue will guide you through a tasting experience that explores expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon through the microclimates of Coonawarra, showcasing the variety of the region. Subtle changes in soil type within one region can provide quite different grapes, critical from a winemaker’s perspective.

Taste the different Cabernet wines from this revered terroir with creatively matched food selections.

Wynns is the Coonawarra region’s pre-eminent wine producer, with the largest holding of the region’s best and longest established vineyard sites. Today the wines are regarded as benchmarks for the district, lauded for their consistent quality and depth of flavour.

About the Winemaker:

2015-02-03_15-25-58

Sue Hodder

Sue Hodder is one of Australia’s best-known winemakers and this year celebrates her 21st vintage with Wynns – making wine from wonderful, expressive fruit grown in the heart of the terra rossa. Sue commenced her career as a viticulturist. Sue believes her early viticultural training – assessing vines, analysing mature fruit and tasting the finished wine – gave her an invaluable insight into the importance of the vineyard in quality winemaking. Sue brings valuable experience with vintages in other noted wine regions around the world and has judged extensively in regional, national and international wine shows.

Sue will be joined by WineAlign’s Janet Dorozynski.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Event Details:

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

Location:  Restaurant e18hteen (18 York Street, Ottawa K1N 5T5)

Reception: 6:30pm

Dinner: 7:00pm

Tickets:  $125 including taxes and fees

*Please note there are only 16 tickets available for this event, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Reception Wines:

2014 Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay
2012 Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz

Wine List for Tutored Tasting:

2013 Wynns “The Gables” Cabernet
2012 Wynns V&A Lane Coonawarra Cabernet  Shiraz
2013 Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Wynns “The Siding” Cabernet
2012 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Menu

Appetizers

Seasonal Soup

OR

Roasted Beet Salad
Sourdough cedar lavash, fromage blanc, lemon confit

Mains

Roasted Black Cod
Miso beurre blanc, rutabega, furitake

OR

Spiced Squash Fritter
Vegan walnut velouté, pickled and seasonal vegetables

OR

Grilled Bone in Pork Loin
Caraway, braised cabbage, pine nut cream

Desserts

Sourdough Babas
Vanilla and brandy, chantilly cream, fruit preserves

OR

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée
Fruit preserves, spoon sweets

*There are no substitutions*

About Restaurant e18hteen

Restaurant e18hteen was named after its unique location in an 19th century heritage building in the ByWard Market Ottawa. Our adaptation of a Modern Steakhouse with a signature “Canadian Freestyle Cuisine” is a destination for local foodies, politicians, artists, celebrities and out of town visitors.

e18hteen

Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

 

Filed under: Events, Wine, , , , ,

An Exclusive Australia Day Gourmet Dinner & Tutored Tasting Featuring Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon

‘Terra Rossa Trends’ –Discover the Latest Chapter in the Wynns Coonwarra Estate Cabernet Story

Celebrate Australia Day on Tuesday, January 26th with an exclusive gourmet dinner and tutored tasting featuring wines from Coonawarra’s pre-eminent wine producer, Wynns.

WYNNS woodcut

Join us for an exclusive tutored tasting and gourmet dinner at ONE Restaurant located in The Hazelton Hotel with Wynns‘ senior winemaker, Sue Hodder. Sue will guide you through a tasting experience that explores expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon through the microclimates of Coonawarra, showcasing the variety of the region. Subtle changes in soil type within one region can provide quite different grapes, critical from a winemaker’s perspective.

Taste the different Cabernet wines from this revered terroir with creatively matched food selections.

Wynns is the Coonawarra region’s pre-eminent wine producer, with the largest holding of the region’s best and longest established vineyard sites. Today the wines are regarded as benchmarks for the district, lauded for their consistent quality and depth of flavour.

About the Winemaker:

2015-02-03_15-25-58

Sue Hodder

Sue Hodder is one of Australia’s best-known winemakers and this year celebrates her 21st vintage with Wynns – making wine from wonderful, expressive fruit grown in the heart of the terra rossa. Sue commenced her career as a viticulturist. Sue believes her early viticultural training – assessing vines, analysing mature fruit and tasting the finished wine – gave her an invaluable insight into the importance of the vineyard in quality winemaking. Sue brings valuable experience with vintages in other noted wine regions around the world and has judged extensively in regional, national and international wine shows.

Sue will be joined by WineAlign’s David Lawrason.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Event Details:

Tuesday, January 26th, 2015

Location:  ONE Restaurant – in the Yorkville Room (The Hazelton Hotel, 116 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto)

Reception: 6:30pm

Dinner: 7:00pm

Tickets:  $100 including taxes and fees

*Please note tickets are limited to 55, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Reception Wines:

2014 Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay
2012 Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz

Wine List for Tutored Tasting:

2013 Wynns “The Gables” Cabernet
2012 Wynns V&A Lane Coonawarra Cabernet  Shiraz
2013 Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Wynns “The Siding” Cabernet
2012 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Menu

Passed Appetizers during reception

Mains

Organic Chicken Breast
Chive spun potatoes, roasted seasonal vegetables and natural jus

OR

Grilled Atlantic Salmon
Cardamom labneh, heirloom carrots, red quinoa, avocado, fennel, orange, crisp lavash and cilantro dressing

OR

P.E.I. Natural grass fed 8oz tenderloin
Roasted seasonal vegetables, wild mushrooms and truffle risotto, and béarnaise sauce

 OR

Spaghetti Bolognaise
Reggiano, garlic ciabatta, basil and olive oil

Desserts

Dark Chocolate Mousse
Hazelnut praline cream, caramelized banana and honeycomb

OR

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
Dulcey cremeux, poached pear, raspberries and candied ginger

OR

Seasonal Fruit and Sorbet

*There are no substitutions*

About ONE Restaurant

ONE Restaurant is chef and restaurateur Mark McEwan’s North American contemporary Yorkville hotspot. With a variety of beautiful dining spaces to choose from, and dishes that will delight the palate, ONE is sure to impress.

The restaurant’s stunning décor was fashioned by award winning design group Yabu Pushelberg. Low light and textured walls create a sumptuous ambiance, perfect for entertaining. The tree-lined candle lit patio is the perfect place to sit back and savour ONE’s culinary creations and unique signature cocktails, all the while taking in Yorkville’s bustling and exciting street life.

ONE Restaurant is located in the boutique Hazelton Hotel.

One

Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

 

Filed under: Events, Wine, , , , ,

Gourmet Dinner & Tutored Tasting Featuring Wynns: A Benchmark in Terroir

On Thursday, February 19th, WineAlign is pleased to present a gourmet dinner and tutored tasting featuring wines from Coonawarra’s pre-eminent wine producer, Wynns.

Wynns_logo

Join us for an exclusive tutored tasting and gourmet dinner at Malaparte restaurant at the TIFF Bell Lightbox with Wynns‘ senior winemaker, Sue Hodder.  Sue will guide you through a tasting experience that explores expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz through the microclimates of Coonawarra, showcasing the variety of the region.  The international reputation of  Australia’s Coonawarra is derived from the regionally specific terra rossa soil and like many great wine regions of the world, a marginal climate which ensures a long ripening period.

Wynns is the Coonawarra region’s pre-eminent wine producer, with the largest holding of the region’s best and longest established vineyard sites. Today the wines are regarded as benchmarks for the district, lauded for their consistent quality and depth of flavour.

2015-02-03_15-25-58

Sue Hodder

Sue Hodder is one of Australia’s best-known winemakers and this year celebrates her 21st vintage with Wynns – making wine from wonderful, expressive fruit grown in the heart of the terra rossa. Sue commenced her career as a viticulturist. Sue believes her early viticultural training – assessing vines, analysing mature fruit and tasting the finished wine – gave her an invaluable insight into the importance of the vineyard in quality winemaking. Sue brings valuable experience with vintages in other noted wine regions around the world and has judged extensively in Regional,National and International wine shows.

Sue will be joined by WineAlign’s David Lawrason.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Event Details:

Thursday, Feb 19th, 2015

Location:  Malaparte (TIFF Bell Lightbox, 6th floor, 350 King St W, Toronto)

Reception: 6:00pm

Tutored Tasting:  6:30pm – 7:30pm

Dinner: 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Tickets:  $90 including taxes and fees

*Please note tickets are limited to 65, so book early to avoid disappointment.

Wine List for Tutored Tasting:

2011 Wynns “The Gables” Cabernet Shiraz
2012 Wynns V&A Lane Cabernet Shiraz
2012 Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Wynns Black Label Shiraz
2010 Wynns Alex 88 Cabernet
2010 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

Purchase Your Tickets Here

Menu

Chef’s selection of canapés

Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Pesto, Pickled Beets, Sunflower seeds and Mizuna

Thyme & Garlic Strip Loin Steak
Potato Curls, Mustard Greens, Heirloom Carrots, and Red Pepper Jus

OR

Roasted Rock Chicken Suprême
Sweet Potato Cake, Brussels Sprouts, Mustard Greens, Cipollini Onions and Tomato Vierge

Dessert
Crème Caramel Renversée
Hazelnuts, Sea Buckthorn Berries, Shiso and Lemongrass

*A vegetarian option will be available*

*There are no substitutions*

About Malaparte

Malaparte is a spectacular event space on the 6th floor at TIFF Bell Lightbox, in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District. With floor to ceiling windows, it features a breathtaking cityscape view. The rooftop terrace and outdoor amphitheatre is reminiscent of the roof of Villa Malaparte in Capri where Jean-Luc Godard shot Le Mépris. Interior designer Anacleto Design has incorporated sophisticated textures, with shimmer and elegance, perfect for exclusive private events and star-studded soirées. O&B’s Corporate Events Chef, Jamie Meireles, directs the cuisine for Malaparte, as well as all onsite facility catering.

 

2015-02-03_16-14-28

Our winemaker events have been consistently and quickly selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Purchase Your Tickets Here

 

Filed under: Events, Wine, , , , ,

An exclusive tutored tasting and reception with Wynns winemaker Sue Hodder in Ottawa & Toronto

Wynns' Sue Hodder

Wynns’ Sue Hodder

WineAlign is delighted to offer its members an exclusive tutored tasting and reception with Wynns winemaker, Sue Hodder, in Ottawa on June 19th and Toronto on June 20th.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate is Coonawarra’s pre-eminent wine producer and largest single vineyard holder with the longest-established vineyards in the region. The international reputation of Australia’s Coonawarra region is derived from the regionally specific terra rossa soil and like many great wine regions of the world, a marginal climate which ensures a long ripening period. Over the past 15 years, the Wynns Coonawarra Estate vineyards have been meticulously rejuvenated resulting in wines of greater refinement to capture the true essence of Coonawarra – varietal character with finesse.

Under the guidance of Chief Winemaker Sue Hodder, Wynns wines are regarded as benchmarks for the district, lauded for their consistent quality and depth of flavour.  One of Australia’s best-known winemakers, Sue Hodder moved to Wynns Coonawarra Estate in 1993 following work in Margaret River, California and Bordeaux and has just finished her twentieth vintage. Sue believes that commencing her career as a viticulturalist – assessing vines, analyzing mature fruit and tasting finished wines – has provided invaluable insight into the importance of the vineyard in quality wine production.

In Ottawa the sit-down tutored tasting will be held at the Empire Grill in Ottawa co-hosted by WineAlign’s Rod Phillips.  In Toronto, it will be held at the Arcadian Lofts co-hosted by WineAlign’s David Lawrason.

Buy Ottawa tickets.

Buy Toronto tickets.

WINES:

WynnsWynns Coonawarra Estate Riesling (reception)

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Shiraz Merlot

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Wynns Coonawarra Estate V&A Lane Selected Vineyards Cabernet Shiraz

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Michael Shiraz

Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon

IMPORTANT:  Our winemaker events have been consistently selling out.  If you are interested in attending then we advise you to purchase your tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.



OTTAWA

Rod Phillips

Rod Phillips

Our first Ottawa event will be a sit-down tutored tasting held at the Empire Grill in Ottawa co-hosted by Rod Phillips.  Here’s what Rod had to say about Sue:  “Wynns winemaker Sue Hodder’s knowledge of the Coonawarra region is as deep as the roots of the vines that produce her marvellous wines. This is a rare opportunity to learn from Sue as you taste the impressive line-up she’s presenting.”

TIME OF EVENT:

Tuesday June 19th

6pm-6:45pm – Reception w/appetizers

6:45 – 8pm – Seated Tutored Tasting

8pm-9pm – Tapas to enjoy with remaining wines.

Venue:

Empire Grill – Manhattan Room

47 Clarence Street,  Ottawa

Click to buy tickets to the Ottawa event



TORONTO

David Lawrason

The sit-down tutored tasting will be held at the Arcadian Lofts co-hosted by David Lawrason.  Here’s what David had to say about Sue: “Sue Hodder is making excellent wines. She has re-written the style of Coonawarra’s legendary winery without losing sight of the region’s unique personality within Australia.”

TIME OF EVENT:

Wednesday June 20th

6pm-6:45pm – Reception w/appetizers

6:45 – 8pm – Seated Tutored Tasting

8pm-9pm – Tapas to enjoy with remaining wines.

Venue:

Arcadian Lofts

401 Bay Street, Simpson Tower, 8th Floor, Toronto

Click to buy tickets to the Toronto event

Filed under: News, Wine, , , ,

@WineAlign

WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008