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An Australian Masterclass, With An Australian Master – Matthew Jukes


Well, it’s been another busy day here at Hallgarten Towers, with some, let’s say… challenging issues. But today I wear them lightly, then I toss them airily aside. And why? Simple: I have spent most of the day salivating at the memory of yesterday’s spine-tingling tasting of our Australian wines.

The venue was Langan’s, the host was Matthew Jukes, the audience was thirty or so hard-bitten members of our sales team, standing room only ladies n genlmun, all waiting to be impressed.

And, boy, were they impressed! It’s not often that our lot are reduced to simpering moans of appreciation, but…

We’d asked Matthew to guide us through a tasting of 18 wines from a selection of the mostly premium producers who make up our list following significant changes late last year. A bit of a challenge, you might think. Not to Matthew…

He begins by running through his early days in the Trade, at the Barnes Wine Shop, where most of the better wines he tasted were… Australian. Thus began his 30-year love affair with Aussie wines, a devotion borne of their brilliance and their diversity, but most of all of the slightly bonkers can-do mind-set of their creators, and their collective craving to make better and better-value wines than anywhere else in the world – and to do a bit of hell raisin’ at the same time.

But Matthew knows this is all about the wines – and we start with a cracker!

The 2016 clos Clare Riesling (with its great history as part of the legendary Florita vineyard) is looking stunning – an “ice pick” of a Riesling, he reckons.

We move on to the Ravenswood Lane Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Blanc from 2014, with nods of appreciation from the team as they taste the lemon and tangerine palate, deftly charged with a frisson of oak. Uncompromising quality, this.

The 2015 Pedestal (Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc) from Larry Cherubino – “a genius” according to Matthew – is next, and is a great example of “how Larry polishes wine.”

We go down to the McLaren Vale for Rose Kentish’s Ulithorne Dona Blanc 2016, a Marsanne and Viognier blend, its apricot and white peach nose complemented by a touch of lightness from a splash of Pinot Gris.

The next two wines offer a perfect contrast. Ocean Eight’s Verve Chardonnay (2014) and Paringa Estate’s Peninsula Chardonnay (2015) highlight the different philosophies of their winemakers, Mike Aylward and Lindsay McCall. Never was a wine more aptly named than the Verve, as racy a wine as you’ll come across, whereas from ten minutes down the road Lindsay’s love affair and lightness of touch with oak shows in a complex Burgundian mouthful.

Matthew then takes us across Australia to the cold hilltops of Tumbarumba and Eden Road’s Long Road Chardonnay, lean, chiselled and elegant.

We finish the whites with Larry’s Laissez Faire Field Blend, a funky example of how to use a selection of grapes which happen to be in the vineyard – Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Gris.

That’s the whites finished, but Jukesy is in full flow now – “Order, order!” – and we crack on with the reds, beginning with another Mornington Peninsula masterclass from the Pinot Noirs of Ocean Eight and Paringa Estate’s Peninsula, allowing Matthew to opine that “there are definitely better Pinots in Australia than in New Zealand.”

We go back to the Adelaide Hills now, this time with Fox Gordon’s Nero d’Avola, which provokes murmurs of approval and an occasional raised eyebrow. God, it is so clean, pristine clean and with amazing sweet raspberry fruit. Sicily, eat your heart out.

Our first glimpse of the Barossa, now, and Teusner’s Joshua (Grenache/Mataro/Shiraz). The genius of Kym Teusner, says Matthew, lies in forging great partnerships with growers with access to really mature fruit. The Joshua looks great, overflowing, cascading, gushing with fruit.

And the hits just keep comin’ – Fox Gordon’s Eight Uncles Shiraz is next up, and the primary fruit flavours jump out of the glass – plums, damsons – and then, miraculously, just a hint of smoke.

The contrast between this and the next – the Eden Road Long Road Syrah – provokes some comment. This is so much more Syrah than Shiraz, with an earthy, textural feel to it.

We go now to Langhorne Creek, and the great story of Greg Follett, who persuaded his dad to let him become a winemaker rather than a grape grower – with spectacular success (the amount of awards he has won is legion). His Bullant Cabernet Merlot is an easy wine to understand, a lovely claret lookalike at a fraction of the price.

Back to Teusner, and the first 100% Cabernet Sauvignon in the tasting. We’re all smacking our lips now, and wondering if it can get any better. God, this is lovely Cabernet, with perfumed fruits of the forest to the fore.

On to an old favourite, Bob Berton, our longest-standing producer. “Captain Bob,” as Matthew calls him, can turn his hand to almost any style, and here we have an amazing Coonawarra Cabernet with masses of cedar fruit.

We end with a masterpiece – Larry Cherubino’s Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2014. This is in a class of its own and able to compete effortlessly with St Julien.

As we wind down, I reflect that, of course, no-one needs to champion Aussie wine at the price-fighting end. As Matthew reminds us, the work put in by Hazel Murphy in the early days has ensured that Off-trade sales of Australian brands will always be healthy. It is at the premium end where there is more of a challenge. But Verve Chardonnay v Chablis, Paringa Estate v Puligny, clos Clare v German Estate Riesling, Larry’s Cabernet v top-end Bordeaux, the list is endless and it’s all a bit of a no-brainer. As one of our more Francophile salespersons said: “These are proper wines!”

Two hours have raced by and we could have stayed forever. Matthew takes a bow to whoops and cheers, rock star status assured.

What a tasting this was!





































Lake Breeze, Arthur’s Reserve 2012, Wins Winestate Wine of the Year 2016

Arthur’s Reserve 2012, from Langhorne Creek’s Lake Breeze Wines, has come out on top against 10,000 wines from across Australia and New Zealand to be named Winestate Wine of the Year 2016.

The award, presented on 24 November in Adelaide, is the lb-2 second time Lake Breeze has come out triumphant after winning in 2010, with its 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Arthur’s Reserve is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Petit Verdot (9 per cent) and Malbec (5 per cent) picked from 40-50 year old vines from the Follett family’s own vineyards on the Langhorne Creek flood plain.

Small open fermenters were used with maceration times varying from 8 to 12 days, before the wine is aged in French Oak for 21 months.

The resultant wine shows classic blackcurrant aromas with violets, mint and savoury characters. The palate has great depth and silkiness and shows wonderful intensity and length of flavour.

Speaking to The Lead, South Australia, Lake Breeze Winemaker, Greg Follett said: “The good news is that the 2013 has already won a trophy in Sydney for the best blend of the show so it’s proving to be a consistent wine from year to year”

“It’s one of our better performed wines and certainly the 2012 vintage was hugely successful for us for Cabernet in particular.

“The result is fantastic for us. There’s not too many wine awards these days where the phone starts ringing and you get an automatic boost in sales but having said that, we’ve already fielded a few inquiries and we don’t have a huge amount of stock.”

Follett said the award was also recognition of the Langhorne Creek region 65km southeast of Adelaide, which was sometimes overlooked in favour of its higher-profile neighbours, McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley.

“Within the industry it’s fairly well-known and regarded but to the general public we fly under the radar a bit because we’re spoilt for wine regions here in South Australia,” he said.

“We’ve certainly been punching above our weight in the wine shows for years, so the quality has always been here.”


Each year Winestate evaluates around 10,000 wines in 12 categories from all regions in Australia and New Zealand using an audited and independent judging process.

Winestate Publisher, Peter Simic, commented: “To be the overall winner the wine has to be head and shoulders above its peers in that category compared with the winning wines in other categories. In this case the Lake Breeze Lake Breeze Arthur’s Reserve 2012 stood above all others.”

Langan’s Brasserie Premium Australian Tasting – Come On Aussie, Come On!

So: how was it for you?

For me, it was depressing: and with a touch of deja-vu, because for the second time this year I went to bed quietly confident that we’d get the right result – only to wake up to find mayhem. At three a.m. things were a little tighter than we’d hoped and Florida was proving to be stubbornly resistant, but I was still confident Clinton would carry Pennsylvania. And surely Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina wouldn’t all vote for Trump? Would they?

Well, at least it was good to see their pollsters are every bit as useless as ours.

There is drizzly rain and a chilling wind in central London. But on the other hand I have the perfect antidote; Hallgarten’s tasting of our new Australian range at Mayfair’s wonderful Langan’s Brasserie.

It’s mid-afternoon by the time I arrive. Langan’s is iconic but always reassuring and thankfully I see the ground floor is packed out with lunchtime customers. Trump’s election doesn’t seem to have bothered them.

Upstairs in our tasting room, the first person I run into is Our Man in the South, Daniel O’Keefe, who is in raptures. “Marvellous wines, marvellous wines…” I point to Amelia Jukes: “All her work!” – Hallgarten has taken over most of the business that Amelia had built up through her Hallowed Ground Agency. And what an amazing job she has done. The wine-up in this room would knock most UK agency/distributors for six.


There’s a refreshing bustle, some serious wine evaluation taking place, concentration. I nod at some of the faces dotted around the room. And then I join in.

Few wineries as young or as small as Canberra’s Eden Road have won so many prestigious awards – 45 awards in the last few years, including Australia’s most important, the Jimmy Watson, for its first vintage of The Long Road Shiraz in 2009. The key is the altitude; Eden Road Wines is situated in High Country (it’s cold up there!) as Managing partner Christopher Coffmann tells me. And, wow, the 2015 Skin Contact Pinot Gris Rose is a Grace Kelly of a wine – glacial elegance. Then it’s on to the 2011 Canberra Shiraz, which is looking magnificent – tar, coal, liquorice, vanilla.

Fox Gordon’s iconic E&E Black Pepper Shiraz won acclaim as the best red and best wine at the IWC a few years ago. We’ve got quite a wodge of their wines on show today. The 2015 Abby Viognier is a sumptuous and rich Viognier, enveloping your palate, throat passage and heart. I pause. There is a hum of concentration throughout the room. At these events there is normally a lot of chatter, old friends catching up. But here there seems to be a definite appreciation of the wines. To cushion the shock of Donald’s victory, I think, we should all try a glass or three of Fox Gordon’s Nero d’Avola 2015: wonderfully original.

Now, onto something more familiar. We’ve been working with Larry Cherubino for a few years now, but we’ve only just inherited his Laissez Faire wines via Hallowed Ground. These are Larry’s range of natural wines, the purest expression of natural winemaking made in small batches from hand-harvested grapes. Oh God! The 2015 Fiano is witheringly beautiful: charm, style and elegance in a glass. Still reeling, I move on to his 2015 Porongorup Pinot Noir, a cornucopia of bramble and dark forest fruits, gamey, mushroomy, a touch of the Little Red Riding Hood mystery (can’t think why, just keeps recurring in my mind as I taste.)

I have to move away now, have a chat with Amelia, who is five months pregnant and radiant. She must feel so proud exhibiting the fruits of her labour, so to speak. But she has to dash off to chat to another one of customers. So I crack on.

Langhorne Creek’s Lake Breeze was named Australia’s Champion Small Winery a few years back and – and this is becoming a familiar story – has achieved an extraordinary level of success in Australian Wine Shows, including 25 trophies and over 100 gold medals since 1994. And tasting the Bernoota Shiraz Cabernet 2012, it is easy to see why. This is an example of what Australia does best, exhibiting a magnificent generosity of fruit and spirit. If only politics was as smooth.

One of the big gains with working with Hallowed Ground is the chance to work with two wineries in the M4ornington Peninsular, where we had been looking for a partner for some time. Ocean Eight’s Mike Aylward was named “Young Gun of Wine” in 2011 (some title, that!) And here we have a Hollywood of a Pinot (the Aylward 2012): definitely an Oscar winner, appropriate here at Langan’s, where the walls are adorned with film stars and other celebrities dining at the restaurant.

Meanwhile, no less a figure than James Halliday described the Paringa Estate as “One of the best, if not the best, wineries on the Peninsula”. The estate was founded in 1984 by teacher Lindsay McCall, when he purchased a derelict orchard in 1984 on Paringa Road. In 1996, Lindsay gave up teaching to focus entirely on Paringa Estate: 25 years on, Paringa Estate is one of the most highly awarded wineries in Australia, regularly winning gold trophies for their Shiraz, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay. My God: the Paringa Estate Pinot Noir 2010 is a sublime wine. Gpd! This might be the star of the whole tasting.

Ravenswood Lane shows what you can do with the beautiful cool climate fruit from the Adelaide Hills. Marty Edwards follows a philosophy of minimal intervention, respect for organic principles and is committed to capturing the nuances of each site and variety. This is definitely true of the Sauvignon Semillon 2014. I am not the only one purring as I swish the wine around my mouth, coating my palate with peach and lemon. Great stuff!

Teusner Wines was created by Kym Teusner and Michael Page in 2001 – in order to save an old Grenache vineyard from being torn up! Teusner’s philosophy is to produce only exceptional, affordable wines by being very selective about the fruit that is sourced from old, well maintained vineyards. “We started small and rode the wave and this is where we’ve ended up. These are wines that we love to drink, we are not chasing markets,” says Kym Teusner. The Woodside Sauvignon 2014 is looking magnificent, open full and rich but also still with beautiful acidity.

Ulithorne Wines is located in the heart of the McLaren vale, in the area of Seaview on the northern side of the Onkaparinga River National Park. They have made some wines especially for Hallgartens, including the affordable Dona range. This is actually the first time I’ve tasted them as they are still on the water and Ryan Kinghorn has air-freighted these over to us. My Managing Director, Andrew Bewes, has already texted me to say the range is looking great. And he’s right! The star is the Dona Blanc 2016, a Marsanne, Viognier and Pinot Gris blend, which has those brilliant secondary characters that the Rhone Valley does so well.


And that’s it. Wow – what a tasting. Time has flown by and now it’s time to leave. I leave Chris to tidy up and make my way back out into the London darkness. I’m now cooking, full of it, full of good Aussie spirit. I’m up for anything. Tonight I will be seeing Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Julius Caesar at Donmar’s tent at King’s Cross. I’m excited: the two other plays in the Donmar trilogy, all set in a women’s prison, were sensational (The Tempest might be the production of that play I’ve ever seen.) But how I wish I could take a bottle with me to drink during the play. What would I choose? Despite the weather, I’m warm as I make my way across Mayfair and up to Regent’s Street. Thinking of Australian wines, I cannot get that old Australia cricket song out of my head, the one they used to sing during the Packer era… Come on Aussie, Come On Come On, Come On Aussie, Come On…Da da da da da da da….What great days. And what great cricket. Thommo smashing the ball into Bumble Lloyd’s box…Ian Chappell’s moustache… Come on Aussie, Come On Come On, Come On Aussie, Come On…A helpless Colin Cowdrey, “Good morning” as he passes and incredulous Thomson on his way to the crease…Doug Walters smashing the last ball of the day for six at the WACA…Ah, those were the days. So what would it be? The Paringa Pinot? The Fox Gordon’s Nero d’Avola? Something from Larry…?

Come on Aussie, Come On Come On;

Come On Aussie, Come On


Jim Wilson, Portfolio Director

WOTW: The Long Road Chardonnay, Eden Road, Canberra 2013

In a nutshell:

A new wave, cool climate Aussie Chardonnay.

 The producer:

Located in Murrumbatemanin New South Wales’ Canberra Wine District, boutique winery Eden Road was established in 2008 by businessman Chris Coffman and was awarded the most prestigious wine award in Australia – The Jimmy Watson- for its first vintage of The Long Road Shiraz in 2009. Its collection of cool climate wines in a raft of exciting and original styles are highly-prized, and owe much to the soils the vines are planted on which were formed over 400 million years ago and are some of the oldest on the planet.

 The Wine:

The fruit was gently pressed directly into French oak barriques, of which 10% were new, without settling and inoculated with selected yeasts to achieve fruit purity. It was then matured for 12 months on its lees prior to being racked and bottled.

 Tasting Note:

Very little oak influence, wonderful elegance with the focus on citrus fruits and white blossom with a long, lip-smacking finish.

One of our favourite food and wine pairings at this time of year is pumpkin and Chardonnay. The velvety, rich texture of pumpkin complements the similar texture found in this Burgundian style, Aussie Chardonnay.


Halliday has spoken, and once again its excellent news for Western Australian wine, with Larry Cherubino Wines awarded Best Value Winery of the Year in the 2017 Qantas Epiqure Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Recognised as one of the Australian wine industry’s highest honours, Halliday’s Best Value Winery award recognises producers whose portfolio confidently displays that most holy of unions – outstanding wines and great value for money.
The 2017 guide features 35 wines from the Cherubino stable – 28 of which received the all-important ‘value’ rosette across Cherubino, Laissez Faire, The Yard, Pedestal and Ad Hoc. This is a superb endorsement of the drive for consistency that winemaker Larry Cherubino has made his mission. “To us, it’s part of what we represent, to make wines that people want to drink and in turn, keep them coming back” the winemaker says. “This award is great in demonstrating that what we are doing is not only valuable to our customers but also to the regions we grow and source our grapes from. This recognition drives me to keep pushing myself to grow better grapes and make the wines that we want to drink”.
After 25 years in the industry, Cherubino’s knack for achieving elegance and consistency across region, vintage and price point certainly isn’t going unnoticed. Having taken out Halliday’s Winery of the Year along with multiple awards and medals in recent years, this recent award reinforces the story of Cherubino. “Wine is constantly evolving. We are always learning and having to change and we will always work hard to make sure we continue to chase both quality and value’.
“First up, in 2011 [Cherubino’s] eponymous winery was honoured as Winery of the Year. Second, in 15 years he has traversed all the challenges and practices of the issues [of modern winemaking]. And he has done it in style.” – James Halliday, 2017 Halliday Wine Companion

2017 Best Value Winery – Larry Cherubino Wines
2013 Cherubino Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon – 97 points
2015 Cherubino Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc – 96 points
2015 Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay – 96 points
2015 Laissez Faire Porongurup Riesling – 95 points
2015 Laissez Faire Frankland River Fiano – 94 points
2015 Laissez Faire Margaret River Field Blend – 94 points
2014 Laissez Faire Porongurup Pinot Noir – 90 points
2015 Pedestal Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 95 points
2014 Pedestal Margaret River Cabernet Merlot – 93 points
2014 The Yard Frankland River Acacia Shiraz – 94 points
2015 Ad Hoc Great Southern Wallflower Riesling – 94 points
2015 Ad Hoc Margaret River Straw Man Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – 95 points
2015 Ad Hoc Pemberton ‘Hen & Chicken’ Chardonnay – 92 points
2015 Ad Hoc Pemberton ‘Hen & Chicken’ Chardonnay – 92 points
2014 Ad Hoc Frankland River Avant Gardening Cabernet Malbec – 93 points
2014 Ad Hoc Frankland River Middle of Everywhere Shiraz – 94 points