An Albury couple have an online store that’s exclusively Gallic.
ow we all laughed when that arch-snob Basil Fawlty delivered his classic line, “The people who stay here, wouldn’t know Bordeaux from claret.” And yet how many of us have had the perseverance to really unlock the mysteries and rewards of French wine? Factors as superficial as pronunciation and as esoteric as cru classification have discouraged all but the most dedicated wine wallies. But the ‘Eureka!’ moment comes with the realisation that you can benefit from someone else putting in the hard yards. Discovervin is a wine importer headed by Helen and Craig Underhill. It specialises in wines from Bordeaux, Champagne, Rhône, Provence and the south-west of France, and claims to be Australia’s premier source of top-value wines from these regions. “We’ve selected French wines that we know Australian wine drinkers will love,” Craig says.“we focus on those that offer authentic French flavour, and impressive quality and value.”the couple, who live in Albury, developed their passion for these wines — and a belief that there were some great drops not reaching our shores — after an extended stay in Bordeaux; they still travel to France regularly. Discovervin stresses that its wines are not available through other suppliers. Many of the wines are served in leading Australian wine bars and restaurants, and in Europe are served in Michelin-starred restaurants.
“We have ignored the hype accompanying many classified Bordeaux wines to seek out exciting, quality wines from this historic region,” Craig says. “And we’ve sought some of the best and most typical wines from areas known predominately to French connoisseurs, such as Jurançon, Madiran and Cahors.” While Australian consumers are generally comfortable selecting wines made from popular grape varieties, French producers rarely put the name of the grape on the label, focusing more on regional characteristics. Some of Discovervin’s wines introduce varieties largely unknown to Australians, such as petit manseng, gros manseng, malbec and tannat. But they also showcase the blending of the premium varieties of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot, plus an acclaimed ‘growers’ champagne, Achille Princier. The most valuable gift Discovervin is likely to bring to the Australian consumer is the famous Cahors malbec, which the Underhills believe has potential for the greater complexity it shows over popular Argentinian malbecs. The malbec grape’s heartland is Cahors, where the ‘black wine of malbec’ draws on the famous Dordogne soil to display complexity and structure with a full-bodied, tannin backbone that promises longevity. For more information, telephone (02) 6020 6016 or visit discovervin.com.au This is a modern expression of the classic Cahors malbec, still assertive in terms of power and depth, but leaner and more complex. It displays dark berry fruit, a whiff of cedar aroma, and a seductive silky texture with a gentle savoury grip. Is this the beginning of a new Black Power movement?