Spinner a natural to showcase latest drops
STUART MacGill, becoming almost as well known for his passion for wine as for his leg- spin bowling, is a natural on camera. This is the first of a sixpart series in which he takes viewers
for a spin around the country’’, visiting wineries, winemakers, winecountry restaurants and assorted enthusiasts such as himself.
Tonight we’re in South Australia’s McLaren Vale and immediately lured in with arty close- ups of vines and barrels and wide shots of some gorgeous countryside.
McLaren Vale is where the vines meet the sea, which provides its photogenic coastline, and we learn that the sea air discourages frosts on land and keeps temperatures steady, so the region is capable of nurturing just about any grape variety.
There are the traditional wines the Vale is well known for, but MacGill is interested in ferreting out the more unusual newcomers, often being produced by second- generation winemakers, some of whom are former school friends and cricketing mates ( Bob, for example, of Wirra Wirra, who provides my favourite quote of the program: You don’t come over too flamboyant,’’ he says, referring to the subtlety of a wine he likes).
There’s a lot of human contact here, from Aileen, who buys homemade pies at the Willunga markets ( where we get an idea of the region’s sumptuous range of produce, including olives, almonds and those Coffin Bay oysters), to winemakers such as Joch Bosworth of Battle of Bosworth organic wines and Susana Fernandez and Duncan Ferguson of Cascabel Wines with its Spanish varieties.
MacGill’s deceptively easygoing chats are highly informative. We learn strategies for organic grape growing and weed control, the significance of soils, grape varieties and blends, and how to discern levels of flavour.
There are 120 vineyards in the region and 75 cellar doors, but this is not all about wine. Early in the program we visit Fino Restaurant, where chef David Swain specialises in creating dishes to match local wines. Cascabel’s tempranillo is matched with lamb and chick peas, and Tipico, a softer version of shiraz- grenache blends’’, with the earthy flavours of a carpaccio and beetroot dish.
At the Victory Hotel at
Sellicks Beach, the locals are busy drinking and playing pool while, beneath their feet, 8000 scrupulously selected bottles are stored in one of the country’s most famous wine cellars.
Owner Doug Govan says he can’t travel as much as he’d like in search of wines, so he does his research and buys the best, and has now planted his own vines.
Other wineries are visited and obscure varieties discovered ( such as the Georgian saperavi), and there’s a final recap of the wines tasted in this entertainingly informative program.
Top shelf: Stuart MacGill delivers the goods in this travelling wine show