The acclaimed wine writer Matthew Jukes has released his Top 100 wines for 23/24. Once again, Paringa Estate is listed as one of the top wineries available in the UK.
2022 Paringa Estate ‘Peninsula’ Pinot Noir “I thought I might catch the tail end of the glorious 2021 Peninsula Pinot in time for this Report, but this wine moves like greased lightning in our market, and a sample of the 2022 arrived on my doorstep like a long-lost puppy and within moments, it became part of the family. Bright, crisp, tangy and black fruited, yes black(!), this is a delicious, lively and deceptively powerful wine. It has the same shape, style and minerality of a modern Monthelie Rouge, and it is crammed with herbs, spices and a fair old dollop of flashy oak. The back label says this is the 35th vintage – gosh, how time flies! Having said this, some things never change, and this wine, and the others in the portfolio, still represent some of the most compelling value for money in the world if you are, like me, obsessed with the Pinot Noir grape.”
JamesSuckling.comreflects James Suckling’s three decades of experience as a journalist and a wine critic. From tasting notes and videos to blogs and events, his website focuses on the great wines of the world including Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile, and Argentina.
In his words, “I believe that today’s wine drinker deserves more than just written reviews and criticism. They need to see with their own eyes the place, the people, and the rating process. Truly, there’s so much more to learn about wine than just simple numbers and prose.”
James Suckling was assisted by Master of Wine, Ned Goodwin for these reviews.
Tight and match-struck flinty. Pungent mineral notes, white peach, nectarine and a waft of vanilla pod oak, tucking in the seams. Gently mid-weighted. While Chablis is a cliche, oft-used by New World makers particularly in these parts, this is as close as it gets. Very good. Long and packed with vibrato. Drink or hold.
Possibly the finest syrah (err, shiraz) out of this cooler, maritime region to date. That sounds like an underhanded compliment. Succinctly, this is excellent! Clove, black pepper grind, tapenade, violet and blood plum. The tannins, gritty and granular, yet finely wrought. Balletic, while straddling the gracious line of fruit and herb, glimpsing the excessive side of neither. The finish, excellent, with a dusting of Indian spice lingering long. Extract, freshness and savory drinkability in spades. Very Rhone-like. Drink or hold.
A pungent nose, playing a reductive hand with just the right amount of flint and mineral. Creamed cashew, nougat and a verdant riff of nettle across the core. The finish, streamlined and juicy. The oak evident at the edges. There is nothing too terse here, despite the tension. This will age very well. Drink or hold.
This is an edgy, mid-weighted pinot that is not bereft of tannins. For the better. Edgy and jittery, moving across the gums and taking position, nobly, at the cleft of the palate. Immensely pleasurable already, with red pastille, bing cherry, dried lavender and sarsaparilla rolling long and vibrant. Drink or hold.
While this is smoother and more supple than the Estate, more polished around the seams perhaps, it is not necessarily a superior wine. Chalky, refined tannins, mind you. Lilac, sweet bing cherry and damson. Lithe and svelte. Long and slick, but without the character. Drink or hold.
Tasting the shiraz from this stable of late is a revelation. Taking the wind out of pinot’s sails, perhaps. Mid-weighted, crunchy, lithe and spicy. Nothing monochromatic. Mace, clove, cardamon, and smoked charcuterie. The finish detailed and thoroughly convincing if the Northern Rhone is the barometer of quality.
Verjuice is a versatile culinary ingredient. It’s a milder acidulant than vinegar, and it it’s ideal for deglazing, poaching and vinaigrettes.
Sally’s verjuice is made from under ripe pinot noir and shiraz grapes from the Paringa Estate home vineyard, as they’re not fermented, it doesn’t contain alcohol.
Each year, in late summer, we cut off fruit during our ‘green harvest’. This process is important to reduce our yields. As a result, the remaining bunches develop a greater concentration of sugar and flavour compounds. In the past, this culled fruit provided a delicious bounty for the Paringa geese, but this year we decided to make it into our first verjuice.
The geese, however, were not to be deprived. They did their own harvest! They wriggled under the bird nets when the best chardonnay was due to be picked, and stuffed as many bunches as they could until apprehended!
A Brief History of Verjuice
The origins of verjuice can be traced back to antiquity. The Romans used unfermented grape juice in their cuisine. Known as ‘acresta’, it is the derivation of the modern Italian word for verjuice, ‘agresto’. Writer Macrobius (circa AD 400 ) also refers to its medicinal qualities, stating that it is milder than vinegar, and that a small dose will settle an upset stomach.
The name ‘verjuice’ or ‘verjus’, comes from the French “vert jus”, which means ‘green’ or unripe juice. Traditionally it can it be made not only from grapes, but other fruit such as apples, crab apples and gooseberries which have a high acid content.
Verjuice was a common culinary ingredient in medieval Europe. The Cistercian and Benedictine monks in Burgundy had vineyards surrounding their monasteries, and thus a plentiful supply of grapes. One of their uses for unfermented grape must or verjus, was to mix it with ground mustard seed and herbs, to make mustard.
Not only has verjuice been used in Europe for many centuries, but also in traditional Persian cuisine, where it is known as ‘abghooreh’. It’s used in the dressing for Shirazi Salad, which is made with finely diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and capsicum, similar to the Mexican ‘Pico de Gallo’.
Whilst we have Maggie Beer to thank for commercialising verjuice in Australia, it has been in our pantries since Colonial days. A recipe from the Adelaide Observer, (July 1844), for a medicinal preparation called ‘Black Drop’, requires three pints of verjuice and half a pound of opium! It is also listed as an ingredient in dishes such as ‘Beef A La Mode’, and ‘Calf’s Brains A La Maitre D’Hotel ( The Australasian 1864 ).
The Paringa chefs use it in many dishes. See below for the verjuice and viognier jelly recipe. To make a vinaigrette with it, mix three parts oil, with one part verjuice.
As acid heightens flavour, verjuice adds another dimension to cocktails. It’s also delicious poured over some ice with sparkling mineral water.
Paringa’s Very Cosmopolitan
The Paringa Estate Restaurant sommelier uses the verjuice in a few cocktails. Here is one of his favourites.
30ml Belvedere Vodka
30ml Sally’s Verjus
15ml Lime juice
½ teaspoon honey
Add the vodka, Verjus, Cointreau, honey and a pinch of salt into the shaker with ice and shake well. Garnish half rim of the coupe glass with rosemary salt, pour and double strain into the glass. Use a sprig of Rosemary on top of it.
Paringa Estate Viognier and Verjuice Jelly
The Paringa chefs use verjuice in many of their dishes. This jelly pairs well with crab mayonnaise salad or cured trout with avocado.
3 cups Apple juice
2 cups Paringa Estate Viognier
1 cups Sally’s Verjuice
12 leaves gold strength gelatine
Honey to taste
Heat, but don’t boil the apple juice, viognier and verjuice together, then dissolve the gelatine sheets. This amount will fill around 12 cupcakes size moulds. Place in the fridge to set.
Charmaine O’ Brien’s Chicken or Pork Vindalho (Vindaloo)
Charmaine O’Brien has been researching and writing about Indian food history and food culture for more than two decades. She is the author of several books on Indian food including the first comprehensive guide to India’s diverse regional cuisine, The Penguin Food Guide to India. Her latest book, Routes of Connection: Journey’s in India’s contemporary foodscape will be published in 2022.
1 tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
I tsp finely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Sally’s verjuice
I kg chicken or pork pieces
5 -6 tablespoons oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 inch piece of cinnamon
2 medium red onions
10 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and ground/grated to paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste*
1.Blend ½ of the salt, sugar, ground turmeric, chilli powder and black pepper powder to a paste with the verjuice in a large bowl. Put the chicken/pork pieces into the bowl and coat with the paste. Leave the chicken to marinate in this paste in the refrigerator preferably overnight or three hours at the least.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy based frypan over a medium high heat and brown the chicken/pork pieces on both sides in the hot oil. This should only take a few minutes on each side. You do not need to cook the chicken/pork through as it will be cooked in the sauce. What you want to do at this point is to seal and build up a bit of flavour by browning it. Drain the cooked meat pieces on paper towel.
Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil into a deep-sided casserole type dish or heavy based saucepan for which you have a lid.
Heat the oil over a medium high heat. When the oil is hot drop in the cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon. Stir for 30 seconds then add the onion. Continue stirring the onion for two minutes then add the ginger and the other ½ tsp of salt. Stir until the onion caramelises slightly. If this mixture is sticking to the pan add a little bit of water and stir. Continue cooking stirring periodically until the onion is softened.
Mix the garlic paste with two tablespoons of verjuice and stir into the onion mix (adding the verjuice to the paste allows it to assimilate smoothly into the dish). Add the pieces of meat and stir to coat with the mix. Then put a lid on the dish. Turn it down to a low simmer, and let it cook gently. You may need to add a little water if it’s sticking. It’s a ‘dry’ dish so it doesn’t need a lot of liquid, just enough to just cover the chicken/pork pieces. Some vindalhos are wet like a stew, but this is a drier version. It’s best to use a cast iron casserole dish or a good quality stainless pan, as they conduct heat better. Keep a close eye on this dish whilst cooking, to ensure it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. You may need to keep adding more water.
Cooking time should be about 30-40 minutes again depending on your cookware. Low and slow (low heat over a longer time) is best. I like to cook this dish until the meat starts to come away from the bone and to do this I usually need to add a little more water so that is doesn’t dry out too much.
Charmaine comments on the recipe, “I had never enjoyed the vindaloo served in Indian restaurants —dosed up as it usually was with so much chili any other flavour was obliterated—but when a dinner guest proclaimed a passion for this very dish, I consulted my copy of The Essential Goa Cookbook by Maria Teresa Menezes and made her vindhalo recipe for our supper. My guest courteously tried to disguise his disappointment that this did not taste like the restaurant version he was familiar with. I, on the other hand, found it delicious—for exactly same reason.
Menezes’ recipe is the foundation the one given here but over the years I have tinkered around with it such that it has become blend of my work and hers, evolved again with the use of Sally’s Verjuice instead of vinegar. A vindhalo is a chilli rich dish yet made properly the heat of this fruit enhances the taste of the other ingredients rather than overwhelm them.”
Lester Jesberg has released his current Mornigton Peninsula Report. He has scores over 100 wines in this report and Paringa’s current vintages had great success. Below are some of the top wines in the report.
Top Rated Chardonnay
2018 Paringa Estate The Paringa Chardonnay This is a skilfully crafted chardonnay that has just the right amount of “funky” barrel ferment input to complement the intense white peach aromas and flavours. The palate is delightfully long and creamy. ★★★★★
2017 Ten Minutes By Tractor Wallis Chardonnay The rich white stone fruit aromas are enhanced by hints of citrus and nougat. The long, beautifully textured, acid-fresh palate is very impressive indeed. ★★★★★
2018 Dexter Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay The white peach nose is enhanced by subtle toast and nuts aromas, and the vibrant palate is long and creamy. A stylish wine with excellent palate structure. ★★★★☆
2017 Miceli Olivia’s Chardonnay Everything fits neatly together in this chardonnay which is beginning to show its best form. It’s vibrantly varietal, with very positive barrel fermentation overtones. The long, satisfying palate is nicely freshened by acidity. ★★★★☆
Top Rated Pinot Noir
2016 Paringa Estate Robinson Vineyard Pinot Noir This wine comes from the Tuerong sub-region of the peninsula, and is a single clone (MV6) wine. It offers concentrated raspberry aromatics matched with integrated oak. The palate is impressively long and intense, with beautifully balanced tannins. (Available only to Paringa Estate Wine Club members) ★★★★★
2017 Paringa Estate The Paringa Pinot Noir Although this wine is priced to be the ultimate expression of pinot noir from Paringa Estate, on this occasion we gave the nod to the Robinson. Vibrant raspberry fruit merges well with the classy oak on a long, fine palate. ★★★★☆
2017 Ocean Eight Pinot Noir The ripe berry aromas are enhanced by herbal notes. Although the palate is fairly firm, it has impressive length, balance and fruit weight. ★★★★☆
2019 Paringa Estate Peninsula Pinot Noir This is a fresh, perfumed cherry style of pinot that is quite plush. The fine, firm tannins provide perfect balance. Excellent drinking. ★★★★☆
Top Rated Shiraz
2018 Paringa Estate The Paringa Shiraz This one’s all about opulent dark berry supported by classy oak. It’s very “showy”, but offers great fruit and a fine tannin structure. ★★★★☆
2018 Circe Mornington Peninsula Shiraz If you’re a fan of northern Rhône shiraz you’ll be pleased with the Circe. Aromatic red fruits merge with pepper, spice, violet and grilled beef nuances. The palate is silky and Côte Rôtie-like. ★★★★☆
2016 Paringa Estate Shiraz A fresh, powerful dark berry style with black pepper overtones and lashings of oak. Fine tannins match the vibrant fruit. ★★★★
2018 Paringa Estate Peninsula Shiraz Fresh mulberry characteristics are prominent in this fruit-driven shiraz. There’s just enough fruit to carry the tannins. ★★★★
When I was first introduced to my now father-in-law, Charlie Burford, my involvement in the wine industry broke down a few early barriers.
While our mutual love of rugby, and immense love and respect for his daughter were handy things to have in common, the promise of ready access to some very decent wines care of my role as a sales rep with Winestock in NSW did my chance of acceptance no harm.
The early releases of Ben Glaezter’s Amon-Ra and Wayne Dutschke’s delicious Lyndoch (Barossa) shirazes were revered on the back verandah, as were many vintages of Tim Adams’ sensational Aberfeldy crafted from shiraz vines a lazy 5-iron from Wendouree’s fabled Clare Valley site.
When I first attempted to add pinot noir to the table, in an effort to add some subtlety and longevity to the conversation, I was told I could sit in the corner and drink it myself. Apparently, no pinot ever made had enough flavour to make the grade at the table of knowledge. Admittedly, it was a Martinborough pinot noir from Te Kairanga that I had in my hand – a wine built around savoury, earthy charm, rather than high-octane, ripe-berried fruit craved by the palates waiting on said verandah. Challenge accepted.
A month later, when the brains trust had reconvened on the leafy wine-drinking platform, and my indiscretion had been forgotten, I opened a bottle of 2004 Paringa Estate Pinot Noir – poured it inside the house, delivering healthy serves in the goblet of choice, a Riedel’s shiraz glass.
Charlie and his close mates were asked to guess which region this young shiraz came from. While there was robust debate over whether it was Heathcote or Great Western (at least they had the right state), there was no suggestion it wasn’t shiraz. After an hour of universal praise and haphazard use of superlatives celebrating the wine, I revealed the empty pinot bottle.
Paringa Estate Pinot Noir has enjoyed unrivalled wine show success since its inception, with winemaker Lindsay McCall showing rare intuition with the variety from his very first vintage. These are wines that tend to speak loudly in the show setting, as they’re packed with flavour and the best oak that money can buy. The latent power and early appeal of the marque is what allowed me to put together PinotGate on that fateful day some 15 years ago.
My most memorable Paringa pinot experiences, however, have come when time has been given the chance to soften edges; where primary brashness fades to earthy, savoury notes – in essence, where its pinosity is given its voice.
I spoke with Lindsay McCall last month and was relieved to find that the retired school-teacher hadn’t lost any of his directness or passion. You always know where you stand with Lindsay. We discussed a retrospective expose on his most important wine, and a case arrived very shortly after.
In line with the “no fuss” approach Lindsay applies to most things, the mix of wines he sent were not manipulated into a quasi-fashion parade, with 10 vintages of any single wine, there are going to be some more challenging releases.
The 2007 Estate Pinot Noir was a juggernaut, taking four trophies for best pinot noir in reputed Shows in 2008 and 2009. Quite remarkably, and considering it was from a very dry vintage, in the midst of all of its leathery, savoury charm it still carries lifted fresh red-berry fruits and firm acidity.
If you’re lucky enough to be sitting on a few bottles, there’s no rush to open them. Kudos to the wine judges who consistently recognised the character and potential in this release.
From another hot and dry year, the 2008 Paringa Pinot Noir shows more signs of vine stress, with sweet-and-sour aromatics and less structure when sipped. Again, quite amazingly, there is a lovely seam of red-berry fruit through it that seems to be a unique trait of the very steep, north-facing vineyard.
The first swirl in the glass of the 2009 vintage and the coolness and elegance of this wine is evident. Another wine that boasts a long and proud list of trophies and gold medals, this is calm and composed and could have been bottled last week. A terrific pinot noir – fragrant and complex, with stalky sinew and soft, supple flesh.
I’m sure most bottles have already been enjoyed, though it’s hard to see it look any better than it does right now. It has close to a decade of life left in it. The first wine I’ve tried from this Estate that signifies a change in style and supreme confidence in its fruit.
Cue the most astonishing wine of the brace – the 2010. Without looking at it through the lens of a back-vintage, it is an ethereal and hauntingly elegant wine, with lifted wild strawberries, bunch-spice and perfectly balanced, oak-derived structure. It’s the finest pinot I’ve tried in the past 12 months.
Book-ended by the comparatively lighter and more tautly structured 2012 and 2014 releases, I was impressed by the richness and balance of the 2013 Paringa Pinot Noir – a wine that’s more advanced than the 2010, though oak inputs and winemaking match its higher alcohol and it’s drinking beautifully right now. A wine that reflects Lindsay McCall’s ability to adjust when required.
The 2015 wine, much like the 2012 and 2014, has loads of treble notes built around cranberry freshness and raspberries, without a thumping bass line. In comparison, the aromatically wild, bunchy, distinctly umami 2016 Paringa Pinot Noir sways into a beautifully ripe, red-fruited palate with perfect ripeness and balance. The majesty of the variety in all of its subtle, and not-so-subtle variations.
Finally, the newly released 2017 Paringa Estate Pinot Noir – a wine that captures the evolution of the marque. No more than medium-weight in the glass, modern pinot aromatics of bunch-derived spice, aniseed and lifted red fruits. It’s sapid and still ripe – the art of balancing flesh and structure mastered in its approachability.
There is no way I could have poured this wine to a rabble of shiraz lovers, expecting them to be deceived. This is a classic young pinot, unadulterated.
As for my father-in-law, Charlie, he now drinks more pinot noir than he does shiraz. While he may not have dragged his merry band of mates from the table of knowledge with him, it’s a pleasure to be able to share a bottle or two with him, over a subtler and longer conversation on that same back verandah.
The Real Review Nick Butler Vertical Tasting Scores and Reviews
2017 Estate Pinot Noir It’s no more than medium-weight in the glass, though loaded with aromatic punch: bunch and oak-spice, red licorice, wild strawberries wrapped in cloves. It carries more than enough fruit-weight and charm, sapid and ripe, raspberries front and centre. A beautiful pinot noir 96 Points
2016 Estate Pinot Noir Fresh as a daisy, bright crimson-red colour. Loads of perfume: bunchy spice, mushroom, umami, wild strawberries. High-toned red cherries drive the palate – pure and pristine. Not a classic Paringa; a little unbridled, though full of charm and modern 95 Points
2015 Estate Pinot Noir Translucent cherry-red colour. Ripe cranberries, raspberries and cinnamon. I love the nose – agile and uncluttered. Loads of red-berry energy here, loads of treble, looking for bass. Still a beautiful pinot. 93 Points
2014 Estate Pinot Noir Bright cherry-red colour. Could have been bottled yesterday. Black cherries, raspberries, cinnamon and oak-char; this is primary and very much in play. Tannins are distinctly chalky, acidity bright and crunchy. Flesh just not enough to cope with the framework 91 Points
2013 Estate Pinot Noir Cherry-red colour in the glass, still youthful and bright. I could swirl this thing for hours without sipping – raspberries and wild strawberries wrapped in aniseed and oak-toast. Ripeness has this advanced ahead of others. Secondary notes of leather and hoisin just kicking in. Drink over the next couple of years 95 Points
2012 Estate Pinot Noir Another bright wine, crimson colour with clear edges. More lifted red fruit aromatics in this than its predecessors – high-toned raspberries and toffee apple. Bunch-spice too. It’s sapid without any true bass notes. Red cherries and cranberries. A lighter take on Paringa pinot. 91 Points
2010 Estate Pinot Noir Still bright crimson-red colour, only just medium-weight in the glass. Wild strawberries, cinnamon, bunch-spice and thyme. This is astonishingly good. Fresh and lithe, linear and fleshy, hard to reconcile. Acidity is crunchy red berry fresh; latent savoury pinosity seemingly endless. Just masterful 98 Points
2009 Estate Pinot Noir Dark cherry-red colour with crimson edges. Looks just-bottled. A lovely, alluring, stalky nose; loads of red rose perfume and red licorice lift. Could smell this for days. A wonderful wine of freshness and pinosity, cooler and calmer than the previous two vintages. At 11-years-young it hasn’t come close to losing its primary charm. Amazing 96 Points
2008 Estate Pinot Noir Pale ruby-red colour with clear edges. Sweet and sour aromatics, ripe red berries with a citrus rind seam through it. Lighter in alcohol than the 2007, though feels more blown-out. Stewed rhubarb and mushrooms. Unsubtle, but still wonderfully fresh for a 12-year-old pinot from a hot year 93 Points
2007 Estate Pinot Noir Retaining energy and bright crimson hue. Secondary, earthy and leathery aromas precede wild strawberries and rhubarb. There’s a skinsy, phenolic grip to it – chalky and firm. Oak tannin has etched itself into its DNA. Red cherry brightness and acidity still very fresh. Astonishing wine from a drought vintage 94 Points
Winemaker Jamie McCall and his sister Sarah accepted the trophy for ‘Best Victorian Shiraz’ at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show. The 2018 shiraz was a stand out from day one in the winery and it is exciting to get this recognition before its release next year.
2018 was the vintage of which winemakers’ dreams are made. Not only were the yields generous, but quality is exceptional across all varieties. The reds show lovely varietal flavours and super fine tannins.
Gourmet Traveller 2019 Australian Restaurant Guide, “Paringa Estate sets the mood immediately with a sharp timber and sandstone building, the driveway flanked by rose-ornamented vines. Inside, windows frame vines in a similarly timber-forward dining room. Personable staff get things started with a amuse-bouche of fudgy quail eggs rolled in grassy powdered rocket. Next might be a deft, delicately perfumed roulade of cucumber wrapped in tissue-thin beetroot leather, or tender flanks of eggplant with crisp rounds of pickled baby cucumber and tart physalis fruit. Grass whiting is served with Grenobloise, a classic French sauce of capers, butter, lemon and parsley, while roast lamb is showcased through braised shoulder, brisket, tongue and backstrap. Petits fours include tingling frozen quince drop and apple Turkish delight, which are a great way to end a meal of joyous, seemingly effortless but deceptively complex food”
1 ⭐️ 1?& Vegetarian Menu
“While the view from the restaurant’s cinemascope-size window suggests you are hovering above what must be some of the best-tended vines on the Peninsula, rest assured it is the food as well as the view that provide the most lasting impression of a meal here. These and the wines of winemaker and founder, Lindsay McCall.
Paringa Estate’s best is on display, whether it is the centimetre-perfect vertical lines of vines, the delicious Flinders Island milk-fed lamb, or a bevy of commanding, uncompromising white and red wines led by shiraz, pinot noir and chardonnay.
Shiraz, really? Where some Peninsula winemakers once considered the region too cool to grow shiraz successfully, McCall marched on regardless and has proven that the area can indeed produce some excellent, re-blooded examples. The amount of bling the wine has garnered in wine show medals, and attentions received from the wine press, tells the story. As does the number of Peninsula winemakers now embracing the grape.
For many drinkers, however, it is pinot noir that inspires the greatest enthusiasm. The winemaker believes that as the vines age (now in their third decade) the wines are getting more mature and more complex. No-one is arguing with this. Try both the Estate Pinot Noir and flagship, Single Vineyard Pinot Noir.” Jeni Port