There’s a reason I took a photo of the hands of Corrina Wright, winemaker Oliver’s Taranga. I captured the photo with her hands all polished and pretty at dinner this week. She sent me the other, (her hands in the wine.) Actually there are a couple of reasons I included those photos. Firstly, I’m always intrigued by the hands-on (hands-off) process of winemaking and how down-to-earth the winemakers are. We discussed this: Corrina and I. Farmers, fishermen, winemakers, chefs are amongst my favourite people – salt of the earth (or the sea.)
So when I had dinner this week with Corrina I was surprised to see her hands recovered (from recent vintage I mean.)
The other reason I’ve photographed her hands, she’s going to hate (although maybe that’s too strong a word.) With a pedigree of outstanding study in Australia and abroad, it seems so reductionalist to go down the pretty blonde female path. However, there’s the rub. As Corrina Wright is not only accomplished, and producing some very top end Australian wines (including fabulous small batch) she’s also very feminine.
Her family were first settlers in the McLaren Vale area, so her wine label bears the logo: STARTED BY OUR GREAT GREAT GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER. (We share that in common – not the winemaking – but early Australian white settlement. It’s a starting point of common heritage that deepens our bond and our conversation before dinner.) Corrina though, in a family that grow – and have grown for generations – the Grange grapes for Penfolds, is the first winemaker. (Not quite true – perhaps the great great great great grandfather made some wine.) Her family estate stills sells 75% of their grapes; the other 25% belong to Oliver’s Taranga.
There’s more conversation; the winemaker as a farmer, who puts knowledge and effort into growing the grapes, minimal interferest it’s called these days.
Perhaps, more appropriately, as the evening progressed, there was less talk and more drinking and eating.
Oliver’s Tarange Vineyards Mc Laren Vale
Spiced Pork & Potato Empanada
2011 Oliver’svTaranga Small Batch Vermentino
Seared Tuna Nicoise with sauce gribiche
2009 Grenache Oliver’s Taranga & 2009 Oliver’s Taranga Tempranillo
In the Middle:
Blue Simmer Crab Carpet Bag & 8 Hour Braised Wagyu Beef
with parsnip puree & celery
2009 Oliver’s Taranga Shiraz & 2009
lemon curd, pistachio praline
2011 Oliver’s Taranga Moscato
Cheese Platters & Chocolate Blocks
2008 HJ Reserve Shiraz
But back to these (highly acclaimed) Oliver’s Taranga wines. Stunning. All superb. Early on, my interest was with the Vermentino. Corrina wanted to make a white, but not the usual suspects. If she was going to make a white it had to be stand-out (or stand-above) she said. She’s attracted to Italian varieties (aren’t we all – oops that’s not necessarily a comment about grapes/wines) as they’re suited to the McLaren Vale climate she says. In her academics, she also wanted to experiment with varieties that are less well known in Australia.
All night I enjoyed the wines. (Even, I admit, a little too much so.) And then the prize, the finale, the HJ Reserve Shiraz (2008.)
Seaview Road McLaren Vale SA Australia
+61 8 8323 8498