WINE: 10 JANUARY 2016
By JOHN ROZENTALS
Location spot on, but John Cassegrain seeks grapes from cooler climes
Cassegrain Wines has just about the perfect location for those travelling between south-east Queensland and Sydney right on the Pacific Highway, not far from Port Macquarie and just about at the journey’s midway point.
Add to that the spectacular beauty of the winery grounds, an excellent restaurant and some exceptional wines and it quickly becomes an almost obligatory stop.
But John Cassegrain is one of Australia’s cleverest winemakers and he has realised that his coastal NSW home base is a tad too humid and warm to consistently product top-rate wines.
Hence he has increasingly sourced his grapes from cooler, higher climes such as Orange, in the NSW Central Ranges geographic area, and New England, just south of the Queensland border and virtually an extension of the Granite Belt, widely recognised as the Sunshine State’s premier wine-producing district.
I find his Edition Noir range particularly interesting because it allows John and Alex, his son and now senior winemaker, to go out on a limb and produce some quite edgy wines.
They produce the Cassegrain 2015 Edition Noir Chardonnay ($28), for instance, in two batches one cool-fermented in stainless steel to preserve the grapes’ pristine stonefruit flavours, the other matured in oak to add vanillin complexity. It’s a great wine to pair with richer seafoods and even more substantial white-meat dishes such as pork.
Some of the fruit for the Cassegrain 2015 Edition Noir Pinot Noir ($35) comes from the Woodlawn Vineyard near Rylstone, surely one of Australia’s coolest and most marginal grapegrowing districts.
It shows magnificent fruit flavours redolent of plums and cherries, but there’s a definite savoury edge to it as well, making it a great food wine. Try it with roast duck and you’ll think you’ve already passed through the pearly gates.
For more information, visit http://www.cassegrainwines.com.au.