You know how i love a good wine story? Well this one starts with; I finally got my hands on a Dirty Hoe…..
Did so just say that.
It happened just this last week in fact. After several back and forth conversations with the Head Hoe for some months now, finally the week before Christmas we met in person, and i now have a bottle of Dirty Hoe Shiraz from Woodvale Vintners in my possession. Sweeeet!
What were you lot thinking?
The Shiraz has gone straight to the ‘pool room’ (for now) because in this blog i want to tell you about one of Woodvale’s other labels, The Sharegarden, and it’s a Semillon that i am super excited to try. I know what you’re saying, i love Riesling. I do for sure but i’ll always try something else because you just never know!
Pours glass of Semillon…….
So i’ve mentioned before how much i enjoy reading back labels, especially if it’s a little story about how that particular varietal came to be. The back label on the Woodvale Sharegarden Semillon has transcended me to years gone by in Clare Valley when past generations worked incredibly hard to establish what we now take for granted; glorious rows upon rows of vines. You know the ones, the trunks & heads are gnarly and knotted and if you stare at them long enough you can hear their stories of producing the Valley’s world-renowned wine, year after year after year. Not suggesting our present day vignerons don’t work incredibly hard but, you catch my drift.
The name Mort Mitchell is synonymous with Clare Valley. We’ve all seen the sign on the way to Adelaide that says; “Mort’s Block”. Well, he’s the bloke the Sharegarden label is based on.
Mort’s son, Kevin Mitchell, also a local wine maker, has been generous enough to share a piece of his childhood on the back label of the Semillon. It’s a lovely story of when his father first started out in the industry and was involved in a sharegarden.
For most of us, when we think of a sharegarden, we picture a range of fruit & vegetables with community members, most likely the elderly in a retirement home, tending to it and sharing the spoils of their labour. The sharegarden Mort was involved with was along similar lines but of the grape growing kind. It was an initiative by a local winery that gave many young aspiring viticulturalists a foot into the industry and several of whom are now producing award-winning wine that is no doubt sitting in mine, yours and, hundreds of other collections.
A lot of partnerships were formed in those days, no doubt by a simple but, highly valued, hand shake. A time when moral compasses were true and strong and your word was your word.
What a fabulous idea the Sharegarden was. I can only imagine the dreams and aspirations of those young viticulturalists as they embarked on their journey, and how lucky we are to reap the rewards by having superb wine to place on our tables.
As the back label says; “Mort still refers to the vines he tends as his gardens.”
Let’s just think about that for a minute. When you drive past the rows and rows of vines throughout the Clare Valley on your way down south and you see how big some of the blocks are, there is a gentleman of the industry still calling them ‘his gardens’. I think that is one of the most beautiful things i have ever read and it will forever change the way i view those ‘vineyards’.
Working alongside his dad as a kid is what encouraged Kevin to embark on his own life in the wine industry and, most recently, to make the Sharegarden label. While he couldn’t have imagined it at the time, the stories that were passed down back then has today inspired him to make a range of wine that is distinctly (Clare Valley) regional with the image of those early sharegardens in mind.
Every time i buy a bottle of local wine i think; there is most probably someone across the other side of the Globe enjoying this wine that was grown in a
vineyard, garden, not too far from where i live and talking about Clare Valley. So good.
I love that i am fortunate enough to meet our local winemakers and listen to them talk about their wine. Ever watched a wine producer when they teach you about what’s in your glass? Look closely next time, it’s sheer joy. The small growers are a humble little lot but i can assure you they are very excited that someone is taking an interest in their years of hard work! After visiting the cellar door you’ll take your purchases home and either stash it in your own cellar or slot it straight in the fridge door. Either way, when you get it out to consume, make sure you read the back label. Some are more interesting than others but they all teach you something. Next time you buy a bottle of local wine, please do try to get it from the cellar door where you quite possibly will meet the maker. I guarantee you, it will change the way you taste and appreciate that wine. If they don’t have a cellar door, find out who stocks it but generally speaking, you can most likely purchase direct from the producer. I’ve had several deliveries dropped off at work by the one person who wears the hat of; grower, winemaker, designer, marketing & freight and many more! I love it and truly appreciate them making the time to deliver their wine in person. That won’t happen all the time though, Australia Post helps out as well. Oh yeah, and grab a glass of the same label if they have one. Also helps with the appreciation level 🙂
So hands up those who buy wine based purely on the front label? Don’t be shy, i know you’re out there! Well, another lovely family twist to the Sharegarden Semillon is the artwork on the front label is inspired by Kevin & Taff’s son, Jack. Cool, hey? It’s a great picture and a lovely addition to this range. Would look good on a wine glass in my opinion.
Cheers to the Head Hoe for sharing the Semillon with me and to answer the question that’s burning everyone’s lips…”What does this Riesling lover think of the Semillon?” I like it. I like it a lot and here’s my layman’s wrap up…
I was advised to drink it really cold, and of course the first glass was but with any white wine i like to let it warm up JUST a little because you get to taste the fruit that little bit more.
I give the Woodvale Sharegarden Semillon a big thumbs up. It was incredibly smooth and very easy to drink. One minute you’re pouring your first glass and, Nek Minnit, the bottle is empty! It’s clean and ’round’ without being too floral and will please those who are not as fond of the crispness of a Rizza as i am. It’s a straight up easy drinking wine. I’d partner it with a Jarlsberg cheese and fig & walnut log. Yummo.
End verdict……I’m ordering more.
Cheers to the Head Hoe & Woodvale Vintners!
Woodvale Vintner Pty Ltd and the Sharegarden label is the lovechild of Kevin Mitchell & Kathleen ‘Taff’ Bourne.
Enquiries can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org