A trio for that ice bucket in the sun

Philip White recommends the paler springtime end of the Wirra Wirra collection

Aug 28, 2018, updated Aug 28, 2018
Photo: Philip White

Photo: Philip White

Wirra Wirra Hiding Champion Adelaide Hills Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2018
($24; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap)

The name refers to Greg Trott, Wirra Wirra founder, who, without ever admitting to being lost, tended to be vacant from everywhere he was supposed to be at the time. Now we presume that he lies where we buried him at the Strout Road graveyard, though I doubt he stayed put there – he doesn’t answer most days. But his curious spirit certainly revisits the winery.

This is the sort of drink that Trott would have had with his scallops or salt and pepper flounder at T-Chow.

It’s clean and lean, like Savvy-b can be, grassy like gooseberry or oxalis. Fresh as a meadow in spring. The form of the wine – its texture – is not your ordinary water-and-acid version like other examples of blonde sauvignon. This one offers more generosity of form without losing its sense of purpose, which is to refresh and cleanse. Then it goes away. Nothing more complex than that.

Wirra Wirra The Lost Watch Hand-picked Adelaide Hills Riesling 2018

($25; 12.5% alcohol; screw cap)

Nothing lost or even vaguely fleeting about this baby: it’s solid, staunch Riesling, with a whiff of lightly smoked ham hanging above its dense citrus rind. In its clear, pure intensity, it’s as complex as many red wines, with firm healthy flesh and very fine, powdery tannin drawing its lemons and limes to a long, calm finish. This one sticks around.

I had a friend, a businessman, who tended to buy out rivals he didn’t particularly like so he could drive around in their cars. He seemed to think he could work out what made them tick if he drove their cars. He was a Sauvignon Blanc drinker, about one bottle an hour, faster if the business excited him. One day, as we broached bottle number two, he fixed me with his acquisitive eye and uttered a statement that was as close as I saw him get to an apology.

“I know what you serious wine blokes think about Sauvignon blanc,” he said.

And then, without an upwards inflection: “You’d say that Riesling was the greater drink, wouldn’t you?”

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Well yes, I would. But he was of French Swiss extraction and nursed a life-long suspicion of the German Swiss. I reckon he thought Riesling was part of their plot to get his car.

Bottle of this, Wah Hing and salt and pepper eggplant would be the main goal of my plot.

Wirra Wirra Mrs Wigley McLaren Vale Rosé 2018

($20; 13.5% alcohol; screw cap)

There were times not that far back when nearly all the Grenache went into raspberry-simple, lolly-sweet pink drinks. Now that winemakers have learned to make proper red wine from that lovely grape, Grenache rosés are not so common.

This one is a few steps above most of that tired thoughtless stuff of yore. It’s made with gastronomic intention – it’s no afterthought. It smells like raspberries, cranberries and redcurrants, even when chilled, which is how to best approach it.

That jelly texture is important here: it holds its comforting form in the ice bucket. But chilling, while pretty much the main idea in spring, also makes the wine’s residual sugar stand out. It’s not overtly sweet, but it has a modest spatlese that seems more pronounced served real cold, which makes it rock and roll with stacks of Thai ginger and chilli. Or, if you happen to forget church on the next sunny Sunday, try it with that 11 o’clock bell and a crumbly chèvre. If Trott’s also there avoiding church, can you please remind him to call the winery?

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