So what do YOU do when you have a rare Saturday night off? For me, it was going to a wine tasting, which I haven’t done in ages. It was Karen, Mollye, me, neighbor Brooke, and 20 or so other people who had never heard of Peter Lehman Wines. I came in knowing there were a few Australian wines that I like. I left as a big fan of this winemaker, and was all but singing Waltzing Matilda as I waltzed out the door. Well, not exactly waltzing. But I left there happy.
What was so great? Well, there’s the back story: The Barossa, which is Australia’s wine region, and is the size of Napa Valley, produces all kinds of grape varieties. And Peter Lehman is a winemaker who saved a collection of local vineyards which were about to go out of business when a large winemaker decided to go elsewhere. On a handshake with the vineyards’ owners, he started making good wines. Which evolved into great wines.
Some of the wines include an excellent shiraz, and some they call “Layers,” because they have a number of different grapes. Very good, and priced well, too. The shiraz was just the right amount of fruitiness and, well, great flavor.
The best part of the night was listening to their senior winemaker, Ian Hongell. Great storyteller. And a greater vintner. He had the perfect advice for people who are afraid of wine, and get intimidated by the whole wine experience. Either you like the wine or not. You don’t need a new vocabulary to experience and describe the it. Just try it and see if you like it. As Ian so wisely said, “Wine isn’t a fish hook. You can spit it out…”
So rush out and buy a bottle or three. You’ll be glad you did.