Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Strictly speaking Barton Estate shouldn’t be in the A2Z because it isn’t open to the public – I was thrown by a couple of web entries that suggested you could arrange tastings by appointment. Unfortunately, tastings aren’t offered but you can order the wines via the website (a word of warning, at the time of writing the wine list on the web is from 2005 but apparently the site is soon to be upgraded).
When we spoke to co-proprietor Julie Chitty she also suggested trying the Kingston Hotel bottle-o and Jim Murphy’s Airport Cellars for a limited selection and Braddon Cellars for a fuller range. We struck out with the Kingston Hotel and Braddon Cellars but we did find a few varieties on sale at Jim Murphy’s, all around the $16 mark and all from the 2003 vintage.
We chose a 2003 Carbernets Merlot – it’s not a typo, the wine is a mix of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot. The label suggested that it could be drunk immediately or cellared for up to five years, so keep in mind the wine was a year past its recommended best.
Our first taste showed the fruit had faded somewhat but there was a hit of blackberries on the nose. Our man in Canberra claimed to have also picked up ‘traces of cassis’ but I suspect he’s just been reading Huon Hooke again.
The wine had good structure and the tannins had softened to the point where I start to enjoy the cabernets. Initially, when I tried it with food it seemed a little too astringent for simple roast lamb and taters but I think this might have been caused by the liberal amounts of Crockershire mint sauce I soused my peas with, because after awhile I found myself enjoying a strong hint of red currant on the palate.
The next day we drank the remainder (one of the benefits of writing this guide is learning to leave a bit in the bottle for follow up analysis, something new to both of us) with roast chicken and salad and it didn’t disappoint. The wine had softened a little more and unexpectedly, the fruit flavours were more apparent.
I admit one wine does not a tasting make, but Julie reckons the petite verdot has been well received and as I’m a bit of fan of the variety I’ll be keeping an eye out for it and Barton Estate in the future.
Not open to the public - mail order only
(02) 6230 9553