Okay, so this is another winery that really shouldn't be on the list, but...
Our Man and I first came across Collector Wines at the Cafe in the House* annual goat BBQ. It went down very smoothly and we wanted to try it again just to make sure it wasn't the siren song of roast goat that lured us to the second glass.
A quick phone call to winemaker Alex McKay confirmed Collector doesn't have a cellar door.
"I'm concentrating on getting the wines right first," he said (or something like that - can't read my notes). In any case, you've gotta like someone who's more focused on what ends up in your glass than worrying about all the extras. It's a decision that carries through to the bottleshop floor - Collector produces only two wines, a reserve shiraz and the Marked Tree Red, which both King James and Captain Hooke** give props (...the Ali G eps do come in handy at times).
The wines are available across Canberra: Airport Market Cellars, Plonk at Fyshwick, Cox Kelly in Civic and Georges Liquor Stable in Philip, as well as some of the IGAs (Deakin, Ainslie , O’Connor, Lynham). Alex explained most stores have the 06 Marked Tree Red. The 07, a frost year, had a low yield and the 08 has just been released. According to Alex the 08 is closer to the style he's chasing - a lighter shiraz that still packs a punch - a bit like a burgundy.
With a slight nod to symmetry, we picked our bottle of 06 Marked Tree Red from the Kitchen Cabinet in OPH for $28 and matched it with a big, juicy Angus steak. The wine was deep red, almost magenta in colour, with a hint of white pepper on the nose and lots of berry flavours - fruit with a touch of sweetness but a dry peppery finish. It's soft, juicy and went down a little too easily if you're eating out but since we were at home...
Cellar door or no cellar door, if the 06 is this good, I'm very keen to try an 08. And who knows, maybe OMIC will crack open his
*I always want to call it Cafe in da House - too many Ali G episodes I guess
**or should I say James Halliday and Huon Hooke both rated these wines highly