Your Guide To Picking the Perfect Wine
Tamburlaine Organic Wines is one of Australia’s largest producers of organic wines with vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Orange regions of New South Wales. Named after Christopher Marlowe's famous play and character Tamburlaine the Great, the team at Tamburlaine work to lead the way with their contemporary organics vision, successfully producing award-winning organic, vegan-friendly, low sulphur and no added sulphur wines.
According to Tamburlaine’s former Winemaker Conor Brasier, an essential skill in choosing the perfect wine is not only having a little background knowledge but also knowing your own palate – which is the true judge of every wine. But how do you choose a wine without the luxury of being able to sample each and every wine at a cellar door? Here are Conor’s tips.
Conor’s best advice to wine lovers when trying to choose a wine is to “be adventurous.” “Try something a bit different,” Conor says.
“The climate in Orange creates beautiful wines from the lesser-known Bordeaux varieties such as Malbec and Cabernet Franc. My favourite wine at the moment would be our 2020 Wine Lovers Rosé. It’s delicate, floral, and crisp. It pairs perfectly to a sunny afternoon on the deck with some cheese and charcuterie.”
STAY INFORMED… According to Conor, modern wine consumers are increasingly aware. The popularity of Tamburlaine’s vegan-friendly and low/no sulphur wines is evident.
“Vegan wines are wines made without the use of any of the traditional animal-based fining agents such as milk and egg whites,” said Conor.
“We still fine our wines to ensure that they are as good as we can make them, but we use plant-based additives that are derived from the proteins of peas and mushrooms.
“Simply put – ‘no sulphur’ wines have had no sulphur added anywhere in the processing from grape to bottle.
“Low sulphur wines are our wines that are made with the minimal level of sulphur additions to ensure the wine is in the best condition possible when it reaches the customer.
“The advantage of these styles of wines is to open up the opportunity of enjoying our wines to as many people as possible, regardless of intolerances and allergies.”
THINK HOLISTIC… Tamburlaine’s contemporary organics (or contemporary organic principles) are an interpretation of traditional organic tenets, according to Conor.
“Along with fulfilling the requirements of our organic certification body (ACO), we employ a company-wide ethos we call contemporary organics,” said Conor.
“It is our holistic approach to the entire life-cycle of wine from the vineyard to the glass of the consumer.
When referencing biodegradability and environmental consciousness in relation to wine, Tamburlaine ensures that all the products used can be reused, recycled, or repurposed as efficiently as possible.
“For example, we are composting all of the grape waste products from the winery and spreading them in the vineyards. We also partner with responsible waste management companies to ensure our glass and cardboard waste is being processed properly,” said Conor.
KNOW YOUR STYLE… “Like anything in life, from art to coffee, there are millions of different ways to make wines,” according to Conor.
“The changes you make in the ageing, processing, and harvesting stages all affect the final product.
“We tend to go for a delicate touch in our wine styles at Tamburlaine. We pick fruit with lower sugar levels, leading to less alcohol. We use larger format oak vessels for ageing to impart a more elegant oak structure in the wine and we bottle younger and fresher.
“All of these elements contribute to making our “house style” which you can see as a fingerprint through all of our wines.”
UNDERSTAND THE NOTES… Rather than getting weighed down by trying to interpret obscure terms, Conor said tasting notes should be viewed as the winemaker’s guide to what they want you to be looking for in the wine.
“Wine tasting is all about palate memory and the flavour/smell association,” Conor clarified.
“Everyone tastes things slightly differently and then processes that taste to associate it with the closest base point that the particular person has.
“Wine descriptors are only as limited as the experience and vocabulary of the person. I like tasting with chefs as they have very highly developed palates, but their frame of reference and the associations they draw are vastly different to my own.”
TAKE IN THE TERROIR… There is nothing better than being able to taste a wine whilst taking in the beauty of the landscape from which it has evolved.
“Terroir is a French term that encapsulates all of the growing conditions surrounding a wine – from soil to temperate and rain,” said Conor.
“The two main regions Tamburlaine sources fruit from are vastly different in terms of terroir. The Hunter is warmer and more maritime with warm days and nights during the ripening period.
“Orange is high altitude and inland, giving it excellent sunlight hours for ripening without the extremes of heat during the days and much cooler nights that result in excellent ripening conditions.”
CHOOSE QUALITY… Conor’s final tip to choosing a great wine is… “drink less and drink better”.
“In wine, like anything, you get what you pay for,” he said. “Buy direct or from independent retailers. Diversity in producers is key to keeping Australian wine as some of the best in the world.”