Howard Anderson – 50 years of winemaking 1964 – 2014

Howard is celebrating 50 years in the wine industry in 2014!

He has spent the last 23 years of that working at establishing and building up Anderson winery. But it all started 50 years ago, back in 1964.

Howard had no family history in the wine industry (in fact, the only alcohol his father drank was the case of beer he always got for Christmas, which took him the whole year to finish). But when he finished high school (in Griffith, NSW) he was offered 3 jobs – one at CSIRO, one at the WC&IC (water commission), and one as a trainee winemaker at a local winery. He thought winemaking sounded interesting, and so chose the job at Rossetto’s winery. His mother revealed years later she was petrified he’d turn into an alcoholic.

That first vintage at Rossetto’s in 1964, Howard suddenly became responsible for winemaking 2 or 3 weeks into vintage as his boss had to spend 2 weeks in hospital.  Howard took to it like a duck to water, and although his boss had his brother check on him a few times, that stopped after the first week as everything was obviously under control. This dive in the deep end cemented in Howard’s mind that this was what he was meant to do.

In late 1970 Howard got a job at Seppelt in Griffith, and was transferred to Seppelt Great Western in June of 1971.  This is where he learnt about making sparkling wines, and the passion for this stays with him to this day. Howard spent 14 years as a winemaker with Seppelt at Great Western, and during this time was posted at their Rutherglen winery for a couple of vintages, and so got to know the Rutherglen region.

When the urge to start his own vineyard and winery took hold, he chose Rutherglen as the place to go because of the potential he saw for full bodied reds (and sparkling reds). He purchased a block of land on the eastern side of Rutherglen and starting planting vines (Shiraz) in 1992. He chose the block for the traditional Rutherglen loam soil (buckshot clay) and gentle slope. This soil type allows for non-irrigation, and is  perfect for rich, flavoursome styles of wine including our full bodied reds.

One of Howard’s early releases from his own vineyard was our 2003 Cellar block Shiraz (even though the vines were planted in 1992 – we got hit by hail and then frosted – that’s a whole other story!).  We currently have the 2003 on as a special aged release, and it is drinking beautifully –  intense yet smooth. It is $35 per bottle and available at our Cellar door or online – http://fromtheproducer.com/wine/anderson-2003-cellar-block-shiraz.html

More info on us and our wines at http://www.andersonwinery.com.au or  http://fromtheproducer.com/anderson-winery.html

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Howard Anderson - 50 years of winemaking

Howard Anderson – 50 years of winemaking

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Pinot noir Chardonnay 2001

Don’t you love it when a mistake turns into something great?

We were cleaning up the back room a few months ago and discovered this bin of 2001 Pinot noir Chardonnay we thought we’d long sold out of. Oops!

Hoping it was still ok, we opened a bottle and had a taste. Yep – it’s more than ok!

And being a traditional method sparkling wine, the best thing is that it has been sitting there all that time with the yeast sediment in the bottle. This keeps it fresh, while adding more complexity and creaminess. Without the yeast in there, it would probably be old and tired and no good.

So, we went ahead and removed the yeast sediment (we do this all by hand and so the whole process of turning the bottles to accumulate the sediment in the neck takes a couple of months).  And now it’s ready for you to enjoy!  We’ll be featuring it at our capital city dinners throughout 2014, but it is also available to buy from our Cellar door or online –

http://fromtheproducer.com/wine/anderson-2001-pinot-noir-chardonnay-meunier.html

 

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2001 Pinot noir Chardonnay

Don’t you love it when a mistake turns into something great?

We were cleaning up the back room a few months ago and discovered this bin of 2001 Pinot noir Chardonnay we thought we’d long sold out of. Oops!

Hoping it was still ok, we opened a bottle and had a taste. Yep – it’s more than ok!

And being a traditional method sparkling wine, the best thing is that it has been sitting there all that time with the yeast sediment in the bottle. This keeps it fresh, while adding more complexity and creaminess. Without the yeast in there, it would probably be old and tired and no good.

So, we went ahead and removed the yeast sediment (we do this all by hand and so the whole process of turning the bottles to accumulate the sediment in the neck takes a couple of months).  And now it’s ready for you to enjoy!  We’ll be featuring it at our capital city dinners throughout 2014, but it is also available to buy from our Cellar door or online –

http://fromtheproducer.com/wine/anderson-2001-pinot-noir-chardonnay-meunier.html

 

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What is a big red?

Big red / full bodied red. What exactly does it mean? Seems like a simple question perhaps, but people do have different ideas or perceptions.

Many people think a big red has lots of tannin, so it dries the mouth out and maybe gives the tonsils a bit of a wrestle on the way down. This can certainly be the case, but it is not the defining factor of a big red, and if the tannin is too much it actually means it is not a very good one.

The other common assumption is a big red is a red with high alcohol. Also this can often (but not always) be true, but again it’s not the defining factor. And too much alcohol will make it taste hot.

Or lots of oak can also be mistaken for a wine being “big”. Big oak maybe, but not necessarily a big wine.

A big red should have lots of fruit concentration. It should be dense and rich and fill your mouth with flavour. This is the defining factor. It does also need texture to carry this, which is provided mostly by tannins, but they should be in balance. A good big / full bodied red will be dry, but not parching or harsh.

We make full bodied reds, and by this I mean we make reds with lots of fruit intensity. The tannins, alcohol & oak need to be in balance with this.  A wine can be both big & smooth, and that’s what we try to do.

 

 

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Wine show judging

Last week was the 123rd annual Rutherglen Wine Show and I was lucky enough to be invited as an Associate judge.  No, this doesn’t mean I rigged the results! All the wines are tasted blind, and Associate judge’s scores don’t count anyway.  I’ll explain the process.

Wines are entered into classes within the show, which are sorted by vintage and variety (eg. 2009 Shiraz, 2008 and older Chardonnay, 2010 Other red varieties or blends, etc). Each class is judged by a panel of judges. If it is a large class, it may be split up over 2 or 3 panels. In this case any wines which have been awarded a Silver or Gold medal will be re-judged to determine the final medal allocation. At this point I will explain that a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal does not mean that the wine came first, second or third. The medals are given on a points basis. Judges score wines out of 20. 15.5 points is a Bronze medal, 17 points is a Silver medal and 18.5 points is a Gold medal. So, there can be multiple gold medals awarded in a class. Or there can be none. The judging panels comprise of 3 Judges and 2 Associate judges. Each Judge and Associate has his / her own line-up of all the wines, and tastes and points each one blind (not knowing the producer) with no discussion. The Judges then convene and give a overall point score to each wine. This can be a simple add up and average of the Judges scores, or if there is discrepancy or disagreement between the scores, each judge will re-evaluate those particular wines and decide if they are prepared to adjust their score. The Associate Judges point all the wines and are involved in the discussion, but their points do not count towards the final scores. It is basically an experience and learning exercise for young people in the industry.

It was a great experience for me to taste and evaluate that many wines, and although it is very demanding and tiring, it was also a good deal of fun!

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Serving sparkling reds

How do you serve your sparkling reds? In a champagne flute? Most people do.

Well, we like to serve them in a red wine glass.

The original Champagne glass was wide & shallow (supposedly modelled on Marie Antoinette’s breast), but this fell out of fashion in favour of the narrow flute because the larger surface area does cause the wine to lose it’s gas more quickly.

However, with full bodied, complex sparkling reds like we make, a larger surface area allows the aromas to be fully appreciated.  And they really don’t go flat that quickly.

If you do serve sparkling reds in red wine glasses, there are 2 things to note:

– don’t put do much in the glass. You can always have a refill, and this will refresh the bubbles.

– this is one occasion where you should not swirl the glass! It will make the wine go flat quicker, and it is not necessary. With still wines we swirl them to draw air in which lifts the aromatics. The bubbles coming up through a sparkling wine lift the aromatics as well, so really, all swirling is doing is making it flat.

Sparkling reds go particulary well with gamey meats, but also try one with roast pork (with crackling) or after dinner with cheeses.

Cheers!

Anderson sparkling wines

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Dark chocolate tart

Christobelle Anderson's Dark chocolate tart

Christobelle Anderson’s Dark chocolate tart

Who doesn’t love chocolate?

I found / modified this recipe a couple of years ago specifically to match with a new wine we had just released – a late harvest Shiraz named after my sister – Melanie (who, coincidently, loves chocolate).

It’s surprisingly easy to make (the longest part is refrigerating the pastry for an hour), and it has become a bit of a favourite for family celebrations & our annual winery BBQ.

Pastry

75g butter

75 g caster sugar

75g ground almonds

125g plain flour

2 tbsp iced water, or more

Whiz the butter, sugar, almonds and flour in a food processor until smooth.

Add water a spoonful at a time, still whizzing, until the pastry clumps into a ball.  Place on the base of a 20cm tart tin and gently, gradually, press the mixture down, working from the centre out, to cover the base and up the sides.

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 180C.  Line the tart with foil and weigh down with baking beans or pastry weights.  Bake for 15 minutes, carefully remove beans and foil, then bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes until lightly golden.  Cool.

Filling – this makes enough for about 1.3 tarts (any left over cooks up nicely in a cake tin!)

500g 70% cocoa dark chocolate

300mL double cream

200mL milk

3 eggs

Boil the milk and cream mix in a pan and pour over the chocolate.  Mix well and then whisk in the eggs.

Pour into pastry case.

Bake in oven at 90C for approx 45 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Serve with a glass of Anderson “Melanie” Late harvest Shiraz.

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