So we flew halfway round the world to Melbourne to see winemaker Mac Forbes, and the very first bottle we opened together on Saturday night was an Austrian Gruner Veltliner from Carnuntum. But not any GV; this was Mac Forbes Gruner Veltliner 2006, a wine which Mac makes in Austria and ships to Australia where GV is becoming increasingly popular on wine lists. Next up was Mac’s Riesling Tradition 2008 from the Strathbogie Ranges which is another interesting experiment; three months on skins before pressing, then a year in barrel. The resulting wine is a real curiosity, very little Riesling typicity and you could almost mistake it for a red wine if you were to taste it literally blind.

Then we moved onto a line up of four Chardonnays. First was Bourgogne Blanc 2008 from Paul Pillot in Chassagne, then Mac’s own Woori Yallock 2008, his Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2008 and then Bindi’s Composition Chardonnay 2009 from Macedon, Victoria. They were all remarkably similar in style; extremely firm, taut wines and tasting them blind, we struggled to find significant differences between the three producers.

After that came Mac’s Yarra Valley 2008 pinot which we’ll be shipping in due course; an expressive perfumed nose but in Mac’s hallmark cool, dry style. On the palate we felt it needs a little longer to soften up but it already represents very well the purity and class of the 2008 vintage. We’ll also be tasting the other single-vineyard pinots later in the week and will be posting tasting notes. We finished off back in Europe with a 2004 Barolo Vigna Merenda from Scarzello, which Mac has imported himself. By this time jetlag was kicking in and we’d stopped taking detailed notes, but we thought it was a impressive and very accessible wine in an approachable style.

Bottles tasted Sat 28-03-10

the Saturday night tasting line-up

Sunday morning started with a swim at the beach before we started the next tasting session; Vegemite on toast. The |Clark Foysters are split down the middle on whether or not it’s superior to Marmite.

Swimming at Queenscliffe

Sunday morning at the beach