By Celia Strong
One of the hottest trends in the restaurant business over the past few years has been “farm-to-table” — getting food as directly as possible from the farm to our table. Imagine a wine that does just that — and has the name to prove it.
Fowles Wine is an Australian company, located near the Strathbogie Ranges region of Victoria. This wine area has the same latitude as Gisborne in New Zealand, Sonoma and Napa valleys in California, Mendoza in Argentina, and Sicily in Italy. So, obviously, a climate for growing good grapes. The Ranges are based on massive granite boulders, formed millions of years ago, with sandy, loam soils. This Australian landscape is harsh, with poor soil nutrients and low water retention. All conditions known for making the grapes work as they grow, in turn making for great flavors and textures in the grapes and their wines. Cool climates joined with tough growing and ripening makes for intensely flavored wines. Farm to Table is one of several labels produced by Fowles Wine, by families who live on their land with their vines, and there are multiple varieties to chose from.
• Farm to Table Cabernet Sauvignon: These grapes are grown in the Upton Run and Billi’s vineyards in the Strathbogie Ranges. After harvest, they are fermented in stainless steel, with stirring, for maximum color and flavors. The use of neutral yeast strains allows for natural aromas and flavors. This Cabernet is a deep, dense red color with hints of purple. Its aromas and flavors include blackberries, black cherries, and black currants, all mixed with chocolate and baking spices. It is a full-bodied wine with moderate tannins. Good with beef, stews and grilled meats of all kinds.
• Farm to Table Chardonnay: Grapes for this wine are also from Ranges vineyards, harvested in the evening, in cooler hours, so the must temperature stays lower. Lower temperatures mean more intense fruit flavors in the finished wine. Also fermented in stainless steel, with stirring, with a specific Portuguese yeast strain known for enhancing fresh, fruity Chardonnay flavors. Some aging in new and old French oak adds complexities to this fuller but fresh style Chardonnay. Apples, pears, Meyer lemons and green herbs like thyme and tarragon are all part of this wine. Poultry and fish — baked and grilled — and creamy casseroles go well with this Chardonnay.
• Farm to Table Sauvignon Blanc: Again, this wine is sourced from the same vineyards and harvested in the evening. What works for the Chardonnay works for the Sauvignon Blanc. Its yeast is chosen from trials done in 2014 that found a strain that really augmented aromas and flavors in Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is pale yellow with light green tinges. Mangos, passionfruit, and kiwis lead its tropical fruit aromas and flavors, followed by some lemon-lime, apple and herb notes. Clean, crisp acidity carries the flavors to the finish. Seafood and shellfish shine with this wine.
• Farm to Table Shiraz: Like our other wines, these grapes come from the Ranges and are fermented in the same way. Its yeast is chosen to enhance the richness of Shiraz. This is a bright red wine with purple edges. It has vibrant aromas and flavors including dark plums, dark cherries, raspberries and rhubarb. Its palate is very fruit forward with a juicy texture, soft tannins and a long finish. It’s perfect with lamb and anything grilled.
The name says it all. Or most of it. The label adds more information. The cost, $12.99, settles the deal. Good wine. Good food. Good price. Good times. Enjoy.
Celia Strong works at Bill’s Liquor & Fine Wines on Lady’s Island.