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Masterclass: Cool-Climate Adelaide with Bird in Hand Winery

Wednesday 20th March, 2019

Presented by Nicole Roberts

The Oxford Wine Company Shop, 6 Turl Street, Oxford, OX1 3DQ

As our group of wine enthusiasts huddled into the comfort of the Turl Street tasting room, the atmosphere was effervescent with anticipation for this exciting masterclass with Nicole Roberts from Bird in Hand Winery, Adelaide.

Nicole started the evening with a little introduction - her infectious energy and enthusiasm immediately capturing our attention. Bird in Hand began in 1997 and their ambition has always been to showcase the unique terroir of the Adelaide Hills of South West Australia. Their passion is to create world class wines that bring people together.

Our first wine of the evening was the Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir. A pale salmon pink in appearance with a luscious moussey fizz, the aromas of strawberries and cream fill your senses. Summer had truly arrived in the cellar! A wine to drink with friends anytime, anywhere; it is bright, fun, fruity and very seductive. Made using the Charmat Method.

The discussion moved onto the importance of sourcing the highest quality fruit and the impact of altitude. Nicole poured her two chardonnays and waited for feedback from her tasters. The Bird in Hand Chardonnay is produced from 100% chardonnay grapes sourced from three different vineyards and shows characteristics of peach, papaya, subtle vanilla and a gentle smokey, toasted note. Comparatively, the Nest Egg Chardonnay is 100% chardonnay grapes from a single vineyard, which is one of the coolest vineyards (600m a.s.l) within Adelaide and produces some of the highest quality fruit around. Aromas of white peach and flint followed by an elegant but fuller and richer palate are a result of the precision and care that goes into the production of this Bugundian style wine. Both chardonnays are hand picked and whole punch pressed, then fermented with wild yeasts.

The next wine to be poured was the Bird in Hand Cabernet Sauvignon. A young and bright wine with classic characteristics of a new world Cabernet Sauvignon: juicy blackcurrant, blackcurrant leaf and mint. Nicole highlighted how fortunate they have been with high quality fruit from their selected vineyards and a string of excellent vintages. The bold tannins give this wine great aging potential.

Moving onto the Bird in Hand Shiraz; a wine with an intense purple/ruby colour, crunchy red fruit, spice and dancing black pepper. Youthful but with good structure, this wine came out as a favourite for several.

With warm palates the attention in the room now focussed onto the limited-edition Nest Egg Shiraz. A complex and luxurious wine with jammy forest fruit, almond, smoke, leather and vanilla. This wine is made only with carefully selected fruit from the best vintages and aged in old oak barrels that have received a heavier toast. Rich and full with balanced acidity and round tannins. Our adventure through the Adelaide Hills and the quality of their cool climate wines, was left on a true high with this beautiful example of Bird in Hand's elegant and expressive wine making.

Paris Barghchi