jamie goode's wine blog: Zontes Footstep

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Zontes Footstep

I hesitate to post this note, lest my loyal readers despise me as a lover of spoofy, fake wine. But I feel I need to come clean. I enjoyed the new release (2006) of the Zonte's Footstep Shiraz (94%) Viognier 6%) 2006 McLaren Vale. It's certainly a very ripe, full-on Aussie wine. But what I like is the purity of the fruit, and the fact that as well as sweetness it offers some spicy, peppery complexity. There's even a hint of ginger. It works really well - it's the sort of wine you want another glass of (although perhaps not a third glass).

Look, you don't always want to be reading Proust and Joyce - sometimes you are in the mood for John Grisham and Joanne Harris. It's a bit like that with wine. I enjoy the serious stuff, but I also enjoy the less weighty, perhaps more ephemeral wines that suit a mood or occasion. There are good spoofy wines and bad ones. This Zonte's, in its style, is a really well made wine. Perhaps the only thing I'd change about it is that I'd use reverse osmosis to dial the alcohol down a little - perhaps from its present 14.5% to around 13.9% - I reckon this would really help the wine. Heck, at 13% you'd have a world-beating Crozes-Hermitage.

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At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Ho ho ho. You have such a way with words Jamie. A real gift for making even rubbish sound good!!
I reckon you should become a full time writer/journo and of course,I will be happy to be your publisher!!

At 12:52 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Not sure Joanne Harris would want to be mentioned in the same literary breath as John Grisham. Blackberry Wine is beautifully written and quite lyrical in places (it also has a talking bottle of Beaujolais - well, sort of).

Is it the fine wine that is like Proust or Joyce or rather our propensity to analyse it like a fine painting or a piece of great text? I'm not in the mood to drink great wine every day; often its nuances are wasted on me, but I do value "drinkability". This Zonte wine may be less weighty intellectually than a serious wine, but it certainly sounds weighty on the alcohol. 14.5% seems mandatory for Aussie shiraz. A serious wine does not have to be heavy and an enjoyable should definitely not be heavy. Surely, the equivalent of a book you can't put down is a wine that you can't stop drinking. The French have a word "gouleyant" which describes the delicious digestibility of an easy-drinking pleasing wine. The books of Joanne Harris are gouleyant; quite nourishing with some subtle notes. In Blackberry Wine, the wine is an agent of transformation - it brings the ghosts of the past to life - hold on that sounds like a Proustian thing! Tom Clancy - now there's your Shiraz.

At 6:44 AM, Blogger Cru Master said...

I had a fantastic bottle of Cape Rock Shiraz Viognier and absolutely loved it.

Was the first time I had tried such a blend and thought that the viognier worked tremendously with the shiraz.

And to add to this, the packaging was incredible - so much so that i've kept the unusually shaped bottle as an 'ornament' in the house!

The reason I mention the packaging
is that I know you have to some of your own for your own wine - I will try and get a picture of the bottle and labels and send them to you as ideas!

Keith - I think its high time we had that glass (or bottle or two) of wine - ill give you a call!

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Jan-Tore Egge said...

I've not had this (often maligned) wine, but it does strike me that a good everyday VdP syrah might have something like 12% ABV — or even 11.5. Even at those levels, the wine doesn't necessaritly taste unripe.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger andyincayman said...

As a critisiser of "spoofy" wines on this blog in the past I must appologise for you feeling hesitant to give your opinions on this or any wine.

Having said this I have had this wine before on recomendations in the press and must say I don't see the attraction. Definitely far too alcoholic and candified for my taste. As such would not compare it to Mrs Harris, but probably only because she was to be my french teacher at school.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Perhaps I've been a bit unfair on Joanne Harris by lumping her with John Grisham. I've read all her books - enjoyed Blackberry wine with its talking wine bottles. I guess she's created a category of her own - clever, well constructed books that are remarkably accessible at the same time.

I can't really stand behind the Zontes and defend it too robustly, but when I tasted it, I liked it despite recognizing that it flirted with spoofiness.

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Been drinking an affordable Syrah this evening that completely outclasses the Zontes, albeit in a different style.

The Jamet Syrah VdPd Collines Rhodaniennes 2004 has fantastic freshness and acidity, allied with a bit of greenness and wonderful vibrant, peppery fruit. It's hugely drinkable and digestible, and has a nice meaty, cheesy tang. There's also an undercurrent of gravelly mineraliness. 12.5% alcohol. I wish there were more wines like this.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Paul Tudor said...

A question, sorry.
The attached photo has a label saying "Langhorne Creek", yet the wine that you have reviewed is from McLaren Vale? Is that correct?

At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Zar Brooks said...

What an interesting and enjoyable blog indeed. For what it’s worth, a note from the Zonte’s Footstep vineyard at Langhorne Creek in the midst of vintage 2007…yes, Mr. Tudor, we grow the grapes in Langhorne Creek, (single site) and let them make themselves into wine over the hill in McLaren Vale.

Apropos any literary allusion, a slippery slope indeed. As my Grandmother would warn, this will ‘Surely end with the devil!’ There’s only book that we have down here in the Langhorne Creek Institute on that subject…although I liked to remind her that the almighty’s son was pretty hand winemaker, albeit, it seems red only, and as it happens her beloved King James version was to prove this premise. (The Good News Bible of its day perhaps…)

Being unexpectedly confronted with the possible choice of a literary metaphor for one’s own wine is, simply put, unexpectedly confronting.

That said, as an aside, surely all Rosé is Hemmingway…drink a bottle or two each day over luncheon at the bull fights then write all that +&*#@! in the afternoon…initially dry and exciting then all ending up sweet and syrupy. (And Mr Goode is worried about the third glass? Relax Jamie.)

Further, I would contend most Viognier is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, magic – realism, certainly things not as they seem; a red skinned grape making white wine, the worst looking grapes make the best wine, the un-oaked parcels seem wooded, the best ferments the least expressive, the worst the most…exotic, tropical, rare, unique seemingly unreal and multi-meaning. Very Gabo.

Slipping in and out of fashion, Riesling is Noel Coward perhaps, light yet serious, perfumed and precise, bighting dryness but with a little naughty residual something.

I like to think of Langhorne Creek Verdelho as Jane Austen, socially irreverent, comedic and incisive, fresh and astute, a contrast to, and upstage of more reputed reputations.

Cabernet; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, wonderfully stylish, serious and memorable but also often drug crazed and impenetrable. Perhaps Thackeray, the more you drink the more you like it.

The triffid Merlot; Bryce Courtney, Robert Ludlum, Geoffrey Archer et. al. Superficially exciting (oft self proclaimed) and perennially popular with those who don’t want to make any effort.

Apologies for digressions. Back to Zonte’s Footstep. I initially though our beloved Zonte’s Footstep 2006 Shiraz Viognier that “smells like a ladies handbag and tastes like a man’s wallet” was in some ways quite P. G. Wodehouse like. I wanted it to be, but I am concerned that this too might be flirting with ‘spoofy fakes.’

So, have settled on the aspiration of Dylan Thomas, as I hope both are delightfully LIGHT and entertaining, and yet stimulating enough intellectually. Even if even too much of its rich and beautiful language can be quite intoxicating.

Cheers, Zar @ Zonte’s Footstep.

NB as for ‘spoofy fake wine’ I am not quite game enough to suggest to our gangs picking Viognier and Shiraz overnight, all-night, tonight, that their’s year’s work might be virtual. However, I do know tat more offensive would to suggest to them to pick our fruit a few beaume ago. Ie Sugar ripe and not flavour ripe; ‘Smell a gherkin on the vine and taste a gherkin in the wine’. At 12 beaume our grapes look and taste green. On the matter of alcohol, it is worth noting that being a wine from Australia, we can only legally describe in whole or half units in the UK, ie an Australian wine analysed at 13.7% must be stated as either 13.5% or 14%VOL. That said, only a nationally approved laboratory can verify our alcohol for export / UK import approval and various analytical methods used in different laboratories produce significantly varying results for the same wine. 13.9 can be 14.5 and vice versa.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous <a href="http://members.ospa.us/portal_memberdata/portraits/tluwjbqww">a credit card for my business</a> said...

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