January 7, 2008

Protero Viognier and Chardonnay

By Andrew Barrow In Wine Notes
Protero Viognier and ChardonnayTwo stonkingly great wines to start the week – both whites and both from the same producer.
I brought six different wines from Cooden Cellars a few weeks before Christmas, these two join the stunning Durif under a ‘must buy’ heading!

Can’t say a lot of effort has gone into the packaging though.

White WineWine Tasting Note: Protero Gumeracha Viognier, 2005, Adelaide Hills, South Australia
£9.99 Very Limited Stocks from Cooden Cellars [more]
Incredible. Real power on the palate – full of flavour but balanced by great acidity, long, long lasting flavour. Intense flavours combining nuts, apricot kernals, pear, a quality oak influence, a lemon twist. A wonderful hazelnut finish. Weight, texture, length and balance – what more do you need?
Alcohol 14.5%.
Scribblings Rating – 96/100 [4.5 out of 5]

White WineWine Tasting Note: Protero Gumeracha Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
£9.99 Very Limited Stocks from Cooden Cellars [more]
Limey nose, complex with hints of melon. A full-on lime edge to the palate with sherbet, stone fruits and a smidgeon of herbaceousness. Pears too. Good concentration on the palate with a buttery finish. Unoaked. reat length. Alcohol 14.5%
Scribblings Rating – 90/100 [3.75 out of 5]

Protero vineyard lies on a stony ridge to the east of the road between the historic towns of Gumeracha and Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills.
We say historic with some wry irony: while the Silesian refugees settled these towns some time ago, they were a mere one or two billion years after the PROTEROZOIC geological epoch, during which the oldest basement stones of our ridge were formed. From the greatly-weathered remnants of these stones, comes some of our soil.
Proterozoic literally means “former life” or “the life which came first”, referring to the fact that during this tumultuous age, which stretched from 570 million years back to 2.6 billion years, the first types of multi-cellular life began to form. In contrast, the famous Kimmeridgean chalks below, say, Chablis, are 60 million years old.”

Protero Wines

An email from Rosemary Baldasso was in the in-box this morning. Who she? Only one of the proud owners of Protero Wines!

Love it when retailers or producers take the trouble to comment on a scribble. It would seem that sadly the importer of their wines in the UK abruptly closed-shop recently (hence perhaps the marvellous offer from Cooden Cellars on the two wines – they ‘normally’ retail at £17.99 a bottle) so the wines are not currently available.

The thrust of the email though was in answer to my throw-away comment on the understated packaging. I’m sure Rosemary will not object to repeating it here as its a lovely little insight into the thought processes behind the packaging.

I was alerted about your review by a gentleman in Sydney, who would like to try some of these wines. Let me thank you sincerely for such a wonderful review. Frank and I are humbled by your kind words. We knew we had a good wine, just didn’t realise how good. It is a pity that our agent in London is no longer in business. I am in discussions at present with someone looking to import our wines, but progress is slow and I need to be patient.

As for the comment on our packaging we appreciate the feed back. Perhaps a little explanation will help you understand the philosophy behind the label. A lot of time and effort was invested in the design. We started by studying what was on the shelves and when one stands back and looks closely, not many labels stood out and most were difficult to read.

So, we set about keeping it simple and making it easy to read and hopefully easy to remember. Protero is the name, Gumeracha is the Aboriginal name for the little township our vineyard is in, the name of the variety of grape comes next and then the region our vineyard is in. All our labels are the same for all our wines, to keep consistency, so, again it helps the label to become recognizable. Whether we are achieving this or not remains to be seen, in the meantime we know that this label will not appeal to everybody, that’s life, but we know what has gone into its design.

Pick up the bottle and feel the texture on the paper and the gentle embossing of the name, study its simplicity, place it in a row with other labels, stand back and observe.”

The photograph is not one of mine but taken from the Protero Website.

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