When I was studying winemaking, I quickly discovered that the best way to learn about wine is through a wine tasting comparison. That way, you can see, smell and taste the differences for yourself.

So I have teamed up with my friends Janet and Erinn Klein at Ngeringa Vineyards to bring you some specially matched wines to compare at home. That way you can build your wine wisdom while enjoying great hand-crafted wine. Who said learning new things had to be hard work?

Ngeringa is a biodynamic vineyard and winery. Not only that, it makes some of the most elegant biodynamic wines around. Biodynamic winemaking is interesting stuff and Ngeringa is a great example of how a biodynamic approach can make for really expressive, flavoursome wines.

In the video below, Erinn discusses the basics of biodynamic vineyard practices and the philosophies and practices of Ngeringa Vineyards.

Together we have put together a biodynamic wine tasting comparison made up of 3 brackets, each involving two delicious wines:

 

Wine Tasting Comparison Bracket One: Chardonnay Oak Influence Comparison

This tasting bracket is made up of the Ngeringa Chardonnay and Ngeringa Elliptic Chardonnay – both from the excellent 2013 vintage.

This comparison is a great demonstration of the effect that different types of fermentation vessels can impart on a wine.

The result? Texture and complexity versus drive, expression and purity.

This bracket is all about:

  • High quality, elegant cool-climate Chardonnay
  • The influence of oak-barrel fermentation on wine
  • Tasting the difference between a ‘pure’, ‘driven’ style of Chardonnay and a more complex, textured style

To taste this comparison yourself you can select these wines from the Ngeringa website and get them shipped as a two-pack, which makes an excellent gift for lovers of high-quality Chardonnay, with the comparison and video masterclass videos (below) adding a whole new dimension to the tasting and learning experience.

In the video, Winemaker Erinn Klein takes us through the comparison.

You can buy this comparison as a twin-pack directly from the Ngeringa website.

Wine Tasting Comparison Bracket Two: Shiraz Vintage Comparison

This bracket is a comparison of two vintages of Janet and Erinn’s namesake – the JE Syrah.

Not only is it an opportunity to taste a superbly balanced cool-climate biodynamic Shiraz, but we can see the difference that vintage conditions make. In this case, we have two very different vintages – the challenging 2011 and the more accommodating 2010. The 2011 produced very focussed wines, whereas the 2010 was a ‘classic vintage’. As Erinn explains, this comparison is a perfect way to taste the differences in the wine from the conditions in the vineyard (part of the ‘terroir’).

The cooler 2011 vintage produced a spicy, ‘European style’ Shiraz (these wines go by their European name, ‘Syrah’) with some green notes (think capsicum and pepper). The 2011 is ideal for pairing with food, whereas the 2010 shows a more fruit-driven style of wine that suits drinking on its own or with food.

Both wines are nicely aged, with 5 or 6 years under their belt, so there is very little relative difference in age between the two bottles. Since both are from the same vineyard, made with almost identical winemaking techniques, of the same variety and aged to a similar degree, the differences from vintage conditions will be clear when you taste them. This comparison represents a great opportunity to learn through tasting – that is, learn about the impact a season’s weather conditions can have on wine.

This bracket is all about:

  • Great value, elegant, cool-climate, medium-bodied Shiraz
  • The influence of vintage conditions on wine
  • Learning about which styles of Shiraz resonate with you – a leaner, more peppery European style, or a rounder, more perfumed style

Watch the video below to learn more as Winemaker Erinn Klein takes us through the comparison.

You can purchase this comparison as a twin-pack directly from the Ngeringa website.

Wine Tasting Comparison Bracket Three: Italian Variety Comparison

This bracket is a comparison of two Italian varieties grown biodynamically in the Adelaide Hills at Ngeringa Vineyards – Sangiovese and Nebiollo .

These varieties are among the most prominent Italian red varieties making waves at the moment throughout Australia.

Nebiollo is a grape variety from the northern part of Italy.  It can make very heavy tannic wines, but Ngeringa has coaxed it into a more delicate style – not dissimilar to Pinot Noir. The Ngeringa Nebiollo is a very drinkable wine, showing lifted aromas of roses and violets with an earthy backdrop of spicy undergrowth and tanned leather on the palate – a real crowd pleaser!

From the same vineyard and the same year, with almost identical winemaking, comes the Ngeringa Sangiovese. Again, this comparison is a perfect way to taste the differences from one factor by removing the differences in all other factors. In this case, grape variety is the decisive factor. The Sangiovese variety comes from central Italy and is made famous by Tuscanny, and in particular, Chanti. Grown in the cool climate of Adelaide Hills, the Ngeringa Sangiovese expresses earthiness and herbal characteristics on the nose with dark sour cherries, prunes and blood plums on the palate, and a solid tannin backbone. One word from me – Yum.

This bracket is all about:

  • Getting to know two of the most important Italian red varieties that are ever increasing in popularity here in Australia
  • The influence of grape variety on wine, when all other factors are identical

Again, these two wines make a great twin-pack comparison (in conjunction with the video masterclass below), or as a bracket within a 6-pack of Ngeringa wines to compare, taste, learn and enjoy! You can pick and choose your bottles directly from ngeringa.com.

Watch the video below to learn more as Winemaker Erinn Klein takes us through the comparison.