THE WORLD IN A WINE GLASS
By Vee, Photographs by Handpicked Wine
My relationship with Sydney began in 2016 when I came in search of good food and wine. My curiosity was peaked the instant my eye caught the Handpicked Cellar Door—a stylishly refurbished warehouse in Sydney’s CBD that seamlessly blends old and new.
Stepping inside, one is greeted by mottled red bricks stained with lime and large unadorned concrete pillars immediately bringing to mind the industrial architectural style typical of New York. Wood is used to divide the space into different areas, on the floors and furnishings, and to add warmth and bring a contemporary feel to the room.
The team from Handpicked Wines are a highly professional bunch to say the least. Unlike most wineries, Handpicked don’t limit themselves to one region or style. Instead they ‘handpick’ wine regions and grape varieties from around Australia and beyond to include 21 producing areas in five countries, taking wine lovers on a tour of the finest wineries from around the world without leaving Sydney. What could be more satisfying? My favourite was the Prosecco from Veneto, Italy—every drop reminding me of bella Italia.
The stunning Veneto district lies between the Dolomites in the northeast and the Adriatic Sea. The region is characterised by expansive hills and valleys with rivers running through forming fertile deltas which are ideal for the plantings of the grape variety known as Prosecco. Prosecco produces a fragrant type of sparkling white wine which is very popular in Italy as an aperitif. If you happen to be dining out in Central or Northern Italy, it is most likely the first service will be a glass of Prosecco. It is seen as a traditional greeting in much of Italy, helping everyone to relax before a meal.
The fragrance of Prosecco consists of the aroma of pear, peach and white flowers. Since it is always consumed whilst still young, you can sense a strong aroma of fruits that is simple and fresh, without being too sweet—not at all like the flavours of yeast and toast that belong to older Champagne. Prosecco is an ideal choice as an appertiser. It pairs well with canapés, especially Italian green olives and salami—its sweetness perfectly highlighting the flavours.
There are, of course, many fine Australian wines in the Handpicked range, notably; the Shiraz from the Barossa Valley in South Australia, the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Yarra Valley, the Cabernet Merlot from Margaret River, and the Riesling from Eden Valley. These regional selections bear the Handpicked label—an abstract hand-print illustration designed to ‘evoke the distinct personality of the country from which the wine originates’. The vibrant colours are inspired by the red soil of the Barossa Valley, stone from Central Otago and grape vines from the Yarra Valley. The design is not just aesthetically pleasing, it is intended to take the customer on a journey to far flung wine growing regions, and connect them to the very soil from which the vine first sprung.
2013 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon $69.99
Margaret River is one of the most reliable wine growing regions in Australia and is particularly well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet/Merlot blends.This is a complex wine with aromas of black berry fruits, chocolate and cedar with briary highlights. On the palate it has layers of interest starting with rich dark berry fruit flavours, deft oak treatment and plush tannins. It is ready to drink and will age beautifully over the long term.
Prosecco Regional Selections: Veneto $27.99
With more than 90,000 hectares of vineyards, Veneto is a powerhouse of the Italian wine industry. The region is protected from the harsh northern European climate by the Alps, the foothills of which form the Veneto’s northern extremes. This climate is wellsuited to white varieties. This Prosecco is bright green with golden edges and a fine, persistent bead. Fruity and slightly aromatic, it’s fresh and lively, with a lingering and harmonious finish.