eight at the gateOur fearless Wine Review Council (ok, maybe we have one or two fears) assembled in Temecula to taste wines from Australia with a focus on two lesser-known regions. The majority of the five wines we tasted came from Wrattonbully, located in South Australia, between Adelaide and Melbourne. First planed to grapes in 1885, there are now more than 50 grape growers and 20 wine producers. It’s no longer a “best-kept secret.”

We have some remarkable chefs in our group, and we kicked things off with Linda’s Pavlova, a baked meringue with lemon curd, whipped cream, and berries. Dessert first? That’s just how we roll! She paired it with Eight At The Gate’s 2019 Family Selection Chardonnay. Aged in seasoned oak, it offers hints of green apple and has a pleasant, lingering finish. It sells for about $35.

grilled cheeseWe tasted a second Chardonnay, Eight At The Gate’s 2018. Marc prepared grilled cheese sandwiches with Gruyere and white cheddar with green apple on gluten-free white bread. The green apples on the sandwich with a perfect accompaniment to the green apple notes in the wine. This stainless steel Chardonnay is a bargain at $20.

popcorn eight gateNext up was the 2016 Single Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz. This wine is extremely fruit-forward with a deep red color, dark fruits and a long finish. We enjoyed it with both chocolate and caramel pop corn provided by Linda M. Lots of fun, and a perfect pairing. $28

Our final offering from Eight At The Gate was their Family Selection 2016 Shiraz. Deep purple in color, this is a powerhouse. I detected lots of blackberry on the nose, and it was luscious on the palate. Marc made pulled pork tamales with barbeque sauce, and the pairing was a match made in heaven. This wine sells for $48.

woodlands clementineI brought another Australian wine, the 2017 Clémentine from Woodlands. Western Australia’s Margaret River is another lesser known wine producing region. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. It’s an elegant wine, and I made lamb stew in my Instant Pot to pair with it. This was a lovely finale to a delightful afternoon. Until we meet again, cheers!