Am ale for a gale, a sticky for dessert and winter reds.

Back in the early 1980s Peter Cumming of Bendigo was a successful tomato and cherry farmer who took up grape growing and eventually wine making. Waterwheel (as his label was known) quickly established a reputation for generous, typically Australian tasting reds at ridiculously inexpensive prices. But the gods were angered and a biblical tale of droughts, floods, fires and frosts followed. Now Waterwheel has emerged out the other end, chastened but not beaten.

“2013 could also be called 2 AD, the second year After Drought” says Peter. “Even now in 2015 I can’t get used to seeing big, dark green leaves on the vines.” The label on the excellent Waterwheel 5 Rounds Baringhup Shiraz 2012 illustrates Waterwheels fight with nature.

An ale for a gale
Monteith’s Black beer 
We may have won the Cricket World Cup but the Kiwis have got Montieth’s – one of the more interesting breweries in our part of the world. For ale lovers Monteith’s has many treats in store but the one for the winter months is the Black Beer. It’s not as heavy as a stout and hence more sessionable yet still has those delicious roasted malt flavours and aromas beloved of dark beer admirers.

A sticky for dessert
Trentham Estate Noble Taminga 2012
Noble what? Taminga is a grape variety developed to cope with the heat in the Riverland. It also makes a very good sticky – honey, dried apricot, marmalade and just right for your tarte tartin.

Winter reds
Mezzo Shiraz Mataro 2014
This red blend comes from the unlikely region of Tatiara which is half way between the towns of Mundulla and Bordertown in South Australia. Not all Terrarossa is in Coonawarra and the reds in the region benefit from the red dirt. Aromatic and well-structured, it’s worth seeking out.

Heartland Shiraz 2013
The paltry price tag belies a very satisfying red – plump smooth and deep. Langhorne Creek shiraz is the sort of wine style you crave when you return to Australia after drinking too many effete reds in foreign lands.

Did you know?
A glass of red wine provides approximately the following percentages of your daily requirement of minerals for good health: 1% Calcium, 1% Copper,  1%  Zinc,  3% Phosphorus, 4% Iron, 4% Magnesium, 5% Potassium and 10% Manganese.