Remember cabernet sauvignon and shiraz? Before light reds, cloudy whites and pét-nats were all the rage, these two grapes were the workhorses of the Australian wine industry and were often blended together to make “Aussie claret”: red wines that were ripe, generous and everything drinkers wanted between the ’60s and ’80s.
Blind Corner winemaker Ben Gould, like many of his winemaking peers in Margaret River, does remember. You’ll find plantings of these two varieties on the vineyard he and his wife Naomi bought in 2014 in northern Margaret River. But rather than stick to the traditional heavy claret-style blueprint, the Goulds decided to turn their cab sav and shiraz into something that was a little softer in both the glass and on people’s back pockets. Enter Blind Corner’s rouge, blanc, rosé and orange: four certified organic, single vineyard wines delivering major league value-for-money at $19 a bottle.
“We wanted to create wines you could drink every day, but you’d drink well every day,” says Gould. “When Naomi and I went through Europe brainstorming this whole Blind Corner thing, we were drinking good local wine for three euro a glass. That was such a big thing for us. When we got back home, that same wine was $12 a glass and we couldn’t work out why. It doesn’t cost us that much to make it.”
While all four wines represent solid drinking, the red blend – the rouge – is the pick of the litter. Although cab sav and shiraz have reputations for bold flavours, careful vineyard management and the use of a small basket press to gently press the fruit has created a gluggable, medium-bodied red that’s low in tannin and high in pretty red fruit. (For what it’s worth, there’s a little bit of merlot in the mix to help flesh out the wine). It delivers at room temperature, but can also stand up to some light chilling, a handy tip for taming bigger red wines.
If you’re lighting the Weber a little more frequently during these brisk autumn nights, consider cracking this from the fridge and starting with a glass of it chilled while you’re tending the coals. While you’re grilling dinner, the rest of the bottle gently comes to room temperature on the table and should be right in the zone by the time food is on the table.
The $19 price tag is for bottles that come direct from the winery. If you want to try some immediately, you might be able to snaffle a takeaway bottle in Perth for $22, with $109 six-pack (currently sold out) further reducing the price per bottle.
Not only do you get six bottles of wine – two each of the rouge, blanc and rosé – you also score some hand sanitiser and free postage. Plus, Blind Corner donates $20 from the sale of each pack to a local Dunsborough charity.
While Gould doesn’t want to name the charity on account of privacy concerns, he’s happy to say the $4000 (and counting) raised to date has helped the beneficiary continue to operate and serve the community during the Covid-19 shutdown. Much like other thoughtful winemakers, really.
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on April 22, 2020. Some details may have changed since publication.