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FORGET the brown paper bag,
this is seriously good as an
aperitif with tapas.


David Ellis

SHERRY never springs to front of mind when talk turns to wine styles and varietals, and sadly sales here are minimal as a good drop is most rewarding.

Perhaps its purely ignorance: there are those who simply know nothing about it, others who link it to little old ladies in darkened sitting rooms, and others who think it the choice of those who drink from brown paper bags on park benches.

Sherry was in fact one of the first wines made here from vines brought out on the First Fleet, but because of trade agreements with Spain and the EU we can no longer call our home-grown product “sherry.” And one of our best local exponents today is Andrew Birks, who has just released a Birks Chip Dry Fino (Fino being Spanish for “fine”) that in one word can best be described as “fantastic.”

Andrew was one-time Chief Fortified Winemaker for Lindemans, later head of the Wine Science School at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, and has done stints as a guest winemaker and speaker in sherry’s home-country Spain. And so passionate is he about it, he even set up a solera (sherry-making cellar) under his home in Wagga, his wines going on to win multiple international awards.

GREAT match with seafood
|in a nice creamy sauce.

His Birks Chip Dry Fino is a great drop to enjoy really cold as an aperitif with tapas such as olives, salted almonds, oysters and seafoods, and even mild cheeses; he’s made just a thousand 375ml bottles at $25. Get onto it quickly and order through Bidgeebong Wines (02) 6931 9955 or

ONE FOR LUNCH: 2010 gave Coonawarra one of its earliest and best vintages ever, and once again Katnook Estate came up trumps with a Founder’s Block 2010 Chardonnay from fruit that enjoyed below average rainfall and above average temperatures.

This wonderfully elegant drop has peaches and melons to the forefront and nice Chardonnay “butteriness.”  A great drop at $18 with seafood in a creamy sauce.



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