Traveling the world and being part of the process of finding great wines to bring to our ABC stores here in Florida is a fascinating, rewarding and occasionally humbling way of life. Fascinating because if you have an enthusiasm for it, you can’t help become involved not only with the excellent wines you encounter, but also with the passion and skill of the grape growers, winemakers, owners and everyone involved. Rewarding because it gives you pleasure to know that you’ve introduced a wine that is somehow unique to a whole new audience. And humbling because you want every choice to be a home run and know it should be a home run, but with so many choices out there you have to accept that it may not be.
I have no such worries about these wines.
While attending a trade show and series of seminars in Adelaide a while back, I discovered the wines of Serafino, a family-owned estate, with 300 acres of prime vineyards located in the wine region of McLaren Vale in South Australia. There were literally thousands of wines to try over the few days of this show and believe me, Australia was putting its best foot forward with wines of stunning quality. With so much to offer it took something very special to top this endless array of amazing wine. Serafino did that for me.
But first a little history. Serafino (Steve) Maglieri emigrated to Australia from Campobasso, Italy, in 1964 with a single suitcase, very little English and about $20 in his pocket. He soon found work in the vineyards and wineries of McLaren Vale, and drawing on his passion for wine and the skills he inherited from Italy, Steve established Maglieri Wines in 1972, which developed into Serafino wines in 2000. With Steve’s daughter Maria now at the helm, Serafino produces not only all the classic McLaren Vale varieties but also many very interesting and exciting Italian varietals as well. Which works perfectly because McLaren Vale, nestled between sea and hills, has a moderate ‘Mediterranean’ climate.
But let’s look at the wines that ABC is now offering –
Serafino Shiraz 2012: This tantalizing wine was awarded 95 points from James Halliday in his Australian Wine Companion and also received Double Gold at the CWSA. Halliday writes, “Blackberry and Satsuma plum play tag with each other, fine tannins and cedary oak providing the boundary lines for the tag-team.”
Serafino GSM 2012: Awarded 94 points by James Halliday who writes, “Its unusual depth lifts it onto another plane altogether.” This stunning wine is a blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Shiraz and 5% Mataro (aka Mourvèdre).
Tawny Fortified Wine: A delicious Port-style wine that is also a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro. The winemaker’s notes: “Multiple layers of finesse and complexity combined mature fruit, aged oak, spice and rancio characters. Initial raisin fruit with toffee and walnut balanced with spirit dryness and a long persistent palate.” Australia, of course has a long history of making excellent and highly rated dessert wines, but this one truly stands out. Alcohol 19%.
Now is the time for America to rediscover Australia’s quality wines. Serafino is a great place to start. Enjoy!
Bill Stobbs, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinebills