Cooks Lot is one of those under-rated classic labels, unique to country New South Wales. A smaller scaled family operation, Cooks Lot wines are indicative of their origins whilst showing unique character and flair that only comes from small production and passionate wine making.
If you haven’t yet visited Mudgee you’re overdue and I do not tolerate tardiness! Mudgee is one of the best kept secrets of the West, to which we owe Australia’s first Chardonnay plantings (hail Mary!) and some of the best robust reds on this side of the border! Neighbouring Orange produces some of Australia’s finest Cool Climate, delicate styled and fashionable wines.
Cooks Lot capitalises on the best of both of these worlds and produces some stealthy, straight forward and first class Australian wines. Each wine I’ve poured under the Cooks Lot label has been individually expressive and full of personality. It is often with the smaller wineries that you find the bigger rewards and the friendlier faces. Time to make the pilgrimage to Mudgee….
2009 Orange Sauvignon Blanc – 13.5% al/vol RRP $19.99
With Australian wines like this, why do we bother with New Zealand? A bright straw colour, this Sauvignon Blanc has a delicate finesse. It’s gentle, restrained and refined; yet fresh, ripe and youthful. Lively tropical notes such as Kiwi and Pineapple start at the front of the palate and mellow into clean, crisp, zesty citrus. This ripe lemony acidity is a lovely way to balance the palate, with the nice surprise of a gentle tartaric buzz. With more aeration, the typical grassy undertones peep through.
A perfect wine for a hot afternoon, some fresh prawns and close friends on the verandah. Alternatively I think this Sauvignon Blanc is just yearning for Asian flavours, could definitely handle the heat and would be ideal paired with Thai. Yum!
2010 Orange Sauvignon Blanc – 11.5% al/vol RRP $19.99
Quite a lifted bouquet, fresh fruit fills the air as I fill my glass. Pineapple on the nose- as if i was chopping it fresh- skin and all. The palate is lean with acidity, and crispness develops into fresh squeezed, pink lemonade. As per varietal definition, an underlying green character lingers with slight herbaceousness, reminding me of tomato leaf.
2011 Orange Sauvignon Blanc – 12.1% al/vol RRP $19.99
A lighter colour than previous vintages, this Sauvignon Blanc has the pleasant juicy aroma of peeling an orange, down to the pith. The greenness reminds me of morning dew on fresh cut grass, but this develops into green bananas. From here, kiwi fruit envelopes the palate, leaving a tropical mouth feel.
2008 Mudgee Riesling – 11.3% al/vol RRP $19.99
Straw coloured with lime hues, this is a Riesling showing good depth. It starts off friendly and mellow, good varietal character, soft steely tones and just when you think you can trust it- a fresh, zesty acidity sweeps the palate. It is this fine acidity which makes it a clean and interesting wine. Kiwi fruit and fresh passionfruit develop into limes, and tart citrus – like tangerines. The bouquet is delicate with blossoms. A wine to cellar for a few more years to continue the mystery of mellow tones and surprising high notes.
2010 Mudgee Riesling – 12% al/vol RRP $19.99
A lovely surprise as this is different from it’s 2008 cousin. A more aromatic wine with greater fruit intensity, is wine shows intense passionfruit characters and green pear on the palate, with a zesty citrus finish. The aroma is playful with spectacular purple passionfruit flowers and a candied toffee apple. Having tasted this wine I’m craving a salad of figs, walnuts and blue cheese. The fullness of the palate and clean fruit could take this just nicely!
2011 Orange Pinot Gris – 11.8% al/vol RRP $19.99
This wine is arrogant – and rightly so. A fragrant style wine, a nose of nashi pears, lifted kiwi notes and a floral yet green aroma reminiscent of delicate geranium petals. A clean palate with fresh acidity that leaves the palate refreshed, but if you pay attention, gentle minerally characters sneak through. There is more to this wine than meets first appearances. A sweet nutty character (almonds or cashews) is a pleasant backdrop to the palate and bouquet. A lovely wine with interesting flavours that I would serve with breaded chicken and creamy mustard sauce. Yummy!
I’m liking what I see – the time this wine has been cellared has afforded this Chardonnay a slight golden colour. And to me – gold never goes out of fashion! The palate is well rounded but still lean with good acidity. The fruit – rock melons, honeydew melon, a little citrus (mandarin), and a firm peach sliced cleanly. The finish is where the oak shows through without dominating the palate. This Chardonnay is not aggressive and would work quite cooperatively with most foods. I’m having it with a chicken caesar salad. What will you enjoy this with? Oh and I think it can be cellared a few more years, go for gold!
2008 Mudgee Rose – 13.5% al/vol RRP $19.99
Pretty in pink? Rose coloured glasses? This Rose reminds me of strawberry coulis and Granny Smith apples. It’s very ripe berry fruit flavours are followed by clean acidity and a fun little spritz. Nothing too complicated here, so perfect for when you’ve had a complicated day. Best served super-chilled, it’s lovely and refreshing and doesn’t even need food – only friends.
2009 Mudgee & Orange Pinot Noir – 14% al/vol RRP $19.99
Bright and darker than I expected (probably that Mudgee proportion!), excellent varietal definition, strawberries and cherries stretch to the imagination with savoury notes. The nose reminds me of a barnyard, slightly dusty, straw lain, but then the fruit dominates. A medium bodied red with firm tannin and a splash of white pepper, a good length of palate is supported by oak. To serve with this Pinot Noir, I have been eyeing off that free-range duck in the supermarket, but otherwise you could try pork. The tannin will cut through the fat, and the fruit will come to the absolute fore of the palate.
2008 Mudgee Merlot – 13.5% al/vol RRP $19.99
Every woman is waiting for something dark, rich and handsome to come into their lives. And here it is ladies. Wait no longer!
Blackberries, and stewed fruits of the forest, the nose is dominated by the charred spiciness of American oak. I first thought dairy milk chocolate, but it developed into espresso – so why not have both? A dark brick red colour, this Merlot has a well rounded, but mellow palate. This has obviously Mudgee origins – having that lovely Mudgee “mud” depth, without being overbearing. A good match for that joint of lamb I intend to roast later.
2008 Mudgee Shiraz – 14% al/vol RRP $19.99
This Shiraz is a cowboy of our Wild West – Mudgee. Straight away it lasso’s you in with American oak vigour, and locks you in a dual with the fastest guns of the west (impressive tannin structure and good fruit balance). Packed with aroma and flavour of Cinnamon, and Christmas meat pies, this wine deserves to be in the lock-up (cellared) for a few years before you grace it with good quality rare-medium beef.
2010 Orange Botrytis Chardonnay- 8.5% al/vol RRP $25.00
Not surprisingly very low yielding, this nectar of the gods has dried apricot, dried pears and honey characters. The colour is no less than 22 carats! A fresh acidity finishes the palate with glace pineapple, and the crunch of a toffee apple. It would be unforgiving to try to compete with this wine with a dessert, so let’s pull out the Roquefort (if you’re paying!) otherwise good blue cheese or hard bitey cheddar and pate, and a selection of fresh, dried fruits, yum yum yum.
Thank you to Cooks Lot for letting me have a closer look at their range. It has been an absolute pleasure to browse their range. I will definitely not hesitate to stop in and visit next time I’m in town. I hope you do the same.
Cooks Lot wines are exclusive – but only a delivery away. For ordering information, please visit www.cookslot.com.au.
Cooks Lot produce good quality wines that are excellent value for money.
They can all be purchased on their website (www.cookslot.com.au) or at any decent independent bottleshop.