To make a fresh, vibrant Sparkling white wine using fruit from a region famed for still dry reds took a leap of faith. More than two decades later that faith has been repaid as the Cuvée Coonawarra Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay remains one of our customer’s favourite wines.
Leading this graduation from ‘best kept secret’ to becoming the biggest selling regional Sparkling in Cellarmasters, are winemakers Tina Jarrett and Neil Doddridge. Tina is a sparkling wine specialist, who creates expressive, classic-style Australian fizz. Here, Tina discusses winemaking, Australian Sparkling and the Riddoch ‘Cuvée Coonawarra’.
Cellarmasters: Hi Tina, congratulations. Joining Riddoch is a big move for Cuvée Coonawarra.
Tina: Thanks! I’m delighted to be one of the custodians of the Riddoch brand.
How did you get started as a winemaker?
Tina: I have had three major careers in my lifetime. First, I was a Dental nurse/Oral surgeon – I have always been interested in science. Secondly, I was a Flight Attendant with Qantas – prepping food for business class really gave me an appreciation for food and wine pairing. Lastly, I started studying an Applied Science Degree -Wine Science degree at Charles Sturt University – to learn more about the science of wine – whilst flying and working part time in a winery.
You’re specialist when it comes to Sparkling wine. What drew you to this particular style and what has kept you coming back to it?
Tina: I love the world of yeast – I love science – and the different species that impart flavour, texture and aroma, which is one the many components of sparkling winemaking. I worked in the Champagne region for vintage 2015 which secured my love of the style. Sparkling wine naturally gives me a sense of family and friends getting together celebrating wine, food and each other.
Cuvée Coonawarra has been around for a while. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Tina: Cuvée Coonawarra goes back to the early 80's when it was produced by Katnook and Wingara. The blend varies year to year because of the Pinot Noir component used from seasonal variation. The result is changes in natural acid, flavours and colour variation, sometimes with a slight pink hue and sometimes more pale yellow depending on the blend.
Aussie Sparkling, how does it stand up to French fizz?
Tina: Australians make excellent sparkling and it’s up there with the French, we need to get behind Australian Sparkling so we are up there side by side with our French comrades!
Why do you think Riddoch Cuvée Coonawarra is so popular?
Tina: Riddoch brand is well known and encapsulates the rich Coonawarra history and this wine is all Coonawarra resource in all its glory.
What can fans expect from the Riddoch Cuvée Coonawarra?
Tina: A rich full flavoured sparkling wine with full flavoured fresh fruit characters, biscuity lees, crispy fresh with a fine bead creamy mousse finish.
There you have it – winemaker, Tina Jarrett, on Riddoch Cuvée Coonawarra. Such a firm customer favourite, it's now showing off its fresh new look while retaining the characteristic flavours that have made it so popular over the last 20 years.