When one of the NSW Riverina’s early pioneers Francesco Calabria, who’d arrived from Italy in 1927 with wife Elizabeth, decided he needed a glass or three of good home-made red or white to ease the pains of a day on the family’s fruit farm in the new-fangled irrigation area, he didn’t have the money to invest in all the necessary equipment to make it with.
So he took over Elizabeth’s laundry tubs, and improvised from his workshop from there. By 1945 he was making wine full-time under the Calabria Wines label, and today son Bill is at the helm of the family-run business that’s now called Westend Wines, helped by wife Lena, sons Frank, Michael, Andrew and daughter Elizabeth, selling world-wide, and amassing more trophies and medals than Francesco could ever have packed into his wife’s little laundry.
Westend’s Richland range is dedicated to the family founders who pioneered that “rich land,” and is the premium commercial of a half-dozen labels that cater for all budgets. The 2010 Richland Sauvignon Blanc is a particularly excellent wine with great varietal flavours including passionfruit, garden peas, limes and mangoes – and even better is that its great buying at just $10.95.
With a dry, crisp and refreshing finish it’s a great partner with seafoods such as oysters, mussels, prawns, crabs and lobsters, sushi and tuna, or Asian stir fries with lemongrass and plenty of coriander, tomato, onion and garlic.
ONE FOR LUNCH
Andrew Margan has crafted an excellent Shiraz with the intention of buyers putting it away in a safe place for the next ten years – the $20 price tag making it a good investment as it is pleasant for enjoying now, but will become all the more so up to around the early 2020s.
Andrew picked the fruit for this 2009 Shiraz “al dente” (firm but not hard) off 40-year old Lower Hunter Valley vines; with nice savoury black fruit flavours its already an ideal match with meatballs in an Italian-style tomato sauce.