Coonawarra's newest 'kid' on the block, doing things a little differently
The Raidis family are renowned as a hospitable and hard working bunch, qualities which are clearly reflected in their wines. Grape growers, Chris & Fran Raidis planted their Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard some 26 years ago. Son Steven expanded these holdings, planting the southern vineyard in 2003, 50 acres made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and the region's only Pinot Gris - Coonawarra's southernmost plantings of most of these varieties.
Launching the family label in 2009, we today have a smart set of wines which, aside from the balanced and hearty reds remind us of Coonawarra's often forgotten history of producing some very tidy whites. The wild card is a blush style Pinot Gris, certainly not your average rosé!
Fastidious growers and vineyard managers, husband & wife team Steven and Emma Raidis believe great wine is made in the vineyard, with the wine styles clean, fruit bright and contemporary, crafted to be enjoyed with food and friends.
And the goats? An essential part of sustainable vineyard management, they are turned loose to eat remaining grapes after hand selection, as well as during winter to eat weeds and grass, removing the need to slash and spray.
RAIDIS ESTATE 'THE KELPIE' SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017
A pristine and pure style of Sauvignon Blanc. Two days of skin contact provides mid palate complexity, with the nose offering up an appealing array of lime zest, green peas, pepper and capsicum and a little passionfruit. Juicy and fun to drink, limes, green melon and varietal gooseberry lead the palate, rounded out with fresh cut grass and asparagus. Has a delicacy which would make it a great match for food such as grilled vegetables.
RAIDIS ESTATE ' THE KID' RIESLING 2015
Coonawarra Riesling is a relatively blank canvas - what to expect? A super fine mineral package is what we have here, all limes, green apples and slate. Winner of Karl Seppelt trophy for best white (excluding Chardonnay) at the 2015 Limestone Coast wine show. Bring on the barbecued seafood.
"It’s a greyhound of a wine, and I don’t mean a dog. Thin, lean, muscular. It’s a lime squeezed in saline mineral water, tangy, blisteringly fresh, eye-squinting at times. Trim and taut, simple, but good. Acid lovers will dig this, and then some. It drinks well in that way, but come at it armed with a big chill, and a hot day." 90 points, Mike Bennie, www.winefront.com.au
RAIDIS ESTATE 'cheeky' pinot gris 2017
Pinot Gris/Grigio is a dark skinned grape, not that one would know it given upwards of 95% (speculative figure!) of the wines it makes being white. Coonawarra's only plantings of the variety, the wine is given four days skin contact. Not so much an amber or orange wine (no oxidative handling), more a blush, it's a style of texture and interest, 2017's edition zippy with weight building on the finish.
Think the varietal characteristics of cut fresh pears, with bitter melon and wild strawberries. Texture is slippery with some crunch from chalkiness at the foundation. Good fun as a session drink, and comes into its own alongside light spicy food, Asian seafood curries a good starting point.
RAIDIS ESTATE ' mama' merlot 2013
A classic style of Merlot, elegant and approachable with depth, a nod to Bordeaux. Dark fruits, chocolate, clove and just a whiff of menthol lead the nose. The palate is mid weighted, building a spectrum of black cherry, plums, dark chocolate and spices, silky, fruit rich and ever savoury, oak playing a supporting role. The finish is characterzed by the ripe tannins which give lovely length and persistence and a pleasing chew. Drinks fine on its own but would hum paired with braised meat.
RAIDIS ESTATE 'wild' shiraz 2013
From Coonawarra's most southerly Shiraz plantings, a cooler and more peppery expression led by blue fruits rather than black. The most classically Coonawarra of the reds, dried eucalypt and fresh rosemary pop up aromatically, with the palate rich, bringing blueberries, raspberries and cherries, enriched by ripe and chewy tannins. The richness is balanced by freshness, with flecks of white pepper rounding out the finish. Appeal for many palates here.
RAIDIS ESTATE 'billy' cabernet sauvignon 2014
Blended from the southern vineyard and the original home block, a lovely rendition of Coonawarra's mainstay variety. This is a smashing release, with a richness and approachability, though plenty of structural stuffing for complexity and cellaring potential. At 13.5% alcohol this is a finer style than many, though unmistakably Cabernet. Has a plushness to its feel, fruit is capsicum, cranberry and red currant, tannins feel ripe and fruit derived (a recurring theme in this set of reds), and just a hint of leafiness. Lacks the sternness of some Cabs, this is a style of fruit purity, very easy to like.