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Mr. Riggs

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Ben Riggs
7 July 2015 | Ben Riggs

My attractive Grenache... The Magnet a 'velvety rich bbq red wine you'll be proud to serve'


After witnessing the destruction of the “Vine Pull Scheme” of the 1980’s (where a majority of old vine Grenache was decimated in the region) Ben has remained steadfastly determined to... [read the full blog here]

Ben Riggs
26 June 2015 | Ben Riggs

Vintage 2015 - A reflection in visual form

#vintage2015 #v15 #TheWineSociety #whilealivecelebrate

Ben Riggs
2 June 2015 | Ben Riggs

The Magnet Grenache pairs great with this magnificant Mexican-inspired dish

Andrew Hanna delights us once again with his blogging mastery in his latest piece about summer Mexican-style dishes and their wine pairings. Mr. Riggs 2012 The Magnet Grenache features in this blog as a great pairing with yummy slow-cooked turkey and black bean tacos - yummo!

To read the blog article and access this delicious recipe, click here.

Ben Riggs
8 May 2015 | Ben Riggs

Mr. Riggs 2012 The Magnet Grenache a wonderful pairing with Gouda

Andrew Hanna (from John Hanna & Sons Ltd, Canada) has struck again with his captivating blog pieces. This time, he talks about wine and cheese pairing in his blog piece: 'Wine & Cheese Pairing: Perfect Wine Matches for 11 of the World's Greatest Cheeses'. Mr. Riggs 2012 The Magnet Grenache is spoken about as a great mid-weight red wine to go nicely with Gouda. See below.

Gouda can be produced in both semi-hard and hard styles, and is made in Holland from cow’s milk. Gouda is a terrific example of a cheese whose profile, texture, flavour and value differs greatly based on how long it has been aged. With roots in Holland dating back almost 1,000 years, it should come as no surprise that the Dutch have had plenty of time to explore and learn about the optimal conditions and length of aging to produce amazing flavours. Even the most aged expressions of Gouda are not “over the top” with flavour, so we recommend mid-weight red wines (here’s a perfect example!) with moderate silky tannins, as not to overpower the complex flavours that come with aged expression of this cheese.

Read the full article here.

Ben Riggs
23 January 2015 | Ben Riggs

Celebrating my Summer with Alternate Varieties

I plucked my motivation and inspiration for experimenting and use alternative varieties in my range from my travels and work across Europe. Particularly, Spain and Italy.

Let's start with Tempranillo. Whilst working in Bordeaux in the late 80’s, which is a beautiful part of the world but a little restrained for a 20 something Aussie bloke, a friend suggested we head to San Sebastian for the weekend. Well restrained it isn’t! The food, the friendly people, the girls, the free poured G&T’s... oh dear, what a place. Anyway did I mention the wines? Well I had known about Rioja but that was my first immersion in all things Tempranillo. I’m not sure if it was just the wines or my fond memories of the above but that kick started a bit of a quest to play with Temp. One of my first jobs in my new consultancy business in 2002 was to do a report on Scott Hicks and Kerry Heysen-Hicks Yacca paddock vineyard, as the contracted winery was trying to lower the price for the fruit. My report was: I will buy it! The fruit looked amazing, and so, the 12 year odyssey began.

For 3 years I consulted to Wineries on the East coast of Italy, Marche, Abruzzo and Puglia where I fell in love with a few things: the amazing coastline, beautiful sleepy ancient towns, incredible food, and of course Montepulciano. Most of the vineyards I worked with had a mixture of Verdicchio, Sangiovese and Montepulciano as well as some Shiraz, Petite Verdot and Cabernet. But by far the standout variety was the Monte.

I was amazed with how resilient it was to disease, how versatile it was being grown with both modern viticulture trellis VSP etc and traditional Tandonne pergola trellis, how adaptable it was to being grown in the cooler northern parts of Marche along with the hot southern parts of Abruzzo as well as performing in rocky incredibly low vigour hillside vineyards, and also fertile high vigour river flats. In every case, I made better wine from Monte than any other variety made from the same vineyard.

Some speculate that Monte is actually the genetic parentage for Sangiovese as well as being related to Agioritiko (St George, Nemea) from Greece. But whatever you want to say about its parentage,  Monte makes amazingingly structured, fleshy, exotic wines and I just had to make some in Australia. Enter Caj Amadio, who was born in Abruzzo and who keenly planted some for me on his Kersbrook Vineyard.

It was in Marche, also in Italy (see map below) that my inspiration for making a sticky Viognier heralded from. Here I was captivated by a similar style of sticky made by drying Verdicchio on racks in a shed, to then concentrate it, then crush, press and ferment in mostly new oak. The wine is delicious, and who would have thought! Verdicchio shares a couple of traits similar to Viognier: firstly it starts with V, and secondly, it is an aromatic variety which has a lot of tannin (almost as much as some red grapes). By drying the grapes you concentrate the sugar, acid and flavour, but unlike using botrytis to make a sticky, you get to keep the aromatics intact - making a crisp refreshing style of sticky.

Ben Riggs
28 November 2014 | Ben Riggs

Christmas is fast approaching...

Ahhh, the joys and stresses of Christmas. As a dad, you have to think about what to get your boys for Christmas, reminding myself what age they are (time sure has flown by); as a husband, you have to make sure your wife isn’t under too much pressure with organising what to do with the rest of the family on the day; as a passionate cook, you have to make sure your ingredients are all ready for your Christmas spread; and as a winemaker, you have to prepare yourself for the chaos of the most busy time of the year!

I love that my youngest, who is only nine years old, is still excited about Christmas. That’s what keeps it the most alive for me. Although, I do get the inkling that he knows that Santa isn’t real, but just wants to pretend he believes in it so as to keep it alive for himself. As a kid, I think that’s fair game!

I have one simple rule at Christmas: if you want to see me, come to my house. I will cook for anybody and everybody, I love cooking and being a host, but am just fed up with driving everywhere. With my sister’s health issues and of course the inevitable limitations that come with getting old (I’m talking about my parents of course!), it’s just easier if everyone comes to us for my Christmas feast.

I’m excited about the We’ve Got Christmas Covered six-pack I’ve released, they’re some of my most favourite wines for Christmas because they just go perfectly with some of my favourite Christmas foods. The Battle Axe is a wonderful Christmas wine – good to drink before, during, and after.

With Christmas comes the warmer weather – I just love waking up to a warm morning, and walks down the beach. I do miss being able to do this with my old dog Ernie, as Dora (one of my current dogs), is petrified of the water. Then again, she’s scared of everything!

I am looking forward to Christmas, being only a month away now, but am also slightly pressured by the thought of everything I know to come hand in hand with it. I’m sure you’re in the same boat too! Alas, I hope your Christmas preparations are starting to come together well.