Mary Dowey’s Bottle of the Week: a Punchy South Australian White

Wine editor MARY DOWEY‘s bottle of the week is an exuberant white at a knockdown price … for your next Asian takeaway?

D’Arenberg The Stump Jump, McLaren Vale-Adelaide Hills 2017

Coming across this likeable white wine recently was like bumping into an old friend with the sort of personality you might wish you had yourself. Striking in an offbeat way. Colourful yet with a measure of restraint. The big surprise was to discover that The Stump Jump is available in 50 outlets of Dunnes Stores nationwide for just €12 (not as part of a limited-period promotion but all the time). This is an outstanding bargain because D’Arenberg, the south Australian family winery responsible for the quirky Stump Jump, has an unshakeable reputation for quality.

It’s an unconventional wine because of the unusual mix of grape varieties: Sauvignon Blanc for fruitiness, Riesling for finesse and Marsanne plus Roussanne for body. You’ll notice aromas of pineapple, lime and grapefruit with a lick of honey. The same notes come through on the palate with terrific vibrancy and thrust. This punchy white is packed with flavour yet, miracle of miracles, its alcohol level is a blessedly comfortable 12 per cent.

I love it with lightish, spicy food – vegetables, fish, shellfish, chicken or pork. Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian… the ethnic background doesn’t seem to matter that much provided the overall build of the dish isn’t too weighty. A recent bottle tasted splendid with Jamie Oliver’s simple supper of harissa-baked butternut squash with feta. That sweet-salty riff running through so many Asian and north African dishes seems to be just right for the wine’s exuberant flavours.

The Stump Jump name, by the way, relates to a south Australian invention – a plough designed to hop over large stones or cumbersome vine roots. Its creator was apparently short-sighted (in the physical sense); that explains the optometrist’s eye chart graphics. ‘If you can hold the bottle at arm’s length and still read the front label, you can enjoy another glass,’ says ever-ebullient D’Arenberg. Maybe or maybe not, but at least it’s eyecatching enough to spot on the shelf and remember.

Alcohol 12%

From Dunnes Stores, €12; also available from selected independent off-licences at a higher price.


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