I first heard of Céline Rousseau and tasted some of her wines at Maitre Karl in Willoughby a few years back on the recommendation of Arvid, the Maitre D'. Maitre Karl has since morphed into High Street Bistro and for a few weeks now into a great Italian Restaurant Via Alta that I am due to try next week!
I have tried three times to visit the vineyard in Young and failed miserably. I finally found out through Facebook that Céline was organising a wine tasting at my (almost...) local bottle shop: Annandale Cellars. So we finally met and in between other guests had a chance to know each other a bit more.
Funnily enough, Céline relocated to Australia the same year as myself and my family in 1997. She was trained in Bordeaux before moving to Australia, and in the Pessac-Leognan appellation - not bad as a newbie! - and then worked for Pierro and Hainault in Western Australia, before settling down in Young in 1999 to be the winemaker at Chalkers Crossing. It is cool climate wine region at its best, and Céline takes full advantage of the climate and the terroir to produce some very delicate wines, and I have a very fond memory of the Cab-Sauv I tried all these years ago. Yesterday's tasting confirmed these first impressions over a much wider range of varietals. I was even impressed by the Syrah, that I usually don't like much in Australia, as they are more often than not too fruity and rich in alcohol.
Céline is a very articulate and quietly passionate winemaker who goes to great lengths to explain her winemaking choices and guide you through a great collection of white and reds organised into two collections: the entry level label CC2 and the Chalkers Crossing proper. I chose a Sauvignon Blanc from the the top range and and an unbaked Chardonnay from the CC2 range, and, as instructed, had grilled salon with it for lunch today. It ticked all the boxes and got a rave review from my wife, who likes a good unwooded Chardonnay when she finds one - She got her training picking grapes chez Michel Laroche in Chablis, not a bad place for Chardonnay! And I love a good Meursault, as well...
The tasting was well attended by people from all walks of life, some new to Chalkers Crossing and some faithful customers returning for more. A great way to spend a sunny but coldish winter afternoon!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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