Here in Harringay the food and drink scene took another leap forward yesterday with the long awaited opening of Local Harringay Store, next to the excellent Café Blend on Green Lanes. Feeling the need to go in on opening day to show support, see what they have on offer and hopefully buy something, I went along. There are lots of decent organic dried goods, a small but very well formed fresh section, plus excellent looking bread and pastries, but no surprises I ended up glued to the wine and beer.
After much deliberation I came away with a bottle of Domaine Lucci Red Blend 2013, from Lucy Margaux Vineyards, in the fairly unknown region Basket Range, which is close to Adelaide but a good 500m above sea level. The altitude allows them to make lighter and fresher wines, as opposed to the more famous block-busters we're most used to from Australia's lower wine zones.
This was an eclectic blend, mainly Merlot, but with Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and even Chardonnay! No wonder there was no sign of the grape varieties on the label. This is a good example of a growing trend in Australia of letting the wine speak for itself, without bothering describing the blend on the label. The old Australian Mantra of labeling wines by grape variety, as opposed to the Old World way (typically French) of labeling wines according to where they're from, is maturing into a more complex picture. Sure, the vast majority of wines in Australia are still labelled with the grape variety or varieties as the main headline on the label, but there is an increasing minority of wines that are more interested in where the wine is from, or in this case, the ethos of the wine, as this one branded as natural wine, made from grapes grown on biodynamic principles (organic plus moon phases and voodoo), but also with minimal intervention in the winery with no sulphur dioxide except a tad when bottling. OK, I don't believe filling a horn with dung and planting it in the corner of a vineyard can influence the quality of the wine (a biodynamic thing), but it cannot be denied that there are loads of superb biodynamic and natural wines. For me, this is most likely down to the fact that the organic element and lack of additives can't be a bad thing (if the weather is good enough to avoid rot), plus the people involved are typically highly dedicated with lots of attention to detail, which has got to be a good thing.
All well and good, but how was the wine? Well, I'm delighted to say that with this evening's rather splendid cottage pie made with the remnants of Sunday's roast dinner it was absolutely delicious. It's not super-complex, but it's incredibly bright and lively, full of rich berry fruit, lovely and crisp but also with a long lip-smacking finish. At £16 it's not cheap, but it's not expensive either and it's actually really well priced for the quality. If you're anywhere near Harringay Green Lanes I'd recommend popping in to Harringay Local Store and getting a bottle, along with lots of other yummy goodies whilst you're at it.