Five-star quality

WITH a stellar five-star rating in a prime Australian wine guide, a Gippsland winery is aiming to maintain its high ratings.

Glengarry’s Narkoojee Winery recently received five stars from James Halliday in the 2013 edition of Australian Wine Companion, not a first for the local winery.

While they have previously received five stars in the magazine’s reviews, Narkoojee Winery’s ratings received a slight drop in the past few years, to 4.5 stars, as a result of drought and harsh weather conditions, according to owner Harry Friend.

Mr Friend and his family, who are owners of the business, said the recent five-star rating served as a reminder the winemakers were “capable of providing the highest quality wines”.

“We’re quite pleased about (the ratings),” Mr Friend said.

“It also contributes to Gippsland’s reputation that we produce high quality products; it reinforces that.”

After receiving 94 points out of 100 for two of their wines, namely the 2009 Isaac Reserve Shiraz and 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir, Mr Friend said his family were keen to continue producing high quality wines.

What first started as an “experiment” on Mr Friend’s parents’ dairy farm in 1980, soon developed into a renowned winery, famous for its 2008 Reserve Chardonnay, a wine that received a 99/100 point review from a Melbourne magazine.

Mr Friend said while he “always hoped” his initial “experiment” would bear fruit, he was satisfied to know all the labour put in by his wife and son, had reaped its rewards.

“I first experimented with a plot of wines and then I slowly learnt how to make them… and over the years, I think we’ve done quite well,” he said.

As the winery also exports its wines internationally to Japan and Canada, Mr Friend said he hoped the recent recognition of the winery would stand in the winemaker’s favour.

“It always helps when you’re looking to export to an international market and you say you’ve got five stars.”

Reviewer James Halliday is a respected wine critic, best known for his books on wine, which have been translated into different languages.