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WE'LL GIVE YOU
PLENTY TO TALK ABOUT
TRY OUR WINES
AND SHARE OUR VIEW

ABOUT

Welcome to the home of good wine and great debates.

Contentious Character is a cool-climate winery, set in the hills of Wamboin, 30km east of Canberra. Whether you come to ours, or our wines come to you, we’ll give you plenty to talk about.

ALL ABOUT US

ABOUT

Welcome to the home of good wine and great debates.

Contentious Character is a cool-climate winery, set in the hills of Wamboin, 30km east of Canberra. Whether you come to ours, or our wines come to you, we’ll give you plenty to talk about.

ALL ABOUT US

CONTENTIOUS CHARACTER? YOU'RE IN GOOD COMPANY.

If you love our wines as much as we do, sign-up for regular delivery and save, with a generous loyalty discount.

JOIN THE COLLECTIVE

CONTENTIOUS CHARACTER? YOU'RE IN GOOD COMPANY.

If you love our wines as much as we do, sign-up for regular delivery and save, with a generous loyalty discount.

JOIN THE COLLECTIVE

try our wines and share our view

When it comes to what we believe in, we stand our ground. So if you want to meet some Contentious Characters in person, we’re pretty easy to find. Come over for a tasting, a good meal or a simple yarn, and we’ll show you what we’re all about.

VISIT US

try our wines and share our view

When it comes to what we believe in, we stand our ground. So if you want to meet some Contentious Characters in person, we’re pretty easy to find. Come over for a tasting, a good meal or a simple yarn, and we’ll show you what we’re all about.

VISIT US

FEATURED PRODUCTS

2020 Riesling

2020 Rose

NV Red Blend Bubbly

Private Tasting with Winemaker

THE RAMBLING VINE

Tony Mansfield
 
2 September 2020 | Tony Mansfield

Contentious Scores with Halliday

A fellow vigneron and old friend of mine, who happens to be French, once arrogantly said to me, ‘Wine Awards are like haemorrhoids, sooner or later everyone gets one’. 

I never thought much of it until we signed the papers to buy Lambert Vineyards and launched Contentious Character. Since then I’ve noticed many wineries cover their bottles in stickers pronouncing they’ve won this or that gold, silver or bronze.

And then the emails started coming in with invitations; invitations to enter international shows, national shows, state shows, city shows like the Sydney Royal Wine show, regional shows, small vigneron shows, cool climate shows, fortified wine shows, gender shows like the Australian Wine Women of the Year and the Young Gun of Wine awards and varietal shows like the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. In fact, there are over 100 shows in Australia alone. 

HOW THE AUSSIES SCORE

The Australian system of medals and trophies awards wines out of 20 points. Only one trophy a year is awarded, making it a real winner. But medals are not like the Olympic gold, silver, bronze system. They are more like school grading; any wine that scores over the baseline earns a gold, silver or bronze medal. A bronze medal on a bottle of wine doesn't mean it's the third best wine in its category; it just means the judges found it drinkable.

Classes are another thing. Shows can have hundreds of classes. Is a trophy for 'best shiraz under $10' class worth more than a gold medal in the 'best shiraz under $25' class? A double gold is when all judges agree the wine deserves a gold medal and the increasingly prevalent blue-gold medal indicates they judged the wine with food. This, to me, is the superior way to judge a wine!

It's important to keep in mind thought ath just because a bottle has no medal, trophy or points doesn’t mean anything except it was never entered into a show. Judges at big shows taste hundreds of wines a day, so their palette could be muddied. 'Wine fatigue' means bigger, bolder wines are likely to win the top prizes so if you're a fan of softer, more elegant wine, medal winners might not suit your taste anyway.

HOW THE YANKS DO IT

The American system —Australian judges, James Halliday and Huon Hooke prefer it - sees wine ranked out of 100. This is why you'll see many wines advertised as having been awarded scores of 95+.

Here's how to interpret it:

  • Scores of 95 to 100 are highly recommended wines — 98 is fantastic
  • 99 and 100 are rare, but occasionally awarded to particularly good vintages 
  • Anything above 90 is still classed as outstanding
  • 85 to 89 is very good 
  • 80 to 84 creates your baseline for a good wine, which you’ll reach for again 
  • 75 to 79 is the condescending 'drinkable' category
  • Everything below is generally not recommended. 

While some wineries will put their scores out of 100 on the bottle, they most likely won't bother unless it's over 90. This may be a better indicator of a recommended wine than the medal system. 

With all this in mind, Contentious Character chose a select group of medal and point-based awards to enter as a starting point for our award journey. James Halliday Wine Companion was the first to pass judgement on four of our wines.

With the scores below, we’re feeling chuffed enough to make a fuss like all the others. The detailed notes are available in the 2020 and 2021 Halliday Wine Companion.

 

Some of our Founders Museum wines (as far back as the 2001 vintage) also won awards back in their heyday. And I’ve noted with interest some awarded wines are still drinking exceptionally well so perhaps there is something in the awards business after all.

Is that a little itch I feel down around my bottom?

Time Posted: 02/09/2020 at 5:17 PM
Corrina Contentious
 
16 May 2020 | Corrina Contentious

Sparkling Reds: As Australian as…

Imagine a glass of sparkling wine on your table, and there’s something uplifting and chirpy about it. But not all that glitters is the colour of gold. Thanks to a Melbourne parliamentarian and a clever French winemaker, the first Australian sparkling burgundy found its way down Australian throats as early as 1881. 

Since then, wine lovers all over the world now recognise sparkling red made with Shiraz as a true blue Aussie invention. Aussies didn’t actually invent sparkling red wine – we can thank the Italians for giving us yet another pleasure for the senses. Particularly famous Italian sparklings are Lambrusco, from Emilia-Romagna or Lombardy and Brachetto d’Acqui, from Piedmont. 

Remember bubbles are not just bubbles. Frizzante describes a bubbliness of 1-2 atmospheres of pressure in a bottle, compared to Champagne with 7 atmospheres and Lambrusco with 3-5 atmospheres.

LAMBRUSCO

Lambrusco is a name good enough to sing from a gondolier and describes both the grape and the wine. You may drink it sweet (dulce) or dry (secco), depending on your appetite. Dry Lambrusco is more rhubarb and sour cherry, and goes with meaty fare, like hamburgers or pepperoni pizza. Sweet Lambrusco tastes of boysenberries, blueberries and strawberries, so goes down well with a dessert of berry pie or waffles.

BRACHETTO D'ACQUI

Brachetto is the grape, coming from the d’Acqui region of Piedmont. Tasting of raspberry, blackberry, spice and cherries, it is sweet and, unlike our Australian red sparklings, low alcohol. If our sources are correct, it is best drunk with chocolate!

With a pile of Easter eggs, truffles and sundry bars leftover from Easter, this may be the time for all contentious characters to test that theory.

AUSTRALIAN SPARKLING SHIRAZ

While Shiraz is not an Australian grape, we can certainly claim sparkling Shiraz as our own. Instead of a mountain of berries, look for the spiciness of pepper and liquorice, with brown sugar and just a little blackberry.

Sparkling red is a great choice for breakfast with omelettes, fried eggs, beans or pastries. It’s also a great accompaniment to a barbecue, but these days the famous Aussie barbecue is an endangered species. Remember its alcohol level is quite high and we don’t want you drinking too much by yourself. (Drink contentiously. But responsibly.)

Contentious Character can supply you with A Mongrel of a Dog for your next intimate dinner.  Our NV Red Blend Bubbly is an intriguing blend of red vintages from 2008 to 2014, all fermented in oak barrels to make a full-bodied red that’s rich in complexity. It has a balance of sweetness and acidity which pairs well with your favourite spicy foods, and dark fruity flavours which pairs well with chocolate and coffee, all for a mere $30.

Put the sparkle back into your life. Better red than dead.

Our cellar door is open from 11 am to 8 pm Thursday to Sunday. Pop in and browse our exclusive cellar door deals, or order online through our website. 

Our restaurant is also offering takeaway and dine-in options. Try the Founders Museum Wine and Feed Me Series, an unlimited tailored wine and food experience for 2hrs, bookings at 11:30, 2 pm, and 6 pm. $150 pp with discounts for locals and club members. 

You can also dine in on our takeaway menu if seating is available. Call first to check. Walk-ins will be seated on first in, first-served basis. Takeaway will also still be available to order via the 'Book Now' tab on our website.

Time Posted: 16/05/2020 at 5:10 PM
Corrina Contentious
 
21 February 2020 | Corrina Contentious

The Story Behind the Names

Murder Fifty Shades of Merlot in Your Cakehole

I COULD MURDER A MERLOT
Merlot is the biggest grape variety in all of France and 67 million French can’t be wrong! Yet some people are still living in the dark ages of 2004. If you saw Miles in Sideways protest that he ain’t gonna drink a fucking Merlot, you know what we mean. Merlot has come of age and, just like us, it really is time to grow up. Next time you thirst for a titillating, surprising glass of wine, then go ahead and murder a Merlot. Our Merlot is so delicious, like murder, it ought to be illegal. 


CRISP IN YOUR CAKEHOLE
We were talking about some of the big mouths in the wine industry and how no one knows everything about wine, not even middle aged men. Everyone’s opinion is valid as long as we agree with it. But rather than say something crisp like, “shut your cakehole!”, we decided to put something crisp into your cakehole. The obvious crispy wine is Riesling - with all that lemon and lime on the palette and nose, it’s not contentious. But it’s got to be the crispest wine for your cakehole.

FIFTY SHADES OF GRAPE
When we say, “fifty shades”, we could mean a wine that is very nuanced and subtle, or just our winemakers’ heads. Our Pinot Gris has shades of white, red or blue grey, depending on whether you look at it first thing in the morning or after a few glasses. The 2015 erotic movie Fifty Shades of Grey, inspired us to name our very first Pinot Grigio, but we cannot guarantee the same effect.  
A Note re Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio - We often explain the origins of Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio, its Italian counterpart in our cellar door. We will typically pick the version of the name that invokes the style of the wine, and in this case we decided this was our first Pinot Grigio.

Time Posted: 21/02/2020 at 10:50 AM