Cricketer Ricky Ponting and winemaker Ben Riggs have collaborated on a wine range called Ponting Wines and The Thirsty Travellers were lucky enough to join the pair for a virtual tasting this week.
Each wine in the range reflects stages of Ricky’s life and has been carefully crafted using grapes from his favourite wine regions.
Riggs is famed for his Mr Riggs Wine Co, which he founded in 2001 after spending decades creating vintages at McLaren Vale’s Wirra Wirra.
Ponting Wines sent us a bottle of each wine in the collection for the virtual tasting, along with tasting mats and a Zoom link to join the event.
While The Thirsty Travellers love attending events in person, we’ve been enjoying the virtual experiences during COVID-19, as they offer a chance to meet with talented winemakers and distillers from around the world.
Ben Riggs joined the tasting from his kitchen in McLaren Vale. He admitted that while he loves experimental wines, he also has a passion for making down-to-earth drops that pair perfectly with food.
“I enjoy making make wines that leave people wanting another sip and another glass,” he added.
Ponting and his wife Rianna took part in the tasting from their home in Melbourne and revealed they have been involved in every aspect of the creation of the brand, from choosing grapes to the blending process to designing the labels.
“For the past 10 years or so since I’ve been retired – I’ve been learning more about wine and different styles and tastes,” Ponting said.
“We have diverse portfolio of investments with property, shares and cash,” Ponting said. “But this one is the most passionate one because it has our name, and Rianna and I are working together.”
The tasting kicked off with the 2020 First Session Sauvignon Blanc (RRP $138 per 6 pack), which Riggs described as “fresh, bright and aromatic”. The winemaker said it wasn’t as “pungent” as New Zealand sauvignon blancs, which meant it was a better match for food.
The Thirsty Travellers haven’t been big sav blanc fans in recent years, but we really enjoyed the wine and it went well with a delicious takeaway dinner from Yang & Co that we shared after the tasting.
The 2019 Mowbray Boy Pinot Noir (RRP $199 per 6 pack) was next, a wine born from the cricketer’s love of Tasmania and his formative years at the Mowbray Cricket Club as a child protege, who would one day captain his country.
“As a boy I learned about cricket and life listening to the stories of my dad and the men of the Mowbray Cricket Club,” Ponting said.
Riggs described the wine as being “fruit driven, dripping with savoury cherries and ripe strawberries a perfect wine for duck, preferably barbequed.” He also noted that the collaboration with Ponting had been a welcome opportunity for him to travel to Tasmania to explore its exemplary pinot noir grapes.
Next was our favourite wine of the tasting – the 2018 The Close of Play Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (RRP $149 per 6 pack).
“Soft and silky in style, this wine shows generous red berry fruits with touches of mint and clove,” Riggs added. “Langhorne Creek is famous for wines of pure drinking enjoyment and this is a wine of great character and style.”
The final wine was the 2017 Pinnacle McLaren Vale Shiraz (RRP $149 per 6 pack), which honours the most famous of all cricket battles, The Ashes. Ponting played 35 tests, captained 18, scored eight centuries and 2476 test runs.
“The Ashes are the oldest of contests and the most cherished, as a boy it was my dream, as a cricketer it was the pinnacle,” Ponting explained.
“Bold in style, uncompromising on quality this Shiraz is dominated by rich berry fruits with elements of black pepper, nutmeg and cloves,” said Riggs. “McLaren Vale is famous for its Mediterranean climate with cooler nights creating flavourful wines of great structure and finesse.”
Visit Ponting Wines to find out more