Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Riversdale Estate 2015 Roaring 40s Sauvignon Blanc - Tasmania

LOADS of tropical fruit flavours in this rewarding
Sauvignon Blanc out of cool climate Tasmania.

ONE TO NOTE: ALTHOUGH the first vines were planted only in the 1980s, Sauvignon Blanc has now become Tasmania's third most widely planted wine grape after Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

And a nice example of the quality that it's risen to is the 2015 Roaring 40s Sauvignon Blanc of Riversdale Estate in the Coal River Valley just 20km out of Hobart. For here's a wine that reflects a long growing season in the cool maritime climate, and the resultant tropical fruit flavours in small-bunch harvested fruit.

At $24.50 this one's a great match with shellfish, grilled snapper or smoked salmon; check www.riversdaleestate.com.au to order online.


Monday, 7 November 2016

Wynns 2013 John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon - Coonawarra

FLAGSHIP drop from top one per cent of fruit
of Coonawarra's exceptional 2013 vintage.


David Ellis

WYNNS make their flagship John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon from only the very best fruit off their vast plantings in Coonawarra, and then only in those years when that "very best" is considered to have risen to a level considerably beyond the norm.

And in the case of their latest release – from the wonderful 2013 vintage on the company's classic terra rossa soil vineyards – winemaker Sue Hodder used under one per cent of that very best of fruit for this wine. So little wonder some reviewers have already described the 2013 John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon as arguably "richer and more concentrated than any other wine from Coonawarra in that year."

Named after pioneer pastoralist and politician, John Riddoch who established the Coonawarra Fruit Colony in 1891, this 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is powerful yet supple and restrained, with wonderfully concentrated black olive and mulberry flavours, elegant tobacco and cassis, a hint of rosemary, and chalky tannins.

With only limited production due to the grape selection criteria, this one has a $150 price tag to enjoy with a platter of hard and aged cheeses for Christmas, New Year or other celebrations, to share at the table with a rare to medium-rare rib-eye or sirloin steak, or consider as a very special Christmas gift for a VIP red wine buff.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Bill Calabria’s Three Bridges Durif

ONE TO NOTE:  BILL Calabria has a most more-ish Durif under the 3 Bridges label of his Calabria Family Wines in the NSW Riverina, a wine that's big enough to stand up to the gutsiness of a hearty osso bucco, braised oxtail or a good Rogan Josh (lamb curry.)

This interesting varietal whose quite tiny berries produce a wine almost impenetrably black in the glass, originated in France, but today is found mainly in  only Australia (principally the Riverina and Rutherglen in Victoria,) and in California and Israel.

Bill Calabria's Three Bridges Durif is intensely flavoured with dark plums, Morello cherries, coffee and coconut to the fore, has toasty vanillin oak and a nice little spiciness. At $25 it's a great match with those dining suggestions above.

[] HERE'S a red that's big enough to stand up to the gutsiness of a hearty osso bucco, braised oxtail or a good Rogan Josh (lamb curry.)

McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon - NSW Hunter Valley


David Ellis

IT doesn't take much to have us singing the praises of Neil McGuigan for what he gets up to at McGuigan Wines in the Hunter Valley, and none more so than after we get down and cosy with one of his Semillons.

For if the Hunter is acknowledged as the world's premier region for the best of Semillons, and the McGuigan Bin Series Semillons renowned globally as the company's most-awarded wine, it must mean Neil is justified in taking a bow for the international recognition these of his are accorded.

And if you've a very special event coming up and are thinking seafood at the heart of it, an ideal wine to match would be the 2013 vintage of the McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon. For here's a wine from a season that while it saw many a challenge thrown up at the team – from dry and cool, to heatwaves and rain – is fresh and light in its younger years, but then goes on to develop into a classic rich honey and toasty Hunter style Semillon with nice long cellaring potential.

At $30 make it a feature alongside fresh prawn cocktails to kick off special events, and go on to share it with main course platters of grilled seafoods.

[] A RIPPER alongside fresh prawn cocktails to kick off special events, and then with follow-up main course platters of grilled seafoods.

for week beginning 31 October 2016  

2016 NSW Wine Awards Final Results

Best Dry Red of Show
Windowrie Estate 2015 "The Mill" Shiraz

2016 Pier One Sydney Harbour NSW Wine Awards Final Results

The 2016 Pier One Sydney Harbour NSW Wine Awards has just announced the main Trophy winners for this year's Awards and yet again the results have excited judges, industry professional and wine lovers alike. 2016 Chair of Judges PJ Charteris commented on how the overall medal count was up again this year and said, "The most exciting thing was seeing the diversity in region and variety. NSW winemakers are having a red-hot crack at producing high quality wines from old and new varietals and this is a tribute to the passion and strength of the NSW wine industry."

The sold-out Presentation Lunch was held at Pier One Sydney Harbour on Friday 28th October, with quests of honour the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd), and Minister Niall Blair MLC, Minister for Primary Industries and Minister for Lands and Water, being there to say a few words and be amongst the first to find out which gold medal winning wines would take home the ultimate Trophies. Also in attendance were NSW Wines valued supporters Pier One Sydney Harbour, Wine Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Multi Color, Longfellow's Insurance, Orora Stelvin, Riedel, Australia Post, CCL Label and CiSRA Canon, without whom the event couldn't take place.

During the presentations, President of the NSW Wine Industry Association Tom Ward thanked all involved and commented on the high quality of judges involved in this year's show. He also said, "This year we continued the theme of going to the regions for judging. We were lucky enough to spend time in the Hunter Valley and I think this is an unique way of judging that exposes not only the judges to the region but also allows the region to get engaged with the show – we appreciate all the people that gave their time to assist in the event. I am happy to announce that next year we are looking to host the wine show in Mudgee and working with them to deliver another great experience."

This year, Central Ranges wines (which incorporates the regions of Mudgee, Orange and Cowra) were the big winners, with 9 trophies, followed closely by the Hunter Valley with 8, and then the Southern Highlands and Hilltops also claiming well deserved accolades (please see full list of Trophy winners at end).

The champion of the Awards was Windowrie Estate from the Cowra, who were awarded the ultimate title of 'Pier One Sydney Harbour 2016 NSW Wine of the Year' for their 2015 "The Mill" Shiraz. The Trophy was claimed by winemaker Anthony D'Onise who was representing Windowrie Estate owners the O'Dea family. The O'Dea's started growing grapes in the 1980s and then opened the Cowra region's first ever winery. Their winning Shiraz was described by PJ Charteris as a worthy winner and "a wine that expresses its beautiful fruit first and foremost. It is great to see fruit and distinctive varietal fruit character as the defining features of a wine".

Another great achievement recognised at the Presentation Lunch was the work of Bruce Tyrrell who was awarded with the Graham Gregory Award for services to the NSW wine industry. Minister Niall Blair MLC presented the award to Bruce, commenting on Bruce's many years of hard work within the industry and how he had done so much for our state and country. Bruce very humbly accepted the award explaining, "I have just done what I thought needed to be done … like in football, you are only as good as your weakest player so anything you can do to help, lifts us all up." He then threw down the gauntlet to the other winemakers in the room, expressing his desire for the next generation to continue this work."

Tom Ward concluded by saying, "I look forward to the year ahead and am optimistic that we have an industry that is heading forward. I will leave you with some numbers to support that optimism; shipments from NSW-based wine exporters increased by 8% to $487 million in the 12 months ended September 2016.  This represented additional revenues of $35 million over the year."


List of 2016 NSW Wine Awards Trophies:

Trophy for Best Young Riesling ~ Colmar Estate 2016 Block 6 Riesling (Orange)

Trophy for Best Young Semillon ~ First Creek 2016 SV Murphys Semillon (Hunter)

Trophy for Best Young Sauvignon Blanc ~ Brangayne of Orange 2015 Sauvignon Blanc (Orange)

Trophy for Best Young Chardonnay ~ First Creek 2014 Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay (Hunter)

Trophy for Best Young White Other Varieties ~ Tulloch Wines 2016 Cellar Door Release Pinot Gris (Orange)

Trophy for Best Mature Dry White ~ Tyrrell's 2009 Vat 1 Semillon (Hunter)

Trophy for Best Light Red ~ Tulloch Wines 2016 Cellar Door Release Sangiovese Rose (Orange)

Trophy for Best Young Pinot Noir ~ Rotherwood Estates 2015 Pinot Noir (Southern Highlands)

Trophy for Best Young Shiraz ~ Windowrie Estate 2015 "The Mill" Shiraz (Central Ranges)

Trophy for Best Young Cabernet Sauvignon ~ Ballinaclash 2015 "Joseph" Cabernet (Hilltops)

Trophy for Best Young Other Red Varieties ~ Tamburlaine 2015 Reserve Malbec (Orange)

Trophy for Best Young Red Blend ~ Pokolbin Estate 2014 "Phoenix" Shiraz Tempranillo (Hunter)

Trophy for Best Mature Red ~ George Wyndham 2009 Black Cluster Shiraz (Hunter)

Award for Best Organic Wine ~ Tamburlaine 2015 Reserve Malbec (Orange)

Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine ~ De Iuliis 2011 Sparkling Chardonnay (Hunter)

Trophy for Best Sweet Wine ~ Bunnamagoo 2013 Autumn Semillon (Mudgee)

Trophy Best Dry White of Show ~ Tyrrell's 2009 Vat 1 Semillon (Hunter)

Trophy for Best Dry Red of Show ~ Windowrie Estate 2015 "The Mill" Shiraz (Central Ranges)

Pier One Sydney Harbour 2016 NSW Wine of the Year ~ Windowrie Estate 2015 "The Mill" Shiraz

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Blossom Hill’s 2015 Rosé

ONE TO NOTE:  ROSÉ is a wine we more-usually think of for enjoyment in our warmer months, one to put on the table under a summer's sun and share with family and friends over seafoods and salads, or maybe pork sausages off the barbie…

But rosé is equally for enjoying in our colder months as well, and both with main courses and desserts – for mains it's hard to beat a good one with Thai chicken in a coconut curry sauce, and for desserts to share with warm winter fruit tarts and pies.

One that's ideal for such occasions is Blossom Hill's 2015 Rosé that absolutely bursts with juicy fruit flavours – think lush and vibrant fresh-picked strawberries, cherries and watermelon – and which makes it perfect with those wintertime main and dessert suggestions. And the more so with its price tag of just $13.

[] ROSÉ equally enjoyable with wintertime mains like Thai chicken in a coconut curry sauce, or desserts of warm fruit tarts and pies.


St Huberts Wines 2016 The Stag Chardonnay - Yarra Valley

David Ellis

ACCORDING to company history, St Huberts Wines that was one of the first wineries in the Yarra Valley in 1862, was named after the Patron Saint of the Hunt, a 7th century English nobleman who turned a life of pleasures to one of helping the needy after confronting a magnificent stag between whose antlers hung a hauntingly shiny Cross…

And, the company adds, while the winery's founder was a Mr de Castella whose first name also just happened to be Hubert, he chose to name his winery after the Patron Saint and not simply Hubert after himself. By the late 1800s it had grown to be the largest winery in the Yarra Valley, but after WWI and then the Great Depression it was turned to more-profitable dairying, which continued until the Yarra rose to wine prominence once more in the 1960s, with St Huberts again a pioneer.

Today this premium cool-climate maker is hailed world-wide, and a new label it's just released and appropriately named The Stag, is fast winning praise from all quarters. Try in particular the 2016 The Stag Chardonnay that's all wonderfully vibrant citrus and pear flavours, lively acidity and with a mouth-pleasing freshness… at just $20 it's a really great drop to simply enjoy on its own, or to pair-up with salmon fish cakes.

[] NEW label from a Yarra Valley winery whose history goes back to 1862.



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