Monday, 2 February 2015

Forester Estate 2012 Margaret River Cabernet Merlot - Tim Adams Clare Valley Reisling


David Ellis


CABERNET MERLOT is one of the world's classic red wine blends, the two varieties coming together perfectly as a match for a diversity of meat dishes, as well as with many pastas and good cheese platters.


Forester Estate in Western Australia's Margaret River currently has a moreish 2012 blend whose 54% gutsier, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon is nicely softened by a 36% softer and more-supple Merlot, and a 6% touch of Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. It's resulted in a wine that gives a rewarding palate of currants, blackberries and red berry fruits, together with notes of chocolate (cocoa,) coffee crème and underlying cedar oak from 18 months in small French oak barriques.


And ideal buy-now-drink-now red, this one will develop nicely over the next three to five years; if you can't wait that long, pay $24 and enjoy with most meat dishes – our favourite being with a roast leg of lamb as we loyally did on Australia Day - or with well-sauced pastas or a cheese platter.


WATCH THIS ONE: THE Clare Valley's Tim Adams has released a mouth-filling 2014 Riesling that's got 'seafood' written all over it with wonderfully Clare lime and lemon flavours that dominate the palate, and coupled with nicely balanced acidity.


Tim included fruit in this one from a couple of vineyards new to the label – one is Skilly Ridge that Tim and wife Pam bought in January 2014 after the death of Clarke Ingham who ran the vineyard and a cellar door with his wife Bev for many years, earning themselves in that time a well-deserved reputation for their Riesling.


The other is at Penwortham some 500m up in the Clare and run by the Morrison family who have also been producing stand-out Riesling fruit for many years, and whom Tim's contracted to supply him into the foreseeable future. Pay $20 and enjoy this 2014 Tim Adams Riesling with all forms of hot or cold seafoods, or if not into seafood with barbecued pork or chicken.


NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.





[] CABERNET MERLOT a classic blend to match a good roast leg of lamb.

[] PARTY away with this one – or simply on its own.


  for week beginning 02 February 2015                



Friday, 2 January 2015

Top Adelaide Hills Wineries in running for Strathalbyn Cup

Four of the Adelaide Hills top wineries have come to an arrangement with Strathalbyn Racing Club to see regional wines served for the first time at the Strathalbyn Cup – one of South Australia’s premier racing events.

Following an approach spearheaded by Sidewood, the four Adelaide Hills producers to feature their wines are Sidewood, Golding, K1 and Bird in Hand. With the famed cool climate of the Adelaide Hills lending itself to the creation of some of the finest sparkling and white varieties in the country, the January 11 event is perfect for a nicely chilled glass or two whilst celebrating with friends on a warm summer’s day.

Sidewood owner Owen Inglis said, “it just seems natural that when a major event is held in the vicinity of this fantastic wine producing region, Adelaide Hills wines should be offered to patrons. Given this one is close to my heart, we couldn’t just sit idly by and not make an approach to the Strathalbyn Racing Club. Thankfully we received a positive response.

“This is a first of what we hope will influence other events in the Adelaide Hills and its surrounds whereby moving forward, regional wine producers will be afforded the opportunity to pour their wines” he said.

Owen Inglis’ affiliation with horses and racing extends back to his youth, having spent a large portion time at his aunt’s 400 acre horse stud around Clarendon and learning to ride at just 5 years of age. At around 10, he spent a year at Hong Kong’s apprentice jockey school – thankfully his career took him in other directions that eventually saw him purchase Ashwood Estate vineyard (and its stables) from Coriole in 2004. The rest is Sidewood history!

The place to be at the Strathalbyn Cup will be the Sparkling Summer enclosure - $100 tickets include

  • Race Entry
  • Private outdoor picnic area with prime trackside viewing
  • A commemorative Speiglieu wine glass
  • 4 glasses of premium Adelaide Hills wine
  • 3 food vouchers from The Vendor with food cooked on Jules’ impressive 5m long charcoal BBQ! (as seen at Barrio, Big Day out and Sydney food Festivals)

Total ticket value is $120

Tickets for the Sparkling Summer enclosure and General Admission are available at

Monday, 8 December 2014

2014 Margan Chardonnay - Voyager Estate Margaret River 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

GREAT match with "new age" Christmas beef or
lamb roasts in the outdoor covered barbecue.


David Ellis

AS long-time traditionalists who found it hard coming to grips with the idea of ditching the hot turkey at Christmas in favour of cold seafoods and salads, we're now finding it even more challenging seeing growing numbers going back to "hot" – but in the form of roasts done outdoors on Aussie Christmas Days in covered barbecues.

Quite a number of neighbours, friends and even relatives have told us they're doing "slow cooked" barbecue-oven roasts this year – beef butts, lamb legs or shoulders, racks, or even piles of shanks – so those who normally sweat it out in the kitchen, can spend more time enjoying the company of guests outdoors near the ice-box.

And when some of these "new age" types asked if we could suggest a good wine to go with their outdoor beef or lamb and accompanying hot-baked trimmings, we suggested splurging a little with a Voyager Estate Margaret River 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot – that would match perfectly with both the beef and the lamb.

Not the cheapest at $70, it is, however, an outstanding drop made from fruit off three exceptional vineyards mainly planted back in the mid-1990s (and some earlier still in 1978,) with wonderful fruit purity on the palate, and a richness and freshness they'll certainly find hard to beat with those beef or lamb choices.

FOR traditionalists, equally perfect with
Christmas Day honey-baked ham or seafoods.

ONE TO NOTE: THE Hunter Valley's Andrew Margan, on the other hand, is a traditionalist planning on matching this year's family honey-baked ham on Christmas Day with his 2014 Margan Chardonnay, a very rewarding drop at a nicely-priced $18 for those of us to whom Chardonnay will always remain a favourite tipple.

2014 was particular good for Chardonnay in the Hunter, and this one is a great buy-now, drink-now wine that'll reward at the Festive table with lovely aromas of white stone fruit, grapefruit and some oaky creaminess that all follow through nicely on the palate… ideal with Andrew's honey-baked ham idea, and equally so if you – like us – are opting for cold seafoods and salads for this year's family celebrations.

Or if you're doing roast turkey, match it with Andrew's 2013 Margan Shiraz; at $22 its peppery notes will match perfectly the turkey's white and dark meats with a herbed stuffing.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.

week beginning 08 December 2014

Logan Vintage Cuvee - Vintage Tasmania Wine Book


David Ellis

YOU'LL want this for your own bookshelf, or as a Christmas
gift for family or friends with whatever interest in wine.
YOU don't have to be a Tasmanian to enjoy a fascinating insight into the State's wine industry in Vintage Tasmania, the Complete Book of Tasmanian Wine – an engrossing 280-page true-to-title work you'll find hard to put down with its wealth of fascinating facts past, present and future.

And if you've a visit to the State in mind, it's a great guide, too, to its Wine Routes. Written by local wine writer and historian, Tony Walker this is a book to enjoy your-self – or to give at Christmas to family or friends with any degree of interest in wine.

Beautifully illustrated, it covers everything from the first wine grape plantings in 1823 to the demise of the fledgling industry, its revival by (remarkably) a Frenchman, Jean Miguet and an Italian, Claudio Alcorso in the 1950s and how, despite this, its first commercial-size vineyards not coming into production for another 20 years in 1974.

Tony points out how historically Tasmania was unknown territory for viticulture, with all Australian research based on warmer climates – and now how, as James Halliday says in the book's introduction, its future has "virtually unlimited potential." Paying tribute to those who did the hard yards by often trial and error, it's also a rewardingly insightful guide to the State's now more-than 50 vineyards.

Well worth every cent at $49.95 (freight free) from 
SAY "Happy Christmas" with this premium drop that's equally
ideal as an aperitif to set the mood, or throughout any Festive meal.

ONE TO NOTE: A WONDERFULLY crispy dry bubbly for Christmas celebrations is Logan Wines' Vintage 'M' Cuvee made from fruit off the north-facing slopes of Mount Canobolas at Orange in NSW's Central Ranges – at 930m above sea-level one of the highest and coolest grape-growing regions in the State, and thus ideal for the growing of fruit that makes for the most marvellous of premium sparkling wine.

Winemaker Peter Logan has created a drop that's equally ideal as an aperitif before a meal, or throughout the entire meal itself, no matter what you've got on the table. Pay $35 for the just-released 2011 and say "Happy Christmas" with family or friends.

We're also on Australian Good Food Guide in main blog.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Shaw Cabernet Merlot 2012 - Tim Adams Clare Valley Pinot Gris

HELPING lead Pinot Gris' growing sales success
in this country, and ideal with a seafood salad.

David Ellis

WHEN the Clare Valley's Tim Adams decided to plant somewhat new and unproven at the time Pinot Gris ten years ago, he reckons he did so simply for the challenge of seeing just how well this variety would go.

His wife Pam, their company's General Manager, had a different view: she suggested (we think tongue in cheek) that Tim was going through a mid-life crisis. But she supported his venture – and persistence – and today Tim Adams Pinot Gris is one of the top-selling premium Pinot Gris in this country, playing a major role in driving the varietal's constant sales growth across Australia.

Tim says those first plantings a decade ago were the result of drinking a great Alsace Pinot Gris with an old mate, and thinking how well the variety may go on some specific Clare Valley sites. He's not looked back, and today uses fruit in his Tim Adams Pinot Gris from his own vineyards and those of contract local growers.

His latest release, 2014 is loaded with hearty fruit characters (think pear, lychee and peach complemented with a subtle citrus zest and fruit sweetness,) and cleansing acidity. Pay $20 and particularly enjoy with seafood salads over our warmer months.

AT a well-priced $16 savour this one
with tomato based pasta dishes.
ONE TO NOTE: SHAW Vineyard in cool-climate Murrumbateman around 25-minutes north of Canberra, is somewhat unique in that while it is at a higher elevation than most vineyards in the region, its sloping profile enjoys optimum sunlight and gives protection from potential frost damage through its good air-drainage…

Now one of the district's more-renowned producers of quality wines, Shaw has just released a 2012 Winemakers Selection Cabernet Merlot that's a real mouth-filler of fresh berry flavours and delightful aromas from the glass of cassis and dark plums.

Fruit came off the family-owned company's low-yielding vines that were picked in the cool of night for optimum fruit quality; pay a well-priced $16 and enjoy with tomato based pasta dishes, or simply a good steak.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Hunter Valley’s Andrew Margan - Rosemount Estate’s 2012 Balmoral Syrah


David Ellis

LIKE they used to do it – back to the future
wine to enjoy with summery seafoods.
MANY years ago before wines were identified on labels by their grape varieties, they were named after their place of origin – quite often down to the actual block within a vineyard and which could contain several grape varieties.

In a somewhat back to the future move, the Hunter Valley's Andrew Margan has released a white and a red emulating this old practice, labelling them Field Blend White – Block 8 and Field Blend Red – Block 11.

The white comprises predominantly Semillon and smaller amounts of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio from a vineyard planted with these mixed varieties 40 years ago, all the fruit from the 2014 vineyard being picked and vinified together in a single batch. The red is predominantly Shiraz with some Mataro and Tempranillo, and underwent the same process.

We loved the white that's wonderfully fruity with forward citrus and tropical characters and crispy dry on the palate. It's also nicely soft, and a great drop at $15 to enjoy at this time of year with a whole host of summery seafood ideas.
A CHRISTMAS gift idea not to be
enjoyed until at least 2020.

ONE TO NOTE: IF you're looking for a stand-out drop as a gift for a wine-loving family member or friend this Christmas, can we suggest Rosemount Estate's 2012 Balmoral Syrah – then watch their reaction when you tell them not to open it until at least 2020, or if they're really patient not for another 15 years beyond this.

Made from tiny quantities of exceptional fruit off a range of Rosemount's best McLaren Vale vineyards, this is a ripper drop already, but will only get better and better over those years in the cellar – we're prepared to suggest anything up to 25.

Black fruit flavours are to the fore with nice tannin and fruit acid. Pay $75 and if your Christmas recipient can't keep their hands off opening it in the immediate future, recommend that they match it with the best beef cut their butcher can offer them.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Cherry Tree Hill Merlot - Rymill Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc


David Ellis

COOL surprise from the NSW Southern Highlands
ideal with barbecued steak and mushrooms.
IF you're one of those re-discovering the joys of Merlot after it seemed to go out of fashion for a time, a stunning drop worth investing in by phone or internet is a 2011 'Halle' Reserve from Cherry Tree Hill in the cool-climate NSW Southern Highlands.

This small maker that began growing grapes in 2000 on the  30-year old family farm at Sutton Forest, is making a big impression on the local scene, and while its wines are currently available only by phone or online you can be sure it'll become a major player when a cellar door currently under construction opens before Christmas.

Gabi Lorentz and his family established Cherry Tree Hill farm after arriving here from Hungary in the 1980s, and today son David manages the vineyards and oversees all aspects of the winery operation – with wines themselves made by highly-respected local contract makers Anton and Mark Balog. The 2011 Halle Reserve Merlot has blueberry fruit-like flavours, and interesting Hungarian oak hints make it a more-ish drop to enjoy with barbecued steak and mushrooms, or bacon wrapped prawns.

Pay $32 a bottle, less 10% for six or 20% for 12, plus $12 freight for any number of bottles; go to or phone David Lorentz on 0414 366 000.

THINK lime-marinated prawns
with this Sauvignon Blanc.
ONE TO NOTE: ITS forty years ago that Peter Rymill and his wife Judy Ritchie founded Rymill Coonawarra in the heartland of this famous wine growing region, a region that in fact Peter's great-grandfather, John Riddoch founded back in 1890 after arriving here from Scotland during the Gold Rush of 1852.

Today Rymill Coonawarra needs no introduction to those who enjoy quality wines, and one that particularly impressed recently was their 2014 Yearling Sauvignon Blanc – not just because of its wonderfully full-on fruit flavours, but because of the price-tag of just $15.95.

Tropical fruits like passionfruit and paw paw dominate, together with grapefruit and lime, an enjoyable flintiness and nice varietal zesty finish. Enjoy it with Chief Winemaker, Sandrine Gimon's suggestion of grilled lime-marinated prawns.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.


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