Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Canberra District Wine Week to draw crowds to Yass Valley in April



What's better than celebrating with wine on a weekend? Celebrating wine for a whole week! And right now, the wineries of the Yass Valley are getting ready to take part in the Canberra District Wine Week – a celebration of harvest time from 31 March to 9 April 2017.

"Canberra District Wine Week is the perfect time to visit Yass Valley as the region's wineries offer some great wine events, dinners, lunches, tastings, tours and more," said Sean Haylan, Economic Development & Tourism Manager at Yass Valley Council.

"It's also harvest time which really is a great time to come and celebrate the 2017 vintage with the winemakers of the region," Sean continued.



Canberra District Wine Week is a ten-day program of wine tastings, food matchings, tours and events which will be held across the entire Canberra district including Hall, Bungendore and of course Gundaroo, Murrumbateman and Yass in the Yass Valley.

"The events will culminate with the annual Harvest Festival over the weekend of 8 and 9 April.

"Some of Yass Valley's best wineries and restaurants are really worth checking out over Wine Week. Ewe and Me Restaurant in Yass is offering a degustation dinner on Saturday 1 April, and you can enjoy 'left field' wines and canapes at our famed Clementine Restaurant in Yass on Wednesday 5 April," continued Sean.



Other Yass Valley based events taking place as part of Canberra District Wine Week include a four sangiovese dinner at Four Winds Vineyard Cellar Door, and a 'Taste of the region long lunch' in Yass on Friday 7 April featuring local food and five vineyards.

"Yass has a range of quality accommodation on offer to suit all tastes and budgets, and several of the local operators will also be offering wine week packages, so get in quick to be a part of all the wine action," concluded Sean.

For more information on Yass Valley including accommodation options, visit www.yassvalley.com.au For more information on Canberra District Wine Week and associated events visit www.canberrawines.com.au

 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Toolangi 2016 Rose - Yarra Valley


ONE TO NOTE:  DOWN in Victoria's Yarra Valley, Garry and Julie Hounsell at Toolangi Vineyards also grow their own premium fruit, and have their wines made for them – in their case by a number of makers who're supremoes in individual varietals.

It's a philosophy that rewards all from grower to consumer as it results in wines of wonderfully unique and distinctive personality. One such that's just been released is their Toolangi 2016 Rosé made from Shiraz grapes off their Dixons Creek vineyard, and crafted for them by Dominique Portet Winery who are wizards with Shiraz fruit.

This is a fantastically quaffable drop when served cold out of the fridge on a warm summer's day: fresh, red berry fruits are to the fore, backed with savoury notes and lemon zest, a hint of spice and zippy acidity. At $28 great on its own, or equally at home with everything from quiche to curries, seafood to sandwiches and wraps.


[] SUMMER quaffer on its own or with everything from quiche to curries, seafood to sandwiches and wraps.

 

Topper’s Mountain 2015 Barrel Aged Gewurztraminer


SMASH-HIT GEWURZ THAT'S TOPPER'S

David Ellis

THE NSW New England is not a wine region we hear a lot about, yet like so many of our other younger, smaller and sometimes off the beaten track hideaways, its one that's full of great surprises for the wine adventurer.

And amongst its many gems is a winery called Topper's Mountain at Tingha near Armidale on the New England Tablelands, one that owners Mark and Stephanie Kirby never cease to surprise with the quality of the grapes they grow in this high elevation (900 metres) cool climate region, and the resultant wines that are made for them by celebrated contract maker Mike Hayes.

Their 2015 Barrel Aged Gewurztraminer is one such drop, an absolutely top-notch Gewurz whose aromatics are all about clouds of Turkish delight, stone fruits, a little honey, marzipan and musk, and which couple on a creamy, fruit-laden palate that's also got gorgeous hints of spice, oaky tannin, acidity and has a lovely crispy finish.

This is a drop that's worth every cent of its $35 price tag, and you could imagine was custom-built to go on the table with Thai and similar Asian temptations.


[] ONE you would think was custom-built to go on the table with Thai and similar Asian temptations.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Ten Dollar Christmas Wines

BUBBLY way to start that
Christmas Day lunch or dinner.

$10 WINES FOR CHRISTMAS DAY PLEASURE
David Ellis

WHILE we all like to have a nice bottle or two on the table for family and friends joining us for Christmas Day lunch or dinner, "nice" for some equates to "expensive," yet with a bit of judicious buying such doesn't necessarily need to be the case.

And in anticipation of the big day ourselves we started the month with a bit of early shelf-gazing, inspired by the fact we plan to offer a different wine to suit each course come Christmas Day, rather than just one white or one red to see through the whole meal.

JUST so good with festive
seafood lunch or dinner.
We also set a price target of "$10 or so" for each choice to see if we could contain costs without sacrificing quality and flavour. And remarkably we came home not only within budget, but more than impressed with our purchases that we taste-tested with some obliging "guinea pig" neighbours.

And if you too are looking to offer a different wine appropriate to each course this Christmas, and not break the bank doing so, here's what we chose in our test run.

For welcome drinks as guests arrive and as an aperitif with nibbles and finger food,  bubbly is an obvious. We opted for Yellowglen's special Festive Season "Yellow Glitter Pack," a nice crisp, elegant and dry fizz that bursts with melon, pineapple and citrus flavours. Officially $13, you'll get it at $10 or even less at most major outlets.

FOR traditionalists who stick
with their Christmas turkey,
here's the ideal accompaniment.
If seafood's your option this Christmas, at just $10 – and as low as $7.60 at one liquor chain – is McGuigan Wines' Black Label 2016 Chardonnay. With Hunter Valley master, Neil McGuigan behind this one it's an ideal match with seafood, having wonderful sweet tropical fruit and melon flavours, coupled with a delightful creaminess and a touch of vanillin from a light use of oak. A real 'Bravo' $10 drop.

PERFECT with the plum pudd to round
out a grand Christmas lunch or dinner.
And for traditionalists for whom turkey is the only option on Christmas Day, from the Riverina comes a 2016 Shiraz under the renowned Calabria Family Richland label. A recommended $11, but under $10 at some larger outlets, this one's full of varietal fruit and spicy black pepper flavours that go so well with that turkey, baked vegies and gravy. We're sure the Calabria's themselves will go for this at their place – although not head honcho Bill Calabria himself… believe it or not, he's a teetotaller.

And finally for those with still enough room for Christmas pudding, put a bottle of Penfolds Club Reserve Tawny Port on the table with this. It's perfect – at just $15 or a little less at larger outlets, its rich dark berry fruit flavours and a caramel sweetness make it a hand-in-glove match with that pudd.  HAPPY CHRISTMAS!



Monday, 5 December 2016

Bromley by Wolf Blass wines

BIRDS, nudes, butterflies and Wolf Blass wine
– what more could one ask for?
ONE TO NOTE:  A NOVEL idea if you're still looking for something different and rewarding for that wine-loving friend or relative this Christmas, is an Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, or a McLaren Vale Shiraz or an Adelaide Hills Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay that are all excellent wines from Wolf Blass, and which bear wonderfully colourful one-off labels by acclaimed Australian artist David Bromley.

These Bromley by Wolf Blass wines are $30 a bottle each, with their labels featuring some of Bromley's most recognised art from his Birds, Nudes and Butterflies series. And while making for excellent and unusual gifts for those who enjoy their wine and art, they're also great statement pieces for buyers' own homes too.

Available from most fine wine retailers until sold out, or visit www.wolfblass.com/en-au



for week beginning 05 December 2016 

Margan Family Wines 2015 Merlot - Hunter Valley

HAPPILY put this one on the table
with all manner of dining opportunities.

MERLOT GOES SO WELL WITH SO MUCH
David Ellis

FOR those who like their Merlot, Margan Family Wines have released an interesting and tasty 2015 from their Broke property in the Hunter Valley, a drop that makes for a great match with a whole list of dining options for this time of year's entertaining.

It is interesting because this 2015's fruit is off vines on their own roots rather than having been grafted onto other stock, and tasty as it's true to variety with loads of primary fruit flavours, a touch of spice, and with nice soft tannins. In short, a quaffable, early drinking style of the finest order to enjoy with anything from meatloaf to lamb leg roast, lasagna to barbecued veal chops, or pizza to spaghetti Bolognese.

And interesting too because 2015 was a difficult vintage in the Hunter, with a dry Winter and Spring rolling into a then-wet December, January and February. Which all meant for a threat in particular to the region's red harvest. But Andrew Margan says that while those difficult conditions are reflected in such reds as the 2015 Merlot by way of softer tannins than normal and slightly lower acidity, that resulting softness actually means for wines that can be enjoyed while still very young.

So give this 2015 Margan Merlot a try at a nice $20 with the above food ideas.



for week beginning 05 December 2016 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Chandon Brut Sparkling - Victoria



A BOUNCY new bubbly from Chandon in time for the Festive Season is their non-vintage Brut that's a Chardonnay-led method traditionnelle that's based on the 2014 vintage, but comprises nearly 40% reserve wines going back as long as ten years. With flavours of citrus and orchard fruits and a light acidity, it's wonderfully vibrant and elegant and reflects just why their Brut is Chandon's most popular bubbly.

At $32 this one's sure to prove a hit over the Festive Season.

28.11.16




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