Monday, 23 February 2015

Devil's Lair Hidden Cave Cabernet Shiraz - Leopold DW R20 Riesling



David Ellis


LEO BURING did a smart thing when it moved into Tasmania around a decade ago, with it's top-notch Leopold label from the cool climate Tamar Valley in the island's north stunningly rewarding for Riesling buffs.


After evaluating the potential for Riesling in Tasmania and setting itself a goal "to make the best Riesling in Australia," it planted grapes in the Tamar Valley, Upper Derwent and Southern Coast, with each area contributing its own particularly unique characteristics to the style of the wine.


But for its just-released 2014 Leopold DW R20 Riesling it used fruit purely from one vineyard, its White Hills in the Tamar Valley around 20km south-east of Launceston. And the fruit from the highest, coolest section of White Hills has resulted is a wine that's all about brilliant fruit flavour intensity – with predominantly zesty citrus to the fore – and a beautiful back-up of palate-pleasing acidity.


A rewarding drop to match with seafoods or roast pork and apple sauce, it's certainly well worth the $40 recommended price.


WATCH THIS ONE: WESTERN Australia's Margaret River got a good dose of rain for the 2013 grape growing season just before the hottest-ever and wetter than average summer, and which allowed fruit to ripen gradually for excellent flavour and with smooth, ripe tannins.


Winemaker at Devil's Lair, Ben Miller used all this to great advantage with the company's The Hidden Cave Cabernet Shiraz 2013, a wine with lovely aromas and moreish blackberry and blueberry fruits on the palate, nice spicy characters and refined tannins.


At $23 this is foremost a beef or lamb barbecue wine, but one that'll go equally enjoyably with a good cheese platter in the late afternoon.


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





[] BEAUTY of a Riesling from Tasmania to enjoy with seafoods or roast pork and apple sauce.

[] EQUALLY enjoyable with beef or lamb off the barbie, or a good cheese platter.



Monday, 16 February 2015

Pierrepoint Nick's Pick Pinot Gris - Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut



David Ellis


BOUTIQUE Pierrepoint Wines in Victoria's cool-climate Henty Region has released a seafood-matching 2013 Pinot Gris at a nicely-priced $20 a bottle at cellar door, even more nicely so at $15 by the dozen – and better still with free delivery anywhere in Australia if you order two dozen online.


Established in 1998 by Andrew and Jennifer Lacey in an area where late-ripening grapes develop wonderfully intense varietal flavours, this Nick's Pick label (named after son Nick who was born the year the Lacey's planted their first vines,) is typically Henty-fresh with up-front and concentrated Pinot Gris pear and apple overtones.


Fruit from carefully managed low-yielding vines was picked over three separate harvests – the first during the last week of February and the two later, and thus riper, in the second week of March, with the wine made by contract maker Scott Ireland.


This is one that will reward beautifully with shellfish and salads, baked salmon, or if you are not much into seafoods, with pan-fried pork chops or creamy pasta dishes.


For more about the wine, ordering and delivery costs, phone (03) 5572 5553 email  or go onto


WATCH THIS ONE: WITH sales of over 150-million bottles a year in 150 countries, including over 400,000 in Australia, Spain's Freixenet is easily the world's biggest producer of Methode Champenoise sparkling wines – Cavas as they are known in their home country.


Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut is the biggest seller of the company's half-dozen labels, a drop whose first fermentation is in tank and it's second in bottle and aged for up to 24 months in 54km of cool underground "caves" just south of Barcelona.


Dubbed by aficionados "Black Bottle Bubbly" because of its distinctive black bottle, it's crisp, clean and dry and with a lower acidity than most sparkling wines for a softer, smoother finish… and at just $16, ideal for partying (or any time really.)


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





[] SEAFOODS, pork or pasta dishes all match-up ideally with this Pinot Gris.

[] AUSTRALIANS today snap-up 400,000 bottles a year of this "Black Bottle Bubbly" for

   partying or anytime enjoyment.


 for week beginning 16 February 2015

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Top Five Things To Do at the Barossa Vintage Festival

The Barossa Vintage Festival is a celebration of the rich heritage and gastronomic pleasures of this renowned region in South Australia. Running from 15-19 April, The Barossa Vintage Festival is Australia's largest and longest-running tourism festival showcasing 95 events over 5 days.

From grand feasts to market bazaars, long table lunches and even gastronomic golf! There's a little something for everyone.

Here are our Top 5 things to do on your Barossa adventure

The Feast

Set in an authentic vintage show hall of long feasting tables, old-world charm and intimate conversation. Wine makers will drink with you, roving players will beguile you, and a 7-piece swing band with dancers will keep you serenaded as you eat your way through a grand feast buffet. The Feast will give you a real taste of celebration – Barossa style.

Sunday Spanish Breakfast

A Spanish breakfast fiesta awaits you on the lawns of Yelland & Papps' cellar door. Tuck into a bountiful spread by Elli Beer whilst enjoying a glass or two of vino. Then take a swing at the piñata and be captivated by a roving Spanish band and bubble blower. This is the perfect start to your vintage Sunday morning.

The Scarecrow Trail

Pack a lunch, grab your bicycle and follow the famous Scarecrow trail through the spectacular scenery of the Barossa. The Scarecrows, each with their own unique identity, will guide you from winery to winery on one of the most memorable cycling routes you're ever likely to take.

Wine Bluffs – A Comedy Wine Tasting!

Comedians Damian Callinan & Paul Calleja will walk you through an enthralling cellar door experience with a comedic twist. With a combined 30 years in the comedy industry and even longer in the cellar, they know their wines and have the punch lines to match!

Full Moon Farm Gate

A traditional market hosted in a picture perfect setting at Langmeil Winery. Wander through the beautiful stone buildings and stables filled with vendors offering local and homemade produce. With live music from local musos, it's a true celebration of all the reasons to love being in the Barossa!

For further information contact Laura Fowler, Publicist on 0424 299 146 or or visit

Monday, 9 February 2015

Chandon’s Pinot Noir Shiraz - The Briar Vineyard Blend


David Ellis


WE'VE heard plenty of names and descriptions applied to wines good and bad over the years – some nice and some not so nice (and, yes, some just plain rude) – but never before have we had a winery tell us about a wine they call their "dyslexic," and what's more, do so with something of enthusiasm.


But that's the moniker given by Chief Winemaker at Briar Ridge in the Hunter Valley, Gwyn Olsen and her team to a drop officially labelled The Briar 2014 Vineyard Blend… because while made from fruit from one vineyard, rather than being a single variety, that vineyard had somehow been wrongly planted with a collection of "odds and ends" because of what Gwyn calls a "misunderstanding in communications."


And this "dyslexic lot" included Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay, Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc, leaving no choice other than to pick everything at the one time, and to process their fruit together and independently of other blocks. The surprising result is an enjoyably rewarding drop that Gwyn says "is a showpiece for the vineyard and for the Mt View area" (where Briar Ridge's vineyard are located.)


Crisp, citrus-fresh and savoury, relish it at $28 with prawns off the barbie.


WATCH THIS ONE: LONG have we held that you don't need a special occasion to enjoy a good bubbly, and one fizzy red for any-time dining, or simply on its own for that enjoyment, is Chandon's Pinot Noir Shiraz.


Fruit for this came from diverse cool climate Victorian vineyards, the 70% Pinot Noir from several in Green Point in the Yarra Valley and Strathbogie, and the 30% Shiraz from Heathcote, the Yarra Valley and the Pyrenees.


If you love a good sparkling red this is a classic with sweet liquorice, cinnamon and clove aromas, and a full, rich and mouth-filling palate. At $32 take it along to that next party, share it at home with a good meal and good friends, or simply enjoy it on its own with a relaxing book or video…


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





[] RESULT of a vineyard mix-up that paid off – one to enjoy simply with prawns off

   the barbie.

[] ANYTIME fizzy enjoyment: a classic for party, dining or simply on its own.


for week beginning 09 February 2015

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
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