Monday 14 December 2009



david ellis

A MATE with a big family is doing something a little out of the ordinary this Christmas, with the festive lunch being a couple of roast legs of lamb and an oven-load of baked vegies and home-made mint sauce to go with them.

He reckons there could be nothing "more Aussie," and with it he's serving a 2008 Westend Richland Cabernet Sauvignon – which is a good choice because this wine goes really well with lamb, and is one of Westend's biggest sellers both here and internationally.

And better still, it's just a miserly $10.99 a bottle – probably little wonder it helped Westend Wines win this year's NSW Exporter of the Year Award, a nice accolade for a Riverina company that began exporting in 1998 with just 400 cases, and this year selling over 260,000 cases internationally.

IF opting instead for seafood this Christmas and you're looking for a good Riesling to go with it, think about a case of Shaw Vineyard Estate 2009 Laughter Series Riesling – you'll be doing yourself a favour, and kids suffering from cancer as well.

This excellent wine from the Canberra region is $15 a bottle, but by the case just $129 a dozen, a saving of $51 – and on top of that the Shaw family give their $50 profit on this label to Camp Quality, our leading children's cancer charity; to buy a case in time for that Christmas seafood, phone the Shaws on (02) 6227 5827 or email

AN interesting trio of sparklings for Christmas is the new Si (pronounced Sigh) range at just $17.99 each at BWS, Woolworths Liquor and Dan Murphys.

The Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc NV is ideal with prawns, shellfish and oysters, the Sparkling Pinot Gris NV with deep sea fish such as tuna, kingfish and mackerel (or creamy mushroom pasta dishes,) and the Sparkling Moscato NV with lobster or crab or fruity desserts. Or enjoy them all with a cheese platter.



[] EXPORT champion – and a great match with roast lamb at home

[] CHRISTMAS seafood bargain, and helping kids with cancer at the same time

Thursday 10 December 2009

"Jeannie Cho Lee, the First Asian Master of Wine, to Tour the Region with Award Winning Book - Asian Palate"


Food & wine events in major Asian cities to reveal the findings of this unique guide to wine pairing with regional cuisine

(HONG KONG, December 10, 2009) – Celebrated wine aficionado and the first Asian Master of Wine, Jeannie Cho Lee, will embark on a tour of Asia with a programme of high profile food & wine events starting in the New Year. Jeannie will share first-hand the findings of her award winning book, 'Asian Palate' which is a guide to the increasingly prominent role of wine in Asian dining.

The official book tour, which is scheduled for January and February 2010, will visit nearly every city explored in the book. In each of the cities, the events will be hosted at a Hyatt Hotel & Resort property which will include a press cocktail as well as an evening of fine dining with local specialties prepared by renowned chefs and paired with wines.

Confirmed dates are the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (January 15), Park Hyatt Seoul (January 22), Grand Hyatt Bangkok (January 26-27), Park Hyatt Beijing (January 28), Park Hyatt Shanghai (January 30) and Grand Hyatt Singapore (February 26). Firm dates from other cities such as Mumbai, Tokyo  and Taipei will be confirmed over the next few weeks.

'Asian Palate' is a unique, lavishly illustrated, coffee table guide to wine and Asian cuisine, which was launched last month at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair.  Since then 'Asian Palate' has been shortlisted for the 2009 André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards and received the Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2009 for Hong Kong.

The book takes an insightful and informative look at the historical influences and development of Asia's diverse cuisines and how wine can best complement distinctive flavours of familiar local dishes, highlighting how local spices, ingredients and cooking methods impact on wine. Pairing suggestions range from informal, family style meals to formal banquets.

"The tour is an opportunity to introduce food and wine lovers to a new taste sensation pairing local Asian flavours with wine," Jeannie said. "The experience includes a fine dining evening with authentic local flavours and fine wines."

Born in Seoul, Jeannie Cho Lee is the first Asian to be awarded the coveted title 'Master of Wine', an elite group of just 278 in the world acknowledged by the prestigious Institute of Masters of Wine in London.

One of Asia's pre-eminent authorities on wine, Jeannie is a columnist for a number of renowned wine magazines and is a wine consultant to Singapore Airlines. Her work as an international wine judge, speaker, journalist and educator has led to extensive travels through Europe and North America and in 2009 she was awarded the Vinitaly International Award for her contributions to the wine industry.

"Asian Palate is the result of years of research and offers a new perspective on pairing wine with Asian food that takes into consideration factors unique to the Asian table such as strong condiments and spices, communal dining and a very wide range of flavours.  In many parts of Asia, pairing wine with Asian cuisine is a new area of discovery," Jeannie added.

'Asian Palate' is the first of a two-part series to include 'Mastering Wine at the Asian Table', focusing on mastering the language of wine from both Asian and traditional Western perspectives, understanding major grape varieties and wine regions, and including the views of prominent Asian wine collectors.

Sponsors for the book tour currently confirmed include Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Chateau Palmer (Bordeaux), Maison Joseph Drouhin (Burgundy), Domaine Jacques Prieur (Burgundy), Pol Roger (Champagne), Moet Hennessey (Champagne), Paul Jaboulet/ Domaine Thalabert (Rhone Valley), Shaw & Smith (Australia), Domaine Weingut Heymann-Lowenstein (Germany), Jacques Lurton (Loire Valley), Grace Vineyard (China), Grace Winery (Japan), Sula Vineyards (India) and Siam Winery (Thailand).

'Asian Palate' is priced at US$98, available to order from Asset Publishing and Research Limited, Hong Kong +852 2573 6078,, through and from Watson's Wine Cellar stores and selected fine book stores in Hong Kong including Dymocks and Page One.

To book seats for the any of the food and wine pairing evenings, please contact the Grand Hyatt or Park Hyatt hotels in the respective cities listed above or visit their website:

Monday 7 December 2009



david ellis

IF you're amongst the increasing numbers of Australians opting for seafood this Christmas Day, and you want a classic bubbly from the heartland of France's Champagne region to celebrate with it, give thought to a bottle of Champagne Taittinger's Prelude Grands Crus NV.

Although it carries a $130 price tag, this is the real thing with which to reward yourself (if just once a year,) being made with equal parts of Chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs and Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims.

Intensive fresh citrus fruit flavours coupled with suggestions of white peaches in syrup make this a perfect match with the majority of seafoods, in particular hot or cold lobster, mixed seafood platters, with the hors d'oeuvres pre the main course on Christmas Day – or to ring-in the New Year.

ONE FOR LUNCH: A novel idea from South Australia's Angove Family Wines should appeal to the cooks amongst us: it's a free packet of San Remo Linguini or Risoni pasta and a recipe card from celebrated Adelaide chef Adam Swanson with every bottle of Angove's Brightlands 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and 2007 Brightlands Cabernet Merlot, that are themselves great value buying at $13.95 each.

Owner of restaurants Esca and Zucca in Adelaide's Holdfast Shores precinct, Adam's recipes are for Cockles and Fennel Linguini to match the tropical overtones and racy lemon/lime flavours of the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, and a Spiced Veal Osso Bucco with Herbed Risoni to enjoy with the black fruit flavours of the Cabernet Merlot.

The free San Remo pasta packs and Adam's recipe cards are available – while stocks last, which will hopefully be until sometime into January – when you buy either of the Brightlands wines through most liquor outlets.



[] THE 'real thing' to celebrate Christmas or New Year

[] JUST the drop with Veal Osso Bucco and Herbed Risoni