Wednesday 28 April 2010

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney Launches Winemaker Chef’s Table Experience

Calling all wine connoisseurs and gourmands!  Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has launched a new Winemaker Chef's Table experience, combining the best in food, wine and all things fine.

Each month, one high-profile winemaker from Australia or New Zealand will showcase their collection by pairing wines with a five-course meal including a series of vertical tastings.

The experience begins with champagne and canapés at Kable's wine bar, followed by a degustation dinner with matching wines at the Chef's Table in the kitchen's Garde Manger.

After dinner, guests will go even further 'behind the scenes' for a kitchen tour and chocolate tasting in the Four Seasons' Chocolate Room.

Four Seasons Hotel Manager Daniel Simon said the winemaker dinner concept gave guests an opportunity to try the new Kable's menu designed by Restaurant Chef, Jeffrey De Rome, while tasting some of Australasia's best wines.

"We've taken the restaurant wine-dinner concept and created a much more intimate experience where guests can socialise around one large table while learning all about the food and wine from our chef and guest winemakers."

"It was a pleasure to welcome Mitchell Taylor from Taylor's Wines as our first winemaker, who kindly shared a selection of his highly-coveted family museum wines for the inaugural dinner last month. We look forward to bringing a range of other talented winemakers to our hotel," Mr Simon said.

Upcoming dinners feature winemakers from:

Shaw & Smith in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia - May 27
Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales - June 24
Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, New Zealand - July 15

Other winemakers featuring throughout the year include South Australia's Rockford, Petaluma and Taylors Wines, Western Australia's Cape Mentelle Wines, Victoria's Bannockburn Wines and New Zealand's Villa Maria Wines.

The Winemaker Chef's Table dinners will be held once a month at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney and are available for $300 per person, with a maximum capacity of 19 guests per event. 

For information and bookings for the Winemaker Chef's Table call (+61 2) 9250 3306.

For Hotel information and reservations call (+61 2) 9250 3100 or visit

Monday 26 April 2010



david ellis

THE Adelaide Hills' Longview Vineyard has come a long way since its first vintage when the owner's realised the only thing they had to store the fruit from that initial crop, was some old red buckets from the property's earlier dairy farm days.

But it proved a good omen and ever since they've named their best premium wines Red Bucket, a label that today has earned itself a reputation for quality, reliability and, at $15.99, certainly value for money.

A just-released Longview Red Bucket Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009 is a crisp, clean and refreshing wine, and a perfect match with seafoods; and interestingly owners Mark and Peter Saturno have plenty of other makers both in and outside the Adelaide Hills knocking on their door for a share of their premium fruit.

ONE FOR LUNCH:  NSW's Hilltops Region near Canberra has fast-gained a reputation for really excellent wines, and for Barwang Wines it's their favoured region for sourcing fruit for their premium reds.

A high-altitude region with a slightly warmer climate than Canberra, it has almost consistently text-book growing conditions and mineral-rich soils. Barwang's 2008 Hilltops Shiraz ($19.99) reflects all the best of the region with lovely rhubarb and black cherry flavours coupled with varietal Shiraz spice; enjoy with beef medallions and buttery mashed potatoes.

FOOTNOTE: QANTAS has named its latest A330-200 aircraft The Clare Valley after the South Australian region that produces just 1.5% of Australia's wine, but an amazing 20% of our Rieslings. "Its great recognition for the Valley, and what can justifiably claim to be Australia's 'Riesling capital'," said Chairman of Clare Valley Winemakers Incorporated, Peter Barry.



[] BUCKETS of flavour for enjoy with seafoods

[] IDEAL partner with beef medallions and buttery mashed potatoes

Sunday 25 April 2010

Plenty up for auction at Noosa Food and Wine Festival

Wannabe chefs rejoice!

Tourism Queensland is offering foodies the chance to bid for the opportunity to work with MasterChef judge and cravat wearing food critic extraordinaire Matt Preston during the Audi Noosa Food & Wine Festival 2010.

The ‘money can’t buy’ experience is part of Tourism Queensland’s, Queensland Holidays Ultimate Auctions going live online from 3pm, Tuesday, April 27 with all monies raised going to the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.

“We’re giving people the opportunity to enjoy the full VIP, gold ticket experience,” Matt said.

“They’ll get to rub shoulders with some of Australia’s best chefs, receive VIP passes to the Festival’s big events and be my guests at the sold- out Italian degustation dinner. They will also attend a top-secret launch event over the course of the weekend.

“The downside is that the successful bidder and their guest will also spend time with me as my sous chefs as we cook over 1000 picnic dishes for the Critics Cooking Competition at Lions Park on Saturday May 1.”

The ultimate auction winner will be left plenty of free time for getting out and seeing all the Sunshine Coast has to offer with its relaxed, yet sophisticated lifestyle, encompassing the coastline from Caloundra to Rainbow Beach and the lush countryside of the hinterland

Other components of the package include:

* Four nights luxury accommodation for two at The Rise, Noosa
* Two nights luxury accommodation for two at Mantra Mooloolaba Beach
* Two VIP Event Gold Passes
* Two VIP Degustation Dinners
* Two VIP entries to secret event

Dinner at the award-winning Spirit House restaurant
Queensland Holidays Ultimate Auctions showcases the unique types of packages people can enjoy when holidaying in Queensland.
There will be nine other packages on auction from around the state up for bid at the same time as the Noosa Gourmet Getaway.

For more information on the auctions and to bid

For information on the festival visit

Monday 19 April 2010



david ellis

'CLASSIC White' is a moniker given many a white wine that can be a blend of anything that happens to be at hand at the time – and occasionally even 'parcels' of fruit that aren't of much value for anything other than blending.

That's not to deride the majority of Classic Whites: there are some really great examples out there that are made from fruit purpose-grown for blending into 'classic whites,' and one well worth a try next time a seafood lunch is in mind, is Yilgarnia Classic White from Western Australia's Denmark region.

Crafted by former agricultural scientist Peter Buxton who settled in Denmark on the State's south coast with his wife Peg in 1997, this wine can genuinely be titled 'Classic' with its wonderful aromas of nectarines and citrus, pineapples and melons, and a fabulously enticing palate of citrus and stone fruits, pineapple and a touch of grapefruit.

Peter chose 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Chardonnay and 10% Semillon from vineyards that enjoy a beautiful Mediterranean-like climate for this 2009 vintage wine: moist winters are followed by dry summers whose average 26-degree temperatures promote a slow build-up of intense fruit flavours.

This one's good value at $17 to enjoy with a platter of cold seafoods, a chicken salad or a selection of cheeses.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Think sparkling wines and we tend to think of bubbly whites, rosés and lighter reds that originated in Europe, but in Australia we somewhat uniquely also produce bubbly reds from fuller-bodied Shiraz.

NSW Hunter Valley father and son winemaking team, Robert and James Lusby have now just released a great Tintilla Estate Sparkling Red made from predominantly Merlot fruit: a light, soft yet rich wine from the 2006 vintage with varietal red berry and plum fruit flavours that at $36 is a great party-time buy  – or to spoil yourself with a good book and a block of extra-cocoa chocolate.



[] TRUE classic white to share with a seafood platter

[] SPOIL yourself with this and a block of extra-cocoa chocolate

Monday 12 April 2010



david ellis

WHEN you've been making wine for close-on 900 years, there's every expectation you're doing something right.

And just how right, is exemplified by Italy's Gabbiano that made its first wine in 1124 and today has an enviable reputation for a range of reds and whites, and in particular it's Gabbiano Asti – a lighter-bodied, fruity sparkler that fits well into a broad spectrum of party-room and dessert-time dining options.

Crafted from Moscato Bianco grapes grown in the Asti province of Piedmont in north-western Italy, this one's made by the Charmat method that allows for natural fermentation without the addition of sugar, so ensuring the retention of important varietal aromatics.

It's also slightly lower in alcohol (at 7%) than most sparkling wines, and being slightly fruiter as well, is ideal to share with Italian aperitifs or desserts.

At just $14.99 it's nicely priced for that next party – perhaps upcoming Mother's Day – and should be served chilled with those brunch aperitifs, or with poached pears, a strawberry tart or chewy Italian almond cookies.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Western Australia's Houghton have released a stunning 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon as part of their new Margaret River range that also includes a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2009 Chardonnay.

The '08 Cabernet Sauvignon highlights the skills of winemaker Ross Pamment in getting the best from fruit grown in the unique soils and climate of Margaret River: this one has intense plum, cassis, chocolate and cigar box aromas, with hints of cinnamon and clove spice from its oak maturation.

And with flavours of chocolate, plum, cherry and red berry fruits it's just the drop – particularly at $19.95 – with a good ol' barbecued mixed grill.



[] 900 reasons why they've got this one right.

[] ENJOY this one with a good ol' mixed grill.

Friday 9 April 2010

Inaugural Vintage Dinner hosted by The Rocks

When: From 6pm on Friday 23 April

For the first time the romance of dining at a long table under the stars becomes a reality in Sydney’s historic Rocks.

The Rocks Farmers’ Markets, the only Sydney market to bring the regions of NSW to the city, in a commitment to contemporary regionality, is extending the concept for a dinner to celebrate the end of vintage. This unique dinner, in the style of a wine vintage harvest feast, will be held in Jack Mundey Place, in the historic environs of the Rocks, on Friday 23 April from 6pm.

Three regions of New South Wales – including Mudgee, Orange and the Hunter – all known for their outstanding produce and wine, have joined forces with Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and The Rocks and will be providing their regional specialities.

For $65 guests will receive a glass of sparkling wine from Orange plus a Rocks tasting glass and twelve $5 ‘rocks’, the currency for the evening, redeemable for food and wine. Additional ‘rocks’ may be purchased on the night. Pre-allocated seating will be at long tables, (under market stalls in the case of rain) so that friends can be sure to sit together.

“Hero” products from the regions will be prepared into tasting plates of $10 and $15 (two ‘rocks’ and three ‘rocks’) by well-known Rocks restaurants: Pony Lounge and Dining, Saké Restaurant and Bar and Wine Odyssey. La Renaissance Patisserie and Guylian Chocolate Café will be serving dessert tasting plates with coffee. Market stalls will be transformed for the night to house both restaurants and wineries.

Three wineries from each region will provide wine for $5 (one ‘rock’) or $10 (two ‘rocks’) per glass. Bottles will also be available and regional beer is on the menu too.

Leading regional food and wine authority and advocate, Lyndey Milan, will MC the event and entertainment will be provided.

Tickets can be purchased online by following this link

Monday 5 April 2010



david ellis

THEIR Wine by Brad name may be funky, the label even funkier, but the wine in the bottle is anything but a funky oddity, with the just-released Wine by Brad Cabernet Merlot 2008 up there with the best.

Owner and winemaker Brad Wehr opted out of the big corporate wine scene and set up Wine by Brad in 2003 in Western Australia's Margaret River, intent on creating quality wines with flavour, personality but no hefty price tag.

"It's been a wild seven years," he says. "But thanks to some hard work and some great mates we've been blessed through those seven years with receiving some of the best southern Margaret River fruit I'v
e ever tasted."

And he says the 2008 vintage in Margaret River was magical, enabling him to produce reds a tad richer than the previous vintage, and with firmer structure and tannins to ensure longer cellaring potential.

His 2008 Wine by Brad Cabernet Merlot comprises 45 per cent Merlot, 50 per cent Cabernet and 5 per cent Petit Verdot and Malbec, that between them deliver flavours of plums, red berries, dark chocolate and blackcurrants.

At $17 it falls within Brad's "no hefty price tag" criteria and is a great drop with a meat-lover's pizza or cooler-weather braised lamb shanks.

ONE FOR LUNCH: Now's the time of year we start thinking of winter fires and after-dinner "stickies," and one to do yourself a favour with is Cape Jaffa Wines' 2009 La Lune Botrytis Semillon from the Mount Benson region 300km south of Adelaide... and do it with a great food match of a bitter chocolate tart.

Certified by Australian Certified Organic this viscous "sticky" has beautifully complex apricot nectar and honeysuckle aromas, and a rich palate with good balance of acid and natural sweetness. Super value at $25 (350ml bottle.)



[] CAPTURING flavour, personality without hefty price tag

[] FIRE up winter with this and a tart of bitter chocolate