Monday 26 July 2010



David Ellis

EARLY settlers looking beyond the confines of the Sydney basin and who ventured south to the high country of the-now NSW Southern Highlands, included grape growing amongst crops there as far back as the 1870s.

They didn't get far, particularly with the cold winters, but a century of so later and armed with more knowledge, skills and facilities than those early settlers, landowners once more turned their attention to grape growing – and this time with considerable success for themselves, and great rewards for wine buffs.

There are now over a dozen wineries in the Southern Highlands turning out highly commendable cool-climate wines that are fitting accompaniments to the products of the kitchens of the region's stand-out restaurants, alfresco coffee shops, country pubs and bistros that attract Sunday drivers and those looking for a long-weekend to this picturesque "little bit of England" so close to Sydney (its about 1.5hrs drive down the M5 expressway.)

One of the larger wineries is Southern Highland Wines who've a modern Cellar Door at Sutton Forest. Ask there, or local Highlands eateries and liquor outlets, for  their 2008 Pinot Noir that's a nice example of this often difficult-to-handle variety, with this one having nice blackberry, plum and wood-like flavours, and even suggestions of ripe tomatoes.  At $24 team it with a good roast dinner – turkey, pork or duck are ideal match-makers.

ONE FOR LUNCH: ANOTHER maker whose history goes back to the later part of the 19th century is Leasingham, founded in the 1890s by four business partners who converted a one-time jam factory into a winery to handle fruit from Clare Valley orchardists turning to grape-growing. Now, 120 years later, Leasingham have released a Jam Shed label honouring the venture – their 2009 Jam Shed Riesling being a great buy at $19.99, and its juicy lemon and lime flavours a perfect partner with pan-fried whiting fillets, a light salad and crunchy warm sour dough.



[] SOUTHERN Highlands' Winemaker, Eddy Rossi creating commendable cool-climate rewards.

[] GETTING out of a jam: label honours Clare Valley pioneers who went from jam to winemaking.


Clicquot in the Snow 2010, Thredbo

Media Release

The inaugural Clicquot in the Snow took over Thredbo last week, transforming the village into a “Clicquot yellow” winter wonderland. Celebrities and partygoers including Tom Williams, Erika Heynatz, Charlotte and Bridget Holmes à Court, Kirstie Clements, Anneliese Seubert and Rebel Penfold Russell gathered at venues in and around Thredbo for a celebration of two of life’s great pleasures, Veuve Clicquot and après ski.

The festivities kicked off with a launch party at the Après Bar at the Denman Hotel & Spa on Thursday 22 July, where guests sipped Veuve Clicquot, modelled their Clicquot wayfarers and lusted after the customized Veuve Clicquot skis around the walls as they grooved to DJ Graz and his specially concocted snow sounds tracks. The following day, Thredbo locals and celebrity skiers paired up for a race down the mountain, cheered on by the crowds sipping champagne at the Clicquot Ice-Bar at the finishing line. Cooma –bred glamour girl Anneliese Seubert won the prize with her pro-partner Scott Miller and guests were treated to some impromptu entertainment from Thredbo local identity “Reggae” who skied the course whilst playing Austrian tunes on his accordion.

The highlight of Clicquot in the Snow 2010 was undoubtedly the Clicquot Snow Picnic, held on Saturday 24 July at Dead Horse Gap. Guests gathered amidst breathtaking Alpine scenery for the ultimate skiing indulgence, a champagne picnic in the snow complete with fennel soup, truffled scallop sandwiches and stunning scampi en brochette prepared by the Denman’s celebrated chef, completed with flowing Veuve Clicquot, Clicquot picnic rugs and even a chic Clicquot snowman.

Clicquot in the Snow began in Aspen in 2007 and has grown in popularity, with the best bars, clubs and restaurants joining in the festivities each season. For the first Clicquot in the Snow in Australia, Thredbo Alpine Hotel and The Denman Hotel and Spa have come on board as partners to help make the event the ultimate winter celebration.

A Bumper List Of Sponsors For Melbourne’s Premier Food

A stellar line up of sponsors will this year support Brand Events in making Taste of Melbourne 2010 the best ever. Presenting Rights sponsor, HSBC, The World’s Local Bank will this year host an exclusive and stylish enclosure for ticketed VIP’s. They will feature live entertainment with various premium food and drink tastings throughout the event.

In addition, HSBC Customers will have the opportunity to take advantage of a private HSBC inner sanctum within the VIP Lounge. HSBC sees great synergy with Australia’s food culture as like the bank both are defined by global influences underpinned by local expertise and knowledge.

Visa Platinum, Taste of Melbourne’s preferred payment partner has also joined the prestigious ranks of Major Sponsors. Long time partner All Clad will provide essential pots, pans and skillets and Chef’s Hat will contribute the implements that enable chefs to produce their sublime tastes.

Smeg, the personal choice of many leading chefs will provide induction cooking units for all restaurant kitchens; Smeg will also host designers, architects and media in a private VIP lounge space featuring Smeg's famous retro FAB fridges in myriad colours and selected signature appliances from Smeg's Linear range.

Smeg stoves and their state of art refrigerators will also be operating in the Australian Gourmet Traveller Taste Kitchen; special and boutique wines will be sniffed, swirled and sampled in the Gourmet Traveller WINE Theatre; both areas will be hosted by the respective magazines editors and senior staff. The chef’s table offers opportunities to get up front and personal with your favourite chef.

S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna will not only hydrate and refresh Taste guests; they will revitalize the chefs preparing food for an estimated 20,000 attendees.

Taste of Melbourne Event Director, James Cregeen, commented: “I’m proud to announce such a high calibre sponsor list for Taste of Melbourne 2010. This level of sponsorship has allowed us to extend this year’s Taste of Melbourne up into the mezzanine level of the REB.”

Australian Gourmet Traveller Editor Anthea Loucas commented “We are again delighted to be involved in Taste of Melbourne, one of my favourite food events of the year. The diverse group of restaurants and chefs combined with this unique format promises to deliver a fun, action-packed forum for all lovers of food and wine.”

The historic Royal Exhibition Buildings will be brought to life by Melbourne’s leading floral architects – Flowers Vasette. Other Taste of Melbourne sponsors and partners include The Age, SBS, Melbourne Central Sky Lounge and Food Wine Sleep.

About Taste of Melbourne
Now in its third year, Taste of Melbourne is the city’s premier restaurant festival offering three signature dishes from twelve of Melbourne’s best and hatted dining venues. This is accompanied by Australia’s best producers of gastronomic and gourmet goodies.

Tickets start at $27.50 and can be purchased by calling Ticketek on 132 849 or visiting

Sunday 25 July 2010

Sydney Food & Wine Fair – Celebrating ‘20 Years of Giving’

Sydney’s most famous food and beverage establishments will once again gather in Hyde Park North on October 30th, 2010 from 12-5pm; donating their time, effort, skills and produce to help create the Sydney Food & Wine Fair – this year celebrating 20 years of giving.

The annual foodie event is part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Each year it teases the taste buds of those who flock to experience the signature dishes of some Sydney’s most renowned restaurants whilst enjoying a glass of wine from their favourite vineyard.

Add a sparkling splash of entertainment in the splendour of Hyde Park North and you’ve got the perfect social setting in which to sit back, relax and spoil the senses.

This 20th anniversary year is already creating excitement, with Café Sydney, Flying Fish, Wildfire, Bourke St Bakery, Otto Ristorante, Longrain, Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, Quay, Jimmy Liks, Jonah’s, Sailors Thai, Tempus Two, De Bortoli Wines, Brown Brothers and Parker’s Organic Juices happily lined up to participate.

The Sydney Food & Wine Fair is the flagship fundraiser of the AIDS Trust of Australia.

AIDS Trust CEO Greg Gahl said: “The Sydney Food & Wine Fair is not a commercial event. It’s a charitable fundraiser made possible by the extraordinary generosity and enthusiasm of stallholders, volunteers, sponsors, entertainers and of course, patrons. Without them all, there would be nothing. With them there has been 20 remarkable years of giving.

We are most sincerely grateful.

From the hearts of Sydney’s food industry 20 years ago has grown an expression of giving large enough to fill Hyde Park North.

To all those loyal, loving and tireless participants over the years we say thank you. The mission continues. We’ll be honoured to see you again this year.

To all those who have not yet been touched by the beauty, delight and deliciousness of the Sydney Food & Wine Fair, note 30 October in your diary and accept our warmest invitation to join us in celebrating 20 years of giving.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said: “The City is proud to support the 20th annual Sydney Food & Wine Fair.

“Apart from making a significant contribution to the City’s cultural vitality, the funds it raises enable the AIDS Trust of Australia to continue support for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaigns and important care and support programs nationally.

“While there have been some wins in controlling infection rates and developing treatment programs, over 17,700 Australians still live with HIV. The work of the AIDS Trust remains crucial while the challenge of HIV/AIDS remains with us” she concludes.

This will be a bumper year, planned to keep visitors happy and entertained all day. Pre-sale wine and food coupons will be available for those wishing to avoid any potential queues on the day by visiting

Tuesday 20 July 2010



david ellis

NO matter what Mother Nature throws at them in the high country and cool climate of Tumbarumba in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, Penfolds' viticulture and winemaking teams never cease to surprise with the outstanding wines they create from this oft-challenging district.

And in essence it is these challenges that results in the uniqueness of these wines, joined now by a 2009 Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay that's one of the company's latest Bin Collection releases.

Lovers of Chardonnay – and yes, there are still plenty of us out there – have long embraced Penfolds' Tumbarumba Chardonnay, and this one delivers once again with almost-wondrous stone-fruit and grapefruit/lemon citrus on the palate, stony minerality and a delightful nose that'll have you musing of fresh-baked apple crumble…

No wonder Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago is so delighted with this Bin series Chardonnay. "Tumbarumba just continues to deliver," he says of vines whose fruit he's worked with since Penfolds started sourcing from there in the early 1990s. "With each release the vines get older and more resilient to the many challenges thrown at them in this high altitude, cool climate district."

Peter suggests a perfect match with this one is shallow-fried calamari and hearty drizzles of aioli; pay a recommended $39.99.

ONE FOR LUNCH: KOONOWLA's 2007 The Ringmaster Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a drop that winemaking duo David O'Leary and Nick Walker have once again put their hearts into in furthering the label's reputation as a reflection of the Clare's first-class climate and soil profile.

A wine with earthy, savoury notes and nice chocolaty nuances, this one's just the drop with a good any-time roast beef; nicely priced too at $20.



[] MATCH this with shallow-fried calamari and hearty aioli.

[] JUST the drop with any-time roast beef.

Monday 12 July 2010



david ellis

AT $15 share this with
seafood or creamy pastas.
WHEN you've been making wine for 120 years you've every reason to believe the public's accepted that you're pretty much on top of what you are doing.

The Barossa Valley's Chateau Tanunda has certainly achieved that acceptance with the diversity of reds whites its been turning out since 1890, in those 120 years covering the whole gambit from the finest traditional varietals from hand-picked single vineyards, to blends brought together from a melange of acreages, topographies and climatic zones.

For those looking for great-value, drink-now wines their Barossa Tower range is something to look out for. Amongst its budget-priced treasures are a 2010 Pinot Grigio that's a real lip-smacker – and only their second-ever Pinot Grigio (their first, a 2009 sold out in just weeks) – with fruit for this one coming from South Australia's cool-climate Eden Valley.

With softly delicate citrus and melon flavours, coupled with crisp pear-like inferences, it's a wine with a nice balance of fruit and acidity: at just $15 don't look past taking a bottle or two along to your favourite BYO seafood restaurant – or serve it at home with creamy pasta dishes.

AUSSIE Shiraz like this one
has is leading the charge
in US restaurants.
ONE FOR LUNCH: ONE of our most-loved home-grown red varietals is Shiraz, and its not just here that it's taken off with such acclaim – America's Wine & Spirits magazine has just named Australian Shiraz as The Number One Red Wine served in US restaurants.

With a climate that gives growers long sunshine hours, our Shiraz rewards consumers with full-on rich and ripe fruit flavours for enjoyment with a wide diversity of winter-time dining ideas. One in particular, McWilliam's Hanwood Estate Shiraz is packed with rich, spicy, blood plum and dark berry flavours, and with its long soft tannins is an ideal barbecue red at just $12.99.


Monday 5 July 2010


WHAT better coupling
than this French Pinot Noir
and traditional Coq au
Vin for Bastille Day?


david ellis

COME July 14 and all good Frenchmen and dedicated Francophiles will be thinking nothing other than food and wine as they celebrate France's biggest anniversary, Bastille Day.

And if you'd like to join in, but are not quite sure of what to put on the table, think about starting your celebrations with party-size herbed goat cheese and tomato tarts, served with a Les Petites Vignettes' non-vintage Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay. From maker Maison de Grand Esprit's Burgundy vineyards, the acidity in this bubbly is a nice foil to the creaminess of the goat cheese ($25.99 a bottle.)

Follow it up with – what else? – traditional Coq au Vin and a Les Petites Vignettes Burgundy Pinot Noir 2007, that also at $25.99 is a perfect match for the rich chicken, bacon, red wine and garlic flavours of the Coq au Vin.

And to end what could be more French than Crepes Suzette? Serve these delights with a late harvest dessert-style Alsace Pinot Gris 2007 from the same maker ($32.99 a half bottle) – you'll find the sweetness of the wine stands up delightfully against the citrus flavours of the Crepes.
CLASSIC Cabernet Merlot for a
Sunday barbecue of char-grilled steaks.

Just remember to begin each course with a hearty Bon Appétit!

ONE FOR LUNCH: MARGARET River, Geographe and Mount Barker all have fine reputations for producing outstanding quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and maker Evans & Tate has brought together examples of both varieties from all three regions for their 2009 Gnangara Cabernet Merlot.

This is a classic Cabernet Merlot with bright flavours of forest fruit and fresh blackcurrants, combined with soft, succulent tannins. Great value at just $13.99 for a Sunday barbecue of char-grilled steaks.