Monday 28 November 2011



David Ellis
COOL idea with seafood, a herbed
pork casserole or Japanese dishes.

NSW's Southern Highland Wines has released a crackajack 2011 Oldbury Reserve Sauvignon Blanc that's very much in the style of its 2009 – the most-awarded wine in the company's young eight-year winemaking history.

Located in picturesque high-altitude and cool-climate country outside the little hamlet of Sutton Forest, Southern Highland Wines produces a credible eight white varietals and styles, and five reds, under their S H W and Oldbury labels, the latter crafted from the best fruit from their 40ha of vineyards.

Winemaker Dominic Bosch used skin contact, cold maceration and low temperature fermentation to create the 2011 Oldbury Sauvignon Blanc, that exudes a stylish personality with nice varietal lychee, kiwi fruit, thyme, lemongrass, lime and asparagus aromas that follow through with a smooth seamlessness on the palate.

If you're into seafood, match this one with banana prawns, oysters or pan-fried snapper, or try it with a herbed pork casserole, Japanese dishes or blue cheese; pay $28.  If you have trouble finding it locally, it can be ordered online through, with freight costs additional.

CLASSIC Evans & Tate to enjoy
with barbecued beef ribs or grilled tuna.
Sutton Forest is 1.5hrs drive from Sydney or Canberra; SHW's Cellar Door is open daily 10am-5pm and their restaurant for lunch Thursday to Monday.

ONE FOR LUNCH: FANS of Evans & Tate will know how the company's WA Margaret River vineyards enjoyed ideal vintages from 2007 to 2009, and now the just-released 2010 Evans & Tate Classic Shiraz Cabernet reflects a fourth great vintage that year too, with warm weather and low rainfall meaning low fruit yields that offered-up outstanding flavour ripeness and tannins.

At $19.99 this is a wine with a beautiful palate of forward Shiraz black-fruit flavours, making for an ideal match with barbecued beef ribs or grilled tuna.


Windowrie's The Mill range, best of NSW

Windowrie has continued its very successful 150th year celebrations with a tranche of awards from Australia’s most respected wine magazine, Winestate.

The winery has recently received the following awards, positioning it as one of NSW’s best winemakers. The awards comprise:

‘Best New Release’ 2011 Windowrie The Mill Cabernet Merlot

This ranking is given to the best ‘New Release’ wines from Australian and New Zealand that were tasted by a range of winemakers and wine judges as part of the monthly Winestate Magazine tastings during 2011. There were approximately 5,000 wines tasted.

‘Best of State (NSW) 2011 Windowrie The Mill Cabernet Merlot

2010 Pig in the House Shiraz (5 Stars)

The wines that are included in this band comprised only 5% of the total 10,000 wines tasted by Winestate during the year.

“This is capping off a fantastic year for Windowrie,” said family member and owner Jason O’Dea. “Since Anthony D’Onise came on board as our winemaker, and broadened our sourcing of grapes to include Orange and Hilltops, as well as our Cowra fruit, we have attracted some exciting awards and wine show results.”

“2011 is also the 150th anniversary of The Mill, where we have our cellar door tasting room, so it is giving the locals and visitors to the region an extra reason to drop in.”

“One of the most pleasing thing about these results is that they are across the whole range, not just for a single wine.”

These results include:

NSW Small Winemakers Wine Show 2011

· ‘Trophy for Best Bordeaux Blend’ – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Cabernet Merlot
· Gold Medal – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Cabernet Merlot
· Top Gold Medal – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Shiraz

Cowra Wine Show 2011

Trophy for the Best Local Red Wine – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Shiraz
Gold Medal – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

Cairns Wine Show 2011

Gold Medal – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Chardonnay

James Halliday’s 1001 Wines Under $20, 2012 Edition

90 Points – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Merlot
91 Points – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Cabernet Merlot

Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2011

Gold Medal – 2010 Windowrie The Mill Cabernet Merlot

Although the wine industry continues to experience an oversupply, NSW wines are growing in sales within NSW. “NSW wine drinkers are choosing to consuming more NSW wines which is driving this growth. This is particularly evident with the premium NSW wines, which are seeing good growth, reflecting that consumer are happy to pay for quality.”

All the Windowrie wines are available for tasting and sales at the Windowrie cellar door in Cowra, as well as online via Summer opening hours are Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm

Thursday 24 November 2011

Lerida Estate Pinot Noirs

Media Release

Pinot Noir ~ No. 1 on this Year's Christmas List

"…Pinot Noir produces the most complex, hedonistic, and remarkably thrilling red wine in the world!" says Robert Parker, a statement  that Jim Lumbers, owner of Lerida Estate, whole-heartedly agrees with - especially when matched with his Christmas turkey.

It was Jim's love of Pinot Noir that saw him spend many days in the vineyards of Burgundy while living in France in the late 80's, and prompted him to try the Pinot Noir wines of Dr Edgar Riek, one of the pioneers of the Canberra District wine region, on his return to Australia. This tasting bought him to the Lake George region of the Canberra District in 1997 to track down what he described as "some of the most outstanding Pinot Noirs I'd ever tried".

As a result, Jim and his wife Anne Caine purchased a 40 acre plot of land nestled at the bottom of the Cullerin Range, overlooking the beautiful and mysterious Lake George - perfect for planting Pinot Noir. According to Jim, "The terrior here is ideal; Pinot needs sunshine without excessive heat, dry air, deep soil and cool nights, and the gravelly, colluvial soil at the foot of the Range provides all of this. These conditions encourage deep-rooted, healthy vines with enough stress to favour the production of grapes with thick skins, excellent fruit flavours and high levels of anti-ageing polyphenols. The slopes face east, allowing the rising sun to dry out any dew, and so reduce the impact of moulds and mildews. The steepness of the slopes also contributes to vine health by promoting good air drainage and reducing the risk of frost damage during the growing season."

The newly released Lerida Estate 2009 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir, Canberra District (RRP $35) follows the highly successful 2008 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir which received excellent scores from both wine critics and wine shows alike. Jim says, "The 2009 vintage was crafted to achieve a balance between a fruit driven style, and more texture and weight.  In particular the aroma of the new 2009 is very evocative with stewed plums, rhubarb and spice, mixed with gamey and savoury overtones, and a hint of vanilla from 20% new oak barrel."

"Our winemaker Malcolm Burdett and I work together and draw on Edgar's previous experiences in the region to craft elegant Pinot Noirs made from low-yielding vines, with a strong focus on naturally ripened bunch tannins, which releases the full spectrum of primary and secondary flavours thanks to the use of wild yeast and minimal intervention.

Whilst the 2009 is still young, if decanted before tasting you will discover that the wine already delivers the flavours to match its fine, silky tannins and body, and experience with previous vintages indicates that the wine will also improve over the next 8-10 years."

This wine is ideal for this festive season's dishes of game and roast turkey…and many more to come!

Another style of Pinot Noir which is impossible to ignore as summer rapidly approaches is Lerida Estate's 2011 Pinot Rosé (RRP $18). Again all the fruit for this wine is sourced from Lerida Estate's Lake George vineyard. Jim didn't need a rosé revolution to convince him that Pinot Noir can produce stunning, dry rosé wine with the colour of pale Argyle diamonds. "This wine is mostly made from juice runoff from our red ferments after 10-12 hours skin contact and holds both fruit and savoury characters wound up in a tight ball of natural fruit acids. If I was to classify it I'd call it a 'modern, high-end bistro wine'. It's quite French in style with a light touch and a style that goes fantastically with food – particularly with spicy dishes. I love it!"

Elegant wines from Lake George in the Canberra District which showcase Pinot Noir's potential & bright future on this unique site.

Lerida Estate 2009 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir, Canberra District (RRP $35)
Lerida Estate 2011 Pinot Rosé, Canberra District (RRP $18)

Availability: Nationally though Vintage Cellars and good liquor stores. Distributed by Vino Bambino (VIC), Vintner Partners (NSW and QLD) and Lerida Estate (ACT). These wines can also be purchased at the Lerida Estate Cellar Door or via their online store at

Jim Lumbers & Anne Caine, Lerida Estate    P: 02 6295 6640    E:  W:

Lerida Estate, Federal Highway, Lake George, NSW 2581 (turn off at the Gurney VC Rest Area)

Current Lerida Estate wines:

Cellar Door Range

Zenzi rosato frizzanti ($14.50)  
2010 Unwooded Chardonnay ($16.50)
NV LGB ($19.50)

Super Premium Range                    

2008 Brut Rosé Methode Champenoise ($29.50)
2010 Viognier ($22)
2011 Pinot Grigio ($25)             
2010 Chardonnay ($32)
2010 Botrytis Pinot Gris ($29.50)                                             
2011 Pinot Rosé ($18)
2010 Pinot Rosé Sur Lie ($22)
2010 Canberra District Shiraz ($29.50)
2009 'Cullerin' Pinot Noir ($35)                               
2010 Merlot Cabernet Franc ($29.50)

Proprietor's Selection Range

2008 'Josephine' Pinot Noir [only made in exceptional vintages] ($78)
2008 Lake George Shiraz Viognier ($49.50)

The name 'Lerida' was chosen to reflect the history of the region. Back in 1827, NSW Surveyor-General Major Thomas Mitchell named a local creek 'Lerida' after his travels in the Spanish region of the same name.

Lerida Estate prides itself on excellence in design of both its wine and winery. The winery buildings were designed by distinguished Australian architect Glenn Murcutt and have featured in several international architecture publications.

The Estate includes a winery, cellar door and café facility, as well as Petanque/boules pistes for competition or social games.

Wednesday 23 November 2011



David Ellis

ITS that time of year when we decide what will be the feature of this year's Christmas table, and to help with your decision-making about the wines to go with your choices, we asked our wine writer David Ellis for his ideas as to just what goes best with what.

CHRISTMAS MORNING BRUNCH is becoming increasingly popular amongst Australians, David says, and to match creamy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon try a Handpicked Wines' delightfully "spritzy" Moscato d'Asti from Italy ($25,) or a great Aussie-made Chandon Cuvee Riche bubbly at $39.95.

PRE-lunch or dinner platters call for more bubblies, and great value is Eternity Sparkling Dolcetto from Bill Calabria's Westend Wines (just $10.95), the always-rewarding Hardys Sir James Brut de Brut ($15) or a cracker-jack House of Arras Brute Elite ($55.)

TURKEY, whether hot or as a cold salad, is always all the more enjoyable with a good red: for a break from the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, try it this year with an Aussie-made Pinot Noir – Lerida Estate's "Cullerin" 2009 from the Canberra District at $35 is really beaut value; if you prefer a white, don't look past Hardys Oomoo Chardonnay ($18.50) while Chandon Sparkling Pinot Shiraz ($29) is a delightfully rewarding "sparkling red."

DUCK will be a tasty alternative to turkey for many, and to match we suggest a choice red: try the exceptional Tim Adams 2006 The Fergus (Grenache) ($27,) or equally-rewarding Borrodell 2006 Pinot Noir ($38.)

SEAFOOD could soon be Australia's No 1 Christmas favourite and whites are the perfect match: we recommend Wicks 2011 Sauvignon Blanc ($18,) Climbing Pinot Gris 2011 at $21, or Leasingham Classic Clare Riesling ($40.)

IF A BARBIE'S your choice, match sizzling beef or lamb with reds: try the more-ish Amberley Secret Lane Cabernet Merlot ($19.99,) outstanding 2009 Limited Release Heathcote Shiraz ($29.90) or exceptional Katnook Estate 2009 Merlot ($40.)

CHRISTMAS PUDD: What else but Lillypilly Noble Blend 2008 "sticky" dessert wine ($22.50,) Westend 3 Bridges Golden Mist Botrytis ($22,) a pink Ballabourneen 2011 Sparkling Moscato ($26) or Hardys Tall Ships Tawny Port ($9.00?)

CHEESE PLATTERS: Bay of Fires Tasmanian Cuvee Brut ($31.50) or Brown Brothers 2006 Paticia Noble Riesling ($35.90.)


Photo Captions:

[] AUSSIE-made Chandon classic Cuvee Riche bubbly

[] VALUE buying Westend Eternity Sparkling Dolcetto

[] MADE for the turkey: Lerida Estate's Cullerin 2009 Pinot Noir

[] PERFECT seafood match – Wicks 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

[] LIMITED release Heathcote Shiraz just the drop with a Christmas barbie

[] FINISH up with a cheese platter and Brown Brothers wonderful 2006 Patricia Noble

[] OUR wine expert, David Ellis at his home in the NSW Southern Highlands

Thursday 17 November 2011

Scarborough Wine Co. A New Year Resolution worth Keeping

At Scarborough Wine Co. we are incredibly proud to be able to use our family home in the Hunter Valley to bring you wines for those special celebrations in your life - as we always say, "Our home. Your wine." And this year we will be involved in even more celebrations than ever as the Official Wine Partner for 2011 Sydney New Year's Eve.

Scarborough Wine Co. was selected by the City of Sydney as a renowned, 'home-grown' producer of fine Australian wines, being based in New South Wales' own Hunter Valley vineyards. We will join other home-grown talents such as the creators of the world's most technologically advanced fireworks displays, Foti Fireworks (family-owned and run by the Foti family), in the ultimate home-grown celebration; local families working together to make sure Sydney continues to be known as the New Year's Eve Capital of the World!

As the Official Wine Partner 2011 Sydney New Year's Eve, a range of Scarborough Wine Co. wines will be poured at the Lord Mayor's Party at the Sydney Opera House, including our flagship wine the newly released 2009 Scarborough Yellow Label Chardonnay. Scarborough Wine Co. specialises in Chardonnay, from the full-flavoured Yellow Label to the light, crisp Blue Label style, this varietal has become synonymous with Scarborough.

Fruit for our Scarborough Yellow Label Chardonnay is selected from our Estate's premium vineyards on the deep hillside red/brown terra rossa soils, of limestone parentage. The wine is fermented and matured on lees for 12 months in both new and older French oak. The meticulous use of French oak combines with bottle age to produce a full-flavoured wine that is true to the style of Scarborough.

Scarborough Wine Co. will also provide all the wines at the Dawes Point Viewing Area helping a selection of the 1.5 million people who gather along the Sydney Harbour Foreshore for the 9PM Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks Display, see in the New Year with flavour and style.

Not forgetting those that will be holding celebrations at home, Scarborough Wine Co. has created some very special offers so everyone can discover a part of the local wine community and celebrate with some fabulous wines this festive season and New Year.

Visit to view our special home-grown celebrations packs and enter our competition to win one of six magnums of Scarborough Yellow Label Chardonnay.

At Scarborough Wine Co. it's not just about making wine. It's a way of life. The Hunter Valley is our home and this is where the passion begins. To make the best wine we can, and share it with you…this New Year's Eve and every day after that.

Scarborough Wine Co. is the Official Wine Partner for Sydney New Year's Eve for 2011 – 2013

Purchasing Scarborough Wine Co. wines:

All our wines are available through leading independent liquor stores or via our website

Sally Scarborough, Scarborough Wine Co. P: 02 4998 7563 E:

Twitter:         Facebook:!/Scarboroughwine

Monday 14 November 2011

Toppers Mountain

Following a partnership dissolution,Toppers Mountain is now solely owned by Mark Kirkby. Planting began in the spring of 2000, with the ultimate fruit salad trial of 15 rows each of innumerable varieties and clones. The total area planted was made up of 28 separate plantings, many of these with only 200 vines in a block. As varieties proved unsuited, they were grafted to those that held the most promise. Thus far, Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc hold most promise among the white wines, the Mediterranean reds doing better than their French cousins. The original 28 varieties are now down to 16; chardonnay, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blanc, tempranillo, shiraz and merlot are the commercial varieties, the remainder in the fruit salad block still under evaluation. Integrated Pest Management has been successfully adopted throughout the vineyard. Champion Winery of Show, New England Wine Show 11.

Author: James Halliday


UNUSUAL drop from Chile to enjoy
with spiced-up barbecued beef.

David Ellis
WINEMAKERS in Chile have somewhat claimed the Carmenere grape as their own, even though it was once one of the original "Noble Grapes" of Bordeaux, where, interestingly, it's hardly known these days.
Eduardo Jordan is a winemaker in Chile whose name is highly respected internationally, particularly for his work with the De Martino company that was the first in his country to label a wine a Carmenere. More recently he's been making the varietal for Two Eights Australia, an interesting concept that sources wines from highly acclaimed winemakers and grape-growers around the world, and releases them under its Handpicked Wines label
RED and white in the one bottle:
enjoy with sweet 'n sour pork spare ribs.

Eduardo Jordan's Handpicked Wines' 2008 Selections Carmenere was made from fruit from Chile's dry and warm Maipo Valley and is a medium-bodied drop with a palate loaded with dark cherry, black fruits and spicy flavours. At $20 it's a delightful quaffer to enjoy with the coming of our warmer weather.
And its one of those medium-bodied reds that on a hot day responds well to a brief time in the ice-box as you barbecue some beef and capsicum kabobs marinated in garlic, coriander, oregano, paprika, cumin and a good splash of lime juice.

ONE FOR LUNCH: MARK Kirkby delights in telling people he has something of an "ultimate fruit salad" vineyard, as he's trialled something like 28 well- and lesser-known grape varieties at his Topper's Mountain vineyard in NSW's newest wine region, the New England, and aims to narrow these down to 8-10 star performers.
He and winemaker Mike Hayes have blended into a delightful drop Mark's red Pinotage and white Viognier, resulting in a 2010 Topper's Mountain Wild Ferment Pinotage Viognier that's nicely flavoursome with pronounced ripe plums to the forefront. Pay $35 and enjoy with sweet and sour pork spare ribs.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Cabernet in the Cabinet for Koonowla

(from left) President Clare Valley Winemakers Association, Governor of South Australia Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce (middle) and accepting the trophy, Andrew Michael from Koonowla Wines
It was a Cabernet from Clare which took out the Trophy for Best Dry Red at the Clare Valley Wine Show last Friday 28th October. The team at Koonowla couldn't be happier to have had their 2008 Koonowla Cabernet Sauvignon (RRP $22) judged to be the top wine amongst some of the country's most renowned Shiraz.

Andrew Michael from Koonowla Wines was enormously proud of this win particularly due to the extremely high caliber of exhibitors in the class and across the board at the show and the regions fame for producing top quality Shiraz. He says of Koonowla's success "we were up against seriously high profile, expensive and top quality wines…for our Cabernet which you can pick up for just over $20 to receive this sort of accolade, it says a lot about the sort of value-for-money you can get in Australian wines from smaller Aussie producers".

This value-for-money statement is nothing new for Koonowla Wines, as late last year the team picked up the trophy for Best Red Wine under $25 at the Great Australian Shiraz Challenge for their 2006 Koonowla Shiraz ($22), which is sitting proudly in the winery's trophy cabinet!

The judging for the Clare Valley wine show went over two days, with 45 exhibitors and 352 entries in total, resulting in 144 medals awarded to those who stood out the most.

Koonowla Winemaking duo David O'Leary and Nick Walker are no strangers to success in the Clare Valley Wine Show, and this year was no exception as they picked up numerous medals for wines made under their own label O'Leary Walker Wines.

Koonowla Wines, set amongst the rolling broad acre hills of the Clare Valley, with 250 acres of vineyard and beautiful stone buildings is a truly iconic property consistently creating top quality Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling.

With the Summer of Riesling campaign about to kick off, timing couldn't be better for Koonowla with the new addition to the Koonowla Ringmaster range with their 2011 Ringmaster Riesling (RRP $16). This wine brings the entire Koonowla portfolio to a rounded six wines, and is a true Clare Valley style Riesling with lemon lime flavours and a crisp dry finish.

Distributors:  Young  &  Rashleigh  Wine  Merchants,  P:  02  9967  5900,  
E:,  W:

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Frog Rock - A fabulous fizz for summer

Media release:

Local Legend Frog Rock Wines of Mudgee are gearing up for a very busy fizzy summer and have released their first sparkling wine suited to all tastes and budgets just in time for the silly season…

Frog Rock Wines Fizzy Frog 2009  (RRP $30)

This wine, like the rest of the fantastic value-for-money Frog Rock range, is to be taken seriously (despite its name-sake!) as it delivers wonderful structure and flavour and is made in a similar fashion to those created in France's best Champagne Houses.

The Fizzy Frog is a classic French inspired blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with small parcels of grapes which were hand selected to create a vintage cuvee that is light salmon in colour.

Frog Rock is owned and run by long time locals the Turner Family, and they're thrilled with their debut sparkling wine (which sits right next to their award-winning desert wine 'Sticky Frog'). According to owner Rick Turner at Frog Rock "this little beauty has an interesting complexity that arises from secondary fermentation, providing a lifted fruit nose and lengthy mid palate flavor with a fine persistent bead".

Fizzy Frog is designed to be enjoyed as an aperitif in the sun this summer with good friends and your favourite music.

Frog Rock Fizzy Frog can be purchased online at and can be found at good independent liquor stores Australia wide.

If you would like a sample of the Frog Rock Fizzy Frog 2009, or for any other media enquiries please contact Winestream Communications E:

Check out the Frog on Facebook….

Monday 7 November 2011


NICE drop to take along to
your favourite Chinese BYO.


David Ellis

WHILE few had anything positive to say about the 2011 harvest in the Clare Valley – and most of the rest of a very sodden South-Eastern Australia for that matter – Koonowla winemaker Andrew Michael says it was one of those times when small proved sound.

"It was certainly a challenging time, particularly for larger commercial producers, but being a small operation we had more 'hands on' time with the vines, and our micro-climate escaped the worst of the weather," he says.

And he is particularly pleased with his 2011 Koonowla Ringmaster Clare Valley Riesling. "It bursts with mouth-filling citrus flavours and has a zesty long acidic finish," Andrew says of this wine that came out of some of Australia's worst vintage weather in recent history, with deluging rain and floods across most South-Eastern growing areas.

At $15.99 this is a good-value drop to take along to your local Chinese BYO.

AND one for not-too-spicy Indian dishes.
ONE FOR LUNCH: ANOTHER small South Australian maker to see the positive side of the 2011 vintage was McLaren Vale's Kangarilla Road.

"Our 2011 Kangarilla Road Primitivo Rosé actually benefitted from the mild summer and that cool, wet vintage," says winemaker Kevin O'Brien. "While McLaren Vale is rightly famous for its reds (such as) Shiraz, it's also capable of producing lighter reds when conditions allow, so we jumped at the opportunity to produce some of the finest Rosé wines we've ever released."

With a palate loaded with zesty rhubarb and a spicy finish, at $22 this is a great companion with not-too-spicy Indian dishes.

Kangarilla Road also produced an excellent Chardonnay from that trouble-some 2011 vintage, one full of lemon and grapefruit flavours. Value at $18.