Monday 28 May 2012



David Ellis

DELIGHTFUL drop from a rejuvenated
vineyard to enjoy with winter beefdishes,
or anytime Thai foods.
THREE years ago Bill Hall retired after more than 40 years in real estate in Sydney to re-settle in the pleasant Southern Highlands of NSW – not to take up bowls or bridge, but to go into business again, buying and rejuvenating an old vineyard and putting out his own wine label.

And his Banjo's Run, named after a horse owned by his daughter who also resides in the Highlands, is already proving a hit with lovers of cool-climate wines, finding itself onto wines lists in select local restaurants and even in Sydney, and with cellar door sales increasing weekly as word gets around.

Bill tends to the vineyard at Exeter himself, and interestingly uses a number of different winemakers to make his wines on contract, rather than taking a one maker makes-all approach. He's already got a couple of Chardonnays, a Pinot Noir, Cabernet Merlot, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and a spritzy Cabernet Franc Merlot from his old vineyard, that's flourishing under his care in this growing boutique cool-climate region so close to Sydney.

The 2009 Cabernet Merlot combines ripe blackcurrant fruit and plum jam flavours with nice savoury tannins, and is a delightful wine to enjoy with winter-time beef dishes, or any-time Thai foods; its good buying at $24 a bottle from his cellar door ($264 a case plus freight) – give Bill a ring on 0408 228 724 to discuss this and others in his range, or go onto

SPAGHETTI Bolognaise perfect
with this McLaren Vale Shiraz
ONE FOR LUNCH:   HESKETH's 2010 Usual Suspects McLaren Vale Shiraz is a wine to enjoy now, or to pop away in the cellar for anything up to another five or six years.

A wine that's had time in both American and French oak, it's generous with flavours of ripe blackberries, milk coffee, cocoa and dark chocolate, and a little hint of typical Shiraz white pepper. Pay $19.95 and match this lovely drop with a hearty Spaghetti Bolognaise.



Saturday 26 May 2012

Mornington Peninsula wine region

Sniff, sip and sample your way around Mornington Peninsula's 50-plus boutique cellar doors for unexpected experiences, new friends and delicious winery meals.

Passion for pinot
Hear the stories of passionate peninsula vintners, who grow their own fruit and produce their own wines. They'll tell you all about the famed regional pinot noir and the cool-climate chardonnay, and let you in on the secrets of the newer regional varietals, including pinot grigio, pinot gris and shiraz.

Regions within a region
You'll taste different styles as you cruise the compact region. Climate, topography, land and soil structure create distinct micro-climates around the hinterland villages of Red Hill, Main Ridge and Moorooduc, and Merricks, Balnarring and Dromana on the coast.

Chat with other wine buffs over your tasting journey, or relax and take advantage of award-winning winery restaurants, casual eateries, accommodation and broad sundecks.

Read More

Wednesday 23 May 2012

'Masters of Food & Wine' launched at Park Hyatt Melbourne

Media Release

Park Hyatt's 'Masters of Food & Wine' has evolved into a series of ongoing hands-on workshops. These locally inspired culinary workshops are available at all 27 Park Hyatt hotels globally.

Park Hyatt Melbourne is proud to now release its own engaging and interactive workshop, offering an insight into the best that local produce has to offer. The workshop aims to embrace 'In the Field, In the Kitchen and In the Moment' - an intimate shopping and cooking experience with a maximum size of eight participants to ensure sufficient interaction for each "master to be".

WHAT Chef de cuisine, Pankaj Bisht from radii restaurant & bar, in conjunction with the iconic Queen Victoria Market offers his personalized 'from market to the table' workshop. Led by Pankaj guests join the shopping expedition to Queen Victoria market to learn how to hand select the best produce; from humble vegetables to the finest of ingredients that the season has to offer. On return, guests can refresh and enjoy an aperitif with a master Sommelier from the house of Perrier-Jouet in advance of the evening's dining experience. From the open kitchens of radii restaurant & bar watch, join and taste with Pankaj as the day's produce is transformed into the evening's offerings. Complete the evening with luxurious overnight accommodation.

WHERE Commences from radii restaurant & bar at Park Hyatt Melbourne

WHEN Friday 22- Saturday 23 June 2012 at 12 noon


12:00 Arrival at Park Hyatt Melbourne and check in to their luxurious accommodation

12:45 Meet chef de cuisine Pankaj Bisht for a light and intimate lunch

13:45 Depart to the Queen Victoria Market to embark on a culinary tour

16:00 Free time to enjoy Park Hyatt Melbourne

19:00 Perrier-Jouet Champagne tastings in the radii restaurant private dining room

19:30 Chefs tasting table utilising the fresh produce purchased from Queen Victoria Market with accompanying wine

Luxurious overnight accommodation

PRICE $ 495.00 (single occupancy)

$ 655.00 (double occupancy)

For reservations and further information including a full itinerary of this experience, please visit or call +61 3 92241211

Monday 21 May 2012


2007 GRANGE heads-up this year's
Penfolds Luxury and Icon Collection.

David Ellis

MAY is the month when investors and connoisseurs alike look to Penfolds annual release of their Luxury and Icon Collection, a $1750 parcel this year of stalwarts led by the latest Grange to go into the market place, similarly a Yattarna Chardonnay and the finest Cabernet Sauvignons and Shiraz.

And this year an inaugural release of a new contemporary Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, the Bin 169 from the 2008 vintage ($250 from Cellar Door only.)

The Grange is the 2007 that's priced at $625, the Yattarna Chardonnay the 2009 from the best cool-climate regions ($130 Cellar Door and select on-premises only,) while there is also a 2010 Reserve Bin A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay that's got a $95 price tag.

Also at $95 is the 2008 St Henri Shiraz, and at $250 a 2009 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz ($175,) and a 2009 Magill Estate Shiraz that's available Cellar Door and select on-premises only at $130.)

Penfolds Chief Winemaker, Peter Gago describes these wines as "classic Penfolds with a solid track record for cellaring performance… the collection spans four vintages and includes the best of the new, together with the inaugural 2008 Bin 169 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon – a wine style that is reflective of our winemaking team's search for diversity and excellence."

HERE'S a perfect match with antipasto
to get that lunch humming.
ONE FOR LUNCH: WE attended a Mother's Day fund-raiser lunch for breast cancer research, and on arrival all the ladies were presented with a nicely chilled glass of Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir Rosé, a pink bubbly that proved not only moreish but very appropriate in colour for the occasion.

This cool climate drop from the Yarra Valley was full of red berry, cherry and spicy aromas and flavours, and ideal at $24.95 to get the lunch humming – and you'll find, a great match with antipasto.


Tuesday 15 May 2012

Babich Listed in The World's Most Admired Wine Brands

Drinks International, one of the most trusted and respected global drinks journals, has just launched their World's Most Admired Wine Brands Top 50 list for 2012.

Sixty members of the global wine community nominated the wine brands they admire most. Voters included Peter McCombie MW, Peter Marks MW, Tuomas Meriluoto MW, Kym Milne MW and Lynne Sherriff MW.

In his opening summary, Most Admired Wine Brands editor Graham Holter writes: "The results provided a fascinating insight into how the wine industry regards its leading players.

"The list includes brands that are found in Shanghai boardrooms as well as mom and pop stores in Minnesota, and all points in between. Congratulations to all the brands who achieved a ranking in this unique project."

Managing director, Joe Babich comments "It is a real pleasure to see seven New Zealand brands named in this Top 50 list, and this is testament to the high regard held internationally for New Zealand wine."

Monday 14 May 2012


IDEAL with grilled
black-peppered T-bone

David Ellis

EVANS & Tate in the West's Margaret River have long prided themselves on making their Redbrook label wines only from fruit from the best of Vintages.

2009 was one such vintage: from New Year's Day the region flourished under 4 months of blue skies and temperatures in the high twenties, with fruit for the 2009 Redbrook Shiraz picked at the end of this period when at its optimal ripeness.

Winemaker Matt Byrne fermented individual parcels from different vineyard blocks separately, racking these to either new or older French oak barriques or hogsheads. "This provided a diversity of options for blending," Matt said. "Perfect barrel maturation was achieved by matching barrel types to each parcel of fruit and removing the wine from the barrel when ideal structure, texture and integration had been achieved – whilst also ensuring fruit character was at the forefront of the wine."

Pay $37.99 and enjoy this one with a grilled black-peppered T-bone.

NEW Zealand beauty to enjoy
with spicy Thai seafood
ONE FOR LUNCH: Naysayers told Peter Yealands the land he'd bought in New Zealand's Marlborough district was too rugged for viticulture, but defying their gloomy forecasts he turned it into some of the area's first terraced vineyards.

And he's not looked back, with his label now one of Marlborough's most-respected. Search out his 2009 Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, another of those wines produced only in exceptional years, with fruit for this one being hand-harvested to get only the best extra-ripe bunches, and with 35% then going into a mix of new and used French oak for 12 months and the remainder into stainless steel tanks before blending.

The resultant wine has nice savoury flavours with a mineral finish, and at $30 is one that its maker, Tamara Washington recommends matching with spicy dishes such as Thai seafood.



Monday 7 May 2012


ONE reason why customers come back time
and again for the wines of Apple Tree Flat


David Ellis

IN the decade-plus since he released his first Apple Tree Flat wines from the 2001 vintage, Peter Logan has striven to improve upon each vintage while at the same time also maintaining a philosophy of value for money.

And he says it's because he's conscious that customers choose to buy his wines a second and a third time as a result of enjoying their first experiences of the label. "So it's therefore important to honour this initial experience and not change the profile of the wine too dramatically," he says.

Named after the little hamlet just outside Mudgee in the NSW Central Ranges wine region that Peter and his wife Hannah call home, Peter's wines are well-priced for their quality, a just-released 2010 Apple Tree Flat Merlot just $12.

With berry, dark chocolate and dried herb and earthy flavours, this is a good drop at the price to enjoy with a roast leg of lamb, mint sauce and baked vegies, or a lamb-based Shepherd's Pie.

JUST the drop for celebrating Italy's
National Republic Day on June 2.
ONE FOR LUNCH: With Italy's National Republic Day coming up on June 2, what better way to celebrate than with pasta with seafood sauce or a pasta alfredo, together with a bottle or two of Pinot Grigio – the product of Italy's national white grape and its most popular white wine.

With Italian ancestry, Lerida Estate's Jim Lumbers planted his first Pinot Grigio on his vineyard in the Canberra District in 1997. "I believe our 2011 is now our first really authentic-styled Pinot Grigio," Jim says, "as opposed to the more Alsatian-style we have produced in the past."

Winemaker Malcolm Burdett coaxed the best of the style's mineral and herb  characters from Lerida's excellent fruit, and finished it with nice savoury characters from 5% barrel fermentation. Pay $25 and enjoy with either of those pastas dishes, or your own favourite Italian choices.


Friday 4 May 2012

PR Firms Merge to form White Ink. | Wine & Life

MEDIA RELEASE: Sydney, Friday 4 May 2012

White. Crisp, fresh, clean, clear, uncluttered, reflecting nearly all the rays of sunlight.
Ink. Publicity, especially in print media. To mark, stain or cover.

Winestream Communications and Impressions Marketing Communications have merged to form a new wine and lifestyle communications agency under the new White Ink. brand.

Opening their newly-merged doors on 7  May 2012, White Ink. will commence the business with already committed top lifestyle clients including Belaroma Coffee, Blue Pyrenees Estate, Chateau de Sours, Dilmah Tea, Gibraltar Hotel Bowral, Koonowla Wines, Liku Liku Lagoon Resort Fiji, Lowepro, Maui Jims Sunglasses, New Generation Hunter Valley Winemakers, Optimiste Wines of Mudgee, Petuna, Pure Tasmania, Shaw Vineyard Estate, Sip Your Modo, Stonehaven Wines, Tintilla Estate and Wine Odyssey Australia. The merged businesses will allow White Ink.'s combined lifestyle clients to leverage media opportunities and gain greater efficiencies as well as enjoy extensive business-to-business communications' opportunities. 

Managing Director of the previous Winestream Communications business, Kylie White (nee Teasdell) takes the reins as Managing Director of White Ink., while Tracey Leitch, previous Managing Director of Impressions takes on an Associate role directing new business, driving key accounts, and sitting on the newly-formed agency's advisory board.

White and Leitch each have in excess of 20 years' experience working in senior client-side marketing roles as well as running their individual PR agencies.

Kylie White commented on the merger: "Our extensive media contacts and proven track record in the wine and lifestyle industries gives our clients benefits beyond that of a usual PR agency.  We have our finger on the pulse of events and activities that can move lifestyle brands beyond the traditional media experience and extend them into the social media arena in a more personalised and meaningful way to their audience.  Our cross-platform offering which now includes all facets of marketing, together with our combined lifestyle communications experience will provide clients with both strategic and creative solutions all under one roof."

Tracey Leitch commented, "The joint energy of the two agencies combined will be a force to be reckoned with and we look forward to making a significant mark on the PR landscape. Our initial focus will be maximising the reach of our existing clients and then we will look to extending the account family. "

In addition to traditional PR services, White Ink. will provide lifestyle brands with a full service communications suite including graphic and web design, social media, events, direct, digital and e-marketing, specialising in what the dynamic duo have loosely termed 'wine and life'.

The new agency commences with a team of six and will be based out of its corporate headquarters in the new High Street Willoughby restaurant precinct in Sydney's lower North Shore from 1 June 2012.

Photograph thanks to Ken Martin

Left to Right
Ally Lipman – Account Manager Life, Eileen Thomas – Marketing Assistant, Kylie White – Managing Director, Tracey Leitch – Associate Director, Camilla Barlow – Account Manager Wine, Danielle Berger – Designer & Developer

PS We're hiring! We seek an enthusiastic wine industry professional to fill the newly created Account Executive Wine role!

For further comment contact
Kylie White     P  0401 408 080
Tracey Leitch P  0415 290 023  (from Monday 7 May)