Monday 25 June 2012


GREAT friend or new discovery,
a lovely drop with glazed filet mignon


David Ellis

TAKE vines that are fifty years old and a company that's made Shiraz from those vines for forty-one consecutive vintages, and you can be pretty-much assured you're going to get a very rewarding drop indeed – particularly when priced at an enticing $22.

Campbells Wines in Victoria's relatively cool climate Rutherglen have just released their 2010 Bobbie Burns Shiraz – their 41st – and here's a wine that's got plenty of richly vibrant blood plum and mulberry fruit on the front palate, and tannins and subtle oak that add structure to the mid palate.

Winemaker Colin Campbell says the company aims for the best possible fruit each year, and to follow through with winemaking techniques that enhance that fruit's natural flavours. "We have been humbled by Bobbie Burns' continued popularity and relevance among our customers over the past four decades," he says.
SAY cheese: perfect with a
winter's fireside cheese platter

"For many 'Bobbie' is a great friend, for others a new discovery that demonstrates how great modern Australian Shiraz can be." And although fruit came off vines 50 years old, the vineyard in fact dates back further to 1870.

Enjoy this one with filet mignon glazed with balsamic vinegar and red wine.

ONE FOR LUNCH: FEW realise that the Canberra district has been producing wine for some 160 years, with Cabernet Sauvignon doing particularly well there.

Shaw Vineyard Estate at 640m above sea level is higher than most vineyards in the region, with warm days and cool nights bringing out the best from the Cabernet Sauvignon grown on this one-time fine-wool producing property. Their 'Premium Collection' 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon has lovely fresh cassis and blackcurrant flavours to enjoy now with a winter's fireside cheese platter, or alternatively put aside for anything up to 20 years. Pay a well-priced just $25.


Monday 18 June 2012


WINNING fans amongst those
who don't like their Riesling too sweet.

David Ellis

THE Clare Valley's Jim Barry Wines has just released a 2012 Watervale Riesling that it's made not for the masses, but for an admittedly small percentage of buffs who like their Riesling well below normal sweetness levels.

"We've made this one crisp and dry with just 3 grams of residual sugar per litre, that is well short of the normal sweetness threshold while still retaining juiciness and fruit sweetness rather than sugar sweetness," said Manager Director, Peter Barry.

It's not the first time Jim Barry Wines have made such a crisp and dry Riesling, and its obviously hitting a mark with its strategy: sales of its Watervale Riesling are growing by 15 per cent a year.

"I think less than 5 per cent of wines consumed in Australia would be as dry as our 2012 Watervale," Peter says. "But it's a style that's certainly appealing to a section of the market, and this 2012 is a particularly nice drop, we think, to enjoy with a plate of fresh oysters."

Certainly interesting and rewarding at $17.95 with those oysters.

GOOD OL' steak and kidney
pie the perfect match with this.
ONE FOR LUNCH: Blue Pyrenees' 2008 Estate Red is a wine that its maker and company CEO, Andrew Koerner is not backward as trumpeting as "probably the boldest and most concentrated Estate Red we've ever made."

The product of 69 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 per cent Merlot and a 1 per cent touch of Shiraz, it was made using similar blending philosophies to savoury Bordeaux reds. "The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon came from both our original vines and our newer 1996 section – sort of like a radio format's 'hits and classics,'" Andrew said.

Pay $35 and team with this one with a hearty good ol' steak and kidney pie.



Monday 11 June 2012


ONE to test the taste buds with
a Winter's beef casserole.


David Ellis

WINEMAKERS in Italy use an interesting technique in which they pass the wine from one ferment over the skins of grapes from another – calling it Ripasso – to create wines of quite stimulating complexity.

The Hunter Valley's ever-imaginative Andrew Margan did the same in 2010, re-passing Shiraz that had been made from the 2009 vintage over the skins of a number of different varietals from the 2010 vintage in a second ferment.

His now-released 2009 Special Reserve Ripasso is the intriguing result, and while typical Hunter Shiraz juicy berry and spicy pepper are to the fore, the challenge is to try to determine what were those other varietals over whose skins Andrew re-fermented this wine?

It stumped us and Andrew is keeping mum. But certainly this is a great dinner party drop to stimulate the conversation and challenge the taste buds; pay $35, get some mates together around a Winter's beef casserole and see just how good you are in determining those other varietals.

JUST as good on its own as it is with a
spicy chilli prawn and basil stir fry.
ONE FOR LUNCH: Served well-chilled Verdelho can be one of the better choices with spicy Asian foods, the 2011 Tempus Two from the Hunter Valley a particularly good choice with its dominant ripe pineapple, passionfruit and guava flavours and crisp acid finish.

At just $14.99 this multiple gold medal winner is particularly great value and ideal with a chilli prawn and basil stir fry, or if you aren't into spiciness, with simple grilled veal cutlets and a creamy potato and pumpkin mash.

And with its beautifully concentrated and full-bodied palate its one of those enticingly nice whites just to enjoy on its own.


Monday 4 June 2012


PUT this on the table at $20
with hearty beef dishes

David Ellis

VINTAGE 2010 in the Adelaide Hills arrived earlier than usual, and delivered lighter-than-usual crops – but at Wicks Estate they welcome this unusual vintage as an idyllic one.

"We didn't need to rush, and we didn't need to stress too much because we knew we were delivering our Winemaker, Leigh Ratzmer and Consultant Maker, Tim Knappstein with a steady flow of high quality fruit," says Wicks partner and Facilities Manager, Tim Wicks.

For their 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Winemaker Leigh Ratzmer divided the Cabernet fruit into small parcels, and then built the complexity of the wine by using various yeasts, fermentation strategies and maturation regimes. And while this increased the workload in the winery, he says it provided a myriad options at the tasting bench when putting these blends together.

The result is the 2010 Wicks Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine with cassis and dark fruit flavours, combined with subtle hints of tobacco and chocolate – and after 12 months in French oak soft, silky tannins that are nicely balanced by the fruit flavour's subtle oak nuances.

A TASTE of Spain to
enjoy with roast lamb
Pay $20 and enjoy this one with beef dishes.

ONE FOR LUNCH: SPAIN's Marques de Riscal family were the first to make Spanish wine using French Bordeaux methods, including the now-famous Spanish Rioja that's named after the region in which the family made that first Bordeaux style red in 1858 using Tempranillo fruit.

Dan Murphy's exclusively import and retail a range of Marque de Riscal wines including the 2006 Tinto Reserva that's made with 90% Tempranillo fruit, and 5% each of Graciano and Mazuelo; this results in a wine loaded with ripe fruit flavours and pleasant soft tannins. And idea at $29.99 with roast lamb.