Tuesday 31 July 2012

Burch Family Wines International Pinot Noir Tasting 2012

Pinot Noir lovers are yet again invited to the highlight of the year to join Burch Family Wines celebrate the intriguing variety at the International Pinot Noir Tasting to be held at the picturesque Howard Park Winery, Margaret River on Saturday, 6 October 2012.

A very impressive line-up of 20 Pinot Noirs will be featured, with highly regarded and interesting producers from around the world including New Zealand, France, USA, South Africa and of course our very own Australian producers who are working away at this very complex grape variety.

This event evolved from the opportunity to present the diversity of Pinot Noir, to experience Pinot from various terroir and to listen to esteemed experts in the field. James Halliday, wine luminary and noted Pinot Noir lover will be present to add his many years of experience, as well as Janice McDonald, Burch Family Wines Senior Winemaker and Jeff Burch, CEO. Jeff is an avowed Pinot expert dedicated to ensuring West Australians are producing Pinot worthy of attention. Burch Family Wines has over the last few years developed the Mount Barrow site in the Great Southern just for this purpose.

Herb Faust, West Australian chef personality will create a sumptuous lunch with wines from the stable of Burch Family Wines. Entertainment will be provided by the Mike Goodwin band, as guests dance away the afternoon. All in all, a day of total engagement and celebration of all good things that accompany wine – delicious food, iconic wines, informed speakers and great music.

Date: Saturday, 6 October 2012
Venue: Howard Park Winery, Margaret River
Time: 10.00am arrival, for a prompt 10.30am start, till late afternoon.
For more information or to purchase tickets, phone Pauline Orr on (08) 9756 5200.
Tickets on sale from Monday, 6 August 2012.

About Burch Family Wines

Burch Family Wines produce Howard Park, MadFish and Marchand & Burch wines in addition to a range of other high quality labels. The family owned winery began with the Howard Park label and now, 26 years later, crafts wines of distinct regional character from the renowned regions of Margaret River and the Great Southern. The simple philosophy of producing wines with a strong focus to quality from the vineyard to the bottle.

Thursday 26 July 2012

2010 Climbing Merlot from Cumulus Estate Wines

Media Release

Make it a Merlot this winter

As temperatures drop and the winter of 2012 makes itself well and truly known, there's no better way to keep the chill at bay by stoking up the fire, climbing under the nana blanket and pouring a glass of 2010 Climbing Merlot (RRP $23.95), the latest gem to land on shelves from Cumulus Estate Wines.

Produced in Orange, NSW and sourced from the brand's namesake high-elevation vines, this latest release red represents cool-climate Merlot at its best – bright and luscious with refined and elegant fruit characters. Born from an estate vineyard that represents a considerable percentage of the total vineyard area in the region, the 2010 Climbing Merlot is well-positioned to proclaim the unique quality message of Orange and the benefits of the unusual intensity of the sun at this altitude (giving the fruit intense colour and powerful flavour) and the continual cool temperatures (creating its smooth elegance).

A self-professed Merlot-phile herself, senior winemaker Debbie Lauritz loves the challenge that Merlot brings and throws herself wholeheartedly into creating the ideal drop. "Orange is the perfect region to produce top quality Merlot. The high elevation retains good natural acidity in the fruit and keeps the wine bright and fresh and the slightly longer growing season with cool nights, allows for tannin ripening, without jammy fruit characters," she says.

Fruit for the 2010 Merlot was sourced from elevated sections of the estate vineyard, with red soils and a high rock content ideal for optimizing varietal Merlot flavours. Crops were kept low at 2.8 tonnes per hectare, to ensure concentrated fruit flavours.

Vintage conditions for 2010 were slightly more challenging than usual, with the end of the drought wreaking havoc on the soil and vineyard conditions proving difficult. However, the cluster of small berries harvested from a selection of premium Merlot parcels have led to the production of extremely fruit-forward and concentrated flavours that the team is extremely proud of.

As with any great Merlot, texture is essential, and Debbie believes the 2010 vintage has achieved this in droves. "We matured the 2010 vintage in older French and European barrels for a period of 12 months, which helped to produce elegant, supple tannins. Natural acidity provided brightness and lift, while red berry fruit flavours and well-integrated dark toasted oak enhanced this typically herbaceous cool-climate Merlot wine."

Excitingly, this is not just a great wine to drink now – it holds great potential beyond the bottle as well. "The 2010 Climbing Merlot is smooth, ripe and surprisingly powerful for a medium bodied wine; we look forward to seeing how it develops in the bottle." Debbie adds.

So, drink now to forget the cold…or cellar this little gem for up to five years - if it lasts that long of course!

2010 Climbing Merlot - RRP $23.95

Stockists: Distributed by Cumulus Estate Wines. Available nationally through independent liquor stores.

Current Climbing wines:

Climbing Pinot Gris 2012                Climbing Sauvignon Blanc 2011   Climbing Chardonnay 2011
Climbing Merlot 2010                     Climbing Shiraz 2010                    Climbing Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Monday 23 July 2012


JOIN the 20 years celebrations with
this and a Sunday roast turkey dinner.
23 July 2012

David Ellis

WHEN you've a label that's been a stand-out success for 20 years, you could be excused for sitting back and resting on your winemaking laurels.

Not so with Neil McGuigan, the dynamic and irrepressible Chief Winemaker at the Hunter Valley's McGuigan Wines. Instead he's created a very special 20th Anniversary Black Label Reserve Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon to celebrate the second decade of the company's Black Label range – and is already pondering how he'll celebrate the label in another 20 years.

"We see ourselves not just as makers, but as guardians of the brand, charged with an obligation to respect our history and our heritage, and to continue Black Label's world-wide success," Neil says, and noting that only 7500 cases were made of the 20th Anniversary drop, although 150,000 cases of the McGuigan Black Label range are sold in Australia every year, making it our currently #1- selling red wine by volume.

MARVELLOUS with Chicken
Tikka Masala or Thai Fish Cakes.
The 20th Anniversary Black Label Reserve Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon was made from fruit sourced from South Australia's Barossa Valley and Limestone Coast and bursts with sweet berry fruit and supple tannins. Pay $19.99 and get the family around to share over a Sunday roast turkey dinner.

ONE FOR LUNCH: With nearly 40 vintages behind him in the Clare Valley, Tim Adams reckons only a handful of these were as good as the 2012, one whose yields were slightly down on normal but whose resultant fruit showed marvellous flavour intensity.

And Tim's particularly proud of his 2012 Tim Adams Pinot Gris that's full of pear and peach flavours with a touch of sweetness. And although officially a white wine, it's got a slightly rosé hue from the variety's natural skin pigmentation; at $22 you won't beat it with Chicken Tikka Masala or Thai Fish Cakes.

(NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out  http://www.vintnews.com )

Monday 16 July 2012


PARTNER this with lamb shanks
in a red wine and tomato sauce.

David Ellis

BLACKJACK Vineyards in the old apple and pear growing district of the Harcourt Valley just south of Victoria's Bendigo, is one of those places fortunate enough to enjoy Indian Summer autumns whose cool nights and warm clear days allow the grapes to ripen just ever so nice and slowly.

Such was the case in 2010 although the area also had more rain than usual during summer. But this did not impact on the vines' fruit quality, giving Blackjack's owners and winemakers, Ian McKenzie and Ken Pollack plenty of good fruit into the winery over an almost leisurely two weeks of vintage in April.

Their 2010 Cabernet Merlot particularly benefited from such a good vintage, and with the style constantly gaining in popularity this is one to look for for enjoyment now, or to put away to development in the cellar over the next decade: we're prepared to suggest now that it'll be looked upon then as a classic of the style.

With loads of red fruits and hints of chocolate on the nose, it's got a lovely palate that's soft and supple with a solid core of concentrated berry fruits and ripe tannins; pay around $25-$30 and enjoy as we did with lamb shanks in a red wine and tomato sauce accompanied by a creamy potato mash.

NEW ZEALAND bubbly that's
"unexpectedly Champagne-like."

ONE FOR LUNCH: IT'S thirty years since it launched in 1982 and Lindauer can now lay claim to being New Zealand's most popular sparkling wine brand, its most-exported bubbly, and as well hold pride of place as having been its country's first commercially available local methode traditionnelle.

And it's enjoying good sales here in Australia, a well-priced Lindauer Special Reserve Brut Cuvee NV selling at around just $20. Made from Pinot Noir (75%) and Chardonnay (25%) from Gisborne and Hawke's Bay, it was held on lees for 2½ years before release to make for an ideal party-room drop that like other Lindauer Special Reserves has earned it such nice commendations from critics as "unexpectedly Champagne-like."

(NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out  http://www.vintnews.com )


Thursday 12 July 2012

2010 Rymill Cabernet Sauvignon



The release of a new vintage cabernet sauvignon is always highly anticipated here at Rymill Coonawarra and none more so than our 2010 Rymill Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. One of our finest cabernets yet (if we do say so ourselves) this wine is testimony to one of the best cabernet vintages on record.

2010 Rymill Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon (RRP $33.50)

2010 was simply an exceptional vintage for cabernet in Coonawarra. Fruit intensity, partnered with perfect ripening created a beautiful blend of trademark Coonawarra rich and expressive flavours. Concentrated fruit, cedar box, rich chocolate and full and refined tannin make up a delectable and balanced wine in the 2010 Rymill Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.  Sandrine Gimon, Rymill Coonawarra winemaker, who is extremely pleased with the wine, comments:

"2010 was just a great year! I can happily report that this 2010 vintage is one of the best Rymill cabernets we have produced yet. The wine has exceptional fruit expression and is testimony to the quality of fruit from our vineyard. Intense flavours and strong mouth-watering tannins run the length of the palate and make this wine incredibly smooth."

Parcels of premium fruit were selected, fermented and then aged in French oak barriques to produce this full-bodied and richly flavoured wine.
The Rymill 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits great vibrancy and freshness now, but will also develop beautifully with age.

2010 Rymill Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon – RRP $33.50

Rymill Coonawarra wines are distributed nationally by Negociants Australia (08) 8112 4210
Or purchased directly from www.rymill.com.au

Rymill Coonawarra
Recognised world-wide by two majestic bronze stallions rampant, the Rymill family's distinctive winery produces classic thoroughbred wines made exclusively from grapes grown in its own Coonawarra terra rossa vineyards.

Monday 9 July 2012



TRY this one with oven-baked
lamb chops and roast vegetables.

David Ellis

WITH sales of Merlot booming across Australia – its now our third-most popular red after Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon – there's certainly no lack of choice on bottle-shop shelves.

And one label that's doing particularly well, not only here but in countries as far-flung as Japan, Norway, Vietnam, Canada, Finland and Hong Kong, is Weemala from Mudgee in NSW, whose Merlot is always full-flavoured while retaining a nice varietal softness.

Their just-released 2010 is one to keep an eye on as its even richer and fuller than the 2009, a wine that's already done exceptionally well on the show circuit. Maker Peter Logan sums-up the 2010 as having "a deep, dark side to its character while still being soft and comforting." Nice dark chocolate, blackberry and blueberry flavours are to the fore and its one that's not dominated by oak.

It also somewhat over-delivers at $18 and makes for a delightful winter-time companion with beef stews or oven-baked lamb chops and roast vegetables.

LUSCIOUS and full-flavoured cool climate
Pinot Gris to enjoy with Asian seafoods.

ONE FOR LUNCH: PINOT GRIS is Italy's most-popular white wine being sold there as Pinot Grigio, and here local versions are enjoying an amazingly fast-growing army of Aussie fans.

Banjo's Run in NSW's Southern Highlands has a very moreish 2011 Pinot Gris from its cool-climate vineyard at Exeter, this one having rich pear and tropical  fruit flavours and a slight citrus zest..

A luscious and full-flavoured wine with Asian seafood as a match at the table written all over it, it is available through the cellar door at $32 a bottle or $352 a case (pay for eleven, get twelve, during July) plus freight. Give proprietor Bill Hall a ring on 0408 228 724 to order of go onto www.banjosrun.com.au

(NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out  http://www.vintnews.com )


Sunday 8 July 2012

Australian Wine Vintages - 30th Edition of the best-selling Aussie wine guide

Inline images 1

Did you know that there are over 3500 wine producers in Australia? With such a large selection how do you find out who makes the best Pinot for under $50? Or which wineries near you are the most awarded? Help is here with Rob Geddes 30th edition of Australian Wine Vintages ($34.95), often referred to as 'The Gold Book'.  Presented in a travel-friendly pocket sized handbook, the guide assists all wine drinkers, from serious collectors to the novice looking to avoid a bad wine purchase.

Australian Wine Vintages provides readers with detailed tasting notes, information about vintage quality and indicative prices for over 5,000 wines from 320 of Australia's best wineries. It also includes a list of Certified Organic and or Biodynamic wineries and a quick guide to wine varieties and regions so you know what to look for.  The Gold star list recognises the most consistent wine producers in Australia, with the annual list of the top 100 wines tasted also included. The book provides up to date advice as to which cellar doors to visit plus where to eat and stay, drawing on not only Rob's experience but the winemakers of the region.  Complete with full colour label images and winery details, this easy to use guide is written and published by Sydney-based industry veteran Rob Geddes, one of few Australians to be awarded the prestigious international 'Master of Wine'.

Whether you're an avid wine consumer looking for cellar additions, or a newbie wanting to get the best value wine for your dollar, the 30th edition of Australian Wine Vintages is the definitive wine guide for you.

Monday 2 July 2012


FORGET the brown paper bag,
this is seriously good as an
aperitif with tapas.

David Ellis

SHERRY never springs to front of mind when talk turns to wine styles and varietals, and sadly sales here are minimal as a good drop is most rewarding.

Perhaps its purely ignorance: there are those who simply know nothing about it, others who link it to little old ladies in darkened sitting rooms, and others who think it the choice of those who drink from brown paper bags on park benches.

Sherry was in fact one of the first wines made here from vines brought out on the First Fleet, but because of trade agreements with Spain and the EU we can no longer call our home-grown product "sherry." And one of our best local exponents today is Andrew Birks, who has just released a Birks Chip Dry Fino (Fino being Spanish for "fine") that in one word can best be described as "fantastic."

Andrew was one-time Chief Fortified Winemaker for Lindemans, later head of the Wine Science School at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, and has done stints as a guest winemaker and speaker in sherry's home-country Spain. And so passionate is he about it, he even set up a solera (sherry-making cellar) under his home in Wagga, his wines going on to win multiple international awards.

GREAT match with seafood
|in a nice creamy sauce.
His Birks Chip Dry Fino is a great drop to enjoy really cold as an aperitif with tapas such as olives, salted almonds, oysters and seafoods, and even mild cheeses; he's made just a thousand 375ml bottles at $25. Get onto it quickly and order through Bidgeebong Wines (02) 6931 9955 or winery@bidgeebong.com.au

ONE FOR LUNCH: 2010 gave Coonawarra one of its earliest and best vintages ever, and once again Katnook Estate came up trumps with a Founder's Block 2010 Chardonnay from fruit that enjoyed below average rainfall and above average temperatures.

This wonderfully elegant drop has peaches and melons to the forefront and nice Chardonnay "butteriness."  A great drop at $18 with seafood in a creamy sauce.

(NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out  http://www.vintnews.com )