Monday 29 October 2012


A NICE red to go with a rustic
Greek-style slow-cooked leg of lamb.


David Ellis

MOURVEDRE is generally regarded as a variety whose roots were in Spain, although it's also grown widely in France and more recently in New World winemaking countries as well, including Australia – although some of our earliest growers and makers planted the variety here so long ago that we can in fact boast we've some of the oldest Mourvedre vineyards in the world.

Generally it is blended here with Grenache and Shiraz to produce the increasingly popular GSMs, although some makers are now bottling it as a straight varietal, including Terra Felix whose vineyards just north-west of Bendigo in Victoria have soils ideal for this late-ripening variety.

And the 2008 Terra Felix 2008 E'vette's Block Mourvedre in particular is a lovely drop with a palate that's balanced and savoury, and has a typically Mourvedre spicy bite, together with a hint of oak. Pour it into the glass and its got a spicy cherry and blackberry fruit bouquet, with suggestions of herbs as well.

At around $17-$19 a bottle, depending where you shop, it's a well priced red to enjoy with almost any barbecued meats, or Greek-style slow-cooked leg of lamb.
CREAMY crayfish risotto a
perfect match with this one.

ONE FOR LUNCH: VICTORIA'S Yarra Valley is a consistent producer of exceptional Chardonnay fruit, with major local maker Chandon usually being associated with this going into its outstanding bubblies.

But it's recently-released 2011 traditional Chardonnay has been blended from fruit from the Upper Yarra Valley that exhibited wonderful citrus flavours, and other parcels from the lower reaches of the Valley floor that had more stone-fruit characters to the fore.

The result is a wine whose aromas reflect the two blends of fruit, and with flavours of almond nougat and cashew; pay $27.95 and enjoy with a creamy crayfish risotto.


Thursday 25 October 2012

Burch Family Wines Fringe Events at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape

Media Release

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Burch Family Wines is celebrating the Margaret River Gourmet Escape with three Fringe Events.

Tickets for the events are selling fast. The exclusive dinner at Howard Park with Chef, Chris Taylor from Frasers and international wine personality Ch'ng Poh Tiong, at $600 per person is close to sellout with only 4 tickets remaining.

There are still limited places to experience something truly unique – blending your own Grand Cuvée with Senior Winemaker, Janice McDonald.

Janice will take guests on a behind the scenes journey of discovery in crafting a Sparkling wine using traditional methods that are centuries old. Starting with a visit to the wine cellar, and a tasting or two, guests will then blend their very own Grand Cuvée, leaving with the bottle of their creation. At the conclusion of this experience guests will be full bottle on everything Sparkling, Champagne and more!

The third event is a luxurious cheese and wine affair. This experience is lead by Nick Bath, the founder of Blue Cow Cheese. Nick will introduce guests to old and new world cheeses at the Howard Park & MadFish cellar door. As sun sets over Wilyabrup Brook guests will finish the experience with a glass of Sparkling and the perfect accompanying cheese. This is a must for cheese and wine lovers, is there any better combination!


Where: Howard Park & MadFish Margaret River winery, Miamup Road Cowaramup
When: Saturday 24 November 2012
Time: 7.00pm arrival.
Cost: $600.00 per person
Bookings: Contact Jude Williams on (08) 9336 9600


Where: Howard Park & MadFish Margaret River winery, Miamup Road Cowaramup
When: Sunday 25 November 2012
Time: Two sessions available: 10.30am-12.30pm OR 1.30pm-3.30pm
Cost: $100.00 per person
Bookings: or contact Jude Williams on (08) 9336 9600


Where: Howard Park & MadFish Margaret River winery, Miamup Road Cowaramup
When: Sunday 25 November 2012
Time: 3.00pm arrival for 3.30pm start. 5.00pm finish.
Cost: $80.00 per person
Bookings: or contact Jude Williams on (08) 9336 9600

Monday 22 October 2012


SERVE slightly chilled with fruity desserts,
cakes, chocolate pudd and cheeses.

David Ellis

THE Symington family in Portugal's Douro Valley have been making Port for more that 350 years, with currently twelve Symingtons working in the family business – six of them the 13th generation of the family, and one, Paul being named Decanter Magazine's Man of the Year 2012, the first time anyone from Portugal has ever received such recognition.

With 920ha (2300 acres) under grapes for Port making, the family is the biggest landowner in the Douro Valley, and when it recently acquired major competitor Cockburn's it pushed combined sales of all the family's Port companies to over one-third of all premium Ports world-wide.

Dan Murphy's boasts it has virtually a Port from the Symington stable for every taste and every budget, with some five Cockburn's ranging from just $19.99 for a Fine Tawny, to $59.99 for the top-of-the-range Cockburn's Quinta dos Canais Vintage Port, plus three Blandy's Ports that are also sourced from Symington's – a Madeira Five Year Old Malmsey and Aged 5 Years Bual Madeira ($29.99 each) and a Blandy's Madeira 10 Year Old Malmsey at $49.99.

Many of us seem to have forgotten the enjoyment of a good port, but with Spring and Summer coming up, it can be a most delightful drop served lightly chilled with everything from fruity desserts to cakes, chocolate puddings and cheeses.

PUT on the table young with
slow cooked lamb shanks.

ONE FOR LUNCH: VICTORIA'S    BlackJack Vineyards in the Harcourt Valley just south of Bendigo got more rain between January and March 2010 than they'd seen for the same period in around a decade, yet amazingly it did little damage and actually seemed to refresh the vines and nicely slow ripening just a tad.

Amongst the results is a 2010 BlackJack Block 6 Shiraz that's come up as a really good red to drink young, particularly if you team it with something like flavoursome lamb shanks done in a slow cooker. You'll find it at around $35-$40.


Monday 15 October 2012



ONE to put to rest in the cellar till the mid-2020
– or enjoy now with creamy seafood dishes.
David Ellis

PETER Logan reckons you shouldn't drink his 2011 Logan Chardonnay from Orange in NSW's cold-climate central-west.

Rather he suggests you stock-up the cellar and watch your investment develop wonderfully over five, ten, even 15 years or more. "In two years this 2011 will open nicely to reveal savoury spicy and nutty aromas vying for attention with the primary fruit," he says. "In 10 years you'll find a wonderfully textured wine with a complex mix of spices, nuts, dried fruits and citrus peel and a long finish…" And after that – well, it'll simply develop even more-so until at least 2027 or beyond.

And he should know: Logan Wines' made their first Chardonnay back in 1997 and are now one of the longest-running Chardonnay makers in the Orange region, with Peter himself somewhat of an authority on what to expect from cellaring cold-climate examples of this varietal.

If you can't resist the temptation to put a bottle or three, or even a case or three away at the price, open it now and take-in the pear, orange rind and cashew aromas, lovely white peach and grapefruit flavours, and its wonderfully long mineral finish, and enjoy with creamy seafood dishes. Terrific value at $25.
ALL the best of Merlot flavours to savour
with venison, game or steak off the barbie.

ONE FOR LUNCH: WESTERN Australia's Amberley Estate sources fruit from across that State for its popular Merlots as demand ever-increases for this varietal, and one worth having a look at is their excitingly vibrant 2011.

Winemaker Lance Parkin has brought out the best of the fruit, this wine having plenty of typically Merlot rich ripe plum and juicy raspberry flavours supported by firm tannins. It's a wine to match-up with venison or game dishes, or to enjoy with a good sirloin or scotch fillet off the barbie; pay $18.99.



Monday 8 October 2012


GENEROSITY of flavour make
this one ideal with rack of lamb.

David Ellis

ITS history goes back 150 years to when it was a pioneer in putting the wines of South Australia's McLaren Vale on the tables of the world.

Today Tintara combines what is literally a treasure house of tradition with the latest in new-age winemaking technologies, and its just-released 2009 McLaren Vale Shiraz is testament to its recognition of the past and embracement of the present.

Nestled between the Gulf of St Vincent and the Mount Lofty Ranges, McLaren Vale enjoys conditions akin to the Mediterranean, the Tintara 2009 Shiraz reflecting this in its somewhat bold style coupled with intensity of fruit flavours and silky fine tannins.

Right to the fore are delightful suggestions of blue fruits, fruitcake spice and chocolate, coupled with acid balance and a persistent finish – everything to look for in a top Shiraz. Pay $24.99 and enjoys this one's generosity of flavours with an equally generously-flavoured rack of lamb.

SUPER idea with scallops browned in butter
and sautéed with mushrooms and shallots.
ONE FOR LUNCH: AN excellent vintage in 2011 allowed Western Australia's Brookland Valley winemaker, Peter Dillon to do what he couldn't from the restrictive 2010 vintage – get his Chardonnay out into the market place, rather than having to contain sales of the few cases he had to the cellar door.

Located in the Wilyabrup sub-region of the Margaret River, Brookland Valley enjoys a quite distinct micro-climate influenced by the Indian Ocean just 2km away. Peter's 2011 Estate Chardonnay has a wonderfully rich palate with nice citrus notes to the fore.

Priced at $37.50 it's one of those somewhat special-occasion wines to enjoy with such Springtime seafood delights as scallops browned in butter and sautéed with mushrooms and shallots.



Monday 1 October 2012


IDEAL Aussie bubbly
for the party room.


David Ellis

VICTORIA's Chandon Wines has released an interesting bubbly that's been made without the use of the traditional sugar dosage after disgorgement – instead topping up each bottle after its disgorgement with its own wine.

And they've capped with a crown seal like those used on beer and soft-drink bottles, saying it'll ensure the wine can't be compromised by a dodgy cork.

This just-released  Z*D Blanc de Blancs 2008 is a bone-dry sparkler made from Chardonnay grapes sourced from vineyards in Strathbogie 90-mnutes north-east of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley also just a little way out of the city, and the King Valley in Victoria's north-east. Fruit from each region was fermented separately and then brought together into the final blend.

The result is a very elegant and balanced wine with a crisp and refreshing finish. The aromas are archetypal Chardonnay green apples and citrus, and the palate offering nice flavours of pears and white peach with hints of fresh-baked pastry.

At $39.95 it'll go well with most kinds of party-room canapés and finger food, or if you prefer it at the main table, go for oyster starters followed by grilled lobster.

A NEW ZEALAND red to go with
lamb shanks and rosemary gravy.
ONE FOR LUNCH: THINK New Zealand and we generally think the South Island and Sauvignon Blanc wines, but on the east coast of the North Island the Gisborne region makes some great other varietals, including Merlot.

One outstanding drop is from Giesen, whose 2010 Estate Merlot has bounce-from-the-bottle aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and hints of spice, attributes that are nicely reflected in the succulent palate.

Ideal at $18.99 to match-up with lamb shanks and a rosemary gravy – and while you're at it, to raise a glass to (then-Lieutenant) James Cook who first stepped foot on New Zealand soil in 1769 at what was to become the city of Gisborne.