Monday 31 December 2012

The Long Apron Serves Up a Taste of Summer

Media Release

Spicers Clovelly Estate's renowned in-house restaurant The Long Apron is giving diners a taste of summer with the launch of an inspired new menu.

Hendrick's cured Hervey Bay scallops,
cucumber, heirloom tomato, sesame
The award-winning restaurant at Montville in the Sunshine Coast hinterland has released its summer menu featuring a host of new dishes with fruits, flowers and herbs picked from its garden, as well as locally sourced meats from scallops from Hervey Bay to snails from the Glasshouse Mountains.

The Long Apron, headed by acclaimed chef Cameron Matthews,specialises in an innovative European-inspired menu showcasing fresh and simple local ingredients, an extensive wine list and personalised service.

"Our summer menu is all about keeping things light and fresh at a time when it's hot and humid," Matthews said.

Local squid, lardo di colonatta , ink
cracker and sauce, garden herbs
"The menu is very herb driven and includes lots of things from out in the garden and on the property that we've found while they are in bloom, including wild violets, roses, nasturtium, rosemary and fennel.

"Our aim is to provide diners with an innovative and refreshing menu while showcasing the incredible produce that is available across the south-east Queensland region."

Innovative dishes include Mooloolaba spanner crab with beet embers, buttermilk, dill and Yarra Valley salmon roe; roasted duck breast and liver with coastal honey, pear and nasturtium; and braised Glasshouse snails with roasted leek, morcilla crumble, fennel and apple.

"We've also introduced a new dish featuring cured Hervey Bay scallops served with an heirloom tomato granita to keep it nice and chilled which is very refreshing," Matthews said.

"There is also a new steamed fillet of reef fish with beets and radishes from our kitchen garden, prawns and smoked prawn butter which is a simple dish but again very lovely and fresh.

"Dessert is also a special affair at The Long Apron with one innovative new dish consisting of a salad of fruits and flowers featuring wild violets, roses which we crystallise, elderflower and raspberry sorbet.

"Our dishes change with the seasons, but diners will always find plates that showcase fine produce characterised by flavour, balance and complexity as well as intricate and elegant presentation."

mint sponge, Maleny Guernsy milk sherbet,
choc-mint truffle, green rhubarb jam
The Long Apron has been recognised consistently for its outstanding dining experience. In 2012 it achieved Two Chef Hats and won Regional Restaurant of the Year in the Queensland Good Food Guide.

In 2011 and 2012, the restaurant won Best Prestige Restaurant in Queensland at the Queensland Hotels Association Awards, and received one star and was ranked 94 in The Top 100 restaurants in the country at the 2013 Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide Awards.

The Long Apron was also a finalist in the Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services of the recent 2012 Queensland Tourism Awards, while Spicers Clovelly Estate a finalist in the Luxury Accommodation category of the same awards.

The Long Apron is located onsite at Spicers Clovelly Estate, a 10 suite French-inspired guesthouse situated on 22 acres of rolling valley with beautiful gardens and stunning views of the hinterland.

Aspiring cooks can also learn some of the restaurant's culinary secrets at The Long Apron Cooking School, which focuses on French, Italian and Market Food and are held three times a month. The classes offer personalised hands-on experience in an intimate setting for participants of all skill levels.

For bookings call 1300 179 340 . Visit: for more details.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Cumulus Estate Wines

Madame Kirsty's Secret Poison

Unearthing Mudgee: Vintnews Regional Tour

Here are some of the great wines and venues we uncovered during our recent trip to the Mudgee region. For more details, see:

Roth's Wine Bar

BYO (and donate) your classic Vegemite glass
for a free fill of 10/80.
This place is dripping with history - among other things. The perfect finish to any day touring around Mudgee is to wind up (or down) at Roth's Wine Bar in Market Street. First licensed in 1923, the premises maintains possibly the last surviving Governor's liquor license in Australia. Funky and fun, there's great food and music too.

If you're game, ask for a dose of 10/80*, a secret recipe Kirsty tells me is a blend of "a wine, a fortified wine and maybe something else". Apparently the original mixture was served back in the day, speakeasy-style in classic Vegemite glasses, and if you have an old one lying around and want to donate it, the first fill is on the house.

And why Madame Kirsty? Well, according to local history, you could once rent rooms by the hour at Roth's and Kirsty has a keen sense of 'tradition'.

* for non-rural types, 10/80 is a common and highly toxic poison used for vermin control.

(Open Wednesday to Saturday 5pm till late)

Meet Leopold and Victor

 Unearthing Mudgee: Vintnews Regional Tour

Here are some of the great wines and venues we uncovered during our recent trip to the Mudgee region. For more details, see:

2009 Leopold Reserve Shiraz-Viognier

Tasting Notes:

An opulent deep purple colour, a character of prestige that impacts long after you have finished.  The prettiness of apricot kernel and violet talc embrace the deeper aromatics of blackberry and nutmeg.  A traditional co-fermentation in open vats and maturation in a combination of new and seasoned French hogsheads form an alliance between well integrated oak and fruit tannins to give a lingering, soft finish.

Vin et Gastronomie:

This wine, by nature of the soft tannins, will prefer a softer, sweeter style of protein. A simple pan seared pork tenderloin with a soy and maple syrup glaze, stir fried broccolini and sticky coconut rice would suffice.  You could try it with poultry (chicken or duck) in a master-stock or a shitake mushroom and udon noodle soup with beef stock.  Note that none of these benefit or will cope with heavier tannins and are 'gentle' foods with a deep soul.

Let the wine and the food glide along the same parallel.  For a geographical analogy, think similarities on a latitudinal (cold/cold v soft tannin/soft texture) plane rather than polar longitudinal (hot/cold v eg fat/acid).  Or socially, the more quietly spoken and wise prefer deep personal conversation rather than being loud with a crowd.

2006 Victor Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Tasting Notes:

Plums, aniseed and a beguiling cigar box aroma volume from the glass, matched in intensity by the rich palate.  A stellar vintage producing remarkable fruit, this wine is still but young. Juicy tannins, intensity and length yet kept in check by the fact that the fruit is grown in a, cool climate.

Vin et Gastronomie:

Allow this wine the benefit of decanting.  It will pay dividends as you watch the butterfly emerge over time.  An investment in cellaring will also reward as well.  Best have a few on hand.

Heavier proteins are required to stand confidently side by side with this wine.  Roasted beef dishes that capitalise on caramelisation of fats and juices with a sturdy well made jus (or gravy) will sing 'hallelujah'!  Accompany with the sweetness of quality roasted potato and onions and you will be in heaven.

Skimstone 2011 Tre-Onde

Unearthing Mudgee: Vintnews Regional Tour

Here are some of the great wines and venues we uncovered during our recent trip to the Mudgee region. For more details, see:

Skimstone 2011 Tre Onde

Sangiovese 60%, Barbera 20%, Cabernet 20%

Skimstone 2011 Tre Onde

Winemaker Josh Clementson says:

When it comes to making blends such as our 2011 it’s an incredible difficult process in getting the balance right; You don’t want one grape variety to overpower the other but you need subtle tones of everything , I definitely think our 2011 is just right.

Sangiovese with its intense tannins and lovely soft sour fruit,Barbera with its rich dark berry fruit and little tannins and Cabernet with its soft cherry chocolate and spice tones make a truly elegant wine, add some delicate oak, it seems easy but you need the balance between all three to create something special.

Open this wine at let it breath; give it twenty or so minutes and then pour a glass you will be rewarded indeed. Every smell you will get something different; this is a wine of soft layers, a waft of subtle oak, a layer of cherries, a bit of chocolate, dark berries and subtle earthy tones.

Take a sip and it holds the whole pallet at the front soft cherries in the middle those dark fruits and at the back those soft delicate tannins that are so good with food. We believe that all wine should be drunk with food and this is one for those rich savory dishes although soft and delicate it cuts through the riches of such food to give you that perfect match.

Monday 10 December 2012


ONE of our many suggestions
for a bubbly Christmas.
David Ellis

WITH millions of bubbles set to burst over the coming Festive Season, here are a few ideas as to what's available in genuine Champagnes and value Aussie red and white bubblies within the range of all budgets.

Starting with the cheapest under $10, our list goes through to the best-of-the-best that we've tasted and enjoyed during 2012 and would welcome to our table this Christmas.

UNDER $10: Banrock Station Sparkling White Shiraz $7.47; Angas Brut Cuvee $7.77.

$10-$15: Hardys Notage Hill Pinot Noir Chardonnay $10.99.

$15-$25: Blue Pyrenees NV Sparkling Shiraz $24; Yarra Burn Premium Cuvee Brut $20 and their Premium Cuvee Rosé $20; Dumont Prestige Cuvee Australia $20.

$25-$30: Campbells NV Sparkling Shiraz $30;Yarra Burn Pinot Meunier 2007 $30.

$30-$35: Logan Vintage 'M' Cuvee 2009 $35.

$35-$40: Chandon Vintage Brut 2009, Chandon Blanc de Blancs 2009 and Chandon

Vintage Brut Rosé each $39.95
IDEAL for the stocking for the wine
enthusiast or budding novice.

$0-$45: NV Champagne Duperrey Cru Brut $44.99.

$100-$150: Champagne Taittinger Brut Millesime 2004 $150.

Sky's The Limit: Dom Perignon Vintage Rosé 2000 $630.

A GREAT GIFT IDEA both for the wine enthusiast and the budding novice this Christmas is Jeremy Oliver's 16th edition of the Australian Wine Annual (2013.)

A qualified winemaker in his own right, this is Jeremy's 24th book about wine and is crammed with over 1400 tasting notes on current releases, 14,000 ratings of back vintages, details of over 300 Australian wines and wineries, and thoughts on what will be "hot" on the wine scene in 2013. It's a great guide for getting the most out of your wine purchases in the coming year at just $29.95 from good book stores and select fine wine outlets and cellar doors.

Shaw Vineyard Estate Riscato and Cielo Samples

Shaw Vineyard Estate's
Cielo Sparkling Cuvee

 Media Release

When the festive season becomes a mere memory and the credit cards have taken a hit, yet the endless summer is with us, we're all looking for some risk free, every day summer drinking that won't hurt the purse.

Meet Shaw Vineyard Estate's Cielo and Riscato

Family owned and operated, Shaw Vineyard Estate has been producing top quality wines from the Canberra district for the last decade. Located in Murrumbateman just 25 minutes north of the nation's capital, the estate boasts some 85 acres of vines with some of the region's most enviable growing conditions, elevated higher than most vineyards in the region. In addition, the Estate features a sloping profile that achieves optimum sunlight and protection against potential frost damage through good air drainage over the property.

Shaw Vineyard Estate is a standout name when it comes to quality for price. And that's right across the range.

At the very heart of the range is Shaw Vineyard Estate Riscato (RRP $15) and Cielo (RRP $20); both wines are best sellers at Shaw Vineyard Estates buzzing cellar door and these two most recent blends epitomise Shaw's ability to impress the everyday consumer – hand made, estate grown wines to fit all budgets.

Shaw Vineyard Estate's Riscato
Shaw Vineyard Estate's Cielo Sparkling Cuvee is a refreshing, easy-drinking, Semillon based sparkling wine that has a fresh citrus finish that lingers, just like lazy sunny, summer afternoons. Grown and produced from 100% estate grown Semillon, "Cielo" meaning heaven, could possibly be just that after a big festive season. Made in the charmat method, the wine is for drinking while young and fresh.

With Valentine's Day around the corner, look no further than Shaw Vineyard Estate's Riscato, a semi sweet Riesling/Semillon dominant moscato-style wine to be enjoyed as a perfect match with your favourite spicy dish or an aperitif with your Valentine. With its refreshing taste that is not overwhelmingly sweet, Riscato is sure to win you over... and without risk.

Shaw Vineyard Estate has a jam packed calendar of events coming up in the new year– cellar door tastings, lunch and dinner at Flint in the Vines, festivals and many more! Keep up to date with Shaw's diary at Be sure to sign up also to receive the latest discounts and club initiatives from Shaw Vineyard Estate's "Friends with Benefits" wine club, please visit for more details.

Wednesday 5 December 2012


David Ellis

IF you've seafood on the table this Christmas,
take this Good Catholic Girl along.
DECEMBER, and while most of us know just what we'll be putting on our Festive plates this Christmas, for some there's still the decision as to what to put in the wine glass to enjoy with the meal we've so carefully planned.

To help with your planning, here are a few ideas ranging from Christmas morning brunch through to end-of-meal cheese platters; prices are an indication only.

BRUNCH: Creamy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon are a popular Christmas Day brunch idea, so consider an Australian Domaine Chandon 2008 Z*D Victorian Blanc de Blancs sparkler at $39.95, a spritzy Campbell's Rutherglen 2012 Moscato that's just 7% alcohol (half the norm) at $18 – or go all the way with a French Champagne Taittinger Brut Millesime 2004 at a cool $150... or a Dom Perignon Vintage Rosé at a mere $630.

CANAPÉS PRE-LUNCH: Wonderfully bubbly Logan Vintage 'M' Cuvee 2000 from NSW's Orange region at $35, legendary Houghton's West Australian Swan Valley White Classic (formerly White Burgundy) just $11, or New Zealand Lindauer Special Reserve Brut Cuvee NV (non-vintage) $20.
VALUE-priced McGuigan Bin 7000
Chardonnay to share with the turkey.

COLD SEAFOOD is surging to the Christmas fore and certainly takes the mid-summer heat out of the kitchen: share with a Good Catholic Girl's Teresa Riesling from the Clare Valley at $25 (very limited supplies: phone 0419 822 909,) a NSW Southern Highlands Banjo's Run 2011 Sauvignon Blanc at $28, or a Spanish Vionta label Albarino from the country's Atlantic Coast at $25.

TURKEY and a great match for the traditionalists is a McGuigan Wines' Bin 7000 Hunter Valley Chardonnay blend at just $12.99, a Tim Adams Clare Valley Mr Mick 2009 Tempranillo $15, or a Blue Pyrenees Western Victoria NV (non-vintage) Sparkling Shiraz at $24.

ROAST PORK: For something enjoyably different go for a Margan Hunter Valley 2012 Rosé Shiraz Saignee at $17, a Tim Adams Clare Valley 2012 Pinot Gris $22, or from Tasmania a Ninth Island Pinot Noir at $15.85.

DELIGHTFUL Sauvignon Blanc from
Rymill to go with the baked ham.
BAKED HAM: Grab an ideal value-priced McGuigan Black Label South Australia Traminer Riesling at just $9.99, Rymill Coonawarra 2012 Sauvignon Blanc at $15.95, or try a New Zealand Matua Valley Pinot Noir that's only $10.85.

ROAST pork, crackling and
Tim Adams Pinot Gris.
IF YOU'RE BARBECUING: Try an interesting Kurtz Family Vineyard 2008 Boundary Row GSM (Grenach, Shiraz, Mataro from the Barossa at $18, a Tintara McLaren Vale 2009 Shiraz at $24.99 or a New Zealand Giesen Merlot $18.99.

CHRISTMAS PUDDING:  Hard to look past Lillypilly Estate's 2008 Noble Blend from the NSW Riverina at $22.50, Nugan Estate's 2008 Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon also from the Riverina and $22.95, or from Portugal's Douro Valley a Symington Cockburn Fine Tawny Port at $19.99.

CHEESE Platter to wrap up the meal: Salivate over this with a BlackJack 2010 Block 6 Shiraz from Victoria's Bendigo region at $35, an Exemplar 2010 McLaren Vale Shiraz at $65, or from Portugal a Blandy's 5 Years Old Malmsley Port at $29.99.

BLOCKBUSTER red to finish off with the
cheese platter: BlackJack Block 6 Shiraz.
HOW sweet it is: Lillypilly's Noble Blend
ideal with the Christmas Pudding.
AND FINALLY DON'T hesitate to pop the reds in the fridge for an hour before serving: the idea of "room temperature" originated in Europe whose stone castles and grand homes were more likely to be 11 to 14 degrees than the 30s or 40s we can experience here celebrating an Australian Christmas. Equally don't chill the flavour out of the whites by serving them too cold.


Monday 3 December 2012


START Christmas Day
celebrations with this.

David Ellis

THE Adelaide Hills' Wicks Estate has released a couple of great drops in time for Christmas – a 2010 Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir that'll be ideal with canapés as guests arrive for Christmas day lunch or dinner, and a delightful 2012 Sauvignon Blanc for those opting this year for a cold seafood spread at the Festive table.

Winemakers Tim Knappstein and Leigh Ratzmer fermented the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir separately for their bubbly, and then blended them to get exactly the combination of flavours they were looking for – a sparkling drop with a wonderful zesty freshness to get the party going, and a palate to go perfectly with a range of canapés or simply on its own in the lead-up to lunch or dinner.

Their 2012 Sauvignon Blanc is one of those easy-drinking wines that goes ideally with lighter meals, in particular seafoods, with typical tropical fruit and passionfruit to the fore and hints of lime.

The 2020 Sparkling is $25 and the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc $18.

AND enjoy this one with
the Christmas turkey.
ONE FOR LUNCH: Julie Barry never ceases to amuse us with the diversity of whimsical, often irreverent, remarks she comes up with about the exceptional wines she makes under her equally whimsical (and exceptional) Good Catholic Girl label.

One such regarded her James Brazill 2009 Clare Shiraz, a somewhat full-bodied drop with wonderful aromas that jump from the glass: dark plums, chocolate and warming spices especially, and with a palate she says "makes it almost sinfully easy to drink."

Certainly one of her best-ever, to which she attributes the fruit from her Limerick vineyard at Armagh being the finest to date, and fortuitously picked on March 7th which, according to Julie, happened to be "the feast day of St Celcius of Armagh… "

We'll take her Good Catholic Girl word for it, and while she suggests it goes particularly well with Irish Stew, we'd rather share it with turkey on Christmas Day. Price: $30.