Monday 25 February 2013

Cool and crisp from the Snowy’s foothills.

PERFECT with creamy-sauced
poultry, pork or seafood dishes.


David Ellis

EVEN though its heartland is the Hunter Valley, boutique family-owned Hungerford Hill draws on cool-climate fruit from the foothills of the NSW Snowy Mountains for their Classic range Tumbarumba Chardonnay.

The latest release, the 2010 is one for those who truly enjoy their Chardonnays, with the Tumbarumba region providing high elevation cool, crisp fruit for a rewarding wine that's got everything going for it.

Pale straw in colour with green highlights, this is a wine with nice ripe stone fruit, ruby red grapefruit, cherry oak and nutty-bready elements on the palate, all nicely rich and mouth filling. Add some tight acid structure and oak tannins and you've a wine that's for buying now and drinking now.

And interestingly the company's gone back to its roots, creating a label for this 2010 wine that was inspired by the first Hungerford Hill Chardonnay label back in 1971. Pay $30 and you'll find it will sit really well with poultry, pork or seafood dishes accompanied by cream- or butter-based sauces.

SEMI-SWEET and ideal served
well chilled with spicy foods.
ONE TO NOTE: SHAW Vineyard Estate at Murrumbateman, around 25-minutes drive north of Canberra, has an interesting lower-alcohol wine it labels as Riscato, and which is very much in the mould of Italy's Moscato as it is sweetish, yet not overly so, and just 9 per cent alcohol – around two-thirds of the norm.

A predominantly Riesling/Semillon blend with a touch of Shiraz that give it its rose-pink hue, this non-vintage release is very refreshing on the palate, and makes an ideal partner when served well-chilled with spicy main course dishes, or with a good cheese and fruit platter.

Pay an easy $15 and appreciate why it's a favourite with visitors to Shaw's Murrumbateman cellar door.


Monday 18 February 2013


NO funny business about this
delightful Riverina Italian Aglianico.

David Ellis

WE see little Aglianico here in Australia, a wine that's big in the south of Italy where it was introduced from Greece some several millennia ago.

For whatever reason it's never really caught on either elsewhere in Italy nor in many other parts of the world, but the dozen or so Australian makers who have planted and are refining it here are doing so with quite some success, and winning fans for this full-flavoured variety.

One such is Bill Calabria at Griffith in the NSW Riverina who sports good Italian lineage, and has recently released a 2010 Calabria Aglianico, that's a delightfully more-ish drop bright cherry in colour and with ripe plum fruit and black cherry aromas, and savoury coffee and smoky notes on the palate.

At just $14.99 it's rewardingly classy and elegant to enjoy with richer light-meat dishes such as roast duck or pork belly – or as in its homeland with Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, the so-called "Prostitutes Spaghetti" whose flavoursome sauce is made with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, anchovies, capers and dill, and which the "girls" of Naples could easy whip up between clients.

REWARDING drop from an ideal vintage.
ONE TO NOTE: KATNOOK Estate's 2010 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that's richly reflective of the great 2010 vintage, one that's often described as being amongst the region's best-ever, with near-ideal weather conditions that included below average rainfall and above average temperatures.

The beautifully intense blackberry and mulberry aromas, generous pure-fruit flavours, finely grained tannins and underlying mocha notes, make it a great buy at $40 – in fact Langton's Wine Auction have described it as "an outstanding Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon with excellent fruit definition and tannin maturity."

Enjoy it with slow-baked beef ribs accompanied by a peppercorn or fresh mushroom sauce.


Thursday 14 February 2013

Tasmanian Treats at the TASTE OF SYDNEY - March 14-17 Centennial Park


This year's Taste of Sydney will see a gourmet line-up in the new Tasmanian Pavilion.  Designed to educate and excite visitors with the coolest gastronomic delights from Tasmania's wild places - the Tasmanian Pavilion will be the largest on site, and will showcase the state's rich food and wine heritage, as well as Tasmanian eco-tourism adventures.

Inside the Pavilion, Sydneysiders can sample some of Tasmania's best known produce grown and harvested in its world-renowned cool climate, clean air, fertile soils and pristine waters.

Guest chefs and industry experts will be cooking up a storm in the Pavilion's Demonstration Kitchen using the best fresh Tasmanian produce.  Kylie Kwong has signed up for the Thursday evening and will be working her magic with Flinders Island Wallaby, which is a regular feature on her menu. The final line-up will be announced closer to the event date.

The Tasmanian Pavilion will entice visitors with:
  • Atlantic Salmon from Huon Aquaculture – readily available from Sydney Fish Market retailers.
  • Mussels from Spring Bay Seafood's – and luckily for everyone these mussels are also on the menu at the Taste of Sydney's Four in Hand tent prepared by Chef Colin Fassnidge. Frank Commora from MoVida sources his mussels from Spring Bay, too.
  • Cape Grim beef and Robbins Island Wagyu – both favourites of Tetsuya's and can be found at Hudson Meats.
  • Lamb and Wallaby from Flinders Island Meat – a regular on the menu at Billy Kwong's.  The wallaby was also recently featured on MasterChef®.
  • Gourmet Pies from Tasmanian Bakeries – using all local and quality Tasmanian produce these are a 'must' to sample.
  • Beer from Moo Brew – a hit amongst the Sydney boutique bar scene and enjoyed at Otto, Quay and Café Sydney. The Brewery is located at MONA.
  • A taste of the Apple Isle – taste the difference…Franks award winning Apple & Pear cider, Willie Smiths Organic Apple Cider and Forager Fruits.
  • Tasmanian Single Malt Whiskey Bar featuring Lark Distillery, Old Hobart Distillery, Sullivans Cove and Nant Distillery.
  • Tasmanian Wine Bar showcasing Holm Oak Wines, Tamar Ridge, Clover Hill, Grey Sands Vineyard, Bay of Fires and House of Arras, Barrington Vineyard and Josef Chromy Wines. All of which are on many Sydney wine lists and rated well via the Sydney Sommelier set.
  • Eco Tourism adventure - The Maria Island Walk – a good one for the bucket list.
Visitors to the Tasmanian Pavilion will also have the opportunity to enter a draw to win a trip to taste the coolest food in the wildest place.  The grand prize of a Tasmanian trip for two people includes return economy flights ex-Sydney to Hobart, accommodation, car hire and an amazing array of gourmet delights.

Taste of Sydney is Sydney's premier food festival for food and wine lovers.  It will be held in the beautiful alfresco setting of Sydney's Centennial Park from 14-17 March 2013.

Further information can be found at:

Tasmanian Pavilion

Saturday 9 February 2013

Sydney International Wine Competition leads sommeliers on pathway to judging

The Sydney International Wine Competition is offering a professional Sommelier the unique opportunity to become Reserve Judge in Residence for the 2014 competition and successfully build a bridge into the world of wine-show judging.
The successful sommelier will join the international panel of judges in the SIWC's purpose-designed judging facility in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, from 13-18 October 2013 and be accommodated with them in their luxury resort, joining them for breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days, all at competition's expense.
He or she will have the opportunity to assess entries alongside panel members, joining their deliberations and experiencing all phases of the judging process.
"We believe that a more knowledgeable approach to the use of wine as a major component of the dining experience is an important next step for the wine industry to tackle," said Warren Mason, the Sydney International Wine Competition's convener.
"It will lead to more discerning choices of wine by the consumer, leading to better quality selections and a move away from cheap bulk wine and supermarket specials.
"I believe the Competition already helps significantly in this area by channelling the combined expertise of a vastly experienced international judging panel through a unique system of judging wines in conjunction with appropriate food dishes and publishing its results to a worldwide audience via its popular website.
"Sommeliers with an understanding of and experience in the judging process should have a voice in such a panel, but there are very few with the necessary judging experience to qualify. We are well equipped to play a role in redressing that situation."
Certified Sommeliers and above, or those with significant professional experience, who are interested in applying for the position of Reserve Judge in Residence should contact Warren Mason on +61 (0) 2 4757 4400 or

Sydney International Wine Competition 2013
The Sydney International Wine Competition 2013 is nearing the end of its annual judging cycle, with the announcement of winners to be held on 23 February during a presentation banquet in the Grand Ballroom of Sydney's Shangri-La Hotel.
Keynote speaker will be James Gosper, General Manager (Market Development) for Wine Australia. The topic of his speech will be: "Shifting the Promotion of Australian wine into a Lifestyle Space".
The public can book tickets to the banquet - or exhibitions of the 2013 Blue-Gold/TOP 100 Award Winners, to be held at The Menzies Hotel, Sydney, on 23 March. Visit
For further information on the Sydney International Wine Competition, please contact Warren Mason on 02 4757 4400 or email

Wednesday 6 February 2013

New Generation Hunter Valley's Next Move

Media Release

Having been together for 5 years, the boys from New Generation Hunter Valley have finally decided to grow up. What's next you might ask?

A new year calls for a new name and so, Next Generation Hunter Valley has been born from the 6 loveable larrikins we've come to know (and trust?) over the years. With the new name comes a renewed sense of energy and the boys are gearing up to create their third and no doubt greatest "Caravan of Courage" yet. The highlight of their annual event calendar, this year's adventure dubbed "One More For The Road" is going to be epic.

Continuing on the theme of new beginnings, this year plans are being turned on their head. Instead of tackling the east coast northbound from Melbourne, "One More For The Road" will kick off in Brisbane on May 3 and spend the month travelling south.

Hot off the press we can confirm that at least two new destinations will be added to the itinerary, and for the first time Newcastle and Canberra will be able to take part in the fun and games associated with the motley crew's now infamous events.

The month of madness will include 5 not-to-be-missed Pop Up Wine Bars beginning on Friday, May 3 in Brisbane. The boys will then pop up in Newcastle (Saturday May 4), Sydney (Friday May 10), Canberra (Thursday May 16), and end with a bang in Melbourne (Friday May 17). While this is an east coast adventure extraordinaire, rumour has it the caravan may be venturing west in the not too distant future. Unconfirmed rumours suggest Adelaide and Perth may be on the radar.

Entry to all of the Pop Up Wine Bar events cost $35 and will be available for purchase online from 1 March. The boys will be popping up in super cool, central locations which will be revealed closer to the date. At least 24 superb Next Generation Hunter Valley wines will be on offer and you're guaranteed a night full of fun and entertainment. The boys know how to have a good time and in their usual fashion they want to share this with as many people as possible. To register for advance purchase tickets, visit and avoid disappointment.

Don't go looking for the big green bus, this year the boys are taking to the sky to get between cities and ensure the roads are kept safe. It's going to be a huge month of wine and wacky adventures so make sure you're following @nextgenhv #COC2013 on Twitter and for all the latest and greatest.

The Next Generation Hunter Valley includes the winemaking talents of David Hook, Andrew Thomas, Rhys Eather, Nick Paterson, Mike De Iuliis and Andrew Margan. What they have in common is the uncanny ability to make exceptional wine and have a fantastic time and the relentless ambition to put the Hunter Valley back on the map as an unforgettable wine producing region.

Monday 4 February 2013

Movies in the Vineyard comes to the Hunter Valley at Hungerford Hill

Media Release

Inline images 1

We are delighted to announce that the successful Movies in the Vineyard brand is bringing a limited season of sensational film to the Hunter Valley at Hungerford Hill Wines March 28 – April 6, 2013.

Extensive scouting and assessment of wineries in the region saw Hungerford Hill emerge as the best location to run this successful combination of fine film, fine food and fine wine. The prestigious vineyard has not only hosted outdoor movies in the past but we found that their extensive and lush grassed area to the front of their architecturally-stunning cellar door building provided the perfect ambience and viewing site lines to run outdoor cinema.


Complete program details are under wraps at the moment to ensure the latest releases are secured for this amazing venue nestled in the heart of the Hunter Valley. The film program will be available March 1. To whet your appetites, it will include some of 2013's biggest hits: Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Oz The Great and Powerful plus maybe even a classic as well.

Hungerford Hill looks forward to welcoming guests and encouraging them to spread out their blankets and relax on the lawn that slopes gently towards the giant screen while enjoying a glass of their award-winning wine along with a picnic before the movie. Fine food and other beverages will also be available on site but licensing does not allow for BYO alcohol.

"Hungerford Hill is the ideal location in the Hunter Valley to experience cinema in the heart of the vineyards. With a natural amphitheatre and perfect aspect, not to mention the access to top quality authentic regional wines, we hope movie-goers from near and far will flock to see some of the latest films in the Hunter this Easter. We can promise them a real and quality wine and movie experience," said James Kirby, Proprietor Hungerford Hill Wines.

Gift Vouchers will shortly be available online and details will also be released on great ticket, food and wine package deals.


WORTHY reputation at just $9.99 to enjoy
with chicken in a creamy sauce or crab cakes.


David Ellis

LINDEMAN'S $9.99 Bin range wines have long enjoyed a reputation, not only here but internationally as well, for both consistency of quality and value for money.

Their recently released 2012 whites include a Bin 65 Chardonnay that reflects an excellent vintage in its sourced south-eastern Australia region that included Sunraysia, Riverland and Robinvale near Swan Hill, all of which enjoyed good Spring rainfalls followed by mild warm weather that allowed for even fruit ripening and excellence.

And six months in French oak has resulted in a delightfully easy-drinking wine for those of us who remain Chardonnay buffs, with nice fruit salad aromas of peach, fig and rockmelon, together with toasty oak and a crisp finish.

Enjoy nicely chilled on its own at that $9.99, or team it up with chicken and a creamy sauce, veal chops topped with fried mushrooms, or if you are more into seafood, with pan-fried crab cakes.

SAY 'Ciao' with these lower-alcohol sparklings
from Italy's Zonin that dates back to 1821.
ONE TO NOTE: A couple of interesting lower-alcohol sparklings from Italy's Zonin Winery, a company that dates back to 1821, have been packed together in an attractive canvas carry bag with a clear plastic front that's priced at just $23.95 to take along to that next picnic or party.

Sourced from seven of the country's best winemaking regions – Piedmont, Lombardi, Veneto, Friuli, Tuscany, Apulia and Sicily – the Zonin Proescco DOC Spumante Brut is just 11% alcohol and the Zonin Asti DOCG an even lower 7.5%.

Both have quite fruity bouquets and are fruit-fresh and lively in the mouth; great party-room wines for those seeking to keep the alcohol levels down (for themselves and maybe others.) Available at Woolworths Liquor and BWS stores across Australia.