Monday 25 March 2013



"BLACK Bottle Bubbly" that's now the
world's biggest-selling sparkling wine.
David Ellis

WHILE for many Australians Easter's a 4-day holiday, chocolate eggs and bangers on the barbie, in Spain it's a much more serious religious occasion celebrated with countrywide processions in which massive wooden crosses are borne tortuously through the streets, and huge floats depicting religious scenes and weighing as much as three tonnes are carried shoulder-high behind by muscly teams who train for months.

And when these processions are over, the people go back to their homes to further respect the meaning of Easter – until Easter Sunday, when they break-out with celebratory family feasting and the drinking of Cava, a traditional Spanish sparkling wine, that can last from lunchtime until well into the late-night hours.

One of the most-popular of these Cavas is Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut, a non-vintage drop dubbed "Black Bottle Bubbly" because of the bottle it comes in, and which is now the biggest-selling sparkling wine in the world, selling over 200-million bottles a year.

FLAGSHIP white to go perfectly with
white meat dishes or creamy pastas.
Also one of the best-selling bubblies in Australia, it's a Methode Champenoise-style made from three Spanish grape varieties – Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo – that after two fermentations is cellared in-bottle for 24 months in 54km of caves near Barcelona.

Bargain buying for a mass-produced sparkling of such quality, it costs just $15 a bottle and you'll find will be ideal with an Easter (or any other Sunday) seafood brunch.

ONE TO NOTE: WE're unashamed Chardonnay buffs and can never resist Cumulus Estate's from their ideal growing location 620m up in cool-climate high-country outside Orange in NSW's Central West.

Their just-released 2011 Chardonnay is deservedly Cumulus Estate's proud flagship white, a premium drop ($35) with beautiful melon and stone-fruit flavours, creamy nutty oak and a crisp acidity.

A perfect match with white meat dishes or creamy pastas.


Friday 22 March 2013

Rymill family retracing the steps of their polar explorer from Penola

MEDIA RELEASE: 22 March 2013
Rymill Logo SML Mono 1

Members of the Rymill family returned this week from a journey of a lifetime. Peter, John and other family members sailed on a 13 day journey to Antarctica, which retraced the steps of Peter’s father and polar explorer, John Riddoch Rymill.

John Riddoch Rymill led the British Graham Land Expedition in 1934 on which he successfully established that Graham Land was in fact a peninsula, connected to the continental landmass of Antarctica. They undertook two major dog-sledding expeditions, during which the King George VI Sound was discovered and named and the newly discovered peninsula was traversed for the first time.

Peter and John were thrilled that they were not only able to locate John Riddoch Rymill’s northern base, but also that the ship was able to sail far down the peninsula to visit his southern base as well, which is often inaccessible due to ice and bad weather. This scenic trip blew the Rymills away with the unique and magnificent landscapes and an experience that bought them closer to understanding John Riddoch Rymill’s feeling towards the expedition:

“As we sledged along I was impressed by the thought that here was all this strange grandeur around us and that we were the first to see it since the earth began”.

JRR jumping_web2.jpg               Peter jumping_web.jpg

John R. Rymill 1934         Peter Rymill 2013

If you are interested in finding out more about the trip or seeing additional images please contact:
Nharess Albert, Brand Manager, on (08) 8736 5001

Images attached: ‘Rymill_Antarctica_2103’
Peter Rymill and family [LtoR: Fiona Riordan, John Rymill, Sam Hickson, Peter Rymill] surrounding John Riddoch Rymill in 1934

Rymill Coonawarra:
John Riddoch founded Coonawarra in 1890 when he had the foresight to plant the first grapevines in the district. Over a century later, John Rymill, his great-great-grandson, is managing director of our family wine company. 

Monday 18 March 2013

Bordeaux Masterclasses. The great French wine region comes to you.

UNITED CELLARS Grand Bordeaux Tastings & Masterclasses:

The third annual Grand Bordeaux Masterclass will be showcasing the stunning 2005 vintage.

Revered by connoisseurs, collectors and critics alike, Bordeaux is one of the greatest wine regions of the world. Don't miss one of these rare opportunities to be guided through a "taste-at-your-own-pace" tasting or 2 hour Masterclass by United Cellars experienced wine buyers and sample an exceptional selection of fine, 2005 vintage wines from some of Bordeaux's most prestigious Chateaux.

2005 has been heralded as one of the best vintages of the past five decades, with superior quality produced across the appellations. Compare wine styles from the distinctive left and right banks through to the lesser known but wonderfully rewarding sub-classifications of Moulis and Haut Medoc.

Begin your journey with champagne & canapés on arrival, before tasting wines including …
  • Ch. Smith Haut Lafite Blanc Pessac Léognan
  • Chateau Potensac Médoc
  • Chateau Cantemerle Haut Médoc
  • Chateau Lannesan Haut Médoc
  • Chateau Chasse Spleen Moulis
  • Chateau du Tertre Margaux
  • Chateau Lascombes Margaux
  • Chateau Talbot Saint Julien
  • Chateau Gruaud Larose Saint Julien
  • Chateau Phelan Segur Saint Estephe
  • Chateau Calon Segur Saint Estephe
  • Chateau Pontet Canet Pauillac
  • Chateau d'Armailhac Pauillac
  • Vieux Chateau Certan Pomerol
  • Chateau Beauregard Pomerol
  • Chateau Clos Fourtet Saint Emilion
  • Chateau Grand Mayne Saint Emilion
  • Chateau d' Yquem Sauternes
The Tasting and Masterclasses will also be accompanied by a fine selection of cheeses.

When & Where: 6-8pm

9th May           Sydney Tasting - Royal Automobile Club

16th May         Melbourne Masterclass - Circa The Prince

23rd May         Brisbane Masterclass - The Brisbane Polo Club

28th May         Perth Masterclass - Trustee Bar & Bistro

Bookings Essential: Sydney Tasting = $195 pp Masterclasses = $250 pp

United Cellars P: 1300 226 835 E:



David Ellis

WITH a history dating back just a dozen years, the Hunter Valley's First Creek certainly qualifies in the up-and-coming category – and one of the Hunter's most exciting at that.
PERFECT with oven-roasted whole
snapper, potatoes, onions and tomatoes.

With a family being involved in hotels in Newcastle and on the NSW South Coast from when he was a small child, Greg Silkman did a Science Degree at Newcastle University, then with a partner bought Tamburlaine Winery in 1986, ten years later decided to go out on his own and buy his own winery, Allanmere Wines.

And the following year with several partners he bought land at Pokolbin and established First Creek Wines, with their first product hitting the shelves in 2001.

Today three generations of the Silkman family run the company, including Greg's daughter-in-law Liz Silkman (nee Jackson) who has been Chief Winemaker since 2009.

A just-released 2011 Winemaker's Reserve Chardonnay is a stand-out in their portfolio, a truly classic Hunter Chardonnay with a beautifully seamless mix of lemon, rockmelon and white peach on the palate and a wonderfully intense creamy structure.

GREAT choice with roast duck served
with a fruity sauce or chutney.
Pay $40 and enjoy with whole snapper oven-roasted with sliced potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and well-basted with lemon, garlic and parsley.

ONE TO NOTE: MANDALA in Victoria's Yarra Valley has released an interestingly quite soft and delicate 2011 Pinot Noir made from 80% fruit from the company's Yarra Junction vineyard and 20% from its Dixon's Creek.

Forever fastidious about their fruit, Mandala discarded 30% of what they picked, retaining only the best 70% for this wine that's got soft raspberry, cherry and strawberry fruit flavours on the palate, nice acidity, fine oak tannins and earthy and savoury notes.

At $28 a nice choice with roast duck served with a fruity sauce or chutney.


Monday 11 March 2013


ENJOY simply with garlicky prawns
and warm crusty baguettes.

David Ellis

NEW ZEALAND's Giesen Wines used fruit from no less than forty vineyards to create one of their best-ever Sauvignon Blancs, a wine that's already hitting the tables of Sauvignon Blanc buffs across the globe from Australia to the UK and China.

And while broadly referred to as Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, the forty vineyards that provided fruit for this wine were in fact all concentrated in just one area, the Wairau Valley. Winemaker Andrew Blake says such a broad vineyard input enabled his team to create a wine with a multi-dimensional aroma and flavour spectrum, ranging from vibrant and tropical, to elegant, crisp and green.

"This is a truly Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc," Andrew says. "Grapefruit and gooseberry characters mix with tomato and blackcurrant leaf on the nose, leading to a vibrant and fruit weighted palate, all balanced by a clean and crisp acidity."

But how do you decide on a final blend when the fruit comes from so many different vineyards? "We fermented the juice from each in cool temperatures using a range of aromatic and complex yeast strains," Andrew says. "Then the team evaluated the quality of the individual tanks and decided on the final blends and bottling."

FIRST-EVER "A" grade organic Chardonnay
from this respected McLaren Vale maker.
Pay $14.99 and put on the Sunday lunch table with simply a bowl of garlicky prawns and a couple of warm crusty baguettes.

ONE TO NOTE: KANGARILLA Road at McLaren Vale in the Adelaide Hills has released its first-ever "A" grade certified organic Chardonnay, a wine that's been four years in the making because of the lengthy processes involved in organic certification.

This first was made from fruit from the bumper 2012 vintage on the Edgehill vineyard, and which for the first time had been reserved solely for organic wine; maker Kevin O'Brien says he wanted to create a wine that championed McLaren Vale and the exceptional Chardonnay varietal characteristics organic and bio-dynamically grown grapes can exhibit. Well worth the $22 price tag to enjoy with barbecued chicken and garlic mash.


Monday 4 March 2013



David Ellis

CHARDONNAY backbone makes for
this great party-room celebratory wine.
IF you've celebrations in mind, a Chardonnay-based bubbly that's hard to look past is Chandon's 2009 Blanc de Blancs from Victoria's cool climate Yarra Valley, King Valley and Macedon.

A year that most remember for Victoria's tragic bushfires, 2009 was also a standout one for the State's cool-climate Chardonnays: in this case the elevated Upper Yarra Valley providing fruit with lovely citrus flavours and crisp acidity, and the Yarra Floor, King Valley and Macedon fuller nectarine and peach characters and delightful texture.

Unusually warm conditions in early February encouraged rapid ripening of fruit in all four areas, with Chandon's vineyards being picked during the coolest parts of the day for maximum quality and freshness of the fruit.

Each site's grapes were pressed and fermented separately to capture their individual parcels' own unique characteristics, and the resultant diverse cuvees selected for concentrated varietal flavour, balanced structure and palate length.

Pay $39.95 to enjoy with those next celebrations and a diversity of party-room treats.

INTERESTING Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend to
enjoy with grilled porterhouse steak and garlic mash.

ALTHOUGH it was founded only in 1998, Ferngrove in Western Australia's Frankland River region, 360km south of Perth and some 90km in from the coast, has gained an enviable reputation for a wide range of exceptional wines covering a broad spectrum of varietals and blends.

One of those blends is an interesting 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot from the 2010 vintage and bottled under the company's Symbols label, a wine that's got bounce-from-the-glass blackberry and red plum flavours and nicely balancing vanilla oak and long grainy tannins.

At $14.99 it's great buying to enjoy now with grilled porterhouse steak and garlic mash, or to invest in a few for the cellar to develop even further over the next 5 to 8 years.