Monday 29 July 2013



RICH, elegant, opulent and great with
slow-roasted lamb: what more can we say ?
David Ellis

FOR just the third time, Rymill has released a limited parcel of wine that came from an exceptional vintage, and was then carefully cellared in ideal conditions for up to eight years, in this case the wine being its Rymill Coonawarra Maturation Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2005.

And the more-interesting is that this wine was one of the first made at Rymill by now-Senior Winemaker, Sandrine Gimon, who described it back in 2005 as "unapproach-able" – but who could see then the potential it had if, with its cool-climate backbone, it could be allowed to slowly evolve through its full spectrum of secondary fruit flavours.

That decision to give it the time it needed has certainly proven rewarding, both for Sandrine and her team, and consumers eager for wines of the richness, elegance and opulence of this one: vibrant ripe black cherry and dark chocolate flavours melt onto the palate with subtle exotic spices, notes of almonds and well-balanced acidity.   

At $45, with its full body and wonderful tannins it's a great wine to put with a special-occasion slow-roasted lamb with root vegetables, or duck ragout with fresh pasta. And
DEVELOPING an almost-cult following,
perfect with grilled lobsterbasted with olive oil,
lemon juice, dill and salt and pepper.
whilst its already had 8 years in-cellar, it'll develop even more nicely over another 10.

ONE TO NOTE: BLUE Pyrenees is gaining itself something of an almost-cult following with its cool-climate Viognier from Victoria's high country, and its just-released 2012 already has devotees rushing to this luscious white that's all about upfront fruit flavours.

So much so that while it was originally intended for cellar-door sale only, with buyer reaction it's been decided to release it through major liquor outlets as well. Chief Winemaker, Andrew Koerner believes the 2012 is one of his best-ever Blue Pyrenees Viogniers, nicely luscious with sweet pear and nutty confection flavours, a quite rich creamy texture and a hint of sweetness.

Pay $18 and team it up with grilled lobster basted with simply olive oil, lemon juice, dill, salt and black pepper.


Wednesday 24 July 2013

A month till the fun kicks off at Taste Orange @ Sydney 2013

Media Release

 There is only a month to go till the much talked about Taste Orange @ Sydney is set to kick off on Wednesday 21st August and Thursday 22nd August. Back again in 2013 by popular demand, Sydneysiders will have the chance to taste some of the Orange region's finest food and wine right at their doorstep.


In 2013, the two day event in the of heart of the Sydney CBD, Martin Place, will feature both day and night festivities - whether you're keen to take a trip to Orange in your lunchbreak between 11:30am-2:30pm or pop up after dark at the Pop Up Wine Bar from 5pm-8pm ...or both! With FREE entry, wine and food tastings, giveaways, cooking demonstrations plus live music & entertainment, Taste Orange @ Sydney has something for everyone.


Offering 22 of the Orange and District region's finest wineries, Taste Orange @ Sydney is a wine lover's delight with wines on show from Angullong, Bantry Grove, Belgravia, Borrodell Vineyard, Brangayne, Cargo Road, Charles Sturt University, Cumulus, De Salis, Faisan Estate, Heifer Station, Highland Heritage Estate, Logan, Monument Vineyard, Orange Mountain, Patina, Philip Shaw, Printhie, Ross Hill, Sassy and Stockman's Ridge plus Small Acres Cyder!


Sydneysiders will have the unique chance to transport their tastebuds with the opportunity to indulge in some of the most delicious offerings the region has to offer. In true country hospitality style, chef Kate Bracks will be just one of the friendly local faces around to chat to, with winemakers, tourist representatives, businesses and industry all eager to share their love and pride for the historic region.


But wait there's more... while you're indulging in the freshest produce from one of the most enviable regions that NSW has to offer and your other hand full with a tasting, groove on down and chill out in the Millamolong Polo lounge area.  While you're there don't forget to enter into the exclusive competition to win a weekend for you and 9 mates travelling in the 'Rock Star' bus to Orange to visit the 2014 Millamolong Polo Carnival!


Join us for this not-to-be-missed regional showcase of some of Australia's finest food and wine, cultivated from the cool climate and high altitude that this scenic region boasts. So whether you're longing to escape the office for an hour or two, an aspiring sommelier, chef or musician or just after mid-week catch up drinks with friends in a very cool Sydney-style fashion, Taste Orange @ Sydney has it all.


Click here to get a feel for what Taste Orange @ Sydney is all about...



Monday 22 July 2013


TASSIE tempter worth the extra freight
costs (enjoy with a hearty beef stroganoff.)

David Ellis

WE don't often get the opportunity to try wines out of Tasmania, and when offered not only a Tassie drop but one that was a quite unusual blend too, we jumped at it.

And how surprisingly rewarded we were. Grey Sands vineyard is in the foggy Tamar Valley in Tasmania's north, just 3.5ha in size and since being established in 1988 has produced a range of reds, with particular success with Merlot that was planted there in 1998. Then after a visit some years ago to New Zealand where he was impressed with blends he tasted that invariably included Malbec, Grey Sands winemaker Bob Richter decided on his return home to add that varietal to his vineyard as well.

Those vines took seven years to produce any appreciable crops from the low-fertility grey sands (that give name to his vineyard,) and when they finally did in 2012, he blended 45% of that Malbec with 45% of his Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, calling the resultant drop The Mattock.

This is a beautifully deep-red wine with purple hues, rewarding plum and cherry flavours, silky tannins and some background savoury oak; its great value at $30, and worth investing in the delivery fee (particularly to enjoy with a hearty beef stroganoff.)

SAVOUR this Canberra surprise with puddings,
cheesecakes and rich fruit cakes.
To order, give Bob a call on (03) 6396 1167 or email

ONE TO NOTE: BOTH Hungary and Germany claim to have been the first to produce –albeit accidentally after fruit was left on the vines too long – dessert wines that are now made from fruit that's deliberately left beyond normal harvest to be attacked by Botrytis Cinera, a fungus that sucks much of the water from that fruit, leaving it withered and with deep concentrations of natural flavours and often added tones of honeyed apricot.

NSW's Riverina produces some world-recognised dessert wines, and now Shaw Vineyard in the Canberra wine district has released a delightful 2012 Botrytis Semillon that is beautifully fruit-flavoured, sweet, and ideal to enjoy chilled with traditional puddings, cheesecakes and rich fruit cakes. Excellent buying at $25 for a 375ml bottle.


Monday 15 July 2013



David Ellis


THE tiny village of Watervale in South Australia's Clare Valley – population just 246 – has an enviable reputation for producing some of Australia's finest Rieslings, so when a maker lays claim to a particular vintage having produced possibly his best Rieslings in a decade, he must be talking about some very, very good wines.


Jim Barry Wines' Chief Winemaker, Peter Barry made just such a claim recently about his 2013 Watervale label Riesling, and while we can't say we've tried every one of his past ten vintages, we can certainly agree that the 2013 is an absolutely fantastic drop.


A traditionally Clare style with crisp natural acidity and a very dry finish, it's the product of conditions that saw warm and then cool spells that allowed for excellent flavour ripening and good natural acidity. And with a wonderfully full palate highlighted with excellent lime, grapefruit and citrus, fruit sweetness and a natural acid backbone, this is just the drop to match-up with a nice lobster salad.


The more so when you find its just $19 a bottle.


ONE TO NOTE: ANOTHER gem from South Australia we had the opportunity to taste recently was a 2012 Merlot from the small St Mary's Wines, owned by the Mulligan family who've lived in the Penola/Coonawarra area for over 100 years.


The Mulligans planted their St Mary's Vineyard 16km out of Penola in 1937, and while it's on internationally-famed Coonawarra terra rossa soil over limestone, most parts of it are stony – and some virtually pure rock – with the result the vines produce relatively small tonnages of fruit compared with local district averages.


But that fruit's wonderfully full-flavoured, the Merlot resulting in the 2012 being a wine with soft, ripe red cherry flavours, elegant spice and soft tannins, coupled with pleasant oak from its time in French barrels. Excellent value at $30 to enjoy with tomato-influenced Italian dishes; if you can't find it at your local liquor outlet, go onto for the name of your nearest distributor.







[] AN excellent drop to enjoy with lobster salad – and it's just $19.

[] TOMATO-influenced Italian dishes make an ideal match with this one.


Monday 8 July 2013


GRAB the opportunity to buy now
– or you'll need to wait until 2016.


David Ellis

WE had the opportunity a few weeks ago to taste a wine that Hunter Valley maker, Andrew Margan has no intention of releasing until 2016 – his 2011 Margan Limited Release White Label Shiraz, that we can tell you was an already absolute stunner.

Better still, Andrew says this wine has the potential to mature more beautifully over the next couple of decades… and for our readers, even better again, if you get onto the winery, you can get hold of a 6-bottle pack so you can try one immediately, and then others every year or so to follow and enjoy its development with time.

Sourced from 40 year old vines growing on red basalt volcanic clay that gives just half a tonne of intensely-flavoured fruit per acre, this wine is worth every bit of the $60 a bottle price tag, wonderfully full-bodied and smooth with classic Hunter shiraz dark-berry fruit flavours, a hint of cigar box and nice varietal white pepper.
COOL drop from NSW high country to
enjoy with seafoods come summer.

Although it won't be officially released until 2016, drop a line to or phone (02) 6579 1372 and Andrew will organise a 6-bottle pack now for $60 a bottle plus freight… a not-to-be missed opportunity for true enthusiasts, as this is a drop that will only increase in value upon release.

We suggest simply savouring on its own now while still young, or if you're looking for a food match, a good choice would be with a cassoulet of duck.

ONE TO NOTE: TUMBARUMBA is one of the highest regions in NSW with vineyards from 500m to nearly 1000m above sea-level, and varieties such as Pinot Gris absolutely thriving in the local cool-climate conditions.

Hungerford Hill's 2012 Tumbarumba Pinot Gris is typical of the full-flavoured wines coming from here, this one having nicely restrained apple, cinnamon and citrus flavours, and lovely hints of honey in the aroma. At $25 it makes for enjoyable drinking now, but we think another few months in the cellar will make it a really beaut drop with pan-fried salmon or other seafoods come summer-time outdoor dining.


Monday 1 July 2013


PERFECT this time of year with braised
lamb shanks and potato mash.

David Ellis

2012 proved Lucky Number 13 for Cumulus Estate Wines in the Orange region of Central Western NSW, with its Rolling label seeing its first-ever red using grenache and mourvedre fruit from vineyards planted back in 1999.

Until then the two varieties had been used in the making of rosé wines under Cumulus' Luna Rosa label, with Winemaker Debbie Lauritz saying that while she had great faith in the quality of the grenache and mourvedre, neither somehow quite hit the mark for the quality she was seeking for red wine production.

But that changed dramatically in 2012 with everything coming together perfectly, and Debbie blending the two with shiraz into Rolling's first-ever GSM – 48% grenache, 40% shiraz and 12% mouvedre, a wonderfully fruit-driven wine with more-ish cherry and dark fruit flavours and nice notes of spice.  

WHAT better with barbecued
seafoods or a cold seafood platter?
GSM is becoming increasing popular in Australia as a gutsy yet easily quaffable wine, and this 2012 Rolling at $18.95 is interesting in that it did not undergo any oak maturation, allowing the pure fruit flavours to come to the fore. A nice one to enjoy this time of year with braised lamb shanks over potato mash.


IF you are one who likes to embrace a good semillon sauvignon blanc over a long and leisurely seafood lunch, Western Australia's Killerby has released a classic Margaret River example under its Killerby Merchant Trader label.

Although purchased in 2008 by Ferngrove Wines – Western Australia's third largest maker – Killerby has maintained its small-winery philosophies and techniques, and its 2011 Merchant Trader Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is full of fresh Margaret River varietal passionfruit and grassy flavours, zesty lemon and a long cleansing finish.

At a recommended $20, a great drop to match with barbecued seafoods or a cold seafood platter.