Monday 28 October 2013


YOU won't regret trying this for a
first time with seafood, chicken, pork, Asian
or vegetarian cuisines, or creamy cheeses.


David Ellis

THERE'S the possibility you've never heard of Gruner Veltliner, but in fact this is a drop that's hailed as "the world's most food-friendly wine," and while originating in Austria is now being grown with great success in Germany, Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and even the USA and New Zealand.

And more recently in Australia too, where in the Adelaide Hills it's proving particularly at home – the Hills' warm days and cold nights during the growing season, equalling the climate of homeland Austria's very best Gruner wine regions.

One Adelaide Hills maker with an outstanding Gruner Veltliner (pronounced "grooner velt leaner") is Hahndorf Hill Winery, whose just-released 2013 is wowing visitors at the Cellar Door with its citrus and stone-fruit aromatics, and a delightfully smooth palate of nectarine, stone-fruit and grapefruit flavours, a juicy core of citrus, and a long mineral finish with a surprise Gruner Veltliner trade-maker kick of spice and white pepper.

TRY a glass or three of this great
red with a great cut of prime beef.
This is an enjoyably vibrant and zippy wine you can happily put on the table with seafood, chicken, pork, Asian or vegetarian cuisines, or enjoy with soft cheeses, creamy Camembert, Blue Cheese and fresh Ricotta. At $28 it's great value, and if you have trouble locating it get onto , or give them a call on (08) 8388 7512; delivery is $6 for six bottles and $12 for 12 bottles across Australia.

ONE TO NOTE: ANGUS the Bull Cabernet Sauvignon is a drop that winemaker Hamish MacGowan, and his wife and business partner Brigitte conceived to enhance one of life's great joys – a great cut of prime beef with an equally great glass (or three) of a great red.

The 2011 is the 10th vintage of this wine, and if it's not the best Hamish has made, it comes pretty close to it. This is a steak-eater's wine with aromas of ripe black fruits, dark chocolate and vanillan smoky oak, and on the palate powerful dark fruit flavours and nice tannins.  At $19.95 you won't go wrong when you put it on the table with that prime beef dish – now, or anytime as it improves in the bottle over the next 4 to 6 years.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.

See you on the Pier? Outstanding on the Pier - 2013 Citi NSW Wine Awards Tasting


Taste and critique with some of the State's finest winemakers, the
#topwines of NSW as judged at the 2013 Citi NSW Wine Awards.
From north, south and west, an #outstanding line up of wines on
tasting; the best of our regions.

Vote for the "People's Choice" Award of 2013 for a chance to win
a #topwines package, whilst enjoying the best of NSW Wine in a
unique landmark Sydney location.

When: Thursday 31st October 2013, 5.30 - 8.30pm

Where: Pier 2, 13 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay - View Map

Cost: $40
(Includes a premium souvenir tasting glass, NSW Regional produce and
tastings with the best of NSW Wine Industry for 2013.)

Don't miss out on this #outstanding event - Purchase your tickets online here.

Monday 21 October 2013


SPLASH into the glass with lamb
chops or cutlets off the barbie, or indoors
with roast lamb or osso bucco.

David Ellis

WESTERN Australia maker Devil's Lair continue to enjoy great success with their quirkily-named Fifth Leg label Margaret River Shiraz, a wine that's almost tailor-made for when you're chucking lamb chops or cutlets on the barbecue during our upcoming warmer and hotter months.

As with previous vintages the 2012 Fifth Leg Shiraz is what the company likes to sum up as a "refined larrikin," one that can be enjoyed equally splashed into the glass around that barbie, or poured more graciously indoors with a roast lamb dinner, lamb shanks or perhaps osso bucco.

Fruit for this wine was sourced from an array of Western Australian vineyards, all of which enjoyed a great vintage for Shiraz in 2012, with very hot days tempered by cool nights and below-average rainfall. The result is a wine with delicious concentrated dark berry flavours and a little hint of spiciness.

Pay $17.99 – and when you are around that barbie ponder just how the fossilised remains of what appeared to have been a Tasmanian Devil were found in a cave on the Devil's Lair property some years ago… with the remains including a mysterious fifth leg.

NORMALLY considered a dessert wine,
this Moscato also great with Indian curries. 
ONE TO NOTE:  MOSCATO is generally considered a wine to share with dessert, but Peter Logan and his wife Hannah like to take a bottle or two of their Logan Moscato along to their local Indian restaurant where Peter says the variety with its sugar and fruitiness proves a great foil to the heat, spice and strong flavours of Indian curries.

The 2013 Logan Moscato was actually made from Gewurztraminer fruit off the family vineyards in the Central Ranges of NSW, interestingly a very good vintage after the failure of the 2012 to give enough fruit to make a 2012 Moscato. There are loads of fruit salad, ginger and floral flavours in this 2013, that with its light spritz and balance of freshness and sweetness makes it ideal with desserts – or as Peter and Hannah do, as a delightful foil with Indian dishes. Pay $20 for a 375ml bottle.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.

Monday 14 October 2013


TOP guide into how best to buy,
cellar, serve and enjoy wine.

David Ellis

MANY books about wine have come our way over the years, their publishers all assuring us that each is the absolute ultimate guide to understanding wine.

But amongst the best we’ve seen yet is the just-released A Top Drop – and not only because of the huge field it covers, but because it is written in an easy to understand style to help everyone from the novice wine enthusiast, to the more-seasoned buyer, to get the most enjoyment and value out of buying, cellaring and sharing wine.

In some 239 pages authors Ian Bailey (a wine teacher and lecturer) and Ian Powrie (a major wine industry investor) have covered an astonishing 400 topics ranging from wine varieties grown in Australia, what flavours to expect in those varieties and thus what wines best match what foods, how best to cellar and store your wines, why some wines should be decanted, the reasoning behind different glassware for different wines, to what to expect when a wine is described as ‘zingy,’ ‘corky,’ ‘charry’ or ‘creamy.’

And they talk about temperatures at which different varietals should be served for best flavour enjoyment – including some reds that can come out of the fridge – and to assist the very novices and those who are not regular wine imbibers, a section recommends a selection of different brands of major varieties across different price brackets.

Published by New Holland Publishing, A Top Drop is just $19.95 and an excellent thought for Christmas for family or friends keen to broaden their wine knowledge.

RIPPER red to enjoy with
lamb shanks or osso bucco.
ONE TO NOTE: LOCAL Liquor Stores have a ripper Barking Tree Shiraz from Western Australia’s Margaret River that at just $14.99 is wonderfully spicy, has a typical Shiraz peppery edge and by contrast nice soft cherry fruit on the palate. With these beautifully forward flavours this wine is an ideal match with lamb shanks or osso bucco. Local Liquor Stores have some 250 members throughout Eastern Australia; to find your nearest:

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We’re also on Australian Good Food Guide in main blog.

Monday 7 October 2013


THE big from Spain: the world's biggest-selling
sparkling wine – great value partying at $15.


David Ellis

PROBABLY fewer things go more hand-in-glove than the Melbourne Cup, Champagne and Aussie sparkling wines – and whether you win or lose come the big day, raise a glass of the bubbly stuff about which Madame Lilly Bollinger of the famed French House once said of Champagne, "I drink it when I'm happy, and when I am sad… "

THE small from this boutique Adelaide Hills maker,
and a pleasant surprise at $20 when you pop th
cork Melbourne Cup day.
Here we look at some Champagnes and sparkling wines for your Melbourne Cup celebrations, all chosen as great matches with a whole range of canapés and light finger food, and whether in the party-room or outdoors on the picnic-blanket.

If you want French, pick-up Bollinger's Special Cuvee at around $55 – or go the whole way with their twin-pack Blanc de Noirs that's a snap at Dan Murphy's at $3000.

Closer to home Chandon Australia drew on fruit from Victoria's cool climate Yarra and King Valleys and the Strathbogie Ranges, for their 2010 Vintage Brut that's got a wonderful creamy texture, morello cherry and blood plum fruit flavours and crisp acidity; great buying at $41. Also from Victoria is a well-priced $20 Premium Cuvee Brut from Yarra Burn made from fruit from across a number of their vineyards, and with nice lifted citrus and stone-fruit flavours, coupled with nuances of toast and mushrooms.

And across the border Howard Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills has an excellent Sparkling Brut that's a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with nice elegant citrus and stone-fruit flavours and notes of strawberries and raspberries. $20 a bottle in a 6-bottle pack plus $15 freight; order on – you'll be pleasantly surprised.

With the best of bubblies coming from cool to cold regions don't forget Tasmania; Bay of Fires has several, but we particularly like their Cuvee Rosé made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit and with ripe strawberry and wild berry flavours and mushroom undertones. Pay $30 for this one.

And win or lose on Melbourne Cup Day, celebrate or commiserate with the world's biggest-selling sparkling wine, Cordon Negro Brut from the Freixenet Winery in Spain that makes 200-million bottles of sparklings a year. You'll find this a really rewarding party bubbly at just $15 with fresh apple, pear and bright citrus flavours.

NEED A FOOD/DRINK IDEA? Check out We're also on Australian Good Food Guide  in main blog.


Thursday 3 October 2013

Winemaker's Dinner at Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney

Glandore Wines in partnership with Casama will be hosting a Winemaker's dinner at the 5 star Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney. This dinner takes an interesting turn when we pair up New World Wines v's Old World Wines.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

United Cellars Grand Champagne Tastings

Media Release:

This year's Champagne harvest got underway in France last week turning minds and tastebuds towards the upcoming festive period and some of the world's most treasured, celebration wines.

In 2012, Australia once again proved its love of Champagne, importing nearly 5 ½ million bottles, an increase of 11.2% on 2011, with the high quality Vintage Champagne category increasing by a noteworthy 79%!

And what better way to learn about the amazing new wines on offer than to take part in the ultimate Grand Champagne Tasting Series, held for the 3rd consecutive year by award-winning online wine retailer United Cellars.

The Tasting Series will be coming to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth, and will be a unique opportunity to sample some of France's finest Champagnes, from the boutique producers to the Grande Marques.

Be guided by United Cellars expert wine buyers during a 2 hour walk-about tasting (Sydney) or at a seated masterclass (Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth) and compare styles and vintages, whilst also enjoying beautifully matched canapés.


Champagne Houses to experience will include Krug, Dom Perignon, Billecart-Salmon, Grosset, Louis Roederer and Taittinger.


Full list available at


When & Where: 6-8pm


13 November            Sydney Walkabout Tasting – Wolfies, Harbourview Room, 17-21 Circular Quay West, The Rocks

21 November            Brisbane Seated Masterclass - Bistro One Eleven, 111 Eagle Street, Brisbane CDB

26 November            Melbourne Seated Masterclass – SORRY, SOLD OUT … Comme, Onyx Room, 7 Alfred Place, Melbourne CBD

27 November            Perth Seated Masterclass  -   Heritage Brasserie, The Boardroom, 131 St Georges Terrace, Perth CBD


NOTE: These tastings can sell out very quickly so book now to avoid disappointment


Bookings Essential: $175 per person

United Cellars P: 1300 226 835 E: