Wednesday 30 September 2015

Adelaide Hills wines making their mark



Sydneysiders will enjoy wines from the Adelaide Hills at what is tipped to be the coolest event of the forthcoming music festival season.

Sidewood Wines has been named as official wine supplier for Sydney's Soulfest on October 24 featuring more than 25 of the  smoothest soul and hip hop acts and headlined by none other than Lauryn Hill, Mary J Blige, Jill Scott, 9 x Grammy nominated Charlie Wilson and De La Soul among others.  Held in The Domain, the 10 hour event will see tens of thousands of patrons enjoying good food, good vibes and of course, great South Australian wine.

Meanwhile further down the east coast, Melbournians will also indulge in great Adelaide Hills wines at one of the city's largest tourist drawcards, the Victoria night markets.  With more than 730,000 people attending the markets over their 19 week summer season last year, Sidewood is thrilled to announce its exclusive partnership with the venue to run for both the summer and winter markets periods for the next three years with the highly awarded winery offering both wine and sparkling to visitors attending the massive venue.    

"We entered the music festival arena last summer as partners with the Woodford Festival in QLD – a six day event and Australia's largest festival and will partner with them for the next few years.  We also participated in a number of other eastern seaboard events over the 2014/15 summer and supplied wine and cider to Groovin the Moo up at the Oakbank Racetrack in the Adelaide Hills.  

"Markets are a new venture but the opportunity to be part of such an iconic local and tourist drawcard was an opportunity too good to refuse.    These event partnerships are a great way to introduce patrons to our brand and wines in a celebratory setting – which is exactly how and where good wine should be drunk" said Owen Inglis, owner and vigneron Sidewood Estate.

Closer to home, Sidewood is also the official wine supplier to Feast Festival and Groovin the Moo up at Oakbank – both for the second year running.  The latter event is particularly close to the heart of Sidewood with its estate located nearby the racetrack and Owen's love for and ownership of a number of racehorses.                  

Monday 28 September 2015

Lindeman's 2014 Early Harvest Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - a light alternative

A SEMILLON Sauvignon Blanc
that's 25% lighter in alcohol
and calories, yet full-flavoured to match
with seafood or chicken salads.
ONE TO NOTE:  IF you like to watch the alcohol content of the wine you are drinking, and that of course means the calories as well, Lindeman's have a 2014 Early Harvest Semillon Sauvignon Blanc that's 25 per cent lighter than regular wines – but without any compromise in flavour enjoyment.

By using select parcels of fruit from early ripening regions in south-eastern Australia, it meant lower sugar levels in that fruit – and thus lower alcohol in the resultant wine.

But with still nicely forward tropical fruit flavours and herbaceousness, this is a nice fresh and crisp drop to enjoy with seafoods or chicken salads – and value at just $16.

 for week beginning 28 September 2015

Mr Mick Pinot Grigio 2015 - Limestone Coast

ENJOY on outdoor summer days with
seafoods, white-meat salads
or spicy Asian choices.


David Ellis

PUT your money on it, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris will boom across Australia this summer.

Although often referred to as "the same wine" because they're made using the same grape variety, Pinot Grigio has its origins in northern Italy and is a light, delicate, refreshing wine with lively acidity and crispness, whereas Pinot Gris tends to be more about ripeness, richness and sometimes a touch of residual sugar, and hails from the Alsace region of France.

Here in Australia a cracker Pinot Grigio for those who enjoy a summer's outdoor lifestyle and an easy-drinking, refreshing white with seafoods and salads, is a Mr Mick 2015 Pinot Grigio from South Australia's Limestone Coast.

Winemaker Tim Adams, who certainly needs no introduction when it comes to both Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris, says the combination of climate and soils on the Limestone Coast were what allowed him to create this Pinot Grigio, that's just so very similar to that from Italy. With lemon/lime, pear, white nectarine and apple flavours, it is fresh, crisp and refreshing – and at just $17 an ideal match with seafoods, white-meat salads or, if you like your food spicy, a range of Asian dishes.

 for week beginning 28 September 2015

Friday 25 September 2015

Sommelier's international award & WA Wine List honours

Sommelier cellarbrates triple wine wins for Perth's The Terrace Hotel

Perth-based sommelier Antonio Vilaca had reason to celebrate last Friday night (4 Sept), when he was awarded the 'Food and Beverage Associate' for 2015 at the annual HM Awards ceremony held at Sydney Town Hall.


Presented in front of 600 hoteliers and industry suppliers, the HM Awards recognise staff, properties and hotel brands for industry excellence across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.


Antonio is a sommelier of 30 years who manages a collection of over 3,000 wines at the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Terrace Hotel in Perth's West End.


The HM Award is the third wine accolade for The Terrace Hotel this year, with the hotel also awarded 'Hotel/Motel/Restaurant Wine List Winner' and 'Best Metropolitan Wine List Featuring WA Wines' at the recent WA Wine List Awards for Excellence.


Antonio said: "Sommeliers bring instrumental value to restaurants across the world. We have a careful focus on customer service and recommend the right wines to pair with a meal, which is very important for restaurant reviews and reputation."


Antonio uses a six-step approach to recommend wines. "I train our food and beverage staff to host customers through a wine tasting process. Each person is asked six initial questions to determine their flavour and style, depending on their meal and the season."


"Every customer prefers a different taste, and this is what I love most about helping them discover the perfect wine for them on the night. I am honoured to receive this award as I continue to take my customers on a culinary awakening when they dine at The Terrace Restaurant in Perth," he said.

About the BEST WESTERN PREMIER Terrace Hotel, Perth WA


The 5-star BEST WESTERN PREMIER Terrace Hotel has seven suites, eight deluxe rooms, three dining and meeting rooms, two alfresco dining areas and a Sommelier's Tasting Room with private wine vault housing over 3,000 labels of local and international wines. A $20 million restoration saw The Terrace Hotel reopen in 2012 and later join Best Western's upper-upscale BEST WESTERN PREMIER hotel type in May 2013. Best Western Australasia has 160 hotels in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific and three hotel types. See

Follow @tcehotelperth or @bestwesternau on Instagram!


Thursday 24 September 2015

St Hugo Estate to Open in the Heart of the Barossa

The ultimate experience in Australian fine wine will arrive when the luxurious St HugoTM Estate opens in the Barossa Valley in 2016.

Designed with the wine connoisseur and luxury traveller in mind, the St Hugo Estate will set a global benchmark, immersing guests into the elegant world of one of Australia's most sought after wine labels.

This project has been supported by a $1 million grant from the Government of South Australia's Regional Development Fund through Primary Industries and Regions SA to boost jobs and investment in regions

The St Hugo Estate will offer a range of premium and exclusive experiences, with advance bookings recommended to avoid disappointment.

The Estate will be home to a first-class wine lounge where guests can savour a glass of St Hugo wine or partake in a carefully crafted wine flight designed to take them on a journey through the intricacies of the St Hugo wines.

Guests will also have access to the Estate's fine dining restaurant and chef's table, allowing them to enjoy intimate dining sessions crafted from local flavours and regional offerings, all curated to match the unparalleled elegance of St Hugo wines.

For the ultimate luxury seeker, the underground cellar and wine vault will offer VIP guests a private tasting session of St Hugo's most prized vintages.

The new Estate will be a true reflection of the St Hugo brand and bring to life Hugo Gramp's legacy of success, sophistication and excellence.

The building's history is rooted in the very origins of the Barossa as a settlement and a wine region. It was originally built in the 1850s by William Jacob, who conducted the first survey of the region in 1839 and chose to settle there. In 1918 Hugo Gramp was instrumental in the purchase of the property for Gramp & Sons and almost 100 years later the property will be home to the wines named in Hugo's honour.

Enquiries relating to advance bookings for the luxury experiences at the St Hugo Estate are welcome from 1 October 2015, with the doors opening to visitors from 1 July 2016.

An official opening will follow in September 2016 to coincide with the 131st anniversary of the Hugo Gramp's birthday.

# 'St Hugo Estate' refers to the building and not the source of grapes for St Hugo wines.
Traveloscopy | 

How to tell if your wine has gone bad - Wine Folly

An experienced drinker can tell almost instantly if a wine is past its prime. Question is, how do they do it? Well, this comes with a little practice, and here’s what to look for:

How it will look

Wines go bad when they are left open for too long. While some claim that open wines last for weeks, most will lose their luster after just a couple of days, so it’s wise to store open bottles properly. First thing to look at is the color and condition of the wine.

Monday 21 September 2015

ONE TO NOTE: Ninth Island Sauvignon Blanc - Tasmania

JUST the drop with summer salads, barbecued white meats,
Thai fish cakes or a mushroom risotto

ONE TO NOTE: DOWN in northern Tasmania the 2015 vintage proved a somewhat bumpy one for winemakers, with winter and spring of 2014 warmer than usual, the first month of summer uncharacteristically windy and wet, and during the April 2015 harvest, rainfall of around just half the usual average at 60mm.

But despite all this, Chief Winemaker at Pipers Brook Vineyard, Rene Bezemer has crafted a wonderfully more-ish 2015 Ninth Island label Sauvignon Blanc that's all about varietal tropical fruit freshness and forward lime and apple flavours, the lot underpinned with nice natural acidity.

At $22.50 this Ninth Island Sauvignon Blanc, named after a tiny, windswept dot in Bass Strait 11km off Pipers Brook Vineyard, makes an ideal match with summer salads or barbecued white meats, or as maker Rene Bezemer suggests, with Thai fish cakes or a mushroom risotto.

2012 Estate Winemakers Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

 PERFECT match with a home-made
beef or lamb meatloaf.
David Ellis
WHILE the 2012 vintage may have gone down as the coldest in sixteen years and one of the wettest in history in Canberra's Murrumbateman area – only 2011 and 1989 were wetter – it did give winemakers ideal temperatures during the ripening period, excellent soil conditions and great vine health, and all of which resulted in superb fruit on harvest.

Cabernet Sauvignon did particularly well, and local maker Shaw Vineyard Estate has now released a 2012 Estate Winemakers Selection Cabernet Sauvignon that at just $16 is great value for this stellar drop.

One of the Canberra wine region's highest-elevated vineyards, Shaw Estate sits across a sloping site that gives it both optimum sunlight and protection against potential frost damage (through good air drainage,) and is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon – the 2012 Winemakers Selection a lovely cool climate drop with beautifully ripe blackcurrant fruit flavours on the palate and fine tannins to finish.

One of those delightfully "easy, drink-now wines," it's a perfect match with a home-made beef or lamb meatloaf.

Monday 14 September 2015

St Mary's 2013 Shiraz - Penola South Australia

SHIRAZ and beef go hand-in-hand: try this one with barbecued
T-bones, Asian-style ribs, homemade burgers,
or with beef fillet poached in red wine
ONE TO NOTE: ST MARY'S WINES 16km to the west of Penola in south-east South Australia, has released at 2013 Shiraz from fruit grown on its own vineyards atop exceptional terra rossa soil over a classic sub-base of limestone.

With 2013's stand-out vintage producing fruit of immense colour and character, this wine is one whose complex floral nose has hints of raspberry, rose petals and soft spice, while on the palate it's all about blackcurrants and cherries coupled with a nicely smooth mouth feel.

At $30 with its richness and structure it'll develop well in the cellar over many more years to come, or for enjoyment now it's a natural with beef – be it barbecued T-bone, Asian-style ribs, ground in burgers, or a good fillet poached in red wine.

Forester Estate 2014 Sauvignon Blanc - Margaret River

FOR Sauvignon Blanc buffs to enjoy with a
goat's cheese and asparagus salad.


David Ellis

IT was a fledgling forestry industry way back in the 1850s that opened up the rugged Leeuwin-Naturaliste ridge in Western Australia's northern Margaret River area.

And  today it's here you'll find the appropriately named and family-owned Forester Estate winery that's set delightfully amid majestic Eucalypts that luckily survived those now long-gone other foresters.

And in fact there's still an historic saw pit on the winery estate from the pioneering timber-getting days, something to perhaps ponder over next time you open a Forester Estate wine – one, we'd suggest, like the exceptional 2014 Sauvignon Blanc that's a real must for those into their Sauv Blancs.

2014 was a classic year in Margaret River for white grapes, and it's reflected in this wine that's both full and light on the palate, coupled with a beautifully creamy-mineral texture. And also subtly reflected on the palate, are the wine's aromas of nettles, green capsicum, lychee, passionfruit and cedar oak.

All add up to make a great drop at $27 to enjoy with a Springtime goat's cheese and asparagus salad.

Monday 7 September 2015

Peter Logan's Ridge of Tears Shiraz 2013 - Orange, Central NSW

CRACKER Shiraz from Central NSW
to enjoy with steaks or roast lamb.

ONE TO NOTE: PETER Logan reckons that after making his Logan Wines' top of the range Ridge of Tears Shiraz 2013, he should consider renaming the label Ridge of Dreams.

Because he says 2013 was an exceptional vintage for Shiraz – even prepared to call it "the best Shiraz vintage I've experienced since I began making wine here in 1997… the wine all but making itself in the vineyard."

His 2013 Shiraz from his Orange vineyard, a cold climate site at 870m, has delicious red berries, plum, white pepper, cinnamon and beef stock flavours, while the 2013 Shiraz from his Mudgee vineyard 70km away and at a lower 564m enjoys warm days and cold nights, and the wine from here is more about floral notes, dark fruit flavours, liquorice and a deep earthiness.

A couple of cracker drops to enjoy with steak or a roast leg of lamb, each is priced at $45. Peter, by the way, named his Ridge of Tears because his vineyards are all located on ridges – enough, he says, to often bring a winemaker to tears.

2012 Blanc de Blancs - Yarra Valley

PROUDLY True Blue: Australian Sparkling Wine
– not imitation Champagne.


David Ellis

TALK to Dan Buckle, Senior Winemaker at Chandon about bubbly, and you'll very quickly learn that here's a man most passionate about the fact he's making Australian Sparkling Wine – not an imitation Champagne.

And while there may be others refer loosely to Aussie bubblies as "Champagne," he's adamant that his Australian Sparkling Wine is purely and uniquely that, because just as the French boast of their Champagnes reflecting soils made up of their unique chalk deposits covered with a mix of sand, marl, clay and lignite, his Sparkling Wine is reflective of Chardonnay grown on True Blue Australian red volcanic basalt soils, and known as ferrosols.

His latest Sparkling release, a 2012 Blanc de Blancs (a wine made exclusively from white grapes) was crafted entirely from Chardonnay fruit off vineyards in Victoria's cool Upper Yarra Valley and the equally cool Whitlands Plateau of the King Valley. And after tirage and secondary fermentation, Dan gave this one 36 month's ageing on yeast – similar to the important Methode Traditionelle process in France.

Pay $41 to kick off that next celebratory dinner… you'll find the forward limey and apple-fruit flavours and zesty mineral acidity a great match with mussels in a creamy tarragon sauce, or scallops sprinkled with anise-flavoured slightly spicy Thai basil.

for week beginning 7 September 2015

Saturday 5 September 2015

2015 Riverina Wine Show results

Media Release:


The 41st annual Riverina Wine Show results were announced on Thursday at a gala dinner in Griffith NSW and as in previous years the entries and winning wines have celebrated the depth of quality and diversity in the Australian wine industry, with the experienced panel of judges - headed by former Wine Director of Rockpool restaurants Sophie Otton - critiquing their way through 56 different wine classes and awarding 10 individual "varietal/style" Trophies to 8 different wine regions!

The big winner of the night was the 2007 McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon (Hunter Valley), which was awarded the 'Ian Bicego Best Still Wine of Show' Trophy. Chair of Judges Sophie Otton said, "The McGuigan Bin 9000 showed the variety's slow, controlled development; the kind that tantalises the senses with its lemony fragrance and glimpses of melted butter and toast complexity. This year's winner absolutely embodied the exhilarating effortlessness and featherweight grace that is Semillon at its best."

As well as strong entry numbers and some great results in the more traditional classes of Semillon, Shiraz and Cabernet, the judges were also "delighted" to see such diversity amongst the 'Other Red Varieties' Class, describing it as "a strong class which proved an exciting category, with expressive and skilfully made examples of Durif, Montepulciano, and Petit Verdot all made locally." 

Coincidentally it is one of the Riverina's strengths, and the perfect place for its cultivation.
Commenting on other wine styles to look out for, Sophie said, "The '2014 Pinot' Class was an unexpected surprise. On the table, the wines awarded silvers and golds demonstrated a superb graduation, from fruit driven freshness and balance, building to increasing dimensions and layers of flavour, with the top gold showing superb multifaceted complexity. 

The '2014 Chardonnay' Class were also outstanding, garnering a stunning cache of silver and gold medals. This demonstrates that Australian Chardonnay has come of age, offering refined and sophisticated styles that sit well above their price point. The class showed remarkable freshness, balance and purity with the best examples revealing a touch of struck match complexity.
Finally, but not surprisingly, the 'Fortified Classes' were exquisite, and it was a privilege to see them in their chameleon-like incarnations."

For a full list of all Trophy winners please see below.

Trophy winning wines at the 2015 Riverina Wine Show:

1] Best Semillon - sponsored by Braid Logistics Australia

McGuigan 2007 Bin 9000 Semillon (Hunter Valley)

2] Best Chardonnay 1yo – sponsored by Orora

McWilliam's Wines 2014 Appellation Chardonnay (Tumbarumba)

3] Best Chardonnay over 1 yo

McWilliam's Wines 2013 Single Vineyard Chardonnay (Tumbarumba)

4] Best Shiraz

Blue Pyrenees Estate 2013 Reserve Shiraz (Pyrenees)

5] Best Cabernet Sauvignon - sponsored by Patrick Portlink

Jacob's Creek 2013 Bungalow Lane Cabernet Sauvignon (Barossa)

6] Best Dry Red, other varieties

Santolin Wines 2014 Individual Vineyard Pinot Noir (Yarra Valley)

7] Best Dry Red Blend - sponsored by Classic Oak

Cellarmasters 2013 Langhorne Creek Area Red Blend (Langhorne Creek)

8] Best Durif - sponsored by the AEB Group

McWilliam's Wines 2013 Hanwood '1914' Durif (Riverina)

9] Best Fortified, Sweet Style – sponsored by Tarac Technologies
Morris Wines Cellar Reserve Grand Tokay (Rutherglen)

10] Best Fortified, Australian Fortified Red Style – sponsored by Collotype Labels
Pfeiffer Wines 2013 Christopher's VP (Rutherglen)

And the "Best of…" Trophies went to…

11] Best Still Wine from Riverina Fruit - sponsored by the Wine Grapes Marketing Board

McWilliam's Wines 2013 Hanwood '1914' Durif (Riverina)

12] Best Popular Premium red wine 

Casella Family Brands 2013 Beyond Horizons Cabernet Sauvignon (SE Australia)

13] Best Dry Red 
Blue Pyrenees Estate 2013 Reserve Shiraz (Pyrenees)

14] Best Dry White

McGuigan 2007 Bin 9000 Semillon (Hunter Valley)

15] Best Still Wine of Show - the Ian Bicego Trophy

McGuigan 2007 Bin 9000 Semillon (Hunter Valley)

Special Awards

The Sean Hampel Award for Best Shiraz from Riverina Fruit

Nugan Estate 2014 3rd Generation Shiraz (Riverina)

Most Successful Exhibitor of Still Wines made from Local Fruit - sponsored by A & G

Calabria Family Wines (Riverina)

Most Successful Exhibitor - sponsored by the Port of Melbourne

Moppity Vineyards (Hilltops)