Monday 28 March 2016

Peter Logan’s 2014 Apple Tree Flat Chardonnay - NSW Central West

SUPER value Chardonnay at just $13

ONE TO NOTE: CHARDONNAY buffs will find themselves doubly rewarded with Peter Logan's 2014 Apple Tree Flat label – firstly because it's simply a darn good Chardonnay, and secondly because its super value at just $13.

Both elegant and complex from premium fruit out of Mudgee and Orange, it's got rare finesse for a wine at this price-point, with flavours of white peach, citrus and nectarine, and a lovely long clean finish.

A great match to salmon with a buttery sauce, lemon and rosemary chicken, or a prawn salad – but hold the tomatoes as their acidity clashes with Chardonnay.


Katnook Founder’s Block 2013 Sparkling Shiraz - Coonawarra

BUBBLY red to add sparkle to that next barbecue


David Ellis

WE'VE a mate who for as long as we can remember, has always served a sparkling red at his barbecues, be they centred on beef, lamb, pork or even poultry.

And you can be sure that most times his bubbly of choice will be Katnook Founder's Block Sparkling Shiraz, a drop that served chilled always fills the glass with wonderful fruit flavours and a bead of lively, fine bubbles.

The currently available 2013 vintage is particularly rewarding, and not just with a barbecue but a range of dishes including duck, turkey, pork – and for we of sweet-tooth, absolutely marvellous with chocolate-based desserts. Or again, it's an ideal drop as an aperitif as family or friends arrive for lunch or dinner.

This 2013 is actually the result of an earlier than normal vintage in Coonawarra, brought on by good winter rainfalls that led into a warm and dry spring, and which continued through the growing season producing reds with great colour and tannins.

On the nose it's all about concentrated dark cherry, plum and raspberry notes with hints of spice and liquorice, while the palate's full of ripe and juicy blackberry and plum fruits, subtle sweet spices, hints of dark chocolate and soft lingering tannins, and bright acidity. Good buying at $25 with those diverse food offerings.


Monday 21 March 2016

Shaw Vineyard 2013 Estate Merlot - Canberra Wine District

COOL climate champ with
mildly-spicy curries or stir-fries.

ONE TO NOTE:  IF your choice in curries and stir-fries leans more towards those that are just mildly spicy rather than gasping-for-air infernos, a rewarding drop to put on the table with them is a 2013 Shaw Vineyard Estate Merlot from cool climate Murrumbateman in the Canberra Wine District.

With a lovely rounded palate of ripe plums and blackberries, this is a drop that rewards consumers for winemaker Graeme Shaw and his team having gone to the trouble to pick in the cool of night, and then choosing only the very best of fruit as it came off the vine. A ripper drop with those curries or stir fries, or simply on its own.

Cape Jaffa Wines White Blend - Limestone Coast

OFFBEAT blend more than more-ish with a thin crust pizza
with prosciutto, rocket and preserved green figs.

David Ellis

IT was a sense of adventure that led Derek and Anna Hooper to the wild and windswept shores of Cape Jaffa on South Australia's Limestone Coast back in 1993, and for them to trail-blaze this distinctive area even further by creating the Coast's ultimately first fully-certified biodynamic vineyards to feed their Cape Jaffa Winery.

Located some 300km south of Adelaide, the Hooper's 25ha vineyard uses no artificial fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides, but instead relies on such natural alternatives as cow manure-based composts, milk whey, and other natural tonics for healthy soil life… coupled with vineyard operations timed to coincide with specific phases of the moon to further increase effects.

Derek works the vineyard and Anna makes the wines, both drawing on past experiences working in world-renowned wineries across Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley, and at Cape Jaffa combining Old and New World techniques. Amongst their wines is one called Anna's Blend that's a somewhat offbeat mix of 24% Semillon for backbone and structure, 30% Sauvignon Blanc to increase texture and complexity, and 46% Gewurztraminer to enhance and preserve floral aromatics.

Appearing a little sweet at first sip, this one from the 2015 vintage in fact pans out into a wine with delightful citrus and savoury flavours… ideal, Anna suggests, with a thin crust pizza with prosciutto, rocket and preserved green figs. $25 at cellar door, or join their club and save $6 a bottle:

Sunday 20 March 2016

Lithgow's liquid gold: Zig Zag Brewery

In the shadow of the famous Zig-Zag Railway at Lithgow, lies one of the purest freshwater aquifers in the Australia with rainwater filtered through ancient sandstone. In 1885 it became the site of Lithgow's first brewery.

by Roderick Eime on location in Lithgow

Adrian Schindler with relics of the old brewery. The site was called Terry's in the mid-20th Century. (R Eime)
At the turn of the 19th Century, the Zig Zag Brewery was established to satisfy the substantial thirsts of miners and prospectors around the vast and scenic valleys surrounding the historic inland city of Lithgow.

The original Zig Zag Brwery c.1890. Many of the original buildings remain. 
Also supplying water to the soft drink trade, the business declined and was bought by the Schindler family in 1981 with the objective of revitalising the beverage business as well as provide boutique accommodation in a most unusual surrounding.

The new Zig Zag brewery line-up at the Workies. (R Eime)
Such is the demand for Adrian's quality ales and lagers, that new equipment has been installed to cater for the demand. One of the local establishments where you can sample Adrian's drop is the Lithgow Workmen's Club (aka 'workies') where the bottles are on hand at the new $6.5 million renovated club, first established in 1887 and one of the brewery's original customers.  A perfect accompaniment to a gourmet meal at the new Esk Restaurant.

Brand new, custom built brewing equipment installed at Zig Zag Brewery, Lithgow.
Alternatively you can visit the cellar door, built into one of the heritage-listed buildings being preserved on the site at Brewery Lane. The site is shared with Lithgow Valley Springs.

For details on Zig Zag ales and lagers, click the images below

Monday 14 March 2016

2012 Chandon Vintage Brut - Yarra Valley

PROUDLY Australian sparkling
wine, not pretend Champagne

ONE TO NOTE:  DOMAINE CHANDON Australia like to stress that despite their French ancestry, they do not pretend to be making Champagne in Australia – rather, they say, their gaol is to make the best-possible Australian sparkling wine.

A just-released 2012 Chandon Vintage Brut is a cracker, being made from fruit – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier – from Victoria's Yarra Valley, Whitlands Plateau and Strathbogie Ranges, areas whose elevations above sea level range from 250m to 820m, and which means for cool nights that help bring diverse flavour elements to the resultant wine.

At $41 this is a bubbly with an extremely fine bead and mousse, and flinty aromas ranging from quince to pine nut, citrus blossom and lemon zest. And in the mouth it's all about primary flavours of tangy lemon curd and kaffir lime, followed by secondary fresh-baked pastry.

If you've a reason coming up to celebrate, put a bottle of this in the fridge now.

Tim Adams’ Aberfeldy Shiraz- Clare Valley

ENJOY this one now with red meat dishes,
or anytime over the next 15 to 20 years.


David Ellis

TIM Adams' Aberfeldy Shiraz has long been an anticipated annual release out of South Australia's Clare Valley, a drop whose league of followers are happy to pay $65 a bottle for – knowing they'll not be disappointed when they present it to family or friends at that special celebration or event.

For as long as we can remember, Aberfeldy's been a drop reflecting the best from old, dry-grown premium vineyards, with the just-released 2012 continuing that tradition (and Shiraz in fact having proven itself the star of a spectacular vintage in the Clare that year.)

Recognised as Tim Adams' flagship wine, this one has distinctive aromas of cherry, plum, dark berries and chocolate, and on the palate it's all about finesse married with full-bodied dark berry conserve flavours, nice oak, and a firm tannin and acidity.

While you'll be well rewarded putting this on the table now with red meat dishes, it's also a great wine that with proper cellaring will reward any time over the next fifteen to twenty years.

for week beginning 14 March 2016

Sunday 13 March 2016

Coonawarra Premium Wines launched at ProWein 2016

ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA - Australia’s Kingston Estate Wines has launched offshoot Coonawarra Premium Wines at this year’s ProWein trade fair in Dusseldorf Germany (13-15 March), further enhancing its reputation as one of Australia’s most important international wine producers.

Bill Moularadellis, owner of Kingston Estate Wines, one of Australia’s top five wine exporters, said that Kingston has had a stand at the fair for the 14th year in a row and that ProWein is a suitably global event to introduce a very special, premium wine offering. “We make all our wines in our state-of-the-art winery on the original site where I started winemaking in 1985, and have purpose-built new capacity to optimise our highly regarded Coonawarra grape quality” said Mr Moularadellis.

“Coonawarra Premium Wines was developed in response to consumer demand. Our large retail customers need access to higher-price pointed, dry-grown Australian wines, a trend that is reflected in statistics from Wine Australia which show the average price of Australian wine exports is increasing,” added Mr Moularadellis.

Coonawarra is a world-renowned wine region on the Limestone Coast of South Australia. The region is characterised by its Terra Rossa soil - rich in iron, silica and nutrients - as well as its sea-cooled climate which come together to produce prized wines, especially Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Kingston already sells its Coonawarra wines in Australia, Canada, USA, China, Japan, UK, Holland and Germany.

Kingston Estate Wines, a 30-year old family-owned business, sources grapes from nearly all South Australian wine regions including the Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills, Padthaway and the Riverland. It owns two vineyards in the famous Coonawarra region and is one of the largest growers in the Coonawarra.

Kingston Estate Wines’ head winemaker, Brett Duffin, said that the Coonawarra region offers wonderful depth and length of the primary fruit characters, particularly the Cabernet and Shiraz.

“Grape parcels from different blocks within the vineyard are kept separately throughout winemaking, said Mr Duffin.”

“This enables us to produce wines of varying styles and quality levels. Coonawarra Premium Wines offers a high quality range of wine at price levels relevant to retailer programs.”

Coonawarra Premium Wines are available in the following varieties: Cabernet, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc.

Coonawarra Region: for more information on the Coonawarra region, please visit:

Kingston Estate Wines: for more information on Kingston, please visit:

Monday 7 March 2016

Calabria Family Wines’ Three Bridges Botrytis Semillon 2013 - NSW Riverina

SOMETHING different
for dessert: drizzle this
over seasonal fruits with
ice-cream on the side.
ONE TO NOTE: IT'S not just the cooler months we turn our thoughts to good old "stickies" – those wonderful botrytis wines that make such marvellous companions with baked desserts on colder nights.

For they're just as wonderful drizzled over seasonal fruits with ice-cream, or offered with a platter of creamy blue cheese, dried fruits and nuts any time of year.

Look for Calabria Family Wines' Three Bridges Botrytis Semillon 2013 from the NSW Riverina that has an added 10% Botrytised Sauvignon Blanc component, and is an absolute delight with the above suggestions…. and at just $25 for a 375ml bottle.

Stage Door 2015 The Green Room Riesling - Eden Valley

HERE'S a great partner for crab
cakes and other seafoods.


David Ellis

THE unusually named Stage Door Wine Co in South Australia's Eden Valley was given the moniker by owner Graeme Thredgold who founded the exceptional little family-owned business just three years ago.

And he so-named it for not only having a long history himself in the brewing and wine games but in the music industry as well, and like any good stage hoofer his wine company is already putting on a sterling performance despite its youth.

A 2015 The Green Room Riesling is a particularly good example of what can come out of such small family shows, and was thankfully helped along by a growing season that started with above average winter rains, a stint of dry weather followed by some extreme heat, 30mm of rain in early January, and then near-perfect ripening conditions that lead to an earlier than usual harvest.

The whole Thredgold extended family then pitched-in to handpick the fruit, that was crafted into a drop that in true Stage Door tradition almost belts out "look at me."

With a palate of full-on citrus flavours – lemon, lime, mandarin and orange – this is a great Riesling at $25 to enjoy with seafoods (crab cakes immediately spring to mind,) roast chicken, or simply chilled on its own on a warm autumn day.