Monday 26 September 2016

Lerida Estate 2014 Lake George Pinot Noir - Canberra District

LUSCIOUS fruit flavours make this one ideal with duck,
mushroom dishes, spring lamb or oily fish.
ONE TO NOTE:  A STINT of living in France saw Jim Lumbers falling hard, he'll tell you, for the intoxicating aromas and unparalleled complexity of Pinot Noir – so much so, that on his return to Australia he spent months searching for a site that came as close as possible to the variety's ideal growing conditions as he'd seen in Burgundy.

And when he ultimately found it in the Cullerin Ranges overlooking Lake George in the Canberra District, he established his Lerida Estate vineyard in 1997. Today that vineyard absolutely thrives with vines he got from selections off some of the greatest in Burgundy, and for lovers of Pinot Noir his 2014 is one to really look out for.

2014 was a great vintage in the Canberra District, and Jim's Lerida Estate Lake George Pinot Noir explodes with luscious fruit flavours and integrated tannins; at $26.50 enjoy with a variety of fare from duck to mushrooms, spring lamb or oily fish.

 for week beginning 26 September 2016

2016 Rogue Vineyard ‘Wild in the Wood’ Hunter Valley Field Blend


David Ellis

THERE would be others, we suspect, would lay claim that a wine comprising no less than five varieties, was the result of their carefully hand-selecting fruit off as many vineyards or blocks as there were varieties, and then judiciously blending these to specific proportions of each.

But not John Davis, owner-vigneron of Peppertree Wines in the Hunter Valley and his Head Winemaker, Gwyn Olsen when it comes to their 2016 Rogue Vineyard 'Wild in the Wood' Hunter Valley Field Blend. Because they'll readily tell you that this one's the result of a "misfit" block planted somewhat haphazardly 20 years ago with left-over Semillon, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc from other blocks rather than be wasted, and today simply all-in machine harvested.

And that resultant wine turns out in fact to be a really rewarding drop, with lingering individual varietal characteristics and lovely mouth-feel. Pay $30 and enjoy on its own as warmer days approach, or at the table with a range of lunch or dinner-time seafood, chicken or veal dishes.

Or as we did, with pan-fried pork loin chops, apple sauce and potato cakes.

[] A GREAT drop today from a misfit block planted somewhat haphazardly 20 years ago.

Monday 19 September 2016

Riversdale Estate 2013 Riesling - Coal River Valley

ANOTHER ripper Tasmania Riesling – perfect match with
alt and pepper calamari, or chicken enchiladas.

ONE TO NOTE:  TASMANIAN makers have thrown up some ripper Rieslings over the years, products of the State's cool maritime climate that the variety thrives in.

One such maker is Riversdale Estate in the southern Coal River Valley region just 20km out of Hobart, and which has recently released a beautifully rewarding 2013 Riesling under its ultra-premium Cygnus label. Here's a wine made from fruit harvested in small bunches in peak-condition, and loaded with concentrated varietal characteristics and excellent natural acidity.

It's nice forward, yet still delicate, citrus and musk flavours will particularly match beautifully with salt and pepper calamari, or pair it with chicken enchiladas. At $34 it's available online at,  by phoning (03) 6248 5555 or at the cellar door if you are visiting down that way.

 for week beginning 19 September  2016

Mr Mick 2014 Tempranillo - Clare Valley

TEMPRANILLO sales are said to be growing at a
faster rate than any other variety in Australia.


David Ellis

AUSSIE wine buffs it seems, are suddenly discovering Tempranillo, a Spanish red that although being grown in this country on cuttings brought from its motherland around the 1830s, for some reason never really took off.

But come the end of the last century things suddenly changed, and to meet newly burgeoning demand the area of vineyards turned over to the variety blossomed in just ten years from a mere 41ha Australia-wide, to over 475ha by 2010. And sales of resultant wines are today growing at a rate said to be faster than any other variety.

One maker with an exceptional Tempranillo is the Clare Valley's Mr Mick Wines, their currently available 2014 a nicely full-bodied drop with pronounced varietal cherry and strawberry fruit flavours, a hint of spice and a long and lingering finish.

And all of which makes for it being a great drop with a homeland favourite, patatas con chorizo – potatoes with chorizo sausage and chili, that you could possibly say equates to something a bit like Spanish bangers and mash, and a bit spicy.

At $17 enjoy it with that homeland dish, or equally with tacos, nachos or burritos.

for week beginning 19 September  2016

Monday 12 September 2016

2014 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir - Yarra Valley

GREAT VALUE drop with Peking Duck
or herb-roasted pork tenderloin.
ONE TO NOTE:  VICTORIA'S Toolangi Vineyards are interesting in that as well as having their own vineyards they also source additional fruit when they find exceptional quality available from other growers, and then contract to have it made by local makers they consider the very best at handling specific varietals.

And their just-released 2014 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir reflects the benefits of this philosophy: fruit was 100% off their own Dixons Creek vineyard that had enjoyed almost perfect growing conditions, and they had the wine made by Franco D'Anna from Hoddles Creek and William Lunn of Yering Station… the two creating a cracker drop abundant with red berry and bramble fruit flavours, nice acidity and supple tannins – and great value at $28 with Peking Duck or herb-roasted pork tenderloin.

week beginning 12 September  2016 

Rymill 2016 The Yearlings Sauvignon Blanc - Coonawarra

in flavour and value
at just $15.


David Ellis

WHEN Peter Rymill, fourth generation descendant of Scottish-born founder of Coonawarra wine region John Riddoch, decided that he wanted to build his own winery to make wine from the grapes he was already growing on his own Coonawarra vineyard, he set himself a strange goal.

Also undertaking a professional course in winemaking, he said he would not build that winery until he had proven his skills by winning a gold medal at a wine show – and then went onto do more than that by taking out a trophy at the 1987 Australian Small Winemakers Show. And yes, then building his Rymill Coonawarra Winery.

Today Peter has retired and it is his son John who is a great, great grandson of old John Riddoch who began it all at Coonawarra in 1890, and is managing director of Rymill Coonawarra. And amongst the many labels John oversees is The Yearlings, a range that really does seriously over-deliver in flavour and value at just $15.

Try the recently-released 2016 The Yearlings Sauvignon Blanc whose every glass is a wonderful burst of crispy lime and tropical fruit flavours, accompanied by abounding fruity aromas. With our warmer months coming-up, it will make for a great match outdoors with seafood salads, grilled fish fillets or barbecued herbed chicken.

for week beginning 12 September

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Mudgee Region annual Mudgee Wine & Food Festival

The Mudgee Region will come alive once again to celebrate the 38th annual Mudgee Wine & Food Festival from 9th September – 3rd October, bringing together delectable wine and delicious food from across the region.

The month long culinary festival hosts an array of events across the region’s top restaurants, bars, cafes and cellar doors. In a first for the festival, Mudgee will host a series of events over three nights dedicated to some of Mudgee’s most awarded winemakers. Learn the subtleties and nuances of a Mudgee drop and have the first-hand opportunity to experience how they differ to some of Australia’s most revered wines, as well as the rest of the world.

“It’s exciting to see Mudgee Region’s many producers, growers and businesses come together and take part in the festival, providing visitors to the region with a rare opportunity to meet the makers behind the region’s fine produce and form a real connection with the Mudgee Region,” says Russell Holden, Chair of the Mudgee Region Tourism Board.

Cheese lovers will not be disappointed, with an entire evening dedicated to cheese and wine pairing to help guide foodies through the culinary pleasures of life.

As well as this, cellar doors will be open for extended hours, host one-of-a-kind events and collaborate with local restaurants to bring the worlds of wine and food together, whether that be with a simple tasting platter or a more extensive menu showcasing regional produce or cuisines of the world.

Ted Cox, President of Mudgee Wine & Grape Growers Association, says: "The Mudgee Wine & Food Festival is one of the longest running celebrations in the region and there's no sign of slowing down either! More events are added each year and we're particularly excited about our three Wednesday evenings dedicated to learning about wine - nothing formal, just a great way to learn a little, or a little bit more, about Mudgee wine."

From wine tasting to cheese pairing classes, and long lazy lunches with live music amongst the vines, this year’s event is set to be bigger and brighter than ever, highlighting the Regions country charm and sophisticated food + drink offering.

“Mudgee Wine & Food Festival provides visitors an authentic taste test of the very best of local wineries, food producers and cultural experiences in the region. For an entire month, visitors can skip town with their loved ones and get lost in the flavours of Mudgee Region and we’re really excited to play host,” says Leianne Murphy, Acting CEO Mudgee Region Tourism.

This year features a range of flagship events, including:
  • Flavours of Mudgee – The main street of Mudgee will close to traffic and come alive with an estimate of 8,000 festival-goers savouring the flavours of the region.
  • Go Tasting - Taste wines from the Mudgee Wine Show including those that most impressed the judges during the annual wine maker’s competition.
  • Mudgee vs Australia & Mudgee vs The World – This wine appreciation evening will give visitors a taste test of the best Mudgee wines the region has to offer.
  • Farmer’s Markets - Bring a big basket and as many spare hands as you can to carry home all of the amazing Spring produce on offer.
No matter what delights you when it comes to food and wine, you’re likely to find it in abundance during the festival celebration.

For more information visit or

Monday 5 September 2016

Domaine Chandon 2015 Chardonnay - Yarra Valley

MATCH this one with a Springtime pear,
walnut and goat's cheese salad.

ONE TO NOTE: DOMAINE CHANDON blended fruit from its coolest Upper Yarra Valley and more moderate Woori Yallock and Yarra Junction vineyards for its now-available 2015 Chardonnay, a lovely wine reflecting the rewarding intensity and flavour concentrations of low-yielding vines.

With naturally vibrant and zesty Chardonnay flavours and fermentation in French oak barrels, this is a drop that is all about fresh lime, ripe melon and nectarine flavours and a zesty acidity, and when poured stone fruit aromas and cinnamon characters.

At $32 Senior Winemaker Dan Buckle suggests that now that Spring has come, this is one that's ideal with a pear, walnut and goat's cheese salad.

for week beginning 05 September  2016 

Aglianico 2014 Calabria Private Bin - NSW Riverina

TO the fore in homeland southern Italy,
and now growing in popularity in Australia.


David Ellis

AN interesting wine and food match to get a rollicking conversation going at that next dinner party is the lesser-known Italian-heritage drop Aglianico that's now being made in increasing quantities in Australia, coupled with a flavoursome pasta dish that in its home-town Naples is called Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.

The Aglianico because it's a nice big-bodied red that's right to the fore in the south of Italy where it was introduced from Greece thousands of years ago, and the Spaghetti alla Puttanesca because the name means "Prostitutes Spaghetti," and is made with a more-ish sauce of garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, anchovies, capers and dill, which apparently the girls find easy to whip-together between servicing clients.

Around twenty wineries in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania are now producing Aglianico here, with the biggest maker Calabria Family Wines at Griffith in the NSW Riverina. And their latest release, the 2014 Calabria Private Bin is a wonderfully rich and savoury drop whose delightful fruit profile now rewards even further by coming more forward with a little time in the cellar.

Plus with softer tannins than those in its homeland, at $15 it's a great buy with that spag suggestion, or more-Aussie-thinking minted barbecued lamb chops.

for week beginning 05 September  2016