Monday, 17 July 2017

Logan Wines’ 2013 Apple Tree Flat Merlot - NSW Central West

 
ONE TO NOTE: THOSE who compile the figures tell us that the second-most popular red wine in the world today after Cabernet Sauvignon is Merlot, with sales in Australia putting us amongst those making it the current hit that it is.

With a velvety softness on the palate and less tannin than Cabernet, Merlot has an ability to prove a great match with just about any food – just dodge anything highly spiced, or fish or leafy greens.

This wine proves perfect with grilled lamb chops, roast chicken, pork loin with a mushroom sauce, tomato-loaded Italian dishes, casseroles it can also be tossed into during cooking, barbecued steak, and beef or veal burgers.

And one label ideal with all of these is Logan Wines' 2013 Apple Tree Flat Merlot from the Central West of NSW, where altitude and cool climate see it develop abundant yet soft flavours of blackberry, plum and black olive, and which winemaker Peter Logan sums up as "a deliciously fruity, soft and fun mealtime drop."

Only query is the price – some buffs wonder if at just $13 it's not perhaps a little under-valued?


[] AT just $13 a bottle, some Merlot buffs wonder if this one's perhaps a little under-valued considering its quality and flavour.

 

Tim Adams’ 2017 Clare Valley Pinot Gris


TUCKER TIME RED AND WHITE TWOSOME

David Ellis

THERE were plenty of reasons for smiles in South Australia's Clare Valley this 2017 vintage, amongst grape-growers because of highest prices they'd enjoyed for years – coupled with above-average quantities of fruit off their vines – and amongst winemakers in having fruit they've lauded as the best in three decades.

Plus there'll be smiles to come amongst wine buffs too, as the outstanding wines of this vintage start coming onto the market.

And one you'll find already on the shelves is Tim Adams' 2017 Clare Valley Pinot Gris, a drop of outstanding structure, flavour and acid profile, and reflecting a vintage that Tim ranks in the Top Five in his 40-odd years as a winemaker and vigneron.

With rich and robust fruit characters on the palate and bright acidity, pair this one with fish, prawns, lobster or oven-roasted chicken.

And at $22, there's reason to smile at the price, too.


WINESPEAK:  When a winemaker refers to a wine as being "Big" they're not referring to the bottle size, but to the wine being high in alcohol content, or in intensity of flavour.



[] HERE'S a drop that makes for a great pairing on the table with fish, prawns or lobster, or with oven-roasted chicken.
 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Ross Hill's Phil Kerney - pick a pair of Pinnacle pinots


By John Rozentals

I wrote a few weeks ago about Orange's Brangayne having two vineyards — one decidedly higher and cooler than the other.

They're certainly not the only ones in the district adopting this approach. Ross Hill also has two vineyards — their 'home' vineyard at Wallace Lane, high on the slopes of Mt Canobolas, and the Griffin Road Vineyard, on the milder north-western edge of Orange as you head along the Mitchell Highway towards Molong and Dubbo.

If winemaker Phil Kerney didn't have the Griffin Road Vineyard at his disposal, the only red in Ross Hill's premium Pinnacle Series would be a pinot noir.

That's the only red variety that Phil and Ross Hill's owners reckon will ripen at Wallace Lane, and hence it's the only red variety planted there.

But the Pinnacle Series label carries four reds, of which the 2015 vintages have just been released — the two I've reviewed here plus a 2015 Shiraz and a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, the latter already having sold out.

They formed a very solid quartet, which will expand to a quintet if Phil Kerney gets his way, by the addition of a pinot noir made 100 per cent from the Griffin Road Vineyard.

That should make for a highly interesting comparative tasting — two pinots made by the same hands from vineyards separated by a couple of hundred feet in altitude.

Visit www.rosshillwines.com.au.

CAPTION: Phil Kerney … wants a pair of pinots in Ross Hill's Pinnacle Series.

Ross Hill 2015 Pinnacle Series Cabernet Franc


Ross Hill 2015 Pinnacle Series Cabernet Franc ($45): Meets all the Pinnacle Series requirements by being made 100 per cent from a single estate-owned vineyard, in this case Griffin Road, a vineyard I often pass on trips between my Molong home and Orange. Cabernet franc is a bit of a freak at Griffin Road, easily qualifying for its own individual guernsey. I really like the power and length of this wine, as well as its perfumed, herby characters. Visit www.rosshillwines.com.au.

- John Rozentals



Huntington Estate 2016 Chardonnay - Mudgee, NSW

WINE OF THE WEEK

Huntington Estate 2016 Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay ($24): The Mudgee district has a proud history with chardonnay and, in fact, claims to have been the birthplace for the variety in Australia. This is a richly flavoured, complex dry white which spent eight months sitting on yeast lees in barrel. Its fruit flavours are primarily in the stonefruit sector of the flavour wheel but there's a hint of old-fashioned chardonnay oakiness there as well … and I like that. Visit huntingtonestate.com.au.

- John Rozentals

Ross Hill 2015 Pinnacle Series Pinot Noir - Orange, NSW

Ross Hill 2015 Pinnacle Series Pinot Noir ($40): Made from 100 per cent Wallace Lane fruit, this is a quintessential cool-climate pinot, showing subtle flavours and a medium-bodied, sinewy structure rather than beefy muscle. It's a spicy, food-friendly wine that I'd love to try in Beijing or an Australian Chinatown with the best Peking Duck. Visit www.rosshillwines.com.au.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Topper’s Mountain 2012 Wild Ferment Tempranillo

WINE OF THE WEEK

Tempranillo really seems to have taken off in Australia — and for the very good reason that the variety is making some exceptional dry reds. This is a firmly structured dry red with excellent balance of fruit, oak and tannin. The fruit lies predominantly in the dark-plum spectrum, but there are spices too, principally of the Middle Eastern persuasion. But for me the main feature lies in the long flavours of an elegant, firmly structured wine … and then there's the elegant package you'd be proud to display on your table at the local bistro. Suggested retail: $32

Visit www.toppers.com.au.

John Rozentals

Eloquesta’s Olsen challenging our wine industry’s norms

Doing it the old-fashioned way … Stuart Olsen uses his feet to stir up a red ferment.

John Rozentals
The Australian wine industry may be brimming with characters but it is essentially a fairly conservative place, with just about everyone pursuing clinically perfect wines. It's a goal that Stuart Olsen, who makes wine at Dubbo under the Eloquesta label, principally using fruit from Mudgee and Orange, reckons leads to a boring sameness.


REVIEWS

Eloquesta 2014 'A Boy with Fruit' Orange Chardonnay ($32): Winemaker Stuart Olsen certainly thought laterally when he made this wine and consumers will have to do likewise when they taste it. The fruit comes from the Orange district, in two equal-size batches — from Gordon Hills Estate on the Cargo Road and from the warmer, lower-altitude Belgravia Vineyard near Molong.

It's made in an "antique style", as they did hundreds of years ago in places such as Croatia and Slovenia — foot-trodden on skins for two-to-three weeks, and pressed into old, new and reconditioned French oak and brand-new Hungarian oak, and matured for nearly two years. The barrels were stirred monthly on gross lees. It was only lightly filtered at bottling and retains some yeast sediment and hence potential cloudiness if stirred up —just like the best of Coopers ales. It shows a complex blend of fruit and associated flavours — Stuart sees dried stonefruit, mango, honey and acacia flowers in the bouquet, and I'm not going to disagree with him. It's a deeply golden-coloured, complex brew that won't be to everyone's taste but keen wine people will mostly love it for its uniqueness in Australia and the honesty of the winemaking approach.

Grab a couple of bottles and share them with wine-loving friends over some hearty, strongly flavoured eastern Mediterranean seafood dishes. And please excuse the lengthiness of this review, but it's a provocative white wine worth study, contemplation and much discussion about whether our wines are generally overly pure and too sanitised. Visit eloquesta.com.au.

Eloquesta 2015 ‘A Boy with Fruit’ Mudgee Rosalia ($22): This is another one out of left field. In Australia black muscat grapes are usually used to make frivolous pink moscatos and muscat liqueurs. Instead, Stuart Olsen has made a dry, quite aromatic rosé showing nuances of Turkish delight. It’s light, flavoursome, and good just about anywhere that doesn’t demand anything too serious. Rosalia, incidentally, is a Hungarian rosé festival — and the name of Stuart’s grandmother. Visit eloquesta.com.au.

Australia's winery experiences come to life in NZ





Top New Zealand business event planners and decision-makers had the opportunity to discover Australia's creative business events delivery and immerse themselves in a bespoke Australian wineries experience in Auckland last night.

Hosted by Business Events Australia, Tourism Australia's specialist business events team in partnership with Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia, 60 guests were taken on a journey through five of Australia's leading wineries, showcasing the unique experiences available for the New Zealand business events market.  

Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia is a hand-selected collection of Australia's premium wineries offering quality winery experiences, based around world class wines, warm and knowledgeable hospitality and culinary excellence. Going beyond wine tasting, last night's event provided guests with a multi-sensory experience of Australia's unique places, people, produce and business events offering.

"New Zealand is Australia's largest inbound market in terms of visitation and many business events planners in the market feel they already know Australia well. Last night was an opportunity to extend their knowledge of Australia's exceptional food and wine, business event delivery capabilities, friendly people and unique landscapes," said Penny Lion, Executive General Manager, Events for Tourism Australia. 




Hosted at inner-city photography space, The White Studios, guests were treated to a degustation menu and matching wines inspired by each of the five wineries - d'Arenberg, Moorilla, Seppeltsfield, Montalto and The Lane. As the evening's facilitator, Australian wine writer, judge and educator Nick Ryan used his knowledge and passion for Australian wine to help bring the stories of each winery to life.

South Australian winery d'Arenberg shared details of its newest venue, the architect-designed d'Arenberg Cube, set to open in late 2017. With a vintage being laid down every year since 1878, Seppeltsfield Wines, also from South Australia, gave guests an exclusive tasting of their 1917 port. Also from South Australia, The Lane Vineyard showcased their 'blend your own' experience whilst Tasmanian winery Moorilla, situated at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), demonstrated the relationship between art with wine. The Mornington Peninsula's Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove offered guests a glimpse into their 'Estate to Plate' experience, a guided exploration of the property's two acres of kitchen gardens, olive groves and extensive sculpture collection.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Is this the world's most expensive Wine?



SOBERING PRICE FOR WORLD'S BEST WINE

David Ellis

AN auction in London has just seen 152,750 pounds (around AU$262,680) paid for a case of near-30 years old French wine that the buyer's going to no doubt spend plenty of time looking at, but in no way pull a cork.

The vintage 1988 Pinot Noir came from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti vineyard in Burgundy, which at a mere 1.8ha (4.5 acres) is one of the smallest estates in France, and was first worked seriously by monks from a local abbey back in 1232.

Today it produces on average just 450 cases a year of Pinot Noir from a single strain of vines, that wine being described variously by connoisseurs as "the scarcest, most expensive and frequently best wine in the world," "a perfection of aroma and taste" and "the peak of Pinot Noir." And if you want one of those cases of the latest vintage, it'll cost you around AU$17,200 – IF there are any left.

Horses are still used in the vineyard to avoid tractors compacting the soil, fertiliser for the vines is a home-made compost of crushed vine roots, grape skins and residues from fermentation, and grape yields are kept low through severe early season pruning to remove substandard fruit and concentrate flavour in the remainder.

And on picking, every grape is hand examined for health and condition, meaning it can take the total fruit selected from up to three vines to make just one bottle of wine.

The 152,750 pounds for the case of 1988 was paid by a European wine investor at a just-held Fine and Rare Wines auction conducted by British auction firm Bonhams in London. If you'd like to see what other classic wines they have coming up in future auctions, go to www.bonhams.com

PHOTO CAPTIONS:



[] HAILED as the frequently best wine in the world, this dozen-bottle lot of French Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Pinot Noir, has just sold at auction in London for the equivalent of AU$262,680.

[] HORSES are still used in the vineyard to avoid tractors compacting the soil and damaging the vines' roots.

(Images: Bonhams Auctioneers)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Blue Wren No. 216 Verscato - Mudgee

Blue Wren, situated amongst the vines and situated in one of New South Wales’ premium wine regions – Mudgee - has just released their first ever Verscato label – Blue Wren No. 216 Verscato.

Exhibiting all the characteristics of a Moscato; the new Verscato it is an innovative and fun wine with low alcohol, a yellow tinge, hint of sweetness and vibrant fizz - with the Verscato made from the Verdelho grape, rather than the Muscat Grape.

“The rationale for our Verscato came to us after participating at numerous wine shows and the never ending search from our loyal customers for a Moscato wine. Not actually producing Muscat grapes we previously could not meet the demand of the market yet continually deliberated about how we could meet the expectations of visitors to our vineyard,” says Blue Wren owner Kip Harris.

“With the on-going successful production of Blue Wren’s Verdelho White Port, it was agreed to attempt to create a Moscato-style wine also utilising our Verdelho grape,” said Harris.

The result is the Blue Wren No. 216 Verscato. It shows all the characteristics of a Moscato; with an abundant white peach and candied pineapple nose, tropical guava on the palate, coupled with notes of passion fruit and key lime flavours. It is light in colour and holds an-oh-so slight spritz. At 7.0% alcohol, it is the perfect pre-dinner aperitif or equally, makes for a pleasant light dessert wine.


Monday, 5 June 2017

Celebrate “Cabernet Season” in the Napa Valley November through April


Napa Valley's Cabernet Season features the following events:

Napa Valley Film Festival – November 8 – 12, 2017
Napa Truffle Festival – January 12 – 15, 2018
Napa Valley Restaurant Week – January 21 – 28, 2018
Napa Valley Marathon – Sunday, March 4, 2018
Arts in April – April 2018

Napa Valley Film Festival

The ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, the NVFF (Napa Valley Film Festival) lights up the picturesque towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. NVFF features more than 100 new independent films and studio sneak previews screening in venues throughout Napa Valley. www.napavalleyfilmfestival.org and http://www.visitnapavalley.com/napa_valley_film_fest.htm

Napa Truffle Festival

The annual Napa Truffle Festival features an exciting lineup of special guests from the food and wine world, including truffle cultivation experts and internationally renowned chefs. www.napatrufflefestival.com

Napa Valley Restaurant Week

This program provides special restaurant offers for both visitors and locals with single priced $20 two-course lunches and two-price dinner options at $36 and $46 for a three-course meal. Participating restaurants are encouraged to donate corkage fees to the Napa Food Bank, or a charity of their choice. A total of eleven Michelin Stars shine on Napa Valley -- including The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood, each with three Michelin Stars; and five restaurants which have each been awarded one Michelin Star (Auberge du Soleil; Bouchon; La Toque; Solbar and Terra). http://www.visitnapavalley.com/restaurant_week.htm

Napa Valley Marathon

The Kaiser Permanente Napa Valley Marathon, named one of the “Top 10 Marathons Worth Traveling For” by Forbes Travel, is dedicated to fostering and promoting quality racing in an inspiring setting. www.napavalleymarathon.com

Arts in April

The Napa Valley showcases its wealth of art and artists from American Canyon to Calistoga for the annual Napa Valley Arts in April, featuring works that span artistic disciplines, genres and decades. Last year featured more than 70 special shows, openings and exhibits providing an artistic feast. www.napavalleycollection.com/artsinapril

St. Helena welcomes Cabernet Season with the “Little Book of Big Experiences,” which includes 25 quintessential St. Helena experiences, including wine and food pairings, guided tours, meals and lodging specials. The “Little Book of Big Experiences,” which is valued at more than $1,000, may be purchased on-site at participating venues or at the St. Helena Welcome Center, located at 657 Main St. in St. Helena, as well as online at experiencesthelena.com, which provides details of each offer. The cost of each book is $100 and offers are valid November 2017 – March 2018.

Website: experiencesthelena.com

Calistoga's annual Winter in the Wineries Passport offers a relaxed way to tour, taste, and meet winemakers at more than a dozen heralded wineries, both large and small, in and around Calistoga. Passport holders also receive discounts at several of Calistoga's finest restaurants, lodging properties and downtown shops.

Website: www.visitcalistoga.com

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

D’Arenberg 2014 releases: Shiraz, Grenache






D'Arenberg 2914 The Dead Arm Shiraz ($65)— This is my favourite of the three new vintages of the Icons. The lovely, rich berryfruit flavours have a delightfully earthy, old-vine edge to them. Think ripe berries, foot-crushed autumn leaves and stewing mushrooms. Then bring on the heartiest of winter beef stews.




D'Arenberg 2014 The Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre ($65) — There's a reason why these three red varieties are planted together in places such as France's Rhone Valley and Australia's McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley. And that's because, in Mediterranean-style climates, they blend into soft, heavenly complexity.


WINE OF THE WEEK

D'Arenberg 2014 d'Arry's Original Shiraz Grenache ($18) — For mine, still far better value than any of the three wines in the Icon series. This red carries its familiar red diagonal slash of warning with pride and was first released in the 1960s. It's soft, it's full-flavoured, it's complex, it's beguiling … ok, it's just moreish.

- John Rozentals

Chester Osborn Winemaker - Loud and Proud

It would be easy to dismiss Chester Osborn as simply an extrovert — as someone who wears the loudest of shirts and has shown the flamboyance to match that of his famous father d'Arry and come out at least equal on the personality front.

And he's certainly done that, while at the same time presiding over the creation of one of Australia's broadest range of wine labels — and definitely the most lavishly named.

Think the Stephanie the Gnome with Rose-Tinted Glasses Shiraz Sangiovese or The Witches Berry Chardonnay or The Broken Fishplate Sauvignon Blanc, and you'll get my drift.

But in doing and being all that, Chester has also shown himself to be a highly skilled and sensitive winemaker.

In just over 30 years, he has taken a line-up of mostly average full-bodied dry reds and turned it into a portfolio of elegant wines — red, white and sparkling — that can stand tall among those anywhere in the world.

And, believe me, that's quite an achievement.

Chester has just released the 2014 vintages of his three Icon series wines — the Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, the Dead Arm Shiraz and the Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre.

Some people will quibble and their $65 price tags, and many won't be able to afford them, but who can afford a Roller or a top-of-the-line Merc? They're at prices that are quite normal for top quality in today's wine world.


29 May 17

Riversdale Estate 2016 Syrah - Tasmania

PROVING just how good is an
increasing range of wines out of Tasmania

ONE TO NOTE:  INCREASING  numbers of growers in Tasmania are reporting great results from trial plantings of Syrah, with buyers who've a passion for cool-climate wines realising just how good are the wines from these vines.

Amongst one of these successes is Riversdale Estate with its 2016 Syrah off vines planted almost a decade ago at Cambridge, in southern Tassie's renowned Coal River Valley. With fruit for the 2016 being intensely flavoured, together with bonus natural acidity and fine tannins, it's all made for a really rewarding drop

Spicy and savoury and with a touch of oak, the marvellous length of flavour will make for a great match with something a bit out of the ordinary like rare pan-seared venison with rosemary and dried cherries. Pay $36 at cellar door, online at info@riversdaleestate.com.au or by phone on 03 6248 5555; freight is extra.



20 Mar 17

Wynns 2014 Coonawarra Estate Shiraz

AN OUTSTANDING drop first
released under this label in 1952.

THE SQUIRE WOULD LOVE TO SEE IT NOW

David Ellis

IT'S little wonder that John Riddoch had been dubbed 'the Squire of Penola' by neighbours of his vast estate at Coonawarra back in the late nineteenth century -  the property covered an amazing 700 square kilometres, and from the early 1880s had been supporting as many as 160,000 sheep.

But in the early 1890s 'the Squire' decided it was time to down-size, and so carved it up into smaller blocks which he sold off  to new settlers, while also planting 52ha of vineyards for himself on part of what he had kept.

After his death in 1901 those 52ha somewhat languished, until Melbourne wine merchants Samuel and David Wynn became impressed with the richness and intensity of wines still coming off the old property. So impressed, in fact, that they bought the place in 1951, renaming it Wynns Coonawarra Estate.

Just a year later they released a 1952 Shiraz under the estate's name, and a now-released 2014 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz furthers the reputation of this premium Coonawarra Shiraz under the label.

Medium-bodied with lovely flavours of red and black fruits, forest floor brambles and a cool spiciness, this 2014 is fresh, lively and rich, and has a beautifully lingering finish. At $25 it's a particularly nice choice with barbecued lamb burgers.



20 March 2017

Blue Wren No. 516 Rosé - Mudgee


Blue Wren, nestled amongst the vines and situated in one of New South Wales' premium wine regions – Mudgee - has just released their first ever rosé label, Blue Wren No. 516 Rosé.

Joining the Rosé Revolution this is the first time that Blue Wren has produced rosé, using Merlot grapes from The Lost Block. The Lost Block is located in the Mudgee region, situated on a small four-acre block that produces low yielding yet high quality fruit and having never  been utilised for a decade - hence the title of The Lost Block.

The result of this is the Blue Wren No. 516 Rosé exhibiting a delicate wine that is clean and crisp with a subtle pink colour and fresh lifted with red berry fruit of the raspberry and a slight hint of strawberry.

At 13.5% alcohol, Blue Wren's rosé is a tran-seasonal drink, that is crisp, dry and savoury on the palate with a sharp dry quick finish making it the perfect dinner aperitif or equally a pleasant light dessert wine.

"We are very happy with the result. Mudgee's grape growing conditions are well suited to traditional rosé varieties, that give rosé produced in Mudgee a distinct ripe and savoury taste that goes with a range of dishes," Says Blue Wren owner Kip Harris.

Today, Rosé wine is among the fastest growing wine styles in Australia because of its refreshing drinkability, and suits the warm climate and it goes with a wide selection of foods.

"We have seen the popularity for rosé grow in and around the region and the exceptional quality of grapes produced here in Mudgee. We are now a part of the Rosé Revolution and have created a vibrant and tran-seasonal wine," says Harris.

For further information please visit: www.bluewrenwines.com.au


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Visiting the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery


The Bundaberg Rum Distillery is a unique, authentically Australian icon unlike any other. For over 128 years the Bundaberg Rum Distillery has proudly created the smooth golden liquor made from the finest sugar cane in tropical Queensland, surviving two fires and two floods as an enduring testament to the Australian spirit.

Visitor Experience Entrance
Whether you’re a rum enthusiast or planning a weekend away, the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, just four hours north of Brisbane airport, offers guests an unforgettable and one of a kind distillery experience.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Wynns Coonawarra Estate Riesling 2016

FIFTY-FIVE years on and still going strong, here's a
Riesling that will go with anything from
seafood to duck, pork to chicken, Thai to tacos.


ONE TO NOTE:  FOR a region famed for its red wines, it's interesting that Coonawarra is also home to Wynns Coonawarra Estate Riesling, a wine that's been a favourite of Aussie Riesling buffs for its consistency of flavour, quality and expression of variety since 1962 – some fifty-five years.

And its latest release from 2016 is again up there with everything that's made this wine such a favourite, with classic lemon and lime Riesling flavours and a refreshing but soft acidity.

Plus with few boundaries when it comes to pairing with food, this is a drop to match with virtually anything from seafood to duck, pork to chicken or Thai to tacos. Or simply on its own over a good conversation, or watching a favourite movie on TV.

Pay $25 and enjoy now, or give it a few years in a cool, dark spot to age gracefully.




Weemala 2014 Merlot - Peter Logan - NSW Central Ranges

PAN fried veal chops and brown
mushrooms make for a perfect
pairing with this Merlot
from NSW's Central Ranges.

PETER LOGAN'S 20 year old vines on the red loam soils of his vineyards at Mudgee and Orange in the Central Ranges of NSW, have given him good reward with his 2014 Weemala Merlot, a now-available and beautifully stylish wine with its palate of bright mixed berries and thyme, before a long dry finish.

And it makes for a particularly good drop to put on the table with pan fried veal chops and brown mushrooms, the more-so too with its price tag of $19.95.

Peter actually opted to leave 25% of his Merlot on the vines in 2014, the 75% that he did harvest being his best ripe and clean fruit, and the most richly flavoured, of nice texture and with excellent varietal characters.

For those who love to get their nose into the bottle or glass, there's rewarding results here too, the high-altitude Central Ranges always to the fore with wines that are nice and highly perfumed  – in the case of this 2014 Logan Weemala Merlot, of predominantly violets, black olives and truffles.

And if you may be wondering about the name Weemala, it's a local aboriginal word for 'good view,' which certainly Peter's vineyards enjoy out there in those lofty cool climate Central Ranges.





Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Logan Wines 2016 Sauvignon Blanc- NSW Central Ranges

THIS one makes for a
delightful match with pork
four-quarter chops and apple sauce.

A SAUVIGNON BLANC SO TRUE TO VARIETY

David Ellis

THE growing season for vintage 2016 in NSW's Central Ranges that local maker Logan Wines summed up as "unpredictably kind," gave the company both the biggest harvest in its 20 year history, and it's earliest.

After starting, in the words of owner and winemaker, Peter Logan "scarily hot and dry," the 2016 season soon gave way to much needed rain and mild temperatures, which all proved that even cold climate wine can benefit from a good dose of vitamin D and a wash-down with a healthy amount of water.

"As a result we squeezed in our biggest harvest ever in the shortest number of days," says Peter. "A few records were broken, and nearly a few backs in the process, but we're already reaping the rewards."

And he's particularly happy with the season's 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, a variety that loves sunshine, but with too much heat can ripen without developing flavour, and also lose the all-important acid that it needs. "But this one's proved absolutely true to variety, with complexity and round but fresh drinkability," Peter says.

With prominent grapefruit and guava flavours on a core of lime and minerality, it's a delightful match with pork four-quarter chops and apple sauce; well-priced at $23.



27 March 2017

T’Gallant Pink Moscato - Mornington Peninsula


ONE TO NOTE:  T'GALLANT that was founded amid the rolling hills of Main Ridge on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula in 1990, has a nice range of bubblies pitched at the growing market for quality sparklings priced around $15 to $20.

Their T'Gallant Pink Moscato is particularly interesting, being slightly sweeter than the others and thus of appeal to those with a sweeter tooth, or equally it will pair-up delightfully with sweetish desserts – and yet conversely with spicy Asian food.

And at $20 it comes in an attractive curve-shaped bottle that gives it added appeal as either a gift, or to take along as a thank you to a home-dinner host.

[] EQUALLY enjoyable with sweetish desserts, or spicy Asian dishes.

3 Apr 17

Apple Tree Flat 2015 Chardonnay - NSW Central Ranges


A GREAT CHARDONNAY'S PRICE SURPRISE

David Ellis

WE'VE readily confessed in the past to being unabashed lovers of Chardonnay, a drop we'll defend to the end against the chorusing of the "not another Chardonnay" crowd.

And when recently offered a sip of a just-released 2015 from Apple Tree Flat in the NSW Central Ranges, we told ourselves that here was yet another reason for our love of the variety… although we did have one query: how come one of such elegance and complexity could be sitting on our local liquor store shelves at just $13?

So we put our query to the 2015's winemaker Peter Logan, who confessed his own love of the variety, and added: "When handled with respect and allowed to show its true elegance, this one's proof as to just what can be achieved at any price point."

Peter also spoke of the 2015 vintage that he described as a joy in his NSW Central Ranges, the region enjoying a sunny and dry spring and summer, and mild temperatures throughout both seasons.  And all of which, he says, then continued into autumn, ensuring a harvest of richly flavoured grapes with good texture and varietal character, and thus this ultimately lovely chardonnay with its flavours of pear, lemon and nectarine before a long clean finish.

A really great drop with seafood party platters or a dinner of grilled salmon.

3 April 2017

[] THWART the 'Not Another Chardonnay' crowd with this great drop.

2016 Shaw Winemakers Selection Semillon Sauvignon Blanc - Canberra District


ONE TO NOTE:  GRAEME SHAW confesses to being a huge fan of his own vineyard's Semillon, and with almost 5ha growing at Murrumbateman in the Canberra district he's in fact got more of it than the rest of the district put together.

And after indulging the rewards of his 2015 Semillon that he says came out of his best vintage ever, he now says his 2016 has equalled that best-ever 2015. And to prove it he's released a 2016 Shaw Winemakers Selection Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, that with some 85% Semillon is basically all about that, and just how beautifully it has blended with the acidity and lighter body of the Sauvignon Blanc.

At $18 it's a great match with seafood, pork, creamy pasta dishes, chicken or turkey.

10 Apr 17

[] AT $18 a great match with seafood, pork, creamy pasta dishes, chicken or turkey.

Katnook Prodigy Shiraz 2012 - Coonawarra



A REALLY VERY SPECIAL OCCASION SHIRAZ

David Ellis

WHEN you are one of just 65 wines listed as "Excellent" in Langton's #VI Classification of Australian Wine – considered the ultimate guide to local fine wines – you certainly know you are doing something right.

And Katnook Coonawarra have definitely proven just how right they have done that something with their now-released Katnook Prodigy Shiraz 2012, a wine crafted from small parcels of grapes off low-cropping Coonawarra vineyards renowned for fruit of consistently outstanding depth of flavour, plus excellent colour and firm tannins.

Planted in the mid-1990s these vineyards are meticulously managed with hand-pruning, bunch-thinning and shoot-removal to result in this most remarkable Shiraz.

Winemaker Wayne Stehbens says he considers 2012 to have been one of Coonawarra's finest vintages, its grapes of wonderfully generous pure-fruit flavour, with underlying liquorice spice, finely-grained tannins and plenty of length of flavour.

With no change out of $100 a bottle, this is one to offer for very special occasion long and leisurely enjoyment with brioche, hard cheeses, paté and quince paste, or a main course of richly gamey venison that will play beautifully to the wine's flavours.

10 Apr 17


[] DEFINITELY rewarding from one of Coonawarra's finest vintages.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Farmhouse @ Blue Wren Winery Mudgee


Blue Wren, nestled amongst the vines and situated in one of New South Wales premium wine regions –Mudgee in Central West New South Wales- has recently launched its new boutique homestead accommodation, The Farmhouse @ Blue Wren.

Offering guests unique, country hospitality, coupled with a contemporary and luxurious style, The Farmhouse @ Blue Wren provides guests with an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Central West’s thriving wine region.

To celebrate the launch of the latest addition to the stunning boutique winery, The Farmhouse @ Blue Wren has just released special Autumn Accommodation Packages starting from only $170.00 per night.

Guests can stay overnight from Sunday in the one room suite for a reduced rate of $170.00 per night, with a complimentary Cellar Door experience in the Tasting Room @ Blue Wren. Or choose to stay at The Farmhouse two room studios for a reduced rate of $190.00 per night, also with a complimentary Cellar Door experience.

Or for a luxurious weekend getaway to NSW’s spectacular country side stay a Friday or Saturday night at The Farmhouse @ Blue Wren in the one room suite for a reduced rate of $280.00 per night, including a complimentary Cellar Door experience. Or choose to stay at the two room studios for a reduced rate of $300.00 per night, also including a complimentary Cellar Door experience.

Situated three-and-a-half hours’ drive from Sydney, Blue Wren is only a few minutes from the heart of the Mudgee Township - where guests can explore and discover the small town that offers plenty of old world charm and ambience. In recent years the region has grown into a thriving wine and food producing district - with award-winning wineries, first class restaurants and stunning views of the NSW country side.

Guests can take the opportunity to dine at the Chef’s Table @ Blue Wren, located at the winery’s recently refurbished intimate restaurant. They can dine as Head Chef and owner Kip Harris showcases first-hand, an innovative menu using only the finest produce matched with Blue Wren’s latest wine releases, ranging from the new Verscato, to Rose and even a White Port to end the night.

Limited to only seating 20 people, guests are invited to dine either at an intimate table in the restaurant, or positioned at an exclusive place at the Chef's Table. Here guests are open to discuss every part of their culinary journey with the Chef – making it a truly memorable and engaging dining experience.

Guests can then finish their night nestled at The Farmhouse offering a delightful mix of luxurious country accommodation, paired with stunning views of the vineyard from the five-bedroom boutique property. Each room offers an individual contemporary design, featuring king beds, quality linen, and deluxe bathroom amenities.

The Farmhouse @ Blue Wren is the perfect location for your next visit to Central West NSW. A showpiece in the region with its outstanding boutique accommodation and first class restaurant – the accommodation is ideal for corporate travellers and individuals, couples, groups and extended families & friends.

The Farmhouse @ Blue Wren Wines is quickly becoming the ‘must stay’ destination for those wanting to explore regional New South Wales.

For further information please visit: www.bluewrenwines.com.au

Monday, 27 March 2017

Wolf Blass 2014 Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz

REALLY rewarding pairing
with slow-roasted lamb shanks
under a star-anise and plum marinade.

ONE TO NOTE:  WOLF Blass Grey Label wines have a well-earned reputation for being rich and powerful, yet with a wonderful approachability from their time in bottle before release.

A 2014 Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz that's now available is just one such of these wines, good winter rains having set up the vines for a dry spring that was followed by a hot January, much needed rains in February, and then cooling temperatures that slowed ripening for a great accumulation of flavours and tannin.

At $45 this one makes for a really rewarding pairing with slow-roasted lamb shanks under a star-anise and plum marinade.


27 March 2017

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Canberra District Wine Week to draw crowds to Yass Valley in April


What's better than celebrating with wine on a weekend? Celebrating wine for a whole week! And right now, the wineries of the Yass Valley are getting ready to take part in the Canberra District Wine Week – a celebration of harvest time from 31 March to 9 April 2017.

"Canberra District Wine Week is the perfect time to visit Yass Valley as the region's wineries offer some great wine events, dinners, lunches, tastings, tours and more," said Sean Haylan, Economic Development & Tourism Manager at Yass Valley Council.

"It's also harvest time which really is a great time to come and celebrate the 2017 vintage with the winemakers of the region," Sean continued.



Canberra District Wine Week is a ten-day program of wine tastings, food matchings, tours and events which will be held across the entire Canberra district including Hall, Bungendore and of course Gundaroo, Murrumbateman and Yass in the Yass Valley.

"The events will culminate with the annual Harvest Festival over the weekend of 8 and 9 April.

"Some of Yass Valley's best wineries and restaurants are really worth checking out over Wine Week. Ewe and Me Restaurant in Yass is offering a degustation dinner on Saturday 1 April, and you can enjoy 'left field' wines and canapes at our famed Clementine Restaurant in Yass on Wednesday 5 April," continued Sean.



Other Yass Valley based events taking place as part of Canberra District Wine Week include a four sangiovese dinner at Four Winds Vineyard Cellar Door, and a 'Taste of the region long lunch' in Yass on Friday 7 April featuring local food and five vineyards.

"Yass has a range of quality accommodation on offer to suit all tastes and budgets, and several of the local operators will also be offering wine week packages, so get in quick to be a part of all the wine action," concluded Sean.

For more information on Yass Valley including accommodation options, visit www.yassvalley.com.au For more information on Canberra District Wine Week and associated events visit www.canberrawines.com.au



Monday, 30 January 2017

Toolangi 2016 Rose - Yarra Valley


ONE TO NOTE:  DOWN in Victoria's Yarra Valley, Garry and Julie Hounsell at Toolangi Vineyards also grow their own premium fruit, and have their wines made for them – in their case by a number of makers who're supremoes in individual varietals.

It's a philosophy that rewards all from grower to consumer as it results in wines of wonderfully unique and distinctive personality. One such that's just been released is their Toolangi 2016 Rosé made from Shiraz grapes off their Dixons Creek vineyard, and crafted for them by Dominique Portet Winery who are wizards with Shiraz fruit.

This is a fantastically quaffable drop when served cold out of the fridge on a warm summer's day: fresh, red berry fruits are to the fore, backed with savoury notes and lemon zest, a hint of spice and zippy acidity. At $28 great on its own, or equally at home with everything from quiche to curries, seafood to sandwiches and wraps.


[] SUMMER quaffer on its own or with everything from quiche to curries, seafood to sandwiches and wraps.

 

Topper’s Mountain 2015 Barrel Aged Gewurztraminer


SMASH-HIT GEWURZ THAT'S TOPPER'S

David Ellis

THE NSW New England is not a wine region we hear a lot about, yet like so many of our other younger, smaller and sometimes off the beaten track hideaways, its one that's full of great surprises for the wine adventurer.

And amongst its many gems is a winery called Topper's Mountain at Tingha near Armidale on the New England Tablelands, one that owners Mark and Stephanie Kirby never cease to surprise with the quality of the grapes they grow in this high elevation (900 metres) cool climate region, and the resultant wines that are made for them by celebrated contract maker Mike Hayes.

Their 2015 Barrel Aged Gewurztraminer is one such drop, an absolutely top-notch Gewurz whose aromatics are all about clouds of Turkish delight, stone fruits, a little honey, marzipan and musk, and which couple on a creamy, fruit-laden palate that's also got gorgeous hints of spice, oaky tannin, acidity and has a lovely crispy finish.

This is a drop that's worth every cent of its $35 price tag, and you could imagine was custom-built to go on the table with Thai and similar Asian temptations.


[] ONE you would think was custom-built to go on the table with Thai and similar Asian temptations.

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