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

Wolf Blass 2014 Grey Label McLaren Vale Shiraz

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.

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

27 March 2017

Logan Wines 2016 Sauvignon Blanc- NSW Central Ranges


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.

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

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


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


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.


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