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

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