Port Tasting @ Cockburn Winery – Porto, Portugal

While I was in Portugal with my family over the Christmas Break at the start of the year we stopped in at Cockburn’s Winery in Porto for a spot of port tasting and a winery tour before we left the city. The winery is located at the top of a hill that is quite steep – but one well worth walking back along to see some stunning views of the city on the other side of the river as you work your way back to the bridge.

The tour price included a tasting and was only a few Euros per person. We began with a guided tour of their winery and cellar facilities, followed by a short video on the winery and the family that run it before ending with a tasting of their Ruby and Tawny ports. It was quite impressive to see so many tanks and barrels filled with port, especially for someone like me who had never really given port the time of day prior to my trip to Porto. I have to say after my time in Porto I was wrong about port and it definitely has a time and place to be enjoyed along with all other wines!

Both ports were delicious. I had a slight preference for the Ruby due to it begin the lighter of the two however I am sure that was biased by my novice palate being that this was my first port tasting. I would happily drink either one again with some cheese and perhaps even as a spritzer on a hot summers day by the Duoro River should I ever return to Porto, something I do hope will happen again in my lifetime as it was a wonderful city to visit. Should you want read more about my time in Porto you can do so at my travel blog EuropeTravelandTeach. I would happily recommend this winery as a stop while in Porto.

Address: R. Serpa Pinto 346, 4400-307 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Wine(s) Of the Week: Yet Another Collective Blog Post (during prac)

Woody Nook 2011, Late Harvest Semillon, Margaret River, Western Australia.

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I raided my wine collection while on prac and discovered this bottle towards the back of my collection. I figured it needed to be opened sooner than later from the date and it was a wine, which was getting old and dull. It’s a shame as when I purchased this wine at the cellar door a summer ago it was a really nice wine from memory. Hints of the usual late harvest semillon flavours but it was really past it’s drinking age.

Chandon 2008, Barrel Selection Shiraz, Yarra Valley, Victoria.

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This was a bottle that was brought back from my trip in the Yarra Valley as a gift. While I was down south it was opened and this wine was as good as I remembered it being when I sampled it back in January in the Yarra Valley. Lots of blackcurrant, plums and toasty spicy oak flavours. A beautiful wine!

Clairault, 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia

While I was down south for a weekend I went to Clairault winery to have lunch at their café. To go with lunch we opted to share a bottle of the 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had lots of luscious berries, with a hint of oak and chocolate on the palate and was a balanced and very easy to drink wine.

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Lunch at the Clairault Café.

We shared the Gourmet Platter and a serving of bread between the three of us and two of us also opting to have the soup as well (pumpkin with a sliver of brie), see the picture above. The food was all well presented, delicious and made for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon of catching up. I will be back for sure in the summer when I can borrow a picnic blanket from them and buy a hamper to eat out in their garden.

Clairault Estate on Urbanspoon

Plantagenet 2010 Hazard Hill Shiraz, Mount Barker, Western Australia.

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I had to make a rushed decision on a bottle of wine for the group while dining at Junction Grill at Crown Casino. I noticed Plantagenet’s Hazard Hill 2010 Shiraz on the wine list and decided to play it safe with a winery I trusted. The wine has luscious fleshy fruit and a hint of cherries on the palate and had a very soft, warm finish. I was very impressed and look forward to trying more wines from Plantagenet.

Dinner at Junction Grill

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We ended up dining at Junction Grill for dinner over the weekend to celebrate a friends birthday as the Merrywell had a 3 hour waitlist and we were not prepared to wait around for dinner for that long. We ended up wandering past Junction Grill and saw a short and quickly moving line and decided to have dinner there.

For dinner I had the gnocchi from their menu. It was alright, nothing spectacular with regards to the gnocchi and the spinach had a funky taste, which resulted in most of it ended up on the side of my plate. Those also dining with me mainly ordered the pizzas or the steak sandwiches and those were all raved about so I would recommend sticking to those if you choose to dine here.

Junction Grill on Urbanspoon

Cherry Bomb cocktail at South Street Ale House.

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Above is the Cherry Bomb cocktail I had at the South Street Ale House. The cocktail included VOK Parfait Amour Liquer, VOK Cherry Brandy Liquer and Lemonade. It was quite a nice cocktail but a little on the sweeter side of things.

Cocktails at Midnight Fox  

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At the end of prac I went out with BF to celebrate. I decided to finally check out the new small bar in Melville called Midnight Fox which is run by the owners of Blend Cafe which is located next door.

Lady Peaches ($12)

Bottom Cocktail in the image above. The cocktail contained peach liqueur, bubbles and a sugar cube. This was a great cocktail to start the celebration with, not overly sweet and a easy cocktail to sit back, relax and sip on.

Apple and Eve Cocktail ($17)

Top cocktail in the image above. The cocktail contained absolut vodka, cointreau, fresh apple and lime, finished with cinnamon sugar and baron von moustache spiced apple bitters.​ I went to the bar and asked to be surprised, however I’m not a big fan of gin based cocktails and this is what they chose for me. I really enjoyed this cocktail also.

Dinner at Midnight Fox/Blend Cafe

Pumpkachicken pizza ($20) consists of tomato base, mozzarella, free range chicken, pumpkin, pepperoni and onion.​​ I decided to give this pizza a try as I love having pumpkin on a pizza. BF got our traditional Little India pizza ($19.5) consisting of tomato base, mozzarella, tandoori chicken, red onion, and chilli, finished with a cucumber and mint raita. I did like the pumpkin on the pizza however it was significantly bland in comparison to the Little India and could not really compete with it.

Overall BF and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Midnight Fox and we will be back for sure to enjoy the pizzas from Blend along with some well made cocktails in a intimate and cosy location.

Blend Cafe on Urbanspoon
Midnight Fox on Urbanspoon

Curious Peach Cocktail Jug ($35 for a 1/2L jug)

The cocktail contained appleton Rum, peach liqueur, earl grey tea and lemon juice. It was a really nice refreshing cocktail to have on a warm Sunday afternoon when BF and I caught up with some good friends. The flavours in the cocktail were well balanced and nicely done. Overall I’m still loving the cocktails at the Merrywell!

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Lunch at the Merrywell

For my main I had the Grilled Tuna Salad ($24), consisting of garden vegetables, roasted capsicum aioli and devil egg from the share plate menu. I really enjoyed this dish as a non-shared plate as it was a good sized meal for lunch to allow me room for desert also. The flavours of the aioli and vegetables was well done also and the tuna was nicely cooked. For desert we ordered the Key Lime Cheesecake and the Chocolate brownie (both $9). both were very nice however the brownie is a very rich dish and I ordered and finished this one off, feeling very full by the end of it.

Overall it was a very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the crowds were not as bad as I have seen at dinner time. We managed to grab a table outside to enjoy the nice weather and it was very pleasant.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

Hazlenut Milkshake at San Churro

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I went out for a churro and milkshake fix at the end of my prac. I had my usual white chocolate dipping sauce with my churros and as we were having a warm summers day I chose to try their hazelnut milkshake which was delicious! This is a the perfect place to visit in Perth if you are in need of a chocolate fix!

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Chocolateria San Churro Fremantle on Urbanspoon

Cocktail at the Lounge Bar at Crown Casino

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Lastly is a cocktail (~$19) that I had at the Lobby Lounge at the Crown Casino when I went there to celebrate a friends birthday. I cannot remember what was in it exactly but it was a similar cocktail to the Lady Peach from Midnight fox with a sparkling wine base, sugar and then a liqueur (from memory this cocktail used chambord). I quite enjoyed the cocktail as well as the lobby lounge.

Denkmark Wineries (Singlefile and Harewood)

Hi everyone,

BF and I went down south to Albany for a few days and while we were there I managed to stop in at two wineries between Albany and Denmark. I had planned to visit a few more wineries around Albany and Mt Barker however I ended up getting sick towards the end of the trip and have spent the week since recovering. BF and I adored the region however! The scenery of the region is quite unlike that of Margaret River. The wineries too are not as well accessible as Margaret River, which has spent a significant amount of time, money and effort to create itself as the wine-seekers destination when heading south of Perth.

Harewood

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2012 Porongurup Riesling ($21).

Floral, citrus and passionfruit nose with green apple and passionfruit on the palate of this wine is finished off by a nice mineral finish. I did like this wine and would happily have it again!

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2011 Chardonnay ($34).

I quite liked this Chardonnay. Grapefruit, stone fruit and a nice touch of vanilla from it’s time on oak came through on the palate. Would have again.

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2011 Pinot Noir ($21).

A much younger and less complex Pinot Noir to the reserve. Nice, but didn’t wow me.

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2010 Reserve Pinot Noir ($45).

I really liked this wine but was hanging out to try more from Mount Barker before picking up some bottles to bring back. A really nice wine, a little more expensive that what I would have liked to paid for a Pinot I liked for the region but I would be happy to splurge for this one from time to time. Lots of dark berries, dried fruits and rich chocolate to be found in this wine.

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2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($34).

Blackcurrant, plums and vanilla on the palate and nose of this wine had me quite excited! It was a nice delicate wine that could be drunk now, however I personally feel it would be superb with a few more years in the bottle.

Singlefile

I featured Singlefile winery in a Halliday Day post last, which can be found here.

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NV Run Free Serendipity Curvée ($26).

Quite a nice sparkling. Grapes sourced from Pemberton region. Citrus on the nose and palate with the palate having a nice texture and crisp finish. Would have again.

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2012 Pemberton Fume Blanc ($30).

This wine is a testament to how my palate has changed since starting this blog! I had the opportunity to try this wine back in November of last year at the WA Boutique Wine Show and was not overly impressed with the wine, this time around I ended up walking away with a bottle of it to take home with me. This oaked Sauvignon Blanc had a beautiful texture and it really enhanced the grassy and spicy flavours and aromas in the wine.

Reserve Chardonnay.

2012 Reserve Chardonnay ($45).

A delightful wine with stone fruit, a hint of citrus and a good creamy nuttiness across the nose and palate of this wine. This wine was very nice and getting closer to a Chardonnay that I feel I would enjoy (one with a good amount of oak). I contemplated picking up a bottle of this wine but in the end decided against it as the backseat of the car was beginning to look like a wine cellar. Would happily try this wine again!

Rose.

2012 Run Free La vie en Rosé ($20).

Shiraz and Grenache blended Rosé. Grapes sourced from Porongurup region. Lovely strawberry, herb and vanilla nose to the wine. Palate did not disappoint with a refreshing and clean finish. Picked up a bottle of this to take home.

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2012 Pemberton Pinot Noir ($30).

This Pinot Noir was nice, but it did not ‘blow my socks off’ as I was hoping for a Pinot Noir to do during my time in the region. Lots of cherries, other berries and spiciness on the nose and palate. Good texture and palate weight. Overall not a bad wine and would try again.

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2010 Mount Barker Syrah ($37).

A medium bodied Shiraz with delicate berry flavour on the palate and a hint of pepperiness. This is a Shiraz that I wouldn’t mind drinking and I ended up picking a bottle of this up as a gift.

Barossa Shiraz.

2010 Barossa Shiraz.

This Shiraz was full bodied and packed a punch. It was nice to try this wine however it was not a style of wine that I would quickly go back to, I must admit that Shiraz is not a favourite varietal of mine.

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: Break (Albany)

Hi everyone,

This past week I spent most of the week in Albany. Albany is a town located about a 4 and a half hour drive south of Perth, along the southern coast of Western Australia. Albany is located in a wine region called the Great Southern and is one with the best climate for producing good Pinot Noir’s and Rieslings in Western Australia. I did manage to make it to two wineries to sample their wines, however I fell sick towards the end of the trip and had to miss out on visiting the wineries surrounding nearby Mount Barker. I had been looking forward to visiting Plantagenet and Galafrey’s in particular near Mount Barker, I guess I will need to head back to the region again soon when I am rested and have another break from university!

BF and I drove around the city centre of Albany and I was quick to spot the Dan Murphey’s and was curious to see what they stocked, being the competition for my workplace. I quickly discovered their international section and ended up finding a Greek wine that caught my eye, seeing my heritage is Greek I felt a little compelled to give this wine a try. I was a little unsure of the Greek wine (as it was only $10) so I purchased a back-up Riesling to get myself in the mood for the wines of the region we were staying in.

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This Greek wine introduced me to two new grape varietals, Roditis and Savatiano. This is a traditional greek wine made by Tsantali using pine resin to the fermenting must to achieve a wine similar to that of old fermentation methods. The wine had an aroma which drew me in and interested me but the palate of the wine was one which I was not overly keen about. I think this wine needed to be paired with seafood or perhaps some greek inspired dishes for the palate of the wine to have something to compliment and pair with. For the price of this wine I cannot complain however I do not think I would repurchase it again, rather I would prefer to try something new.

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I adore Rieslings, I think they were the first white wine that I ever fell in love with. Being in the Great Southern wine region I was excited to be in a region which had the best climate in Western Australia for Rieslings and thought it would be fun to have a 2011 Austrian Riesling form Domäne Wachau to compare with. I opened this wine towards the end of the trip as I was beginning to get sick and I feel that this wine suffered due to that. I quite enjoyed the luscious fleshy fruit on the palate and the acidic finish of the wine. This Riesling did not let me down even when I could not fully appreciate the wine and I would happily repurchase this wine again!

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I will post up the wines that I tasted at these wineries in a separate blog. I did however walk away with a few bottles of wines for gifts and for myself to enjoy.

Until next time!

January Favourites

Hi everyone,

The blog has been going for just over 3 weeks and it has been such a blast and also introduced me to some wonderful people and led me to learn so many new things. This month also saw me hit the 100 post mark.

1. Favourite wine of the month?

This is a tough one especially after spending some time in the Yarra Valley. I was able to narrow it down to my top 3 wines of the month all from my time in the Yarra Valley. I would have loved to include a Curvee Riche from Domaine Chandon, however the second bottle I had of it this month in Perth was disappointing and quite bitter in comparison to the bottle I had over in Melbourne.

In no particular order:

1. Yerling Station, Yarra Valley, 2004, YarraBank, Late Disgorged Sparkling.

2. De Bortolli, Yarra Valley, NV Este Sparkling.

3. De Bortolli, Yarra Valley, 2012, Bellariva Moscato del Re.

2. What has been the best value wine of the month?

2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz from Domaine Chandon in Melbourne – review can be found here.

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3. What has been added to my to-try wine list?

The rest of the wines at Yerling Station in the Yarra Valley.

4. What restaurants do I want to return to?

The Mailing room in Melbourne to try their lunch and dinner menus along with hopefully a tour of their roasting room.

5. What was my favourite meal this month?

Buffet at Melba Restaurant in Melbourne – review linked here.

6. Upcoming events for next month?

FeBREWary

Twilight markets

Toast to the Coast

Valley and Vines festival

Tropfest Screening at Madfish Winery

Spanish Sundowner at Cheese Barrel

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7. Favourite wine packaging?

La Boheme.

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8. Best service?

Melba restaurant – pasta station.

9. Restaurant I am most keen to try next month?

Recently opened Midnight Fox in Melville.

10. Wine Century Challenge.

Total: 29 varietals.

Favourite = Gavi (Tried at Lamonts Wine Store in Cottesloe)

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 13 – De Bortoli

Hi everyone,

This week’s Halliday Day post will be on the third winery I visited in the Yarra Valley while on holiday over there a few weeks ago. De Bortoli has vineyards across eastern Australia including the Yarra Valley (solid 5 star winery for James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion) and the Hunter Valley (4 star winery) , both of which I have visited, as well as in the King Valley (reviewed by James Halliday with the Yarra Valley winery) and Riverina (another 5 star solid winery), which I have not yet had the chance to visit.

While in the Yarra Valley earlier this year I had the chance to visit the cellar door at De Bortoli and sample some of their wines. My notes on the winery and what I sampled while I was there can be found in this blog post.

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Many people know the Name De Bortoli due to it’s infamous Nobel One desert wine, which is a delicious wine that needs to be tried at least once in everyone’s lives. I had the chance to sample this wine while attending the Wine Essentals Course run by the Wine Association of Western Australia last year and my notes on it can be found in this blog post.

De Bortoli is noted by Halliday to give good value for money wines with consistent quality levels across it’s lines from the cheaper lower quality wine label under it’s brand to it’s higher quality labels. The Yarra Valley Winery focuses on producing sustainable wines which reflect the characteristics of the region. Below is a short video on the Winery’s sustainability views and changes it has made.

De Bortolli has a variety of brands that it produces wine under. Including Windy Peak, La Boheme, Gulf Station, Sacred Hill to name a few common ones along with estate listed wines. I have across the ranges not yet found a wine of theirs which I am disappointed with.

Feel free to leave a common below on your favourite De Bortoli wines/labels that I need to try or any  wines of their that you have tried and remembered (for good or bad reasons).

Until next time!

Yarra Valley, 2013

Hi everyone,

While I was in Melbourne last week I was granted half a day in the Yarra Valley to unleash the wine lover in me. Unfortunately this half-day was the same day that I had hopped off the plane after only 2 hours sleep so in the end I was quite exhausted after the few wineries I got to. I ended up sticking to the three major wineries in the region that were wanted to be seen by myself and my travelling companions as well as a cidery and chocolate/ice-creamery which caught our attention as we drove throughout the region.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

We began our day with breakfast at a bakery in Yarra Glen. I had a definitely homemade Chicken Pastie, which while being stuffed full or chicken, feta, spinach and nuts was too rich for my stomach to handle so early in the morning.

Chicken Pastie.

Chicken Pastie.

De Bortoli

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We arrived at De Bortoli and were greeted by their resident dogs Millie and Harry. Before entering the cellar door the same time as a tour bus. While the ladies running the cellar door were busy dealing with two large groups they still made time to make me feel more than welcome at the cellar door as I tasted my way through a selection of their wines. We ended up leaving with 3 wines some for our stay in Melbourne and some to take home back to Perth.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Este Sparkling ($34)

Sparkling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend made from cool climate grapes in the traditional method. This wine had a nutty and creamy palate and was a delicious wine. We were quite intent on picking up a bottle of this before we remembered that we would be heading to Chandon later that day, After having visited Chandon this still wasn’t a bad drop in my opinion.

La Boheme Act 3 – Pinot Gris and Friends 2011  ($20)

Pinot Gris with a “splash” of Riesling and Gewürztraminer. This wine was zesty, fresh and light on the palate with a hint of minerality on the nose. For not being a fan of Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer I was a fan of this wine.

Yarra Valley Sauvignon 2010  ($20)

Oaked (french) Sauvignon Blanc, from which I felt like I could taste a hint of lychee on the palate. The oak made for a different and unusual wine. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it but

Yarra Valley Off-Dry Riesling 2011  ($20)

Still quite a dry Riesling, no hint of lychee as the tasting notes implied. Refreshing wine.

La Boheme Act 2 Pinot Noir Rose 2011  ($20)

Musky, fruity nose. Light palate which had and acidic and dry finish. Lacking palate which disappointed me.

Bellariva Moscato del Re 2012  ($18)

Delightful drink with a low 5.5% alcoholic content. Delicious, musky sherbet nose paired with tropical fruit and a refreshing finish which makes it possible to have a glass or two and now feel slickly after it. We ended up taking a bottle of this pack to Perth and it was enjoyed all round.

Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2011  ($32)

Deemed a “bonza vintage” in the tasting notes. Earthy Pinot Noir with a fantastic colour in the glass. For my first Yarra Valley Pinot Noir of the day, it did well.

La Boheme Act 4 Syrah Gamay 2011  ($20)

Presently the style being served in “the cool bars of Paris”. The wine was different to anything I had tried before, light bodied but delicious. This was the bottle of wine that I selected to bring back to Perth.

Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010  ($28)

This wine with balanced oak but still showing that it was young, light bodied wine but it showed some promise. Give it a few more years.

Yarra Valley Chocolatier

I wandered around this place looking more with my eyes than my stomach but I did have some of their ice-cream and sorbet curtosy of my mum and cousin who were quite in awe of their VERY generous servings!

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Rocky Road and *.

Rocky Road and Cookie Dough.

While wandering around the store I came across some novel chocolate carrying devices as well as some interesting sweets that I wished would have survived my stay in Melbourne and the flight home so I could have purchased them!

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Domaine Chandon

This winery offered guided and unguided tours of their winery along with tastings of a selection of their wines. We opted to do the self guided tour and got a chance to glimpse at their crushing, cellaring and cellaring rooms.

Old press on display.

Old press on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Cellaring room.

Cellaring room.

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Riddling process.

After the self guided tour I was most keen to sample the wines on offer. To my surprise after having worked in a bottle shop for the past two years I learnt that Chandon produces still wines as well as sparkling wines, and that their standards are quite high. We tasted our way through the wines on offer and the highlights for myself was the Curvee Riche, 2009 Vintage Brut and the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz (which we were offered as a one off sample as we had quite enjoyed their shiraz on the tasting menu and was considering it for a gift, however the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz for $18 more was well worth the money. Big thank you to the gentleman who walked us through the tasting for giving us the opportunity to taste this wine, I know it will be well enjoyed when it makes it to its intended owner!)

2009 Vintage Brut

This was a good sparkling wine. Smooth on the palate, with a dry finish. Definitely will be recommending this wine at work from now on havint tried it, it exceeds the NV Brut, which I have tried in the past.

NV Curvee Riche

The guy who took us through the tasting said that this one was a favourite of his and it is clear to see why. For those who love a sweeter sparkling without going to a Sparkling Moscato should keep an eye out for this one. It was a tough decision deciding between a bottle of this and the 2009 Vintage to take with us, in the end we decided upon the Curvee Riche.

2008 Vintage Brut Rose

Personally could not stand up to the 2008 Vintage Brut and

NV Sparkling Pinot Shiraz

This wine was interesting to try, having only tried a few sparkling red wines but didn’t impress me the way I hoped it would.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Crisp and vibrant youthful wine, which was the favourite for the white wine drinker in the group. I myself was also quite impressed with this wine.

2012 Pinot Noir Rose

Average on the palate and nose for me personally, there was strawberries and cream on the nose and palate however I felt that it did not follow pack the punch that I look for in a Rose.

2011 Pinot Noir

Luscious berries on the palate are balanced out by the wine’s tannins. Not a bad wine but it could not compare to Pinot Noir’s from Yerling Station.

2010 Heathcote Shiraz

Not a bad Shiraz for those that I have tried. Berries and spice on the palate with it’s youth also still showing. Not a bad wine but could still do with a few more years in the bottle.

2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz

This was a delightful wine that you could taste the love that had gone into it. Fruit driven with oak that was well integrated into the wine. You could note pepper and luscious berries on the palate but it was not overly peppery, which gave it extra brownie points in my opinion!

For anyone looking for a good cellar door experience, Chandon did it well and I was very impressed by their knowledge as well as charisma with us. The wines as well are delightful! I must however make time for a cheese platter and a glass of bubbles at Chandon, next time I am in the Yarra Valley.

Punt Road Cidery

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We made a quick stop here on the way to Yerling Station to try their ciders. The had an apple and pear varietal which they had been producing since 2008 when they came to the realisation that wine production occurs for 3 months of the year and that he stainless steel tanks that would have otherwise remained idle for the remaining 9 could be used for cider.

The apple cider was crisp and refreshing however I was slightly more partial to the pear cider, which had a hint of sweetness about it. Their cider can be found in bars, shops and on tap in various locations in Perth, including Subiaco Hotel and selected Liquor Barons across the city.

Yering Station

Last stop of the day as my lack of sleep and jet lag was catching up with my travel companions and I was at Yering Station. Here I went through and did a brief sampling of their extensive wine list.

2008 Yarrabank Curvee

This wine was quite average for the sparkling wines I had tried while in the Yarra Valley. Not a bad wine but not one that impressed me.

2004 Yarrabank, Late Disgorged

It was tough to not buy a bottle of the wine also. It was a delightful bubbly which I do hope to find in Perth. The sparkling wine’s palate and bouquet were dominated by fresh ripe fruit and was a delight to drink.

2010 Yering ‘Village’ Pinot Noir

This is a wine more suited for those who like light bodied reds or are not even big fans of red wine. The wine’s palate reminded me of a Rose with lighter summer berries on the palate and nose. Not a bad wine and different to the other Pinot Noir’s I have tried from the Yarra Valley.

2010 Yering Station Pinot Noir

I preferred this to their Village Pinot Noir as there was more body and it was a more ‘earthier’ wine in comparison. Dark berries on the palate in comparison. Loved this wine, I will have to keep an eye out for this one in bottle shops in Perth!

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Sangiovese

This was the second bottle of wine I brought back with me from the Yarra Valley. For my first time trying Sangiovese on it’s own, I was impressed. The wine bad body and flavour and while it can be drunk now I do hope to cellar it for a while before opening it.

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Nebbiolo

My first time trying the Nebbiolo grape. It was quite average and not for me personally. Not enough luscious berry flavours on the palate to balance out the harshness of the tannins in the wine. It did however make for another notch towards my Wine Century Challenge.

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 10 – Hay Shed Hill Wines

Hi everyone,

Hay Shed Hill Winery is located in Margaret River near the Chocolate Factory. Rated a solid 5 starts by James Halliday, and owned by wine maker Michael Kerrigan since 2006 (in a co-ownership with West Cape Howe Wines) who previously worked for Howard Park Winery.

Hay Shed Hill Winery has 3 different labels. Their basic range is called Pitchfork and their Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Merlot is available at Liquorland but the range also includes a Rose, Chardonnay, Late Harvest White, and Shiraz. Their Premium line consists of a ‘Block Series’ which consists of ‘Block 1’ Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, ‘Block 6’ Chardonnay, ‘Block 2’ Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘Block 8’ Cabernet Franc and ‘Block 10’ Petit Verdot. The last label is one which is a collaboration with West Cape Howe wine maker Gavin Berry which consists of a Great Southern Riesling and a Cabernet Sauvignon which is a combination of Margaret River and Great Southern grapes.

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I’ve had a meal at the onsite cafe at Hay Shed Hill Winery last summer and it made for such a relaxing afternoon! I ended up sharing their venison chorizo pizza, 4 cheeses pizza, beer batter chips, and a green salad with two others along with a bottle of Kerrigan and Berry’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was this meal which made me end up leaving Hay Shed Hill Wines with a box of wines including some of the 2008 Kerrigan and Berry Cabernet Sauvignon, which I have unfortunately already consumed.

I also had the chance while at the cafe to visit their cellar door and this winery was the first time I was exposed to some uncommon grape varietals. I sampled Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc for the first time. The staff who ran the cellar door at this time were inviting and friendly to talk to, it was a pleasure to have met them.

If you’re in the area I highly recommend this winery not only for their wines but also for their uncomplicated but delicious food!

Until next time!

Swan Valley

Hi everyone,

With the overseas family in town over the weekend that just passed and we decided to take them to the Swan Valley so we could all explore it for the first time together. We only had a few hours in the Swan Valley and many of our visitors wanted to see the Woodbridge House so we ended up only going to two wineries and a nougat factory as my family has a long line of nougat lovers, and then ending our Swan Valley dash a quick late lunch at the restaurant by Woodbridge House.

1st Stop: Houghton’s.

Our first stop was at Houghton’s, as it is one of the most well known Swan Valley wineries and therefore one to show the international tourists. The grounds were spectacular and I will have to return in the future for a picnic there.

Wisdom Sparkling.

Wisdom Sparkling.

At Houghton’s they had a tasting flight of three white wines and three red wines for $3. In the flight we tasted:

Wisdom Pemberton Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay

2012 Wisdom Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc

2009 Wisdom Pemberton Wooded Chardonnay

2010 175th Anniversary Limited Edition Red Blend

2010 Wisdom Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon

2007 C.W. Ferguson Cabernet Franc

Red's from tasting flight at Houghton's.

Red’s from tasting flight at Houghton’s.

I didn’t mind the white wines beside’s the Chardonnay, for some reason it did not impress nor appeal to me. The red were quite nice, they showed potential but were still quite young.

I left Houghton’s with a hamper of wines from Moondah Brook as we were not allowed to sample their wines and their Rose looked quite tantalising – we ended up having the Rose with dinner that night and it was a great wine for the summer! A full review of the Rose will be in Sunday’s post.

Moondah Brook Hamper.

Moondah Brook Hamper.

2nd Stop: Mondo Nougat.

We left Houghton’s and headed for Mondo for a quick stop here for some gelato and nougat for the rest of the day as well as a few pieces for them to take back home with them. The Nougat here is gluten and dairy free which is a big plus if you or any one you know who loves nougat has these alleges! Also in the shop was the cute Mini Cooper pictures below, not sure if I could drive something like this as it would continually make me hungry!

Mondo Mini Cooper.

Mondo Mini Cooper.

3rd Stop: Cheese Barrel and Olive Farm Wines

We ended up deciding that the Olive Farm would be our last stop before lunch as we heard it had the Cheese Barrel next door and being greeks anything with ‘olive’ in the titled would gamer our attention! The driveway to the Cheese Barrel and the cellar door for Olive Farm Wines was straight through the middle of the vines and with the blue skies that we had this past weekend it was photo-op worth.

Arriving at Olive Farm Wines and Cheese Barrel - wonderful driveway!

Arriving at Olive Farm Wines and Cheese Barrel – wonderful driveway!

Cheese Barrel Sign.

Cheese Barrel Sign.

Cute and unique seating at the cheese Barrel.

Cute and unique seating at the cheese Barrel.

We didn’t stay too long at the Cheese Barrel but we did grab a few different cheeses of which I have had some and they were interesting, the European cheeses were a lot stronger than the Australian cheeses I have tried in the past. Definitely will be visiting this place again when I head up to the Swan valley as the wine barrel tables were adorable and the view from the elevated location of the cheese barrel over the back of the property made for a relaxing location for a cheesy Sunday lunch.

Sign for Olive Farm Wines.

Sign for Olive Farm Wines.

After checking out the Cheese Barrel we walked over to the cellar door for the Olive Farm Winery and found the counter at the cellar door packed with people doing tastings – a good sign when you know nothing about the winery besides it being the first winery planted in the region.

At the cellar door I sampled:

Olivine Brut

2011 Dry Verdelho

2012 Chenin Blanc

2012 Viognier

2012 Rose (sweetish)

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

2003 Grenache Shiraz

2007 Shiraz

Liqueur Muscat

Liqueur Verdelho

Stari (fortified)

My favourites from what I tasted was the dry Verdelho, Viognier, Rose, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Shiraz and all the Liqueurs were delightful also. I ended up leaving with a bottle of the Rose, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon and mum also bough a bottle of the Liquer Verdelho and we were recommended to try it over a quality vanilla ice-cream and this is something I am dying to try after hearing of it!

I will be back to try the rest of their wines for sure! And the two guys who were flat out at the counter of the cellar door were a delight to talk to and did a good job of looking after all the people who wanted to try their wines. Also the olives they had for tasting while they got back to you were delicious and well worth a visit just for their home-made marinade!

4th Stop: Woodbridge House and Riverside Restaurant

The portions were more than generous at the Riverside Restaurant. And the flavour combinations were interesting and in the case of the Spinach Salad they were delightful! The sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing on the salad that accompanied my Frittata was not the right dressing for my liking but other than that I could not fault the food. The service from both the owner and her staff at the restaurant was friendly and they went over and above what was needed to look after us even though we came in right at the end of their lunch service. I highly recommend the staff and food at Riverside!

Sweet Potato Frittata with Smoked Salmon.

Sweet Potato Frittata with Smoked Salmon.

Tasting plate of the day.

Tasting plate of the day.

Spinach Salad.

Spinach Salad.

This was a wonderful introduction to the region and I will be back checking out the wineries over this summer for sure!

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 9 – Peel Estate Winery.

Hi everyone,

As part of my Wine Essentials Class with the Wine Education Centre of WA we had the chance to be given a tour of Peel Estate Winery in Baldivis by its owner and senior winemaker Will Nairn. Peel Winery is located in the Peel wine region, which is located at the southern end of Perth; situated roughly between Rockingham and 50km south of Mandurah and runs from the coast to the Darling Scarp.

James Halliday rated the winery 4 stars in the 2012 Australian Wine Companion, and commends them on their “remarkably consistent track record”. Peel Estate is known for it’s unique ‘wooded-Chenin’ which Halliday rates as the best wooded-Chenin in Australia and compares it to that of the Loire Valley in France.

We were taken by Will Nairn for a tour of his vineyard and winery and I managed to grab a few half-decent pictures along the way. Below are some pictures I took while we were given a tour of the winery. Will spent about an hour discussing with us the formation of the winery and where he had sourced the grapes cuttings from, how they had developed and how he had altered the vision of the winery along with their successes and failures and his views on oak and other wine making methods and advances. Climate change was of great importance to Will as it is impacting many aspects of the Wine Industry, regarding irrigation, harvest and the success of certain grape varietals.

Vines.

Mature Grape Vines.

Recently grafted grape vine.

Recently grafted grape vine.

Newly grafted section of the vineyard along with most of our teacher in the wine class.

Newly grafted section of the vineyard along with most of our wine educator from the Wine Education Centre.

This tour was possibly the highlight of the Wine Essential Course that I have been completing this past month. It was so interesting and exciting to hear from a man who has been in the industry for years as well as to see him in his own environment, that of his winery and vineyard.

Review of wines sampled:

2011 Verdehlo: dry, crisp, fresh, and citrus on the nose. The palate was dominated by apple, floral, and zestyness from the citrus notes in the wine. The Verdelho had been left on lees for a bit which made it different to other Verdelho’s I have tried, but still overall one that I would happily have again.

2012 Oaked Chardonnay: On the nose you could note floral, fruity and a hint of butteriness from the oak. The acid was balanced on the palate and the time on oak led to it having a good texture as well as giving the wine a toasty flavour along with citrus and spiciness from the fruit.

2011 Wood-matured Chenin Blanc: this wine was different to any Chenin I have tried in the past, while at first it seemed unfamiliar and therefore slightly odd tasting I warmed up to it in the end. On the nose the wine was crisp but still nutty and toasty thanks to the time on oak (between 12-18 months for the Chenin). On the palate the wine was fruity, rich, dry and a hint of honey. This is a wine which would do best I believe with food.

2012 Rose: Their rose is a blend consisting of mainly Cabernet Franc with some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon also. The wine began with strawberries and cream on the nose and was fruity and smooth on the palate. The wine began sweet on the tip of the mouth it’s overall finish was medium-dry. I was a fan of this and think I have have preferred it to the wine’s I sampled at the Rose Revolution earlier.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: the bit of age on the wine had done it some good thought it was still a little on the young side. The acid and tannins on the wine were still noticeable but it was still a pleasant drop. Dark plum was present both on the nose and palate and along with vanilla, spiciness, and a slight hint go earthiness or chalky-limestone thanks to the location of the vineyard on the old limestone coastal plain in the region.

2005 Old Vine Shiraz: spice, black olive, vanilla, licorice, chocolate and toasty all came to mind from the nose of this wine. On the palate you could taste berries and chocolate as well and it was quite a smooth wine. Not a bad wine either and it came close to usurping the  Cabernet Sauvignon as my favourite red.

Fortified Shiraz: wow! This is a wine which I am so glad I had the chance to try! It was like liquid gold for me! If you make it to the winery this is one to try and you will likely end up taking a bottle home with you!

They also do a Zinfandel which they were currently out of stock on the previous vintage and a few weeks off having the next vintage available for tasting which was a shame as it came highly recommended. There was also a Shiraz Cabernet which we accidentally passed over during the tasting. All the wines sampled on the day were very reasonably priced, with the aged reds being $30-35 which impressed me greatly, in comparison to what they would have likely cost had they come from a Margaret River winery.

A big thanks to Will for having the class on the tour and for being such an entertaining host! I do hope some of you make it down to the winery as it is the perfect location for a lazy weekend barbecue with their electric barbecue and wine cellar open 10am-5pm 7 days a week.

Until next time!