Wino101: Winefolly.com

Hi everyone,

This post will be short and sweet and I’m quite busy with university at the start of the week. This post is featuring a website which is centered around wine and one which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading different posts on. I stumbled across winefolly.com a few weeks ago and loved their selection of articles as well as their posters. The blog is sectioned off into a beginners section and an advanced section, which contain numerous articles ranging across all the different facets of wine.

Below are two of their posters which I would buy in a heart beat if I had anywhere to hang them as they are not only funny but also the second one would really help me with my current Wine Century Challenge Project.

Different types of wine poster.

Different types of wine poster.

Ho to choose wine poster.

Ho to choose wine poster.

I would have to say so far my favourite post on the sight is titled ‘8 Signs You Might Be a Wine Geek’. If you have seen this website before or have checked it out since reading this post do share any interesting articles you find along the way as I am sure it would take me a long time to get through them all. Also feel free to share any of your favourite wine websites/blogs.

Until next time!

Wino101: Like This, Try That (second instalment)

Hi everyone,

You may remember one of my earlier posts on this blog where I suggested alternatives for common white wines. In this post I will hopefully make red wine varietals a little more approachable.

Like Shiraz, Try Zinfandel

When I say Zinfandel, I am referring to the robust style seen in Australia and not the one that many Americans will think of. Zinfandel in Australia is a red wine which ranges in its body and intensity of flavours depending upon the climate it was grown in as well as the winery producing it. Below is the description for the 2010 vintage Zinfandel from Cape Mentelle in Margaret River, Western Australia which has been described to me as the Holy Grail of Western Australian Zinfandels.

APPEARANCE: Dark crimson.

NOSE: Ripe plums with chocolate, allspice, maraschino cherries, juniper berries and aged tobacco.

PALATE: Ripe mulberry, rhubarb and summer pudding with cinnamon, dark chocolate and fleshy plums. The wine is opulent and rich with savoury spicy tannins balanced by fresh and vibrant red fruits. The sweet fruit carries the entire palate contributing to length of flavour.

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Try Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a softer wine in comparison to a Cabernet Sauvignon, however it is a wine that can be overlooked if you are not aware of and looking for the finer, softer elements in a wine. Cabernet Francs are often listed as having, fine tannins, spicy aromas, peppery accents, violet nuances and an understated elegance plus lots of red and black berry (mainly blueberry, raspberry and sometimes plum) flavor.

 It is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth. Because Cabernet Sauvignon has so much more of everything – body, tannin, alcohol, colour – it is often supposed to be necessarily superior, but I have a very soft spot indeed for its more charming and more aromatic relative, Cabernet Franc – Jancis Robinson

Like Pinot Noir, Try Merlot or Cabernet Merlot

Merlot is a grape varietal which bring sweetness into a red wine rather than tannins and spiciness as Cabernet and Shiraz do. If you are finding your Merlot’s too sweet as I did when I first started drinking red wine then a Cabernet Merlot may be a better wine for you to drink as your branch out in your red wine drinking.

Like Rose, Try Pinot Noir

Rose’s tend to be light bodied, fruity (think strawberries, rasberries and cherries) and can range from sweet to dry with their finish. Pinot Noir’s tend to have more body than a Rose however they are still a lighter bodied red than your Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons. Pinot Noirs such as the Village Pinot Noir from Yering Station – review can be found in this blog – can also have similar fruity characteristics to a Rose.

NV_Yering_Village_PinNoir

Hope this post helps and if there are any other varietals you like to drink that wasn’t included in either post please let me know as there will be more of these entries in the future!

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.

IMG_1277

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!

Halliday Day: Week 12 – Yering Station

Hi everyone,

There will be no Wino101 post this week, instead for you I have yesterday’s Halliday Day post.

Yering Station is rated solid 5 star winery by James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion. Yering Station was established in 1988, on land that had vines planted on it since 1838. Yering comes from the Aboriginal title of the land. The wine makers consist of Darren Rathbone of the Rathbone family which purchased Yering Station in 1996 and Willy Lunn (since 2008) who is well known for hist cool-climate wine making experience and knowledge.

YARRABANK

Champagne Devaux in 1996 signed a deal with the Rathbone, the same year they bought the Yering Station property which lead to the production of Yarrabank Sparkling. I had the chance to try the 2004 Late Disgorged Yarrabank Sparkling along with the 2008 Yarrabank Curvee, while both were exceptional cool-climate sparkling wines however the 2004 was clearly the superior wine of the two and one I wish I could have had room to bring back to Perth with me.

Cellar Door.

Cellar Door.

While I was at the cellar door at Yering Station I also tried a selection of their red wines including their Pinot Noir’s which the Yarra Valley wine region is well known for. Yering Station’s two Pinot Noir’s included one which was light and easy to drink like a Rose while the other was filled with dark berries, and a good weight on the palate to please any lover of red wine. My full review of their wines which I tried can be found in this blog post.

This winery is one not to miss to see quality wines showing common characteristics of the Yarra Valley region. I thoroughly enjoyed the cellar door and if I had more time in the area the Chateau on the property would have been a nice property to look at along with the restaurant on premise.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Questions

Hi everyone,

I’ve had a few questions along the way while writing this blog and while I am still a novice when it comes to wine I thought I would give you the answers I have learnt or my views on the subject so that people can make up their own minds and have a starting point from which they can develop their own understandings towards wines.

Question 1: Where did you learn about wines from?

I have worked part-time in a bottle shop for just over two years and it has really been during this period that I came to have a love and appreciation for wine. I originally began working in a store which was in a more affluent part of Perth where people had income to spare on a more expensive bottle of wine and through discussions with them I began to learn little wine facts and opinions. I have since moved and worked across a variety of locations and along the way come across a variety of customers from all different cultures, socio-economic back grounds, wine and alcohol preferences, you name it. I have also through work been provided with some education on wines, however much of what I have learnt has come from tasting different wines and then discussing them with different people.

I have also travelled to Europe a few times, mainly at my expense and it has provided me with a love of Europe, their take on food, wine and life in general is one which I would love to adopt in the future. Travelling across Europe is something that I hope to do again in the near future so that I can not only have easier access to a wider range of grape varietals but also so that I can really try old-world wines and hopefully know enough about them to enjoy them.

So to answer the original question, I have learnt about wines from many different sources but by far my most knowledgeable moments have been when I have had the chance to sample different wines to develop my own understanding and preferences and secondly, discussing with other people both more and less knowledgeable about wine than myself.

Question 2: My sister says all Taylors wine is good. Would you agree?

Taylors is a wine label which is well known in Australia and is one which I often recommend to customers when they are looking for a gift and want something safe. Although I am yet to actually try this brand, besides their Gewürztraminer, which disappointed me more as a varietal than a label. My approach to wine is slightly different in that often I prefer either a few wines from a winery or I may prefer a grape varietal from across a single region.

For me the grape varietal and the region are more important than the producer, however when I am at work selling wines the opposite is often the case. Taylors does produces some good wines, don’t get me wrong but there are so many other smaller boutique wineries around the same price-point in bottle shops that I would love to try before getting to the big brands. This view does make it hard to recommend wines at work as I often try and enjoy wines that my store do not carry.

Taylors 2010 Shiraz however seems to have been an exceptional vintage as I have had exceptional reviews and recommendations from customers, fellow collegues and the few bottles that I have seen in some stores seem to carry quite a few trophies, gold and silver medals. I must try and get my hands on a bottle or two from this vintage to see what all the hype around it is, even though Shiraz is not my favourite red varietal.

Question 3: What’s the optimum temperature to serve red, and white wines (Bubbly too)?

Basic: Whites and Bubbly = chilled, Reds = room temperature.

More complex: Same as above however consider these temperatures to not be reflective of your current location but rather the ambient temperatures that continental Europe would have had a few centuries ago when the basic model above was coined.

This is a topic I have been meaning to cover in a Wino101 post and will hopefully do so in the near future.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Australia Day BBQ – Pairing Red Wines.

Hi everyone,

This is the follow on post to last weeks Wino101, which focused on white wines that you could have or bring to a barbecue this summer including sweet, dry and sparkling suggestions. This post will be focused on red wines options.

Red wines are often forgotten about in the summer months and people look for something chilled to combat the heat. Reds however can and in some cases should be chilled when served depending upon ambient temperature as well as the varietal and style of the wine.

Rose is one red wine style which people flock to in the summer months. Rose is a popular choice in the summer months as it is served chilled and has just a hint of colour from some time on the skins. I have rediscovered Rose’s this summer since I attended the Rose Revolution last year, my review of the event can be found here. At this event I discovered some new dry Rose favourites. Since the Rose Revolution I have also found some new Rose’s which I feel deliver both on their aroma and on the palate, these wines are both from Western Australia:

  • Peel Estate Winery Rose.
Peel Estate Rose.

Peel Estate Rose.

  • Moondah Brook Rose.
Moondah Brook Rose.

Moondah Brook Rose.

  • Fifth Estate Rose.
Fifth Estate Rose and Tempranillo.

Fifth Estate Rose and Tempranillo.

Shown in the image above is a Tempranillo, which is originally a Spanish grape varietal that cane be had slightly chilled in the summer or room temperature in the winter months.

Another option for red wine drinkers if you prefer a wine with more body than a Rose is to consider a Pinot Noir. Personally I prefer those from cooler climates such as Great Southerm, Yarra Valley and Tasmania – however I seem to prefer those from the Yarra Valley.

Soumah Pinot Noir.

Soumah Pinot Noir.

And while red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz may seem to heavy for the summer months do not be afraid to leave them in the fridge for about half an hour before drinking them as red wines are meant to be drunk around 20°C which is much cooler than many a day of summer in Perth.

For those who prefer their reds to be sweet consider either a sweet Rose or a sweet red such as Brown Brothers Dolcetto & Syrah or Cienna, Banrock Estate Crimson Cabernet, etc.

Brown Brother's Dolcetto & Syrah.

Brown Brother’s Dolcetto & Syrah.

Brown Brother's Cienna.

Brown Brother’s Cienna.

Sparkling Shiraz is also an option for those who love both their Sparkling wines as well as their reds. This style of wine I have only sampled on a couple of occasions but it impressed me with the refreshing and slight hint of sweetness that the Sparkling Shiraz’s I tried possessed. Common Favourites include Andrew Garrett and Seppelt.

Seppelt Sparkling Shiraz.

Seppelt Sparkling Shiraz.

Andrew Garrett Sparkling Shiraz.

Andrew Garrett Sparkling Shiraz.

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 11 – Domaine Chandon.

Hi everyone,

By the time this post goes up on Gourmet Vicariously I will be in Melbourne for a week of wining, dining, retail therapy and some well needed quality time with my mum and cousin. While we’re in Melbourne I have been promised a day in the Yarra Valley and have spent time ever since them researching which wineries in the region to devote my limited time to. One of the wineries that was on the list from the start was Domaine Chandon, which was established by Moët & Chandon from France.

domaine-chandon75percent

In the 2012 Australian Wine Companion James Halliday rated Domaine Chandon a solid 5-star winery. Established in 1986 Halliday claims that Domaine Chandon is one of the two most important wine facilities in the Yarra Valley region. The cooler climate that the Yarra Valley makes it the perfect climatic region for wines such as Pinot Noir and Traditional Methode sparkling wines, Moët & Chandon and then went a step further and chose a location for their vineyard that had a history very fertile soil. Their location decision was well picked and has enabled Domaine Chandon to be one of the top wineries in the region.

Domaine Chandon is located on land which was formerly a dairy fan called ‘Green Point’ consisting of a spur of land running from Yeringberg Hill to the Yarra river. The reason for this is that the ancient alluvial soils at Green Point are deep and therefore retain moisture well into the summer. These soils combined with the Yarra Valley’s cool climate, define a site with ideal ‘terroir’ for growing wine grapes. Domaine Chandon having French origins focuses on the wine produced at this winery reflecting the characteristics of the region, which in turn has led to the varietals produced at the Yarra Valley location for Domaine Chandon including; Méthode Traditionelle Sparkling Wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet.

Domaine Chandon run free 30 minute guided tours of the winery three times a day and I hope to be able to attend one of these tours when I visit the winery. (at 11am, 1pm and 3pm). So look out for an quick write up of that when I put my Yarra Valley post up in the coming weeks.

Until next time!