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.


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.


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!

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.


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!

Halliday Day: Week 11- Soumah.

Hi everyone,

I was introduced to Soumah’s wines when I met up with a group of Perth food and wine bloggers for the inaugural meet for our attempt of the Wine Century Challenge, you can read my review of that night here. James Halliday rates Soumah as a 4-star winery in the Australian Wine Companion, and also notes that it is a recent addition to the 2012 edition of the book.

Soumah's Logo.

Soumah’s Logo.

Located in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Soumah was established in 1997 as a collaboration in the Butcher family. Those involved in the winery are clearly lovers of wine and are quite partial to the idea or “terroir” which is a French term that is quite hard to describe as it has no English term. Terroir basically it refers to the effect of the region in which the grapes are grown in particular the climate and soil upon the final taste and texture of the wine. It is a very ‘Old World’ term as it implies that the grape growing rather than the wine making is what is most important for the wine.

Location within the Yarra Valley.

Location within the Yarra Valley.

Soumah has made the decision to limit it’s varietals grown on site to ones that have been specifically selected by them for the Yarra Valley region when comparing its climatic and geographical features to that of Europe. The winery lives by it’s mottos of:

 “We concentrate on single Vineyard Wines | We are in a cool climate location | We target quality over quantity | We research, we plant, we nurture | We narrow our varietal focus to: Burgundy and Northern Rhone, and Northern Italy | We strive for savoury, elegant wines | We are partial to blue”

This motto of theirs is clearly seen in their decisions over what is important enough to be included on the wine’s label. Let me say as a person who is beginning to learn the nitty gritty of wines and their making these labels are quite an exciting sight for me and working in retail in the Liquor Industry something that I would love to see become more common as it would really allow people to become more educated about the wines they are drinking. Below are some pictures I took at Steve’s of the label information for the three wines I tried in their range.


Chardonnay Label.

Pinot Noir Label.

Pinot Noir Label.

Savarro Label.

Savarro Label.

I am definitely getting excited for my trip to Melbourne in a few weeks time! I do hope to make it to Soumah while I am in the Yarra Valley so that I can try the few wines that  I missed out on trying at Steve’s.

Hope you all are having a wonderful end of the year! Best wishes for your Christmas and New Year festivities!

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.


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!

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.


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!

Halliday Day: Week 8 – Howard Park

Hi everyone,

BF and I went to Howard Park Winery on the weekend that we went down for the Gourmet Escape to complete a tasting and curve making session. We had so much fun at the winery chatting, tasting different sparkling wines and Champagnes as well as observing the production of sparkling wine on site with their Senior Wine Maker Janice McDonald, Natalie Burch (the daughter of the current owners of Howard Park), Hamish (Natalie’s dog), a gentleman who’s name I cannot remember but who has been influential in the adoption of the traditional-method in south-west WA, and another couple in the session. Photos are up on Facebook and a more in-depth review of this sessions will be up on my blog this Friday but I did want to introduce the winery to you before then.

Howard Park Winery's Logo.

Howard Park Winery’s Logo.

Howard Park is linked to the well known Madfish Wines as both are owned by Burch Family Wines, which is a family company that has developed since couple Jeff and Amy Burch established Howard Park Estate in 1986, and now includes not only their children involved in running the company but also now the Madfish Winery and Marchand & Burch wine labels.

Howard Park and Madfish are rated a solid 5-star winery by James Halliday in the 2012 Australian Wine Companion. The winery sources grapes from their vineyards in Margaret River and Mount Barker. The vineyards currently produce  Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Some vines on the Denmark property date back to 1974 and the Margaret River property has vines dating back to 1996. Howard Park and Madfish are both well established wine labels in bottle shops in Perth. Burch Family Wines in 2009 was inducted into the founding members of the Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) organisation which seeks to promote the founding Australian wine families and their regional iconic wines.

The Winery’s setting and location were tranquil and pleasant and the cellar door felt spacious and open. I did not have the chance to sample their wines at the cellar door after the Jete-Methode Traditional Wine Experience however I have tried Madfish’s Classic Red and White in the past at the Good Food and Wine show in Perth earlier this year. I preferred Madfish’s Classic Red to the Classic White but did not have any complaint with either of the wines. I will make it back to their cellar door in the near future to try out the Howard Park range as I have been eyeing it off at work for quite some time now.

Cellar Door.

Cellar Door.

If anyone has had the chance to sample from Howard Park’s range do share your experiences with me!

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 7 – Capel Vale Winery

Capel Vale is a winery located just off the Bussell Highway about 25 minutes north of Busselton. Capel Vale is a 5-star winery for James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion.

Established in 1974, by Dr. Peter Pratten and Elizabeth his wife and was one of the pioneering wineries in the region. Capel Vale has since expanded beyond it’s original Geographe location to including vineyards in Mount Barker, Pemberton and Margaret River.

Restaurant overlooking the vines.

I went to Capel Vale for lunch late at the start of this year and it was a delightful and relaxing experience. The food was delicious and fresh with the view over the winery making the long lunch pleasant and enjoyable. As can be seen in the image above, the winery’s restaurant and cellar door is located in an elevated building which overlooks the vineyard. I sampled their range of wines when I was at Capel Vale this time and I enjoyed their regional range which I am yet to see in a store in Perth.

BF and I ended up heading to Capel Vale for lunch on the way back to Perth after being down for Gourmet Escape and enjoying their ‘Char sui braised lamb shoulder with sour cream labna and wattle seed roll’. While the lamb wasn’t on the menu at the restaurant we still had plenty of options from their spring menu and specials board.

Whispering Hill Riesling.

Both of us ended up having a glass of the Whispering Hill Riesling with lunch. We both ended up picking from the specials menu. I had the barramundi with pan fried gnocchi while BF had a 250 gram scotch fillet with seasonal vegetables. Both were nice, the gnocchi was a little too heavy for the fish, however the side salad with goats cheese and walnuts went very nicely with both of our meals. The service at Capel Vale was excellent! The staff were attentive and friendly, really could not have asked for anything more regarding their service!

Barramundi with pan fried gnocchi.

Scotch fillet with seasonal vegetables.

Spinach, goats cheese and walnut salad.

Capel Vale is definitely a nice location for lunch and a wine tasting. And located between Busselton and Bunbury just off the Bussel Highway; Capel Vale makes for a good stopping point as your drive between Perth and the South-West.

Until next time.

Capel Vale Winery & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Halliday Day: Week 6 – Top 100 Wines.

This week saw James Halliday release his ‘Top 100 Wines for 2012’. The list was broken down into 6 categories.

James Halliday.

 1. Best White Wine Under $20 – 20 selected from 38 shortlisted. (200 entered)

2. Best White Wine Over $20 – 20 selected from 56 shortlisted. (219 entered)

3. Best Red Wine Under $20 – 20 selected from 79 shortlisted. (208 entered)

4. Best Red Wine Over $20 – 20 selected from 79 shortlisted. (537 entered)

5. Best Australian Sparking – 8 selected from 22 shortlisted. (75 entered)

6. Best Champagne – 12 selected. (79 entered)

Halliday has done a good job of selecting from a range of different grape varietals under each heading and the linked articles show his views on the grape varietals for the 2011and 2012 vintages as well as his view on the price bracket. While tasting notes are not available without a subscription the list of wines selected can be seen and a quick google will likely bring up many online reviews from other wine critics if one wishes to read more before going out and purchasing.

My  picks from each category are:

1. Peter Lehmann Portrait Eden Valley Riesling Dry 2012 – I had the chance to try this one while doing the Reidel Glass Tasting Session at the Good Food and Wine Show in Perth earlier this year, delightful Riesling.

2. Vasse Felix Heytesbury Margaret River Chardonnay 2011– this wine was named the Wine of the Year in The West Australian’s 2013 Wine Guide. I have not tried this wine either but it is one that I hope to get a chance to taste over the summer months when I head down south.

3. Turkey Flat Barossa Valley Rose 2012 – I have heard plenty of good things about Turkey Flat, especially regarding it’s Rose and while I have not yet tried this one I cannot wait to get my hands on it. If you know where this one is stocked please share!

4. There wasn’t a single wine which stood out in this category, as there were many which I am interested to try as I have not tried any of the wines listed. Let me know if you have tried any of these wines and where I should start!

5. Jansz Tasmania Premium Vintage Rose 2008 – I have not tried this one but I have been eyeing the Jansz at work for quite while, I may have to do some hunting to find the Rose but it is a challenge I can quite easily accept!

6. Dom Pérignon Rosé 2000 – this bottle is my dream wine of the month! It only costs a mere $780 for a single bottle… Anyone feeling generous enough to donate a bottle to me?

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 5 – Sticks Yarra Valley

Hi everyone,

So this post will be a bit of a departure from my usual Western Australian focus. I will be in Melbourne for 5 days in January next year and as my uni assignments and exams are coming to a close I am finally allowed to start researching wineries I would like to visit. Top of the List is the Yarra Valley region and having browsed the shelves at work I stumbled upon Sticks, with their popular Pinot Noir.

Sticks Winery’s Logo.

Sticks Winery is rated by James Halliday as a 5 star winery in the 2012 Australian Wine Companion. Many of the vines at Sticks Winery were planted in 1983, while sticks was established in 2000. Sticks also sources grapes from growers in the region to supplement their production levels. Travis Bush is the head winemaker for Sticks wants the wines he oversees to show the depth and regional expression of the cool climate of the Yarra Valley.

You can find their Yarra Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Liquorland’s around Australia, however I am looking forward to trying their no. 29 Vineyard Select Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon when I’m in the Yarra Valley!

If anyone has near to Melbourne winery or other Melbourne related sights to see suggestions feel free to tweet, Facebook or comment below to let me know about them!

Until next time!