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 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.


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!

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!

Wino 101: Australia Day BBQ – Pairing White Wines.

Hi everyone,

The first post of 2013 is quite fittingly about barbecues’ and in particular the one many Australians will have on Australia Day at the end of the month.This will be the first of two posts, this one will focus on white wine pairing while the Wino 101 post next week will focus on red wine pairings. When pairing wines with a barbecue the main aim is to keep the wine simple as the food is simple and uncomplicated. When it comes to white wines you are spoilt for choice as summer is the season for white wine as it is drunk chilled, which helps to fight off the summer heat.

Sparkling wine can be drunk throughout the entire meal. Sparkling wines range in degrees of sweetness as well as flavours and aromas. Common aromas include nutty, toasty, fruit, and yeast. With common flavours on the palate including those listed for aromas as well as the texture from the bubbles and the final finish of the wine. Below is a  Tasmanian Sparkling which I sampled on Christmas Day. Tropical fruit with a nutty finish, this wine would be a great drink to sip on throughout the entire barbecue.

Ninth Island NV Sparkling.

Ninth Island NV Sparkling.

For those who like it sweet can consider a

  • Sweet still: eg. a Chenin Blanc or Moscato or,
  • Sweet sparkling: eg. a Moscato or Spumante.


Banrock Moscato is one that I tried this past weekend so as to be able to recommend wines at work. Personally this wine reminded me of Brown Brothers which is the ‘premier’ Moscato that people think of when they come in for a bottle at work. The tiny differences between the two wines can be easily justified by Banrock being roughly half the price of Brown Brothers. This is a wine is sweet with passionfruit on the palate and a delightful drink when chilled.

When you have your meats cooked and salads out of the fridge, you can choose to continue with the sweeter white or instead opt to move onto the more dryer white wines which have along with the fruit the sweetness from the sweeter wines is replaced by oak and/or acid coming through on the nose and palate depending upon the varietal you choose. Favourites for a dry white wine include:

  • Rieslings: acid and stone fruit – think Great Southern or Tasmanian,
Plantagenet 2012 Riesling

Plantagenet 2012 Riesling

  • Sauvignon Blanc: citrus, grassy and crisp – think New Zealand.
  • Semillon Sauvignon Blanc: tropical and citrus fruit, the wine has more aroma on the bouquet than the Sauvignon Blanc – think Margaret River where my favourite ones have lychee on the palate for a zingy surprise that leaves you feeling refreshed at the end of the glass.
Leeping Lizzard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Leeping Lizzard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Next week I will post up some options if you’re more of a red drinker for what to drink at a summer barbecue.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Christmas Drinks

Hi everyone,

This post will be short and sweet as I plan to spend Christmas Day with my family and BF’s family but i thought I would share with you what I am planning to drink today. The weather in Perth is getting really hot and today seems to be the ‘official’ start of a heatwave according to the radio as I drove home from work yesterday. I am not a fan of heat or humidity so my plan is to avoid my beloved reds in favour of chilled drinks.

I have chilled 2 Rose’s for today and will hopefully get the chance to compare the two over the course of the day. One is a sweeter one from the Olive Farm Wines to share with mum while I’m with the family and then my other Moondah Brook Dry Rose for when I head over to BF’s family’s Christmas get together.

Olive Farm Rose.

Olive Farm Rose.

Moondah Brook Rose.

Moondah Brook Rose.

Will be sipping on plenty of water throughout the day as I’ll be driving and the heat will definetly take it out of me. Hope everyone else plays it safe if they are on the road tomorrow or out in the sun!

Merry Christmas and Have a safe and happy New Year!

Wino 101: Preservatives – allergies.

Hi everyone,

I’ve decided to continue on from yesterday’s post as it was a rather rushed little blog and wine allergies and preservatives is something that many people have spoken to me about from friends to customers at work. Wine allergies are not simple to pin point as there are many components in wine from which people can react to. Yesterday’s post was on sulphides, but there are all the refining products such as milk and eggs, along with yeast and the grapes themselves for people to have allergic reactions to.


As yesterday’s post explained sulphides are necessary for imported wines as well as Australian wines due to them being lower in acid than wine from cooler climates. And overall sulphides allow wine to not spoil as easily as it did in the past.

Sulphide reactions are often linked to asthma and this is the more serious concern as sulphides in wine can lead to reactions with histamine. Wines contain naturally occurring sulphides and therefore will always contain a small proportion of sulphides, what can be controlled is how much more sulphur is added to the wine during production and fermentation. Wine without added sulphides are hard to find in Australia when you’re looking in major wine retails shops, if you think this is a concern and would like to try low-sulphide or preservative-free wines then going to cellar door or building up a friendship with your local independent bottle shop is my best advice. However you will be restricted to quite a small section of the wine industry and market if you make this decision.

Another alternative is to add something to your wine which will cause a chemical reaction to occur forcing the sulphides to be released from the wine. I am not a fan of this method as the additive is bleach and if it is not fully consumed by the sulphides in the wine then it will remain in the wine and be consumed by yourself.

Personally my favourite method is to allow the wine the chance to breathe either in a decanter or in my glass and while this method perhaps does not remove all the sulphides it is the most natural method which allows me the ability to not be restricted in my wine drinking. Also drinking when eating allows the food to decreases the full effect of the wine on your stomach and insides in comparison to drinking on an empty stomach (something which I do not advocate either).


Phenols in wine are naturally occurring chemical compounds which can be found generally in the wines skin. Therefore the percentage of phenols is higher in wines which have had increased contact with the skin, red wines and the more expensive generally the longer the time spent on skins. Phenols can also get into the wine through time spent in barrels and this again impacts upon only certain wines and more often red wine than white wines.

There is no products on the market for removing phenols like there is for wine. People who react to red wine have told me that drinking it over ice prevent it from occurring and I will have to ask my chemistry majoring friends about this as it is likely the lower temperature alters the ability for the reaction to proceed, but I will get back to you on that. The best advice if you fall in this category is to avoid oaked wine and wine which has spent a lot of time on skins.

Refining Products

Common refining products for wine are egg and milk. If you have an allergy to either of these products then the only solution is to avoid all wines with the product mentioned on the label. Due to allergic reaction is it a requirement for Australian wines to label if these products are used, so don’t be afraid to have a look at the back label.

Also if you are vegan than wines that uses refining products such as egg whites and milk are to be avoided. Yalumba Y Series is one range which I know is vegan friendly however there are many other on the market.


Yeast allergies are noticeable when you feel fatigued after a glass of wine (or beer). Yeast allergies occur when the yeast is still alive in the wine and it is consumed by someone who is allergic to it. There is no solution to remove all traces of yeast from wine. Best solution is to avoid all drinks that use yeast in fermentation.

Until next time!

Wino 101: Wine Preservatives – Sulphides

Hey everyone,

Sorry for such a late and short post; I was without internet yesterday so it was hard to get the research done for this post. Just a quick intro into Sulphur Dioxide as a preservative and trying to demystify it. Preservatives are used to preserve the wines for transportation as well as shelf life, the preservatives do so by reducing spoilage of the wine through oxidisation and wild yeast continuing fermentation. The most commonly used additional preservative in Australian wine is Sulphur Dioxide/Preservative 220, however there is a few others which are also used less commonly.

Wine is alreay preserved by the acid, alcohol and tannins present in the wine. White wine lacks tannins and therefore looses out on it’s preserving features, the upside to this is that white wine often needs to be drunk in the short-term for the freshness of wine is a key part of a good white wine. While some white wines can be cellared for an extended period of time these wines are often higher in fruit flavour and often oaked. Preservation is also dependant upon many features of the wine from for example the grapes, alcohol, tannin and acid content, as well as the device in which wine is stored and it’s permeability.

Some people react badly to the sulphides or preservatives used in winemaking. There are products on the market which will release the sulphides from the wine such as SO2GO and pure wine, these are basically diluted hydrogen-peroxide aka bleach. I personally am not a fan of these additives as have studied chemistry in the past along with having bleached my hair the thought of adding hydrogen-peroxide even in a diluted form to my wine seems not only a sin but also not the smartest thing to do.

Sulphides however tend to me more present in white wine than red wine so when people say they are allergic to the sulphides in red wine they are more likely reacting to phenolics. I will put up a post in the future on phenolics as red wine allergies seem to be a common problem for many people I know and even I have from time to time felt a little rotten a while after a glass of red wine.

Until next time!

Wino101: Wine Essential Course – worth it?

Hi everyone,

So you all know that I was provided the opportunity to attend the Wine Essential Course for free in return for sharing my experience with those who read my blog. I wanted to find a way to break down the cost of the course without compromising my views as the course provided free of charge besides the cost of the meal we had in the final class.


I decided to tally up the cost of the wine’s and food tasted in the class (not including the wines which were brought in by other members of the class) and see how they totalled for each week:

Week 1: $138.98, Week 2: $174, Week 3: $166.95, Week 4: Dinner $60 and Wine $269.95

Total: $809.88

(Actual cost of the course: $295.)

Just on the premise of the cost to buy the wine’s tasted individually and the meal at the bistro you are already saving well over 50% of the cost while also receiving an educated walk through of the wine’s and the process of tasting and reviewing them.

When I proposed this breakdown of the cost while writing this post, I was met with comments such as “I am sure you could buy many of these wines by the glass in a restaurant as in the class your really only get a glassful and not the whole bottle; so your calculations are incorrect!” this is true in part as some of these wines may be available by the glass in restaurants but then do we add the cost of your meal to the total? Also the pricing listed for these wines are often the discounted case prices and what it cost to buy them years ago when the Wine Education Centre acquired the bottles. This in turn means that inflation may not have been included. Long story short you can get down to the nitty gritty of the pricing of the wines but even at $10 a glass which is a low average for restaurant pricing for these wines you are looking at $310 for the wines and the meal, so you still are getting value for money when it comes to the course even when looking at the by-the-glass pricing.

The people in my class range from my age to many years older than me as well as across a variety of professions and reasoning behind their decision to attend the course. Some want to learn to pair wine with food as they work in the industry, while others just want to learn something about wine or share the experience with someone. The chance to meet like minded people who loved and enjoyed wine was a pleasure and hopefully I will see some of them again in the future.

This wine course has also provided me with more confidence when it comes to describing, reviewing and determining a wine grape varietal and origin. While I still have plenty still to learn and develop on this topic this course gave me a good foundation to work from. This course has also given me the chance to not only try a generally amazing array of wines as selected for the class tastings but also the chance to try a unique selection of wines as brought in by other members of the class. It is an experience that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

I guess at the start the most honest thing to say is that I was skeptical about the cost of the course, especially given the shortness of the course. However upon completion of the course I personally would say that for me it would have be money well spent for the experiences and confidence I got out of the course. While a lot of the basics from the first week were nothing new to me there was still always the little snippets of new wine facts from people in the class or from our wine educator that made it well worth it.

I would say if you have been eyeing off the courses that the Wine Education Centre provides and you were unsure of which one to pick. I would say personally this 4 week course is what I would pick over the Wine Basics day course if you are looking for a good introduction to wine tasting and different wine varieties, however if my blog is a little to simple in its descriptions than the wine varietal course may be better for you. I have not heard much about the more in-depth courses on red and white wines but many people who I did the class with where considering attending that class next year, and who knows depending on uni and my bank account next year maybe I will see them there!

Until next time!

Wino 101: Christmas Lunch/Dinner Wines (Australian Summer Edition).

Hi everyone,

While the northern hemisphere is rugging up for a cold winter in Australia we will be getting our barbecues and bathers out in expectation of a hot and sunny Christmas Day. This post will hopefully be a good guide for you, whether you are supplying a lunch or dinner at your place of even just bringing a bottle of wine to wherever you end up on the festive occasion. I have broken the wine’s down into different categories of food that is often served in Australia on Christmas Day, along with some personal favourites.


A nice glass of bubbly is a good way to start off your Christmas Day of feasting.


Consider lighter to medium bodied red wine or an acidic and aromatic white wine or dry Rose will pair across the range of foods you can barbecue. When pairing wine with barbecue you want to keep the wine simple and uncomplicated to match the simple flavouring and styling of food that you would barbecue.


When it comes to seafood you want to pair it with a light wine which has a nice degree of acidity behind it so that you really get the best flavours out of pairing it with the seafood. Look for a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, a fruity and crisp Pinot Grigio/Gris or a dry Rose.

Roast Lamb/Beef:

Lamb and Beef being  darker and more dense meats will need a wine with more structure and depth in it so that both the wine and the food will compliment each other rather than one overpowering the other. You will also need to take the sauce(s) you will be using into account as their richness will also impact upon which wine is your best option.

For the meat: a red wine like a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon that has seen some age in the bottle as well as having had the chance to breath either in a decanter or by opening the bottle before serving. Also if it is a very hot day think about popping your bottle of red into the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving so that thee wine will be at it’s optimum serving temperature while you eat your meal (15-20C). The wine will also develop over the course of the meal as it warms and you will see it’s aroma’s and taste evolve along with your meal.

Roast Chicken:

A roast chicken being a lighter meat allows you to pair a white or red wine with it, depending upon what seasoning and sauces you. For a roast with a light lemon seasoning look for a Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Grigio/Gris, Chenin Blanc or continue with the bubbles.

Roast Pork:

Less tannic reds are preferred when pairing with roast pork as it is a lighter meat than Beef and Lamb and due to that needs to be paired with a more softer wine that still has enough body to pair with the meat. Look for a red blend that contains Merlot or Viognier to soften the wine.


Soft cheese = eg. Camembert and Brie

Consider white or sparkling wines, so as to not overpower the softer textures and flavours of the wine, however if you are daring a full bodied dry red is said to also pair nicely due to it’s contrasting texture and flavour.

Hard cheese = eg. Cheddar and Parmesan.

Consider red wines for a stronger tasting cheese otherwise if the cheese is milder in flavour and medium-to-hard texture you can then look into pairing it with a fortified, sparkling or a full bodied white wine.

Eye cheese = ed. Edam, Gouda, Havarti and Swiss-styled cheese.

Consider a full bodied white wine, medium bodied red wine or a sweeter desert or fortified wine to play best with the softer textures of the wine and the stronger flavours found in some of these cheeses.

Blue cheese = eg. Gorgonzola and Danish Blue.

generally sweeter and fortified wines do better with blue cheese, however if it is a mild blue cheese you can possibly pair it with a softer red wine. Look for a wine which is aromatic but sweet to give you the best contrast with the blue cheese.

Fruit: consider aromatic and/or sweeter wines.


Fortified, sweet still and sweet sparkling wines would go amazing with desert.

Until next time!