Wine(s) of the Week: Back at the books again… with a slight detour…

Hi everyone,

I have just entered into a month long practicum and I am hoping I will be able to find some down time to get a handle on the backlog of posts I have to put up. I attended the Vintage Cellar’s International Wine Festival in Perth roughly 2 weeks ago, being a team member for Coles Liquor I was granted free access to the event and used it as a chance to sample many new wines that I sell to customers as well as getting a chance to talk to the people behind the wines. It was, like last year an enjoyable evening and while I missed interacting with the patrons like I had the previous year when I worked the event this time around it was nicer to be able to talk to the wine makers and the reps about their products.

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I did not make any detailed notes at the event for specific wines, rather I used this event to gage what I liked and what I felt I could sell back at work. I also had the chance to speak to Matt Skinner briefly while he was in town and it was nice to finally meet the man who is the face of wine for Coles Liquor.

Matt Skinner and I.

Matt Skinner and I.

The event was segregated into two areas, one being Australia and New Zealand (with some Spanish booths) and the other being Old World. I ended up spending more time in the first area due to the stock on hand in my store, however I would have much preferred to have spent the majority of my time in the Old World section of the event – Unfortunately this is not what my current store stocks. Below are just some of the wines that I tried and thought were worth mentioning.

Australia

Dandelion Vineyard

This is the only Australian winery that I visited at the show and for a good reason – I have loved the wines from this winery every time I have come across them in the past.

Shiraz Riesling ($23.99) – The Riesling provided a nice pop of interest to the Shiraz, loved it!

Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz ($99.99) – a VERY nice wine and it lingered in the mouth for a long time. Not sure if I would pay as much as they’re asking for it but it was a a treat to try this wine.

Chile

Casillero del Diablo/Cono Sur

Carmenere ($14.99) – plum and blackcurrant fruits with a toasty coffee finish. This one was recommended by a fellow wine taster and I’m glad they did, I enjoyed it.

France

Piper-Heidsieck

Brut Champagne NV ($49.99) – a fresh citrus driven Champagne. Not bad. I’m still have a soft spot for nutty and toasty sparkling wines but this one did not disappoint.

Italy

Ruffino

Prosecco DOC ($17.99) – my first Prosecco and I’m impressed! I will have to dabble with these more in the near future!

New Zealand

Blind River

This winery chose to stick to what New Zealand is known for – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Both of these varietals have been done exceptionally well by Blind River and their premier line was very nice, and consisted of a Sauvignon Blanc ($22.99) and Pinot Noir ($34.99) which highlighted why these varietals are the standouts for the region. The lady running the booth was fantastic to talk to as well!

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Exceptional wines and it was nice to see a few different varietals that differed to the traditional Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. I spent quite a while here talking with the wine rep, it was interesting to go into more depth on the reasoning behind the alternative varietals as well as their struggles when it came to getting it out to a wider market due to the overwhelming popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Rose ($19.99) – 100% Merlot grapes and it won me over from the first sip. I will have to get my hands on some bottles of this for next summer as it will be a perfect wine to sip away on a hot summers afternoon.

Grüner Veltliner – white peach, lime and floral notes. I was hunting for a Riesling from New Zealand and this was as close as I got to one. It was not quite what I was looking for but still a delicious wine.

Robinsons

This is a line which Coles has exclusive rights to in Australia. I have always been a little wary of their wines due to this fact. I have to say that I was wrong for being skeptical and really enjoyed tasting my way though their range. I was very impressed all around and the husband of one of the children of the owners who was running the booth was well versed with the wines and a pleasure to chat with.

900 Grapes/Squealing Pig/Matua

I had a wonderful time chatting with the wine rep and wine maker at this booth. They had quite a large range of wines to try over the three labels which I ended up comparing and contrasting with as I went through.

Ranking the Sauvignon Blanc’s (and the labels overall):

1. Squealing Pig

2. 900 Grapes

3. Matua

I also enjoyed the 900 Grapes Merlot over their Pinot Noir (both $19.99) – it seems that Merlot was out to surprise me this night and was trying to convince me to give it another try after swearing off it a few years ago.

Portugal

Casa Santos Lima

This is the same people who make the wine LAB which I loved and reviewed in this blog. I went through the rest of their range that they import to Australia and there were some other gems to be found like the LAB in their range.

Bons VentosRose ($9.99) – refreshing and a great value for money rose.

Quinta Das Setencostas Red ($14.99) – Not a bad wine, I still preferred LAB to this one personally but I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of this over dinner either.

Touriz ($26.66) – complex red wine with cherries, blackcurrant and plums. Loved it!

USA

Wente Vineyard

I worked this booth at last years show so I quickly popped by to try the Beyer Ranch Zinfandel ($19.99) and the Morning Fog Chardonnay ($19.99) once more. They were both as nice as I remembered from last year and the booth was very busy so I did not linger for very long.

Chalkboard Series

This is another Coles exclusive range. One which is in the process of being added to (Matt Skinner mentioned that there will be a Prosecco out in the near future from Brown Brother under this label, which I am definitely going to be on the look out for after my first tasting of a Prosecco at this event!)

The Central Otago Pinot Noir ($18.99) was a definite favourite of many people at the booth tasting the wines. However it was the Cote’s du Rhone ($11.99) which stole my heart in this range!

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (weeks 11, 12 and 13)

Hi everyone,

I have not posted a weekly recap in a while as I had not really had much of anything to drink the last few weeks outside of meeting with a few wine lovers and bloggers in Perth for a Wine Century Challenge meet. I  however was flicking through the photos I have taken over the past few weeks and realised that there were a few wines and other drinks which I have tried over  the past three weeks which I would like to chronicle in this blog. There are also a few meals included with the drinks in this post when I have only been reviewing a single dish.

Wine:

Gloucester Ridge Vineyard Seduction Rose

This wine was brought out at an family Easter picnic as someone had found it buried in their wine stash. The back of the bottle seemed interesting to me, a Rose which was predominantly Cabernet Franc. Once we managed to find a bottle opener for the cork we quickly found the wine had an aroma and taste of a badly fortified wine. This wine was unfortunately not well liked.

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De Bortoli, 2009 Sacred Hill Cabernet Merlot

Another cheapie from work which I tried, De Bortoli however is a brand which I respect across their range as they consistently produce great valued wine for any price bracket. The wine fared quite well with the Sunday night roast I had when tasting the wine.

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Wynns, 2011, Coonawarra Riesling.

This was a gift from BF from the past Christmas. I on a whim after a not-so-great day decided to pop this wine in the freezer so it would be nicely chilled in time for dinner. I absolutely adored this wine from the moment I opened it until the last sip when the dinner party had managed, quite easily, to finish the whole bottle off. The wine had a crisp cleansing finish, a fantastic aroma (lemon, apples and a hint of floral) and a good punch on the palate (strong citrus notes at the start which develop to a mineral middle and end with a sherbet texture). Great selection by BF yet again!

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Casillero Del Diablo, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

I felt in the mood for a glass of white wine while writing an assignment this past week. I ended up finding this bottle of wine and figured it really needed to be opened sooner than later so why not now. From the first sip I was in love! The wine had a nice amount of citrus flavours and acid, however the real surprise was a tropical fruit element from the gooseberries I could also note on the palate. After being underwhelmed by their Cabernet Sauvignon (likely due to it’s young age) I am beginning to be impressed again by this Chilean winery.

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Moet & Chandon, NV Brut (200ml)

I decided to whip this little 21st gift out as we were having fish and chips and I was curious to see how the two paired together. I was a little hungrier than expected and polished off most of my meal before I remembered about the bubbles, I did however really enjoy how the champagne brought out the sweetness of my pineapple fritter. Crisp and clean finishing sparkling that delicately tickles the palate.

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Arlewood 2010, Marsanne Roussanne (tasted at Little Creatures, $8.50 a glass)

A blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne this little gem of a wine really snuck up on me as I let it breathe and warm up in the glass while catching up with some old friends. The time spent on oak gave the wine nutty and toasy elements and as a result the wine had a good body. I am sorry to have not tried this wine sooner at Little Creatures and must check out their cellar door to try the rest of their range next time I am down south!

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While at Little Creatures I caved and had a look at the menu, it did not take too much effort to convince myself to have some desert. After tossing up between the waffles and the cheesecake BF helped me tiebreak and picked the waffles. They tasted as good as I remembered them being last time I was there, this time however I managed to snap a quick photo (below) before everyone dived it. Those who tasted the waffle were all big fans and I think there may be a shift in the must order meal at Little Creatures, from the frites to the waffles… we shall see!

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To view my past reviews of Little Creatures you will find them here, Farewell Lunch and Lunch at Little Creatures.

Cider:

Rekorderlig – passionfruit flavoured pear cider

If you like passionfruit then you will love this cider. The sweetness typically associated with Rekorderlig was also not as much of an issue as usual in this cider. A heavenly and refreshing drink. I will be having more for sure!

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Monteith’s – pear cider (tasted at Inglewood Hotel)

I had this down at the Inglewood Hotel/pub with some fellow graduates. It was a nice smooth cider that just hit the spot. If you like Montheith’s apple cider then you wil be a fan of this one too!

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While at the Inglewood Hotel I also grabbed a moroccan spiced chicken tortilla wrap ($18.50). Presentation of the dish was nice, the meal was filling but for the price charged I would have preferred a little more meat in my wraps, rather than the abundance of salad.

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Tea:

T2 – Chinese Jasmine (single foil packaged teabag of loose leaf)

I have been loving green tea over the last fortnight and almost always whether I am at home or work will have a mug of it brewing nearby. This has definitely helped me up my water intake over the last week or so where our Autumn has briefly returned to summer.

Packaging of tea at No. 4 Blake Street.

To-go packaging of tea at No. 4 Blake Street.

Russian Caravan – No. 4 Blake Street ($4.7)

This blend was quite smooth, nutty, and had a hint of honey-like sweetness. It was an impulsive decision to pick this blend as when the gentlemant at No. 4 Blake Street was taking my order and I’m glad I took it. I was also extremely impressed  with their Bacon & Egg Roll with smoked tomato chutney ($7) which I had as a takeaway with the tea on my way into university in Mount Lawley. The chutney just added that final touch to really enhance the roll. The roll that they used as well was slightly more dense than your average roll and gave a very hearty feel to it. I will be back for sure to try more of their menu and hopefully with enough time to enjoy it in their restaurant next time.

To-go bacon and egg roll from No. 4 Blake Street.

To-go bacon and egg roll from No. 4 Blake Street.

Until next time!

No 4 Blake Street on Urbanspoon

Inglewood Hotel on Urbanspoon

Little Creatures Brewery on Urbanspoon

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 4)

Hi everyone,

Sorry for this post going up a day late, after a long weekend of catching up with friends, my Cousin’s 21st party and work yesterday it was too hot to do anything but lay under the air-coniditioning  to try and remain cool. This week was a little quite on the wine front, with the heat coming back into full swing in Perth for ‘sweltering February’ drinking anything but water has been low on the priority list.

BF and I went out for dinner this week to Blend with the intention of checking out the recently opened wine bar next door which is run by the owners of Blend. BF ended up requesting to select the wine for dinner and came back with a 2011 Riesling from Claymore Wines. We spent much of the meal not only enjoying the wine but also trying to pin point a flavour in the wine that we ultimately called the ‘margarita’ as it began quite citrusy at the front of the palate but as it slipped down your throat it reminded us of the kick you get from tequila. Not the best description but it really was a nice wine and a very good pick by BF. By the end of the bottle however we wandered past the wine bar next door – Midnight Fox – but decided we would have to return on a different night to sample some of the drinks on offer there.

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This weekend has been another scorcher in Perth. To combat the heat I spent an afternoon with friends with a barbecue, pool and a bottle of 2012 Shiraz Rose from Casillero del Diablo in Chile. This was a dry Rose which I picked up for half-price ($7.50 a bottle) late last year. While normally I would have wished for more flavour in the wine as I felt it was a little lacking. However for the hot weather sipping this wine over ice was the perfect remedy for surviving the hot weather.

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There will be an increase in new wines however in a week or two as we are in the process of gearing up for our next Wine Century Challenge meet – if anyone is interested in meeting up in Perth and trying a few new wine varietals with some food and good company than feel free to send me a public or private message on my Facebook page or send me an email (gourmet . vicariously @ gmail . com – just remove the spaces) if you have any questions or want to be added to the growing list of members. It’s looking like Wednesday nights will be the norm for our meets and we are currently building a collection of locations both north and south of the river.

Until next time!