What have I been drinking recently?

I was looking back over my most recent posts and realised that even though this blog started to chart my development and interest in wine that it had drifted away from that. So here is a post to make up for that sad little fact! Over the past 3 or so months I have been quietly sipping my way through a range of drinks and here are some of the highlights!

Wine:

Dom Perignon 2003 vintage

Dom Perignon 2003 vintage

I cracked this bottle of champagne on my last night in Perth when I was having a farewell dinner with family and friends. It was a very lovely tipple to have and received positive comments from everyone on the night. After holding on to this bottle for a little over a year this was the perfect occasion to crack it open, surrounded by good friends and family!

Moet and Chandon 2002 vintage

Moet and Chandon 2002 vintage

I opened this bottle of wine that I received for my 21st when I was having brunch with some girlfriends from university. I really enjoyed this champagne, it was smooth and perfect of sipping on while eating pastries, fresh fruit and other nibbles. I would happily have another bottle of this in the future!

Lambrusco sparkling

Lambrusco sparkling

This was a cheap bottle of bubbles from Marks & Spencer was what I ended up picking up with a friend to celebrate landing my first teaching contract in the UK. It was a sweet sparkling wine that was easy to drink and a cheap celebration until I received my first pay check.

Villa Maria 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Villa Maria 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

I was feeling a little homesick a few weeks ago and ended up picking this up from my local corner wine store. Villa Maria is my favourite of the bigger wine brands from the Marlborough region.

Chianti 2010

Chianti 2010

I was in the mood for a red one night and popped into my local Tesco. I saw this Chianti on special and decided to give it a try. I was not overly impressed with this wine and it is not one that I will likely try again in the future.

Isla Negra Rose and Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose

Isla Negra Rose and Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose

When my new housemates moved into my flat we decided to get to know each other over a few bottles of wine on our first weekend living together. A quick run to my local Tesco with the instruction of Rose and I selected these two, one sweet (Echo Falls) and the one dry (Isla Negra). The Echo Falls was quite enjoyed all round, it was not overly sweet but just sweet enough be enjoyed by myself and my housemates who prefer sweeter wines. The Isla Negra was also a nice wine but dryer and more acidic than the Echo Falls. Overall the Echo Falls was the winner of the night.

Villa Maria 2012 Rose

Villa Maria 2012 Rose

While I was still in my Rose fad I picked this one up one evening to try. I was quite impressed with the wine and it had a refreshing finish to it. I will pick this one up again for sure!

Trivento 'Tribu', 2013, Malbec

Trivento ‘Tribu’, 2013, Malbec

I tried the Tribu Malbec at a wine bar in London, called Gordon’s Wine Bar which was was a funky bar that had lots of seating down a side street that you could use after purchasing your wine from the bar inside the building. The wine was a great drop also, being a Malbec it was a safe and delicious choice.

De Bortolli * Syrah Gamay

De Bortolli Syrah Gamay

Before I left Perth I had one last pizza night with my friend K. This was something we started back in university where we would have Broadway pizza’s and a bottle of wine and unwind from the past semester and exams. This time around I picked out the Shiraz Gamay that I brought back from my trip to the Yarra Valley last year (blog post here). The wine was very nice and I really have enjoyed all the Gamay’s I have had so far.

Other Alcoholic Drinks:

Peach and Apricot Rekorderlig

Peach and Apricot Rekorderlig

I discovered a new Rekorderlig flavour when I arrived in the UK. This one was quite nice, not overly sweet and very easy to drink as all the Rekorderlig ciders are. If this flavour makes it to Australia, give it a try and you will love it!

Woo Woo cocktail

Woo Woo cocktail

My first night out in London was with a friend from back home who had moved over to London before I did. I ended up ordering a pitcher of a cocktail to have while we caught up over the past few months. The Woo Woo consists of Archers peach schnapps, Smirnoff vodka, cranberry juiceand was very easy to drink.

Maracuja Pie cocktail

Maracuja Pie cocktail

This was  a cocktail I had at Breezes on Como called the Maracuja Pie cocktail, which consisted of ‘vanilla vodka, fresh passionfruit, vanilla Galliano, pineapple juice and a crumble dusting.‘ The cocktail was delicious and one that I will have again for sure! You can read the full review of the meal here.

sipping on Fosters

sipping on Fosters

I went out with my flatmates around London one long weekend to wander around the different tourist sites. For lunch we stopped at a pub and my flatmate ordered a pint of Fosters which I felt the need to have a sip of being an Australian. Have to say that I was not sold with Fosters, personally I think there are much better beers out there.

Crabbies Ginger Beer

Crabbies Ginger Beer

Instead of the Fosters however I ended up ordering  ginger beer after being told they were out of the Vasse Felix’s Classic Dry White that I originally ordered. An easy drinking ginger beer that I would have again, it’s no Matso’s but will have to do until I can find someone who stocks in in the UK or return home!

Strongbow cider

Strongbow cider

I was craving cider and ended up picking up a 4-pack of Strongbow cider one Friday night to celebrate the end of the week. Strongbow is a basic cider and not one I tend to gravitate towards unless I need a quick cider fix as it’s not a flavoursome cider but it did the job in this case after a long week at work.

Porn Star Martini and Hollywood cocktails

Porn Star Martini and Hollywood cocktails

The Porn Star Martini cocktail consisted of Mango, passion fruit, orange, lime, Absolut Vanilia and the Hollywood cocktail consisted of Southern Comfort, sweet raspberry, blueberry,  açaí berry. The Porn Star Martini was my favourite on the night and

 

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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!

Jules Taylor

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 (week 2)

Hi everyone,

I managed to survive my second week of intensive classes and along the way I had a few drinks. Australia Day also fell on this past weekend, hence the belatedness of this blog post as I spent the weekend down south with family and out of internet range.

First off was a Champagne Bellini from Olivers on James street in Northbridge, which I had with a lovely meal before going to the theatre with BF to see The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Consisting of Champagne, Peach Schnapps and Nectar. This drink helped me settle into my second week of intensive classes before I begin heading out into classrooms and meeting the teachers and students over the next few weeks.

Champagne Bellini.

My Australia Day drinks consisted of a 2011 Permberton Chardonnay from Capel Vale, which we were having lunch at to celebrate a family birthday. It was a tough way to spend Australia Day, especially the deserts which I put photos up on my Facebook page.

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I had a quick tasting on the way out of Capel Vale Winery. I think this is the last wine of theirs that I had to try, Their Sassy NV Sparkling. This wine was nice with lots of apples on the palate and a dry finish. I think this wine would do well with some fruit and cheese platter on a summer’s afternoon.

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We also cracked open a bottle of Emri sparkling Moscato which was on clearance for $4 at work. Unfortunately it is clear why the wine was being run out, the sparkling element was missing and the wine that remained showed great promise (the sweet marmalade element of Nobel 1 were just present on the palate for me) if it had of been a sparkling but was left lacking as a still wine.

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There ended up being a late entry into this weeks wine recap. We ended up having lunch before returning to Perth and did so with a bottle of Fermoy’s 2010 Geographe Shiraz. This little gem sold for $90 a dozen and has since sold out which is an absolute shame as from the first sniff to the last sip this wine was luscious and fruity and required no airing time at all. A definite standout for the wines I had this week!

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Hope all my Australian readers are enjoying their long weekend for Australia Day and my other readers around the world have had a good weekend!

Until next time!

Jete-Methode Traditional Wine Experience

Hi everyone,

BF and I went to Howard Park Winery when we were down south for the 2012 Margaret River Gourmet Escape to partake in the Jete-Methode Traditional Wine Experience.

The tasting occurred in their cellaring room and the numerous barrels filled with red wine made for a delightful aromatic setting to conduct our tastings in.

Barrels of red wine.

Barrels of red wine.

1st Tasting: Blind Tasting

We began the session with our first tasting which consisted of a blind tasting of 6 different Australian sparkling wines and Champagnes.

Blind Tasting.

Blind Tasting.

Tasting Notes

Wine 1:

Nose: fruity.

Palate: dry, fresh, vibrant, zesty, not overly developed.

Wine 2:

Nose: toasty and nutty.

Palate: dry, butterscotch overtones, very spritzy and creamy.

Wine 3:

Nose: lime and citrus.

Palate: Smooth, sherberty texture, dry and tight – potential for cellaring.

Wine 4:

Nose: syrupy/Fortified, nutty,

Palate: not a fan.

Dark colouring, potential cork taint?

Wine 5:

Nose: fresh, vibrant, musky fruit tones.

Palate: dry and creamy.

developed but still tight.

Wine 6:

Nose: sherry,

Palate: slight fortified aftertaste, full-bodied, rustic – barrel fermented.

limey colouring.

Blind Tasting Revealed (not in order).

Wine 1: Voyager Estate 2010 – 100% Chardonnay, recently disgorged and not yet relaxed.

Wine 2: Cestulat Champagne – Pinot Noir Chardonnay blend.

Wine 3: Grand Jete 2009 – Disgorged in October 2012.

Wine 4: Penet Chardonnet – 100% Chardonnay.

Wine 5: Veuve Cliquot NV.

Wine 6: Stella Bella 2009 – 100% Chardonnay and Brandy dosage.

2nd Tasting: Chrysallis to Butterfly – taste the journey from raw base to finished wine.

The purpose of this tasting was to show how a traditional-methode sparkling develops. To do so we tasted our way through from the raw base, 4 different vintages and finally the finished product.

Tasting 2 in order.

Tasting 2 in order.

Wine 1: 2012 base wine.

Nose: fruity.

Palate: dry, citrus, fruity, still.

Wine 2: 2012 in triage 3 months.

Nose: yeasty and nutty.

Palate: carbonated.

Wine 3: 2011 on lees 12 months.

Nose: nutty.

Palate: carbonated.

Wine 4: 2010 on lees 24 months.

Nose: nutty.

Palate: beginning to taste like a sparkling wine.

Wine 5: 2009 on lees 36 months.

Nose: nutty.

Palate: smooth and creamy.

Wine 6: 2009 as a finished wine.

Nose: nutty and syrupy.

Palate: balanced, creamy, smooth, rich.

After the second tasting we were taken through to the machinery when the disgorging, corking and packaging of sparkling wines occurs. We were also shown that while there is modern machinery that can do a lot of the process of the traditional-method there is still the presence of the traditional racking method.

Racking for sparkling wine.

Racking for sparkling wine.

Tasting 3: Dosage

The final tasting consisted of different final dosage’s

Dosage 1: water with 5gLt (grams per litre).

Dosage 2: water with 10gLt (grams per litre).

Dosage 3: 1% Brandy, no added sugar.

Dosage 4: still wine with 5gLt (grams per litre).

Dosage 5:still wine with 10gLt (grams per litre).

From this tasting we individually determined what the dosage would be for our own personal bottle of 2009 vintage Jete. I chose dosage 4 while BF chose dosage 5.

While we waited for our dosage to be added and the bottles to be corked we had the chance to sample Howard Park’s non-vintage Jete and Rose with freshly baked bread, soft white rind cheese and smoked salmon. The NV in comparison to the vintage were not as good I think having tried all the other champagnes and sparkling wines at the start made for the NV to be a little disappointing at the end.

I highly recommend that if anyone gets the chance to do something like this to do so! The experience of disgorging and the chance to try numerous different sparkling wines and Champagnes was amazing!

Until next time!