Wine(s) Of the Week: Yet Another Collective Blog Post (during prac)

Woody Nook 2011, Late Harvest Semillon, Margaret River, Western Australia.

IMG_2491

I raided my wine collection while on prac and discovered this bottle towards the back of my collection. I figured it needed to be opened sooner than later from the date and it was a wine, which was getting old and dull. It’s a shame as when I purchased this wine at the cellar door a summer ago it was a really nice wine from memory. Hints of the usual late harvest semillon flavours but it was really past it’s drinking age.

Chandon 2008, Barrel Selection Shiraz, Yarra Valley, Victoria.

IMG_2507

This was a bottle that was brought back from my trip in the Yarra Valley as a gift. While I was down south it was opened and this wine was as good as I remembered it being when I sampled it back in January in the Yarra Valley. Lots of blackcurrant, plums and toasty spicy oak flavours. A beautiful wine!

Clairault, 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia

While I was down south for a weekend I went to Clairault winery to have lunch at their café. To go with lunch we opted to share a bottle of the 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had lots of luscious berries, with a hint of oak and chocolate on the palate and was a balanced and very easy to drink wine.

IMG_2505

Lunch at the Clairault Café.

We shared the Gourmet Platter and a serving of bread between the three of us and two of us also opting to have the soup as well (pumpkin with a sliver of brie), see the picture above. The food was all well presented, delicious and made for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon of catching up. I will be back for sure in the summer when I can borrow a picnic blanket from them and buy a hamper to eat out in their garden.

Clairault Estate on Urbanspoon

Plantagenet 2010 Hazard Hill Shiraz, Mount Barker, Western Australia.

IMG_2608

I had to make a rushed decision on a bottle of wine for the group while dining at Junction Grill at Crown Casino. I noticed Plantagenet’s Hazard Hill 2010 Shiraz on the wine list and decided to play it safe with a winery I trusted. The wine has luscious fleshy fruit and a hint of cherries on the palate and had a very soft, warm finish. I was very impressed and look forward to trying more wines from Plantagenet.

Dinner at Junction Grill

IMG_2641

We ended up dining at Junction Grill for dinner over the weekend to celebrate a friends birthday as the Merrywell had a 3 hour waitlist and we were not prepared to wait around for dinner for that long. We ended up wandering past Junction Grill and saw a short and quickly moving line and decided to have dinner there.

For dinner I had the gnocchi from their menu. It was alright, nothing spectacular with regards to the gnocchi and the spinach had a funky taste, which resulted in most of it ended up on the side of my plate. Those also dining with me mainly ordered the pizzas or the steak sandwiches and those were all raved about so I would recommend sticking to those if you choose to dine here.

Junction Grill on Urbanspoon

Cherry Bomb cocktail at South Street Ale House.

IMG_2490

Above is the Cherry Bomb cocktail I had at the South Street Ale House. The cocktail included VOK Parfait Amour Liquer, VOK Cherry Brandy Liquer and Lemonade. It was quite a nice cocktail but a little on the sweeter side of things.

Cocktails at Midnight Fox  

IMG_2576

At the end of prac I went out with BF to celebrate. I decided to finally check out the new small bar in Melville called Midnight Fox which is run by the owners of Blend Cafe which is located next door.

Lady Peaches ($12)

Bottom Cocktail in the image above. The cocktail contained peach liqueur, bubbles and a sugar cube. This was a great cocktail to start the celebration with, not overly sweet and a easy cocktail to sit back, relax and sip on.

Apple and Eve Cocktail ($17)

Top cocktail in the image above. The cocktail contained absolut vodka, cointreau, fresh apple and lime, finished with cinnamon sugar and baron von moustache spiced apple bitters.​ I went to the bar and asked to be surprised, however I’m not a big fan of gin based cocktails and this is what they chose for me. I really enjoyed this cocktail also.

Dinner at Midnight Fox/Blend Cafe

Pumpkachicken pizza ($20) consists of tomato base, mozzarella, free range chicken, pumpkin, pepperoni and onion.​​ I decided to give this pizza a try as I love having pumpkin on a pizza. BF got our traditional Little India pizza ($19.5) consisting of tomato base, mozzarella, tandoori chicken, red onion, and chilli, finished with a cucumber and mint raita. I did like the pumpkin on the pizza however it was significantly bland in comparison to the Little India and could not really compete with it.

Overall BF and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Midnight Fox and we will be back for sure to enjoy the pizzas from Blend along with some well made cocktails in a intimate and cosy location.

Blend Cafe on Urbanspoon
Midnight Fox on Urbanspoon

Curious Peach Cocktail Jug ($35 for a 1/2L jug)

The cocktail contained appleton Rum, peach liqueur, earl grey tea and lemon juice. It was a really nice refreshing cocktail to have on a warm Sunday afternoon when BF and I caught up with some good friends. The flavours in the cocktail were well balanced and nicely done. Overall I’m still loving the cocktails at the Merrywell!

IMG_2589

Lunch at the Merrywell

For my main I had the Grilled Tuna Salad ($24), consisting of garden vegetables, roasted capsicum aioli and devil egg from the share plate menu. I really enjoyed this dish as a non-shared plate as it was a good sized meal for lunch to allow me room for desert also. The flavours of the aioli and vegetables was well done also and the tuna was nicely cooked. For desert we ordered the Key Lime Cheesecake and the Chocolate brownie (both $9). both were very nice however the brownie is a very rich dish and I ordered and finished this one off, feeling very full by the end of it.

Overall it was a very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the crowds were not as bad as I have seen at dinner time. We managed to grab a table outside to enjoy the nice weather and it was very pleasant.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

Hazlenut Milkshake at San Churro

IMG_2639

I went out for a churro and milkshake fix at the end of my prac. I had my usual white chocolate dipping sauce with my churros and as we were having a warm summers day I chose to try their hazelnut milkshake which was delicious! This is a the perfect place to visit in Perth if you are in need of a chocolate fix!

IMG_2642

Chocolateria San Churro Fremantle on Urbanspoon

Cocktail at the Lounge Bar at Crown Casino

IMG_2638

Lastly is a cocktail (~$19) that I had at the Lobby Lounge at the Crown Casino when I went there to celebrate a friends birthday. I cannot remember what was in it exactly but it was a similar cocktail to the Lady Peach from Midnight fox with a sparkling wine base, sugar and then a liqueur (from memory this cocktail used chambord). I quite enjoyed the cocktail as well as the lobby lounge.

Yarra Valley, 2013

Hi everyone,

While I was in Melbourne last week I was granted half a day in the Yarra Valley to unleash the wine lover in me. Unfortunately this half-day was the same day that I had hopped off the plane after only 2 hours sleep so in the end I was quite exhausted after the few wineries I got to. I ended up sticking to the three major wineries in the region that were wanted to be seen by myself and my travelling companions as well as a cidery and chocolate/ice-creamery which caught our attention as we drove throughout the region.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

We began our day with breakfast at a bakery in Yarra Glen. I had a definitely homemade Chicken Pastie, which while being stuffed full or chicken, feta, spinach and nuts was too rich for my stomach to handle so early in the morning.

Chicken Pastie.

Chicken Pastie.

De Bortoli

IMG_1279

We arrived at De Bortoli and were greeted by their resident dogs Millie and Harry. Before entering the cellar door the same time as a tour bus. While the ladies running the cellar door were busy dealing with two large groups they still made time to make me feel more than welcome at the cellar door as I tasted my way through a selection of their wines. We ended up leaving with 3 wines some for our stay in Melbourne and some to take home back to Perth.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Harry and Millie at De Bortoli.

Este Sparkling ($34)

Sparkling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend made from cool climate grapes in the traditional method. This wine had a nutty and creamy palate and was a delicious wine. We were quite intent on picking up a bottle of this before we remembered that we would be heading to Chandon later that day, After having visited Chandon this still wasn’t a bad drop in my opinion.

La Boheme Act 3 – Pinot Gris and Friends 2011  ($20)

Pinot Gris with a “splash” of Riesling and Gewürztraminer. This wine was zesty, fresh and light on the palate with a hint of minerality on the nose. For not being a fan of Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer I was a fan of this wine.

Yarra Valley Sauvignon 2010  ($20)

Oaked (french) Sauvignon Blanc, from which I felt like I could taste a hint of lychee on the palate. The oak made for a different and unusual wine. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it but

Yarra Valley Off-Dry Riesling 2011  ($20)

Still quite a dry Riesling, no hint of lychee as the tasting notes implied. Refreshing wine.

La Boheme Act 2 Pinot Noir Rose 2011  ($20)

Musky, fruity nose. Light palate which had and acidic and dry finish. Lacking palate which disappointed me.

Bellariva Moscato del Re 2012  ($18)

Delightful drink with a low 5.5% alcoholic content. Delicious, musky sherbet nose paired with tropical fruit and a refreshing finish which makes it possible to have a glass or two and now feel slickly after it. We ended up taking a bottle of this pack to Perth and it was enjoyed all round.

Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2011  ($32)

Deemed a “bonza vintage” in the tasting notes. Earthy Pinot Noir with a fantastic colour in the glass. For my first Yarra Valley Pinot Noir of the day, it did well.

La Boheme Act 4 Syrah Gamay 2011  ($20)

Presently the style being served in “the cool bars of Paris”. The wine was different to anything I had tried before, light bodied but delicious. This was the bottle of wine that I selected to bring back to Perth.

Yarra Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010  ($28)

This wine with balanced oak but still showing that it was young, light bodied wine but it showed some promise. Give it a few more years.

Yarra Valley Chocolatier

I wandered around this place looking more with my eyes than my stomach but I did have some of their ice-cream and sorbet curtosy of my mum and cousin who were quite in awe of their VERY generous servings!

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Berry Sorbet Waffle Cone.

Rocky Road and *.

Rocky Road and Cookie Dough.

While wandering around the store I came across some novel chocolate carrying devices as well as some interesting sweets that I wished would have survived my stay in Melbourne and the flight home so I could have purchased them!

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Tasty Insulation in the wine glass for travelling.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Desert Topping Syrups.

Domaine Chandon

This winery offered guided and unguided tours of their winery along with tastings of a selection of their wines. We opted to do the self guided tour and got a chance to glimpse at their crushing, cellaring and cellaring rooms.

Old press on display.

Old press on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Oak barrels on display.

Cellaring room.

Cellaring room.

IMG_1299

Riddling process.

After the self guided tour I was most keen to sample the wines on offer. To my surprise after having worked in a bottle shop for the past two years I learnt that Chandon produces still wines as well as sparkling wines, and that their standards are quite high. We tasted our way through the wines on offer and the highlights for myself was the Curvee Riche, 2009 Vintage Brut and the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz (which we were offered as a one off sample as we had quite enjoyed their shiraz on the tasting menu and was considering it for a gift, however the 2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz for $18 more was well worth the money. Big thank you to the gentleman who walked us through the tasting for giving us the opportunity to taste this wine, I know it will be well enjoyed when it makes it to its intended owner!)

2009 Vintage Brut

This was a good sparkling wine. Smooth on the palate, with a dry finish. Definitely will be recommending this wine at work from now on havint tried it, it exceeds the NV Brut, which I have tried in the past.

NV Curvee Riche

The guy who took us through the tasting said that this one was a favourite of his and it is clear to see why. For those who love a sweeter sparkling without going to a Sparkling Moscato should keep an eye out for this one. It was a tough decision deciding between a bottle of this and the 2009 Vintage to take with us, in the end we decided upon the Curvee Riche.

2008 Vintage Brut Rose

Personally could not stand up to the 2008 Vintage Brut and

NV Sparkling Pinot Shiraz

This wine was interesting to try, having only tried a few sparkling red wines but didn’t impress me the way I hoped it would.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Crisp and vibrant youthful wine, which was the favourite for the white wine drinker in the group. I myself was also quite impressed with this wine.

2012 Pinot Noir Rose

Average on the palate and nose for me personally, there was strawberries and cream on the nose and palate however I felt that it did not follow pack the punch that I look for in a Rose.

2011 Pinot Noir

Luscious berries on the palate are balanced out by the wine’s tannins. Not a bad wine but it could not compare to Pinot Noir’s from Yerling Station.

2010 Heathcote Shiraz

Not a bad Shiraz for those that I have tried. Berries and spice on the palate with it’s youth also still showing. Not a bad wine but could still do with a few more years in the bottle.

2008 Barrel Selection Shiraz

This was a delightful wine that you could taste the love that had gone into it. Fruit driven with oak that was well integrated into the wine. You could note pepper and luscious berries on the palate but it was not overly peppery, which gave it extra brownie points in my opinion!

For anyone looking for a good cellar door experience, Chandon did it well and I was very impressed by their knowledge as well as charisma with us. The wines as well are delightful! I must however make time for a cheese platter and a glass of bubbles at Chandon, next time I am in the Yarra Valley.

Punt Road Cidery

IMG_1301

We made a quick stop here on the way to Yerling Station to try their ciders. The had an apple and pear varietal which they had been producing since 2008 when they came to the realisation that wine production occurs for 3 months of the year and that he stainless steel tanks that would have otherwise remained idle for the remaining 9 could be used for cider.

The apple cider was crisp and refreshing however I was slightly more partial to the pear cider, which had a hint of sweetness about it. Their cider can be found in bars, shops and on tap in various locations in Perth, including Subiaco Hotel and selected Liquor Barons across the city.

Yering Station

Last stop of the day as my lack of sleep and jet lag was catching up with my travel companions and I was at Yering Station. Here I went through and did a brief sampling of their extensive wine list.

2008 Yarrabank Curvee

This wine was quite average for the sparkling wines I had tried while in the Yarra Valley. Not a bad wine but not one that impressed me.

2004 Yarrabank, Late Disgorged

It was tough to not buy a bottle of the wine also. It was a delightful bubbly which I do hope to find in Perth. The sparkling wine’s palate and bouquet were dominated by fresh ripe fruit and was a delight to drink.

2010 Yering ‘Village’ Pinot Noir

This is a wine more suited for those who like light bodied reds or are not even big fans of red wine. The wine’s palate reminded me of a Rose with lighter summer berries on the palate and nose. Not a bad wine and different to the other Pinot Noir’s I have tried from the Yarra Valley.

2010 Yering Station Pinot Noir

I preferred this to their Village Pinot Noir as there was more body and it was a more ‘earthier’ wine in comparison. Dark berries on the palate in comparison. Loved this wine, I will have to keep an eye out for this one in bottle shops in Perth!

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Sangiovese

This was the second bottle of wine I brought back with me from the Yarra Valley. For my first time trying Sangiovese on it’s own, I was impressed. The wine bad body and flavour and while it can be drunk now I do hope to cellar it for a while before opening it.

2010 Yering ‘Muir’ Nebbiolo

My first time trying the Nebbiolo grape. It was quite average and not for me personally. Not enough luscious berry flavours on the palate to balance out the harshness of the tannins in the wine. It did however make for another notch towards my Wine Century Challenge.

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!