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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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  

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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!

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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

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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!

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Chocolateria San Churro Fremantle on Urbanspoon

Cocktail at the Lounge Bar at Crown Casino

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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.

Wine(s) of the Week: Another Overdue Collective Wine Post

Hi everyone,

This post is a little collage of the drinks that I have in the few weeks leading up to my prac that I never got around to blogging about.

Wine:

Olive Farm Wines, 2012, Verdehlo.

Olive Farm Wines, 2012, Verdehlo.

I went to the Cheese Barrel in the Swan Valley for a cheese making day course. For lunch as part of the course we were given a few cheese platters and bottles of Olive Farm 2012 Verdelho. The cheese platter went down a treat as did the wine, however I had a cold at the time and could not fully appreciate the wine those on the course with me were quite impressed. The baked camembert with garlic oil on the platter and the fig sticks were the highlight of the tasting platter. I will be back for another platter for sure.

Tasting Platter.

Tasting Platter.

The Cheese Barrel on Urbanspoon

Yellowglen Cremant.

Yellowglen Cremant.

I had a long overdue catch up with my cousin and we celebrated in our traditional way of bubbles and cake. This time around we ended up with a mud cake and a bottle of Yellowglen Cremant. This sparkling wine has a smooth and creamy texture with a hint of sweetness on the palate.

Skuttlebutt Rose.

Skuttlebutt Rose.

While out for lunch in Fremantle at Pizza Bella Roma I chose to try the Skuttlebutt Rose, which is a blend of Shiraz, Merlot and Sangiovese. The wine was refreshing and a lively rose which I would happily try again.

Penfolds, 2011, Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre.

Penfolds, 2011, Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre.

We had a family friend visit and they brought with them a bottle of Penfolds 2011 Bin 2, a blend of Shiraz Mourvedre. After a little time in the decanter this wine was on full display with a savoury and spicy nose which carried over onto the palate along with some berry fruit flavours and young tannins which the decanter helped to smooth out. I quite enjoyed this wine, especially as Shiraz is not a varietal I tend to gravitate towards.

Villa Maria.

Villa Maria.

BF and I went to see Iron Man 3 at La Premiere. While there I decided to have a glass of wine and choose to have the Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc. I had been eyeing this wine off at work for about a year now, hearing many positive things about it from fellow staff and customers. I really enjoyed this wine and cannot believe I waited this long to try it. This wine was the one which has converted me to a fan of a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc, lots of passionfruit, melons and zesty lime on the palate.

Cocktails:

Cocktail.

Boo Boo Cocktail.

BF and I had a quiet dinner at Benny’s in Fremantle and I was hanging out to have a cocktail of theirs as it had been far too long since i’d been there. I ended up selecting one of their specials the Boo Boo Cocktail which contained peach schnapps, spiced peach liquier, cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. A very delicious cocktail, as expected from Benny’s.

Benny's Bar & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tea:

Melbourne Breakfast.

Melbourne Breakfast.

I visited Wild Poppy Cafe for brunch, while I was under the weather and had my favourite Melbourne Breakfast cuppa tea there. The vanilla and honey flavours in this tea were just what I needed to feel a little better.

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While out at the Cheese Barrel for the cheese making course we were also given free morning and afternoon tea. I chose to have a cup of tea. They only offered traditional black or white tea however their presentation of miss-matched tea cups was adorable.

White Orchard.

White Orchard.

This last cup of tea is made by Mighty Leaf called White Orchard. I tried this tea at Heavenly Plate, my fist visit to a vegan restaurant with some girlfriends. This white tea was bursting with peach and melon flavours and I would love to try this tea cold in the summer months as an iced tea, however it also was actually very nice as a warm tea also.

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 9)

Hi everyone,

 This week BF and I shared the bottle of wine we picked up at The Gourmet Escape last year. We had enjoyed the range avaialble for tasting at the Devils Lair stall, however it was the Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc blend that stood out for us and we ended up taking a bottle of the 2011 vintage home with us. On the nose the Sauvignon Blanc showed lychee notes while the Chenin Blanc brought out sherbet notes. The Sauvignon Blanc brought a tropical element to the wine’s palate while the Chenin Blanc brought some sweetness and rounded out the palate. It was a blend which BF and I would be happy to try again.

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I also caught up with girlfriend C for cocktails and nibbles before we caught up with some other friends to see The Importance of being Earnest at the theatre. We ended up at the Trustee sharing a Charcuterie Plate ($32.50) while having a few cocktails.

Tasting plate and cocktails from The Trustee.

Tasting plate and cocktails from The Trustee.

For the cocktails, I started with a Berry Cobbler (vodka, house white, gomme, apple juice, white peach puree, berries, and soda water – $15) and followed with a Cider Slider (Contreau, pomme de vert, St Germaine, orange juice, Monteith’s cider – $16). C had a Trustee Sunrise (sake, vodka, honey water, lemon juice, elderflower – $18) which she enjoyed so much she ended up having a second one. We thoroughly enjoyed the cocktails and the tasting plate was delicious! A full list of the wines and cocktails available at the Trustee can be found here.

Berry Cobbler ($15).

Berry Cobbler ($15).

Cider Slider ($16).

Cider Slider ($16).

Trustee Sunrise ($18).

Trustee Sunrise ($18).

BF and I went out to Fremantle for lunch yesterday and I ended up suggesting The Picked Fig at South Beach after having eyed it off for too long. To go with our lunches BF had a Pear Cider from Little Creatures while I had a ‘Fruit Fetish’ Juice consisting of orange, pineapple and passionfruit. The cider impressed BF, however while it did grow on me I was still not overly impressed with it, I had hoped for more fruit flavour in the cider.

Little Creature's Pear Cider.

Little Creature’s Pear Cider.

'Fruit Frenzy' Juice.

‘Fruit Fetish’ Juice.

I do apologise for not having posted and blog posts this week. I have a backlog of restaurant reviews to write up and will hopefully get some out this coming week. I hope everyone has had a fantastic week and weekend.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Until next time!

The Trustee Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Perth Wine Group: Second Meet

Hi everyone,

We had our second meet for a group of Perth wine lovers and bloggers attempting the Wine Century Challenge. We met at Steve’s in Nedlands like our first meet, the blog post for our first meet can be found here. While we sampled our way through the wines I adopted the method of nothing down what I saw (1), smelt (2) and tasted (3) in the wine.

WHITES

Marq, 2011, Vermentino, Margaret River, Australia (RRP $27) – 11.5%

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1. Clear and vibrant pale lemon coloured wine.

2. Crisp citrus, stone-fruits and sherbert.

3. Clean and refreshing on the palate with balanced acidity, dry medium finish.

Pere Ventura, 2011, Xael.lo, Penedes, Spain (RRP $20) – 12%

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1. Clear and vibrant lemon coloured wine in the glass.

2. Slight sweetness (fruity), aromatic and stone-fruit (pears and apples).

3. Crisp acidity, sherberty palate (at the front of the mouth), melon, honey, flabby, medium very dry finish at the end.

First Drop, 2010, Arneis, Barossa Valley, Australia. (RRP $26) – 13.5%

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1. Clear wine in the glass with no colour.

2. Musky, citrus, Nashi pears, slight sweetness (fruity).

3. Musk, crisp, residual sugar was possibly present, cleansing medium dry finish.

This wine showed great potential for the grape varietal however the wine was a little too old and had turned a little flat and tired. I would love to get my hands on a younger vintage of this wine as it was my favourite white wine of the night for the potential it showed.

Cour-Cheverny, 2011, Roantin, Cour-Cheverny, South West Loire (RRP $43) – 12% (no added preservatives)

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1. Clear, dull yellow coloured wine in the glass.

2.Sweetness (fortified),  stewed fruit (pear, apple), hint of oak – smelt more like a red wine than a white wine.

3. Dry, warm big mouth feel, nutty, lees, long finish on the wine – a perfect wine for the winter months.

REDS

Arancio, 2010, Nero d’Avola, Sicily, Italy (RRP $25) – 13.5%

this is a wine I had tried the previous week, and while I had been slightly impressed with it at home I think it impressed me more at the tasting. Perhaps it was the use of better glassware or being able to isolate the flavours that I hadn’t been able to place last time a little better being at a tasting.

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1. Plum red coloured wine in the glass.

2. Berry fruits, vanilla, oak, spice, ash/smoke.

3.Tannins, vanilla (brought a softness to the wine), rich and dense wine, hint of raspberries and strawberries on the palate, warm short to medium finish, rounded finish (lack of acid in the wine).

Diemersfontien, 2011, Pinotage, Wellington, South Africa (RRP $35) – 14%

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1.Brick red coloured wine in the glass.

2. Rubber, coffee, dusty, chocolate, oak, vanilla.

3. Tannins, meaty/gritty feel to the wine, very dry finish.

King River, 2011, Saperavi, King Valley, Australia (RRP $55) – 14.4%

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1. I didn’t actually record anything for this I was too focused on the nose of the wine.

2. Floral (Violet and Rose), hint of spice, stewed sour red fruits (red apples and rhubarb), hint of sweetness, pomegranate, apple.

3. Stewed sour red fruits (red apple and rhubarb), a good amount of tannins present, refreshing, possibility of residual sugar, cleansing, medium to long dry finish.

Massena, 2010, Tannat, Barossa Valley, Australia (RRP $28) – 14.5%

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1. Plum coloured wine in the glass.

2. Plums, oak, spice, ripe blackcurrant, tobacco, hint of sweetness.

3. Lots of fruit, tannins, smooth, warm, dry finish.

For those who want to see a different view on the challenge feel free to check out what Perth Wine Enthusiast thought of the wines. You can find the post on his blog here.

Anyone interested in joining us is more than welcome to! Our next meet will likely be in the next 4-5 weeks and will be occurring south of the river this time at Bad Apples Wine Bar in Applecross. Feel free to contact myself or Perth Wine Enthusiast if you wish to join us!

Until next time!

Wines of the Week: University (week 7)

Hi everyone,

This week I have been kept very busy with my university degree and haven’t had much spare time for this blog or to have a glass or two of wine. I did however finally open a bottle of wine I picked up at Lenton Brae last summer. I had chilled the 2010, Late Harvest Red making it a pleasant wine to sip on at the end of on of the warm final days of summer in Perth. The wine was fuller luscious bodied wine, with a soft warm finish on the palate.

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Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 6)

Hi everyone,

I started off the week with a glass of Brown Brothers Rose Crouchen Riesling with dinner after work one night. The wine had a touch of sweetness but finished refreshingly with enough acid. Strawberries and tropical fruit came through on the nose and palate.

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Another wine I had with dinner over the week was De Bortoli, 2010, La Bossa Shiraz Cabernet Merlot. This wine had ripe berries and a hint of oak on the nose, medium bodied with some fruit flavours on the palate along with some oak and tannins. An alright wine, went well with food.

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Another wine I had a glass of over the week was Coward and Black, 2009, April Harvest Semillon, Margaret River. This wine was not as sweet as I was expecting given that it was an April Harvest. Lots of tropical fruit on the nose and palate. The wine as well felt a little tired and it would have been I think a lot more appealing for myself had I of tried a younger vintage. Would reconsider trying this one again if I came across a more recent vintage.

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Working in a bottle-shop means that I need to sample wines from a variety of price brackets, I decided to open a bottle that I had purchased from my $5-$10 price range at work. The bottle of wine was a 2011, Wolfblass, Eaglehawke Cabernet Sauvignon. I found this wine to be young, unbalanced and it had a funny taste which BF noted also and was sort of reminding me of ‘menthol’. I think my preferences regarding wines has been elevated too quickly as all I could see this wine being used for was cooking at best.

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I did also attend another Wine Century Challenge Meet, I will do a write up of those wines soon.

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.

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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!

Wine Essential Course: Week 4.

Hi everyone,

The final class in the Wine Essential Course provided by the Wine Education Centre of Western Australia consisted of blind tastings of two different wines with each course of our meal. We began each course by determine what we thought the wine’s varietal, where it was from and what wine making processes had been applied to it, before moving on to compare and determine which wine we felt went better with the dish.

We had our meal at George Street Bistro, on George street in East Fremantle.

We started with a glass of bubbly on arrival.

1. creamy and rich on the palate. A delightful bubbly.

The Entrée consisted of a ‘Stilton, Pear and Walnut Tart, Rocket Salad and Balsamic Dressing’.

Entrée

Entrée

Paired with the Entrée was two white wines.

2. Golden clear coloured wine in the glass, it looked like an aged wine. On the nose we could detect oak, pear, apple and citrus. On the palate it provided a smooth, rich, full feeling in the mouth, had a nice amount of acid and dry finish to balance out the slight residual sweetness the wine had. One of the class members sitting near me suggested this wine was a Riesling.

3. the wine appeared youthful, fresh, clear and bring in the glass. On the nose it was fresh, vibrant, unoaked and primary fruits. On the palate the wine was acidic and fruity with a dry finish. Another fellow class member suggested this wine was a Pinot Grigio.

Favourite wine for the dish: Wine number 2 was preferred due to the pear in the tart and wine paring well, and the wine complementing the butteriness of the pastry with the oak in the wine. Wine 3 was too acidic for me personally when compared with the food.

The main meal consisted of ‘Grilled Chicken Brest with Potato Rosti, Spring Vegetables, Chestnut Sauce’.

Main meal.

Main meal.

4. White wine: the wine was clear and had a slight golden tinge to it. We noted oak and pineapple on the palate made me believe this wine was a Chardonnay considering we were pairing it with chicken.

5. Red Wine: clear ruby red wine in the glass. There was cherries, and other berries on the palate and light oak. The class mate who thought wine 2 was a Riesling believed that this wine was a Pinot Noir, and I agreed with him, I thought this Pinot noir was not from Denmark due to the earthiness and palate weight as I felt Denmark would have made a more acidic and cooler Pinot Noir.

Favourite wine for the dish: I kept tossing up between the two wines, for me personally I would have been happy with either wine, I think by the end I preferred the white slightly more but barely. Overall the class preferred the red wine to the white with the main dish.

Desert consisted of a ‘Chocolate and Kahlua Cheesecake with Mulberry Ice-cream’.

Desert.

Desert.

6. White sweet wine: Golden yellow coloured wine. Aroma was sweet and a hint of marmalade was also present. The wine on the palate was sweet, honey and tropical fruit (pineapple). There was consensus that the wine was likely to be a Botrytis Semillon.

7. Red sweet wine: ruby red wine in the glass. On the nose I smelt ethanol suggesting the wine was fortified and had quite a high alcohol content. On the palate the wine had a rich mouth feel.

Favourite wine for the dish: The white wine paired better with the desert. The red being fortified was too alcoholic and rich, but on it’s own I would have been quite content with either of the wines.

Wine’s revealed:

1. Grant Burge NV Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Barossa Valley ($26.95).

2. Heymann-Lowenstein, 2009, ‘Schieferterrassen’ Riesling, Germany ($45).

3. Faber Vineyard, 2010, Verdehlo, Swan Valley ($21).

4. Plantagenet, 2010, Pinot Noir, Great Southern ($45).

5. Moss Wood, 2009, Chardonnay, Margaret River ($62).

6. Penfolds, 2011, ‘Cellar Reserve’ Viogner (Late Harvest), Barossa Valley ($45).

7.Happs, 2008, ‘Fortis;, Margaret River ($25).

I was a little concerned about this restaurant as the review online had turned negative since the change of ownership and it was not only online where I was hearing disappointment with towards the food since the change of management. George Street Bistro however was a well laid out restaurant. The restaurant felt modern, fresh and simplistic with it’s design. My only complaint for the design of the restaurant was that the lighting was not enough and the room felt a little too dim for my personal liking.

The food being the major complaint of the restaurant since the change of ownership, impressed me on this occasion. The food was delicious and the portions were perfectly sized. I cannot compare to the standards under the previous owner but under the new owners I was impressed. This is a restaurant I will happily return to and will be watching their menu as it changes with the seasons.

I am quickly becoming fond of George Street in East Fremantle. The selection of stores along this street showcase high quality products and a wide selection. I do plan to wander around the street in the near future and wish dearly that I could have gone to their street fair last weekend.

Until next time!

George Street Bistro on Urbanspoon

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!

Wine Essentials Course: Week 3

Hi everyone,

This week’s class focused on red wines. The class went through the production process of red wines as well as discussing the impact that oak has upon wines as it is more commonly seen in red than white wine. We also had the chance to smell French and American oak chips to get a sense of the two different commonly used oak.

Tasting notes:

1. Estate 807, 2010, Pinot Noir, Great Southern ($39.95): a clear and bright ruby red which had luscious red berries, spices (cinnamon and cloves), chocolate and vanilla (oak) making for a lifted nose that saw the vanilla and fruit transfer to the palate with medium tannins

2. Churchview, 2011, ‘Silverleaf’ Merlot, Margaret River ($13): a clear deep violet in the glass that produced darker berries, vanilla (oak), savour spice and a hint of candied apple on the nose. The wine was dry with medium acid and finish, with cherries and toffee on the palate.

3. Kalleske, 2009, ‘Old Vine’ Grenache, Barossa Valley ($45): A clear dark ruby wine with a herbaceous nose including plum, spice, blackberry and liquorice notes. The wine was medium-dry on the palate with low acid and high tannins with classic ripe fruit and a hint of sweetness from glycerol in the wine. The high alcohol content of the wine (15%) made for a medium to long finish as the wine warmed your mouth.

4. Sitella, 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River ($25): My favourite of the wine’s tasted tonight. A deep plummy red wine in the glass. Eucalyptus/Minty, rhubarb, pencil shavings (oak), beetroot, bay leaves, blackcurrant, plum and toffee/chocolate sweetness on the nose. Dry red wine with high tannins, ripe stewed fruit and a hint of chocolate mint on the palate with a medium finish. Not a bad drink now but I would love to see this wine in a few years time!

5. Xanadu, 2010, Shiraz, Margaret River ($29): The wine was double decanted before serving (poured out of and back into the wine bottle). A deep and vibrant plum wine in the glass. On the nose it is clear that this is a young wine with black forest fruit and spicy notes on the nose. Harsh high tannins on the palate, a sign of the wine’s youth. Short to medium finish with vanilla, cherry and toasty notes from the oak and fruit coming through on the palate. This wine needs time in the bottle to age.

6. Freshy Bay, 2004, Shiraz, Geographe ($15): medium to deep brick red garnet wine. Personally this wine was disappointing for me, little to no fruit or oak on the nose or palate and smooth tannins and a medium finish.

We also had a few bottles of wine passed around at the start of the class that people had brought in. We had a Spanish and Adelaide Hills Tempranillo’s to compare, the Spanish Tempranillo was oaky and had body, while the Adelaide Hills Tempranillo was much lighter and fruit driven. There was also a Shiraz Viognier from Fire Gully from Margaret River, the Viognier really added a smoothness to the wine that helped balance out the youth of the Shiraz. Also had the chance to try a 2002 shiraz, there was quite a bit of sediment in the glass but it was not a bad drop still more partial to a Cabernet Sauvignon to a Shiraz however. Some interesting wine’s to have had the chance to try and ones which I would have likely never tried otherwise!

The Grenache was the favourite of the night with the Cabernet Sauvignon (and my pick) coming a close second.

Until next time!