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.

IMG_2426

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: 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.

IMG_2377

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!

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.

NV_Yering_Village_PinNoir

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: 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!

The Blue Duck, Cottesloe

Hi everyone,

While the family was in town a few weeks ago we went to The Blue Duck in Cottesloe to celebrate a family member’s birthday. I didn’t manage to get a photo of every single dish we had as there was too many of us but I managed to grab pictures of those around me before they proceeded to polish off their meals.

I got there a few minutes late and the tasting plates had already been partway demolished so I didn’t manage to get any pictures of those but everyone had enjoyed them immensely. I did however arrive in time to attempt to capture a shot of the sunset that night, unfortunately my phone’s camera could not do justice to the sunset that night as it really was spectacular with all the cloud cover that evening.

View of the Sunset from the table.

View of the Sunset from the table.

For mains there was a range of dishes ordered from the menu. Those which I managed to grab a photo of were:

Lamb.

Roasted Marinated Lamb.

Fish and chips.

Tempura Fish and chips.

Mushroom.

Stuffed Field Mushrooms.

Gnocchi.

Pan Seared Gnocchi (Entree sized).

The gnocchi dish was mine and it was delightful! I wish I had ordered the main however at the time I ordered I knew there would be cake so I didn’t want to have too big a portion, however upon trying the gnocchi I could have happily eaten plate-loads of this dish! The gnocchi melted in my mouth and was accompanied by pumpkin puree, roasted tomatoes, sage butter, feta cheese and cashew nuts of which none remained by the end and the flavours worked beautifully together! This is a dish you could safely say that I would happily reorder. I also had a chance to sample some of the lamb and boy was that tender and well cooked. The fish and chips also came with the most amazing sauce (grebiche). The chicken dish off the menu was ordered by some people on the night as well and was also enjoyed by many but I did not manage to grab a photo or taste of it. The portion sizes were also well done and everyone at the table was happy.

And as it was a birthday celebration cake was obviously necessary so we had a cake arranged through The Blue Duck. The supplied us with a carrot cake which was moist and delicious!

Carrot Cake.

Carrot Cake.

I would love to come back here in the summer and sit out on the deck for dinner to see how it is out there. For me the food alone (the gnocchi in particular) is worth heading back for!

Until next time!

The Blue Duck on Urbanspoon

Wine(s) of the Week: Summer Break (week 4)

Hi everyone,

I spent a few hours last Sunday in the Swan Valley with the overseas family and tasted a few wines along the way. My review of what I sampled in the Swan Valley can be hound here. I did also bring a few wines home with me from the Swan Valley, one of which went straight into the fridge and was had with dinner on Sunday night. Dinner that night consisted of fresh bread along with cheeses and olives which we had picked up in the Swan Valley and a fresh salad. We paired the meal with Moondah Brook‘s Rose which had strawberries and cream on the nose and on the palate it was a light bodied wine which continued the strawberries and cream that I noted from the aroma. The wine began quite sweet at first but ended with a slightly crisp finish giving an overall medium-dry finish. This Rose was delicious and hopefully one I can find in bottle shops in Perth! Tasting notes for this wine cam be found here.

Rose.

Rose.

As we had overseas relatives in town we took them on a Captain Cook’s cruise of the Swan River, something I had never done before to show them the city. During part of the cruise we had lunch provided which consisted of a Lamb curry, vegetarian lasagne, cold meats, a variety of salad and bread. The food was to die for and I could not get enough of the curry and potato salad that they had!

View of Perth as the boat departed.

View of Perth as the boat departed.

To go with the food I had a glass of Waters Edge Classic Dry White and we ended up having a bottle of their Wagtail Sparkling on the house as we were celebrating two birthdays. The bubbly was quite refreshing and the service on the cruise was exceptional!

Wagtail Sparkling.

Wagtail Sparkling.

I also managed to slip a red wine in this week with a small glass of Vasse Felix’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot. The wine was light bodied and smooth and it was good to have a red wine as with it being summer I’ve been tending to stick to white, rose and sparkling wine. I have always been impressed whenever I have a Vasse Felix wine and this one did not disappoint me! Expect to see a more in depth review of this wine when I review the meal I had with it at the Blue Duck in Cottesloe.IMG_1006

This week was also the first time I met up with The Perth Wine Enthusiast and The Perth Food Journal for our Wine Century Challenge meet. We added two new varietals to the list as well as having the chance to taste the range from a small winery in the Yarra Valley which is run by some passionate wine makers as well as a blind tasting of Mourvèdre which was my first time trying this varietal straight. You can read about our meet in this blog post. We also had some food at Steve’s Fine Food and Wine in Nedlands where we met up so there will be photos of that in the post also.

Last wine to quickly slip in this post, is one which BF actually picked out last night when we went for a quick meal to celebrate my final marks at uni meaning that I will be graduating at the end of summer! BF is a keen lover of cricket and the label of this wine played into that love leading to a big decision of which of the two label for this wine to pick (he chose the one on the right). We ended up taking this Jim Barry Sauvignon Blanc Semillon to Blend Cafe in Melville as I had a friends birthday party in the area to go to afterwards. The wine was a good, and for a bottle that was picked for the label BF did good. There was recently cut grass on the nose along with a hint of lychee and tropical fruits, on the palate it was slightly fruit sweet with a good amount of acid but little on the finish. Tasting notes for the wine can be found here.

Wine Labels.

Wine Labels.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 9 – Peel Estate Winery.

Hi everyone,

As part of my Wine Essentials Class with the Wine Education Centre of WA we had the chance to be given a tour of Peel Estate Winery in Baldivis by its owner and senior winemaker Will Nairn. Peel Winery is located in the Peel wine region, which is located at the southern end of Perth; situated roughly between Rockingham and 50km south of Mandurah and runs from the coast to the Darling Scarp.

James Halliday rated the winery 4 stars in the 2012 Australian Wine Companion, and commends them on their “remarkably consistent track record”. Peel Estate is known for it’s unique ‘wooded-Chenin’ which Halliday rates as the best wooded-Chenin in Australia and compares it to that of the Loire Valley in France.

We were taken by Will Nairn for a tour of his vineyard and winery and I managed to grab a few half-decent pictures along the way. Below are some pictures I took while we were given a tour of the winery. Will spent about an hour discussing with us the formation of the winery and where he had sourced the grapes cuttings from, how they had developed and how he had altered the vision of the winery along with their successes and failures and his views on oak and other wine making methods and advances. Climate change was of great importance to Will as it is impacting many aspects of the Wine Industry, regarding irrigation, harvest and the success of certain grape varietals.

Vines.

Mature Grape Vines.

Recently grafted grape vine.

Recently grafted grape vine.

Newly grafted section of the vineyard along with most of our teacher in the wine class.

Newly grafted section of the vineyard along with most of our wine educator from the Wine Education Centre.

This tour was possibly the highlight of the Wine Essential Course that I have been completing this past month. It was so interesting and exciting to hear from a man who has been in the industry for years as well as to see him in his own environment, that of his winery and vineyard.

Review of wines sampled:

2011 Verdehlo: dry, crisp, fresh, and citrus on the nose. The palate was dominated by apple, floral, and zestyness from the citrus notes in the wine. The Verdelho had been left on lees for a bit which made it different to other Verdelho’s I have tried, but still overall one that I would happily have again.

2012 Oaked Chardonnay: On the nose you could note floral, fruity and a hint of butteriness from the oak. The acid was balanced on the palate and the time on oak led to it having a good texture as well as giving the wine a toasty flavour along with citrus and spiciness from the fruit.

2011 Wood-matured Chenin Blanc: this wine was different to any Chenin I have tried in the past, while at first it seemed unfamiliar and therefore slightly odd tasting I warmed up to it in the end. On the nose the wine was crisp but still nutty and toasty thanks to the time on oak (between 12-18 months for the Chenin). On the palate the wine was fruity, rich, dry and a hint of honey. This is a wine which would do best I believe with food.

2012 Rose: Their rose is a blend consisting of mainly Cabernet Franc with some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon also. The wine began with strawberries and cream on the nose and was fruity and smooth on the palate. The wine began sweet on the tip of the mouth it’s overall finish was medium-dry. I was a fan of this and think I have have preferred it to the wine’s I sampled at the Rose Revolution earlier.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: the bit of age on the wine had done it some good thought it was still a little on the young side. The acid and tannins on the wine were still noticeable but it was still a pleasant drop. Dark plum was present both on the nose and palate and along with vanilla, spiciness, and a slight hint go earthiness or chalky-limestone thanks to the location of the vineyard on the old limestone coastal plain in the region.

2005 Old Vine Shiraz: spice, black olive, vanilla, licorice, chocolate and toasty all came to mind from the nose of this wine. On the palate you could taste berries and chocolate as well and it was quite a smooth wine. Not a bad wine either and it came close to usurping the  Cabernet Sauvignon as my favourite red.

Fortified Shiraz: wow! This is a wine which I am so glad I had the chance to try! It was like liquid gold for me! If you make it to the winery this is one to try and you will likely end up taking a bottle home with you!

They also do a Zinfandel which they were currently out of stock on the previous vintage and a few weeks off having the next vintage available for tasting which was a shame as it came highly recommended. There was also a Shiraz Cabernet which we accidentally passed over during the tasting. All the wines sampled on the day were very reasonably priced, with the aged reds being $30-35 which impressed me greatly, in comparison to what they would have likely cost had they come from a Margaret River winery.

A big thanks to Will for having the class on the tour and for being such an entertaining host! I do hope some of you make it down to the winery as it is the perfect location for a lazy weekend barbecue with their electric barbecue and wine cellar open 10am-5pm 7 days a week.

Until next time!