Regional Heroes Wine Tasting @ 2013 Good Food and Wine Show, Perth

Earlier this year I attended the Good Food and Wine Show in Perth. I only had a few hours at the show so it was a rushed visit but I managed to book tickets to the Regional Heroes Wine Tasting. This tasting consisted of 6 wines from different wine regions across Australia that the presenters felt were good and solid examples of the wine being produced in Australia.

Riesling

IMG_2960

E: pale colour.

N: sweet, fruity, apple, aromatic, lemon, and lime.

P: hint of sweetness, crisp, acidic, lively, lemon, dry, fresh and also a hint of minerality.

Semillon

IMG_2961

E: pale clear lemon.

N: oak, lemon, sweetness – reminded me of a lemon meringue pie.

P: dry, crisp, acidic, with a hint of oak.

Chardonnay

IMG_2962

E: clear pale lemon.

N: soft nose, oak, lemon.

P: good mouth feel, good length, lemon, oak, fruity and a hint of acidic minerality.

Pinot Noir

IMG_2959

E: clear ruby red.

N: oak and berries – cherry in particular.

P: dry, spice, silky tannins, acidic and berries.

Cabernet Sauvignon

IMG_2958

E: vibrant plum coloured wine.

N: berries, oak and spice – I had YUM! down next to this wine.

P: dry, luscious berries, oak, good finish, some grippy tannins and vibrant fruit.

Shiraz

IMG_2957

E: brick red wine.

N: oak, spice, plums, and dark berries.

P: smooth, very dry, balanced, spice, rich and savoury.

Overall it was a lovely wine tasting and I enjoyed being introduced to some staple wine regions in Australia. While I have personal preferences that differ to some of their recommendations I still enjoyed the wines they had presented.

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!

Denkmark Wineries (Singlefile and Harewood)

Hi everyone,

BF and I went down south to Albany for a few days and while we were there I managed to stop in at two wineries between Albany and Denmark. I had planned to visit a few more wineries around Albany and Mt Barker however I ended up getting sick towards the end of the trip and have spent the week since recovering. BF and I adored the region however! The scenery of the region is quite unlike that of Margaret River. The wineries too are not as well accessible as Margaret River, which has spent a significant amount of time, money and effort to create itself as the wine-seekers destination when heading south of Perth.

Harewood

IMG_2319

2012 Porongurup Riesling ($21).

Floral, citrus and passionfruit nose with green apple and passionfruit on the palate of this wine is finished off by a nice mineral finish. I did like this wine and would happily have it again!

IMG_2313

2011 Chardonnay ($34).

I quite liked this Chardonnay. Grapefruit, stone fruit and a nice touch of vanilla from it’s time on oak came through on the palate. Would have again.

IMG_2310

2011 Pinot Noir ($21).

A much younger and less complex Pinot Noir to the reserve. Nice, but didn’t wow me.

IMG_2311

2010 Reserve Pinot Noir ($45).

I really liked this wine but was hanging out to try more from Mount Barker before picking up some bottles to bring back. A really nice wine, a little more expensive that what I would have liked to paid for a Pinot I liked for the region but I would be happy to splurge for this one from time to time. Lots of dark berries, dried fruits and rich chocolate to be found in this wine.

IMG_2309

2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($34).

Blackcurrant, plums and vanilla on the palate and nose of this wine had me quite excited! It was a nice delicate wine that could be drunk now, however I personally feel it would be superb with a few more years in the bottle.

Singlefile

I featured Singlefile winery in a Halliday Day post last, which can be found here.

IMG_2321

NV Run Free Serendipity Curvée ($26).

Quite a nice sparkling. Grapes sourced from Pemberton region. Citrus on the nose and palate with the palate having a nice texture and crisp finish. Would have again.

IMG_2314

2012 Pemberton Fume Blanc ($30).

This wine is a testament to how my palate has changed since starting this blog! I had the opportunity to try this wine back in November of last year at the WA Boutique Wine Show and was not overly impressed with the wine, this time around I ended up walking away with a bottle of it to take home with me. This oaked Sauvignon Blanc had a beautiful texture and it really enhanced the grassy and spicy flavours and aromas in the wine.

Reserve Chardonnay.

2012 Reserve Chardonnay ($45).

A delightful wine with stone fruit, a hint of citrus and a good creamy nuttiness across the nose and palate of this wine. This wine was very nice and getting closer to a Chardonnay that I feel I would enjoy (one with a good amount of oak). I contemplated picking up a bottle of this wine but in the end decided against it as the backseat of the car was beginning to look like a wine cellar. Would happily try this wine again!

Rose.

2012 Run Free La vie en Rosé ($20).

Shiraz and Grenache blended Rosé. Grapes sourced from Porongurup region. Lovely strawberry, herb and vanilla nose to the wine. Palate did not disappoint with a refreshing and clean finish. Picked up a bottle of this to take home.

IMG_2317

2012 Pemberton Pinot Noir ($30).

This Pinot Noir was nice, but it did not ‘blow my socks off’ as I was hoping for a Pinot Noir to do during my time in the region. Lots of cherries, other berries and spiciness on the nose and palate. Good texture and palate weight. Overall not a bad wine and would try again.

IMG_2322

2010 Mount Barker Syrah ($37).

A medium bodied Shiraz with delicate berry flavour on the palate and a hint of pepperiness. This is a Shiraz that I wouldn’t mind drinking and I ended up picking a bottle of this up as a gift.

Barossa Shiraz.

2010 Barossa Shiraz.

This Shiraz was full bodied and packed a punch. It was nice to try this wine however it was not a style of wine that I would quickly go back to, I must admit that Shiraz is not a favourite varietal of mine.

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!

Halliday Day: Week 12 – Yering Station

Hi everyone,

There will be no Wino101 post this week, instead for you I have yesterday’s Halliday Day post.

Yering Station is rated solid 5 star winery by James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion. Yering Station was established in 1988, on land that had vines planted on it since 1838. Yering comes from the Aboriginal title of the land. The wine makers consist of Darren Rathbone of the Rathbone family which purchased Yering Station in 1996 and Willy Lunn (since 2008) who is well known for hist cool-climate wine making experience and knowledge.

YARRABANK

Champagne Devaux in 1996 signed a deal with the Rathbone, the same year they bought the Yering Station property which lead to the production of Yarrabank Sparkling. I had the chance to try the 2004 Late Disgorged Yarrabank Sparkling along with the 2008 Yarrabank Curvee, while both were exceptional cool-climate sparkling wines however the 2004 was clearly the superior wine of the two and one I wish I could have had room to bring back to Perth with me.

Cellar Door.

Cellar Door.

While I was at the cellar door at Yering Station I also tried a selection of their red wines including their Pinot Noir’s which the Yarra Valley wine region is well known for. Yering Station’s two Pinot Noir’s included one which was light and easy to drink like a Rose while the other was filled with dark berries, and a good weight on the palate to please any lover of red wine. My full review of their wines which I tried can be found in this blog post.

This winery is one not to miss to see quality wines showing common characteristics of the Yarra Valley region. I thoroughly enjoyed the cellar door and if I had more time in the area the Chateau on the property would have been a nice property to look at along with the restaurant on premise.

Until next time!

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!

Wine(s) of the Week: Melbourne

Hi everyone,

My write up of my half-day in the Yarra Valley will be up tomorrow so I won’t spoil it now. While in the Yarra Valley I went to 3 wineries (Domaine Chandon, De Bortoli and Yerling Station) as well as a cidery (Punt Road) and a Chocolatiere. During my stay in Melbourne we were very busy day and night so I didn’t get the chance to sample too many wines outside my time in the Yarra Valley. I did while at the theatre have a glass of Yerling Station’s ‘village’ Pinot Noir which I also sampled while in the Yarra Valley. The wine was a little disappointing to what I remembered from my tasting in the Yarra Valley and it felt like the bottle of wine had been open for a little too long for my liking from the oxidisation of the wine. However it was still a good enough wine to get a “ooh I don’t mind that” out of my cousin who is not a fan when it comes to my beloved red wine.

Yerling Station Village Pinot Noir.

Yerling Station Village Pinot Noir.

When we had dinner on Phillip Island before seeing the penguin parade, I for once opted for a glass of white wine instead of my usual preference for a glass of red as I was finally to have Carbonara which I had been craving for too long. I had a glass of 2009 Serafino Chardonnay from Mclaren Valein South Australia. This Chardonnay really impressed me with a hint of butteryness coming though while still having enough fruit on the palate for my liking to make it a refreshing drink. Perhaps this year will be the year that I come to appreciate Chardonnay?

We ended our Melbourne trip with a meal at Melba Restaurant and whilst there I decided to bypass their extensive wine list as I was being indecisive and instead opted for a cocktail. I selected an Apple Crumbletini which was I think the best cocktail I have had in Australia. I also had the chance to taste a Strawberries & Cream and a Passionfruit Mojito.

The Apple Crumbletini consisted of Absolute vanilla vodka, caramel liquor, cinnamon, apple schnapps and fresh apple. It was delicious and wonderfully presented

Apple Crumbletini.

Apple Crumbletini.

I also had a sip of the other cocktails that our table ordered over the meal. The Strawberries & Cream was another cocktail off the menu that I had considered and it was delicious! This would have to be a close second for favourite Australian cocktail!

Strawberries & Cream.

Strawberries & Cream.

Lastly was the Passionfruit Mojito which was my least favourite of the three as when I tried it I gout a mouthful of limejuice and it was too acidic for my liking over ht others in the group thoroughly enjoyed it.

Passionfruit Mojito.

Passionfruit Mojito.

I would love to return to Melba not only for their extensive food selection but also to try more of their cocktails as those, which I tried this time, impressed me overall.

My last alcoholic beverage for the trip is a 2010 Tyrell’s Winery Cabernet Merlot on the flight back to Perth with my meal. The wine was served chilled and came out of a plastic bottle and went into a plastic cup – classy… The wine did quite well with my pasta dish however I was quite surprised and impressed with how it brought out the caramel in the Lindt chocolate which we had for desert. I must experience more this winter with chocolate and red wine!

Tyrell's Winery 2010 Cabernet Merlot (plastic bottle).

Tyrell’s 2010 Cabernet Merlot.

Lastly for the week is a cider BF and I shared from The Cidery in Bridgetown when I was back in Perth this past weekend. We tried the last flavour that I had brought back from Bridgetown, and the one I was least liking the look of. This cider I expected a much dryer finish from, this one’s was actually medium dry and quite pleasant. What I did not like at all with this cider was the vinegar aroma and taste that it intentionally possessed., which overtook from the crisp apple flavours that I so loved in their other ciders. This one I’m not a fan, the rest of their range however I would happily repurchase next time I see it.

IMG_1519

Scudamore’s Scrumpy Cider.

I have just been accepted into the graduate degree I had applied for at the start of summer and due to a few mishaps my application was accepted late and it turns out I begin intensive classes this Monday (tomorrow) as a result of this I have some blog post pre-written from the flight home that will go up this week but over the next month my posting will likely become sporadic as I focus on my degree. Sorry in advance for this, but I promise I will continue my Sunday posts, and I do have quite a few reviews of restaurants in Melbourne that I just need to write along with a few winery reviews and ideas for Wino101 posts so I will continue to write whenever I get a chance outside of my studies.

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!

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

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!