What have I been drinking recently?

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

Wine:

Dom Perignon 2003 vintage

Dom Perignon 2003 vintage

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

Moet and Chandon 2002 vintage

Moet and Chandon 2002 vintage

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

Lambrusco sparkling

Lambrusco sparkling

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

Villa Maria 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Villa Maria 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

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

Chianti 2010

Chianti 2010

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

Isla Negra Rose and Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose

Isla Negra Rose and Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose

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

Villa Maria 2012 Rose

Villa Maria 2012 Rose

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

Trivento 'Tribu', 2013, Malbec

Trivento ‘Tribu’, 2013, Malbec

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

De Bortolli * Syrah Gamay

De Bortolli Syrah Gamay

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

Other Alcoholic Drinks:

Peach and Apricot Rekorderlig

Peach and Apricot Rekorderlig

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

Woo Woo cocktail

Woo Woo cocktail

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

Maracuja Pie cocktail

Maracuja Pie cocktail

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

sipping on Fosters

sipping on Fosters

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

Crabbies Ginger Beer

Crabbies Ginger Beer

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

Strongbow cider

Strongbow cider

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

Porn Star Martini and Hollywood cocktails

Porn Star Martini and Hollywood cocktails

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

 

Summer Wrap: Drinks (Part 1)

Summer Wrap is a series of my highlights and favourites from summer. A collection of eating,drinking and dining that captures the sunny warm weather of a Perth summer to a ‘T’. This two part post was the inspiration for this series as I have recently been looking back over this past summer and all the things I have enjoyed doing in and around Perth to do with drinking and dining. This post will be split over two entries as it was getting a little long. This post will be on wine and other drinks with follow-up entry coving my go-to summer drink – cider!

With summer winding down in Australia I have been looking over the past few months for my favourite drinks, places to eat and things to cook during the season. With the warmer weather I found myself gravitating towards and embracing white wine a lot more this summer than I have in the past. I also found the hot summer weather was perfect for drinking a few ciders with friends on the weekend.

Wine

With the warmer weather a dry white wine was my go to. I found myself seeking out dryer white wines, often a Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend or a Riesling. Castelli had a stall at UnWined WA last year and is where I ended up falling in love with their Riesling. If you are looking for a nice riesling and want it to be local I have yet to try a Great Southern reisling that I did not like!

Castelli Whites.

Castelli Whites.

I have also been enjoying a few bottles of bubbly with friends this past summer. Bubbles is a drink that is acceptable at all hours of the day from straight up or in a Mimosa for brunch right through to toasting and celebrating at the end of the night. I am loving Prosecco and Australian bubbles. A local favourite I tried at the start of summer last year was Sitella’s sparkling chenin blanc, this is a great bubbly with a twist! Highly recommend checking this wine out at their cellar door if you are visiting the Swan Valley or keeping an eye out for it on wine lists around Perth.

Sitella Sparkling Chenin Blanc

Sitella Sparkling Chenin Blanc

Lastly for those red wine drinkers who cannot give up their beloved red even in the heat of summer. I have found that chilling my red wines, especially lighter reds such as Pinot Noirs to be very enjoyable. Another option is to swap out your glass of red for a glass of Rose. I tried a lovely 2013 dry Rose called Cajones Muy Grande (a Grenache and Mourvedre blend) from Bakkheia Wines in the Geographe Wine region at a wine showcase last year, it was my favourite wine I tried that night.

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Cocktails

When I was dining out with friends this past summer I found myself often gravitating towards a cocktail with my meal. When ever I am dining out at a beachfront location I always find myself in the mood for a cocktail. At Salt on the Beach just behind the dunes at Port Beach in North Fremantle I stumbled across a delicious and simplistic lychee cocktail. At The Pickled Fig off South Beach in South Fremantle I tried their Earl’s Punch cocktail and enjoyed its refreshing flavour. Lastly if you are in the CBD looking for a cocktail and meal combo you cannot go past Jamie’s Italian and its whole package. I have tried quite a few of the cocktails at Jamie’s and have yet to have a bad thing to say about any of them on their flavour and they are well priced!

Keep an eye out for the second instalment of this post up later this week!

 

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: Back at the books again… with a slight detour…

Hi everyone,

I have just entered into a month long practicum and I am hoping I will be able to find some down time to get a handle on the backlog of posts I have to put up. I attended the Vintage Cellar’s International Wine Festival in Perth roughly 2 weeks ago, being a team member for Coles Liquor I was granted free access to the event and used it as a chance to sample many new wines that I sell to customers as well as getting a chance to talk to the people behind the wines. It was, like last year an enjoyable evening and while I missed interacting with the patrons like I had the previous year when I worked the event this time around it was nicer to be able to talk to the wine makers and the reps about their products.

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I did not make any detailed notes at the event for specific wines, rather I used this event to gage what I liked and what I felt I could sell back at work. I also had the chance to speak to Matt Skinner briefly while he was in town and it was nice to finally meet the man who is the face of wine for Coles Liquor.

Matt Skinner and I.

Matt Skinner and I.

The event was segregated into two areas, one being Australia and New Zealand (with some Spanish booths) and the other being Old World. I ended up spending more time in the first area due to the stock on hand in my store, however I would have much preferred to have spent the majority of my time in the Old World section of the event – Unfortunately this is not what my current store stocks. Below are just some of the wines that I tried and thought were worth mentioning.

Australia

Dandelion Vineyard

This is the only Australian winery that I visited at the show and for a good reason – I have loved the wines from this winery every time I have come across them in the past.

Shiraz Riesling ($23.99) – The Riesling provided a nice pop of interest to the Shiraz, loved it!

Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz ($99.99) – a VERY nice wine and it lingered in the mouth for a long time. Not sure if I would pay as much as they’re asking for it but it was a a treat to try this wine.

Chile

Casillero del Diablo/Cono Sur

Carmenere ($14.99) – plum and blackcurrant fruits with a toasty coffee finish. This one was recommended by a fellow wine taster and I’m glad they did, I enjoyed it.

France

Piper-Heidsieck

Brut Champagne NV ($49.99) – a fresh citrus driven Champagne. Not bad. I’m still have a soft spot for nutty and toasty sparkling wines but this one did not disappoint.

Italy

Ruffino

Prosecco DOC ($17.99) – my first Prosecco and I’m impressed! I will have to dabble with these more in the near future!

New Zealand

Blind River

This winery chose to stick to what New Zealand is known for – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Both of these varietals have been done exceptionally well by Blind River and their premier line was very nice, and consisted of a Sauvignon Blanc ($22.99) and Pinot Noir ($34.99) which highlighted why these varietals are the standouts for the region. The lady running the booth was fantastic to talk to as well!

Jules Taylor

Exceptional wines and it was nice to see a few different varietals that differed to the traditional Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. I spent quite a while here talking with the wine rep, it was interesting to go into more depth on the reasoning behind the alternative varietals as well as their struggles when it came to getting it out to a wider market due to the overwhelming popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Rose ($19.99) – 100% Merlot grapes and it won me over from the first sip. I will have to get my hands on some bottles of this for next summer as it will be a perfect wine to sip away on a hot summers afternoon.

Grüner Veltliner – white peach, lime and floral notes. I was hunting for a Riesling from New Zealand and this was as close as I got to one. It was not quite what I was looking for but still a delicious wine.

Robinsons

This is a line which Coles has exclusive rights to in Australia. I have always been a little wary of their wines due to this fact. I have to say that I was wrong for being skeptical and really enjoyed tasting my way though their range. I was very impressed all around and the husband of one of the children of the owners who was running the booth was well versed with the wines and a pleasure to chat with.

900 Grapes/Squealing Pig/Matua

I had a wonderful time chatting with the wine rep and wine maker at this booth. They had quite a large range of wines to try over the three labels which I ended up comparing and contrasting with as I went through.

Ranking the Sauvignon Blanc’s (and the labels overall):

1. Squealing Pig

2. 900 Grapes

3. Matua

I also enjoyed the 900 Grapes Merlot over their Pinot Noir (both $19.99) – it seems that Merlot was out to surprise me this night and was trying to convince me to give it another try after swearing off it a few years ago.

Portugal

Casa Santos Lima

This is the same people who make the wine LAB which I loved and reviewed in this blog. I went through the rest of their range that they import to Australia and there were some other gems to be found like the LAB in their range.

Bons VentosRose ($9.99) – refreshing and a great value for money rose.

Quinta Das Setencostas Red ($14.99) – Not a bad wine, I still preferred LAB to this one personally but I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of this over dinner either.

Touriz ($26.66) – complex red wine with cherries, blackcurrant and plums. Loved it!

USA

Wente Vineyard

I worked this booth at last years show so I quickly popped by to try the Beyer Ranch Zinfandel ($19.99) and the Morning Fog Chardonnay ($19.99) once more. They were both as nice as I remembered from last year and the booth was very busy so I did not linger for very long.

Chalkboard Series

This is another Coles exclusive range. One which is in the process of being added to (Matt Skinner mentioned that there will be a Prosecco out in the near future from Brown Brother under this label, which I am definitely going to be on the look out for after my first tasting of a Prosecco at this event!)

The Central Otago Pinot Noir ($18.99) was a definite favourite of many people at the booth tasting the wines. However it was the Cote’s du Rhone ($11.99) which stole my heart in this range!

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (weeks 11, 12 and 13)

Hi everyone,

I have not posted a weekly recap in a while as I had not really had much of anything to drink the last few weeks outside of meeting with a few wine lovers and bloggers in Perth for a Wine Century Challenge meet. I  however was flicking through the photos I have taken over the past few weeks and realised that there were a few wines and other drinks which I have tried over  the past three weeks which I would like to chronicle in this blog. There are also a few meals included with the drinks in this post when I have only been reviewing a single dish.

Wine:

Gloucester Ridge Vineyard Seduction Rose

This wine was brought out at an family Easter picnic as someone had found it buried in their wine stash. The back of the bottle seemed interesting to me, a Rose which was predominantly Cabernet Franc. Once we managed to find a bottle opener for the cork we quickly found the wine had an aroma and taste of a badly fortified wine. This wine was unfortunately not well liked.

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De Bortoli, 2009 Sacred Hill Cabernet Merlot

Another cheapie from work which I tried, De Bortoli however is a brand which I respect across their range as they consistently produce great valued wine for any price bracket. The wine fared quite well with the Sunday night roast I had when tasting the wine.

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Wynns, 2011, Coonawarra Riesling.

This was a gift from BF from the past Christmas. I on a whim after a not-so-great day decided to pop this wine in the freezer so it would be nicely chilled in time for dinner. I absolutely adored this wine from the moment I opened it until the last sip when the dinner party had managed, quite easily, to finish the whole bottle off. The wine had a crisp cleansing finish, a fantastic aroma (lemon, apples and a hint of floral) and a good punch on the palate (strong citrus notes at the start which develop to a mineral middle and end with a sherbet texture). Great selection by BF yet again!

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Casillero Del Diablo, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

I felt in the mood for a glass of white wine while writing an assignment this past week. I ended up finding this bottle of wine and figured it really needed to be opened sooner than later so why not now. From the first sip I was in love! The wine had a nice amount of citrus flavours and acid, however the real surprise was a tropical fruit element from the gooseberries I could also note on the palate. After being underwhelmed by their Cabernet Sauvignon (likely due to it’s young age) I am beginning to be impressed again by this Chilean winery.

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Moet & Chandon, NV Brut (200ml)

I decided to whip this little 21st gift out as we were having fish and chips and I was curious to see how the two paired together. I was a little hungrier than expected and polished off most of my meal before I remembered about the bubbles, I did however really enjoy how the champagne brought out the sweetness of my pineapple fritter. Crisp and clean finishing sparkling that delicately tickles the palate.

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Arlewood 2010, Marsanne Roussanne (tasted at Little Creatures, $8.50 a glass)

A blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne this little gem of a wine really snuck up on me as I let it breathe and warm up in the glass while catching up with some old friends. The time spent on oak gave the wine nutty and toasy elements and as a result the wine had a good body. I am sorry to have not tried this wine sooner at Little Creatures and must check out their cellar door to try the rest of their range next time I am down south!

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While at Little Creatures I caved and had a look at the menu, it did not take too much effort to convince myself to have some desert. After tossing up between the waffles and the cheesecake BF helped me tiebreak and picked the waffles. They tasted as good as I remembered them being last time I was there, this time however I managed to snap a quick photo (below) before everyone dived it. Those who tasted the waffle were all big fans and I think there may be a shift in the must order meal at Little Creatures, from the frites to the waffles… we shall see!

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To view my past reviews of Little Creatures you will find them here, Farewell Lunch and Lunch at Little Creatures.

Cider:

Rekorderlig – passionfruit flavoured pear cider

If you like passionfruit then you will love this cider. The sweetness typically associated with Rekorderlig was also not as much of an issue as usual in this cider. A heavenly and refreshing drink. I will be having more for sure!

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Monteith’s – pear cider (tasted at Inglewood Hotel)

I had this down at the Inglewood Hotel/pub with some fellow graduates. It was a nice smooth cider that just hit the spot. If you like Montheith’s apple cider then you wil be a fan of this one too!

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While at the Inglewood Hotel I also grabbed a moroccan spiced chicken tortilla wrap ($18.50). Presentation of the dish was nice, the meal was filling but for the price charged I would have preferred a little more meat in my wraps, rather than the abundance of salad.

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Tea:

T2 – Chinese Jasmine (single foil packaged teabag of loose leaf)

I have been loving green tea over the last fortnight and almost always whether I am at home or work will have a mug of it brewing nearby. This has definitely helped me up my water intake over the last week or so where our Autumn has briefly returned to summer.

Packaging of tea at No. 4 Blake Street.

To-go packaging of tea at No. 4 Blake Street.

Russian Caravan – No. 4 Blake Street ($4.7)

This blend was quite smooth, nutty, and had a hint of honey-like sweetness. It was an impulsive decision to pick this blend as when the gentlemant at No. 4 Blake Street was taking my order and I’m glad I took it. I was also extremely impressed  with their Bacon & Egg Roll with smoked tomato chutney ($7) which I had as a takeaway with the tea on my way into university in Mount Lawley. The chutney just added that final touch to really enhance the roll. The roll that they used as well was slightly more dense than your average roll and gave a very hearty feel to it. I will be back for sure to try more of their menu and hopefully with enough time to enjoy it in their restaurant next time.

To-go bacon and egg roll from No. 4 Blake Street.

To-go bacon and egg roll from No. 4 Blake Street.

Until next time!

No 4 Blake Street on Urbanspoon

Inglewood Hotel on Urbanspoon

Little Creatures Brewery on Urbanspoon

Maharaja Indian Restaurant, Nedlands

Hi everyone,

Last month BF and I finally got around to using a voucher I had purchased to dine at Maharaja Indian Restaurant on Stirling Highway in Nedlands. The voucher entitled us to an entree, main and desert each of our choosing along with a bottle of wine. The restaurant was quite overwhelming in regards to the decor when we first entered. We did not stop looking around at all the gold and grandness of the furnishings for the first few minutes until the wine arrived and we decided to move onto selecting our dishes off the menu.

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While the voucher said we were entitled to a ~$20 bottle of Margaret River red or white, instead we were presented with a bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc. I did not complain when they brought out the wine as this is a wine I have been meaning to try for far to long. The wine was delightfully refreshing and crisp. I was really amazed at how my palate has shifted with regards to Sauvignon Blancs and how long I had put off trying some of the more well known names at work. While we sipped away at the wine we looked over the menu and selected an entree each from what we were allowed as well as a main each off the menu.

Entree

I ordered an entree of mix samosas while BF ordered the onion bhaji. The samosas were a little more spicy than I had anticipated but were still nice, there was enough filling to pastry. The onion bhaji’s were something I had never tried before but something I ended up enjoying. BF and I were still trying to get through these filling entrees when our mains came out.

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Meat and Vegetarian Samosas ($8.90)

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Onion Bhaji ($8.90)

Mains

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As part of the meal voucher we were provided with a selection of condiments along with a large serving of Poppadoms between the entrees and mains.

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Beef Vindaloo ($24.90)

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Chicken Tikka Masala ($24.95)

While BF enjoyed my chicken dish I wasn’t a big fan and I think it came down to the coriander, I do not think it is a spice I enjoy at all and it is a shame as I did not realise this until after trying the dish. BF’s meal was delicious and not too overly spicy for either of us. The portions were generous and more than either one of us could finished on our own.

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Naan ($4.95)

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Rice ($6)

With the mains we had a serving of rice and naan to accompany it. The rice was cooked perfectly however the naan was only average, I feel that I have had better naan in different Indian restaurants across Perth.

We were entitled to desert as well with the voucher however by the end of the mains we felt absolutely stuffed and the dishes looked like they had barely been touched so we decided to pass on that portion of the voucher. I would happily return for the food as I think the portions are more than generous for the prices and for what BF and I had to share could have easily been stretched across one or two extra people. Service was attentive and not overbearing.

Until next time!

 Maharaja Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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!

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

Wino 101: Australia Day BBQ – Pairing White Wines.

Hi everyone,

The first post of 2013 is quite fittingly about barbecues’ and in particular the one many Australians will have on Australia Day at the end of the month.This will be the first of two posts, this one will focus on white wine pairing while the Wino 101 post next week will focus on red wine pairings. When pairing wines with a barbecue the main aim is to keep the wine simple as the food is simple and uncomplicated. When it comes to white wines you are spoilt for choice as summer is the season for white wine as it is drunk chilled, which helps to fight off the summer heat.

Sparkling wine can be drunk throughout the entire meal. Sparkling wines range in degrees of sweetness as well as flavours and aromas. Common aromas include nutty, toasty, fruit, and yeast. With common flavours on the palate including those listed for aromas as well as the texture from the bubbles and the final finish of the wine. Below is a  Tasmanian Sparkling which I sampled on Christmas Day. Tropical fruit with a nutty finish, this wine would be a great drink to sip on throughout the entire barbecue.

Ninth Island NV Sparkling.

Ninth Island NV Sparkling.

For those who like it sweet can consider a

  • Sweet still: eg. a Chenin Blanc or Moscato or,
  • Sweet sparkling: eg. a Moscato or Spumante.

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Banrock Moscato is one that I tried this past weekend so as to be able to recommend wines at work. Personally this wine reminded me of Brown Brothers which is the ‘premier’ Moscato that people think of when they come in for a bottle at work. The tiny differences between the two wines can be easily justified by Banrock being roughly half the price of Brown Brothers. This is a wine is sweet with passionfruit on the palate and a delightful drink when chilled.

When you have your meats cooked and salads out of the fridge, you can choose to continue with the sweeter white or instead opt to move onto the more dryer white wines which have along with the fruit the sweetness from the sweeter wines is replaced by oak and/or acid coming through on the nose and palate depending upon the varietal you choose. Favourites for a dry white wine include:

  • Rieslings: acid and stone fruit – think Great Southern or Tasmanian,
Plantagenet 2012 Riesling

Plantagenet 2012 Riesling

  • Sauvignon Blanc: citrus, grassy and crisp – think New Zealand.
  • Semillon Sauvignon Blanc: tropical and citrus fruit, the wine has more aroma on the bouquet than the Sauvignon Blanc – think Margaret River where my favourite ones have lychee on the palate for a zingy surprise that leaves you feeling refreshed at the end of the glass.
Leeping Lizzard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Leeping Lizzard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Next week I will post up some options if you’re more of a red drinker for what to drink at a summer barbecue.

Until next time!

Wine Essentials Course: Week 1

Hi everyone,

This week I went to my first class in the Wine Essentials Course run by the Wine Education Centre a subsidy of the Wine of Western Australia. This course runs over 5 sessions of two hours. Session 1 focuses on the basics of wine appreciation with Sessions 2 and 3 expanding upon the first session with the focus on tasting and evaluating white and then red wine varietals. Session 4 consists of a meal and George Street Bistro in East Fremantle. The final session is an excursion to a winery, this course the Winery that we will get to visit is the Peel Estate Winery.

The first session saw us do a tasting of 6 different reds and whites from around Australia to get a grasp of how wines are tasted and judged in wine shows.

1. Plantagenet 2011 Riesling, Great Southern, $20.99 – a dry-Riesling which covered all the bases, lacked some fruit on the palate.

2. Tower Estate 2011 Off-Dry Riesling, Tasmania, $28 – a sweet-Riesling which had its sweetness well balanced out with it’s acidity, and more pronounced fruit flavours. I personally preferred this to the first Riesling.

3. Ferngrove 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Great Southern, $19.99 – the age of the Sauvignon Blanc was quite obvious and the wine lacked the usual ‘punch’ of ripeness that a younger version of this wine would likely have. Not a fan.

4. Pinelli Estate 2011 ‘Breanna’ Rose, Swan Valley, $16 – disappointing and uninteresting Rose definitely in the palate and the bouquet was also lacking in intensity. Not a fan.

5. Turkey Flat 2010 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, $28 – Inviting bouquet, well balanced on the palate. This wine was a delight and I was excited to finally try a wine from this winery of which I have heard many good things about! This wine was a tie with the second Riesling for favourite wine of the night.

6. Leogate Estate 2009 ‘Broken Back’ Shiraz, Hunter Valley, $26 – this wine was disappointing as the oak overpowered both the bouquet and the palate of the wine, leaving it smelling like damp dirt and tasting very harsh. Not a fan.

Overall the Rieslings and the Turkey Flat Red were the standout wines for the group as a whole. For those of you who have enjoyed my ‘How to Taste like a Pro’ series, this course is a more in-depth look at this topic as well as a brief look at how to pair food and wine. The class is well run, informative and the people partaking in the course come from many varied walks of life and are a pleasure to get to know!

Until next time!