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!

 

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Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 14)

Hi everyone,

Sorry for this post going up a little late I have been down south for a wedding and a then spent a few days in Albany to recuperate from my first term of studies. Ended up getting sick as the body slowed down after the last 14 weeks of studies.

To celebrate the end of our first term as well as a major assignment some of my fellow classmates and I returned to our local pub for lunch and a few drinks, The Inglewood Hotel. I began with Bulmer’s apple cider (pictured below) before being convinced to give Cooper’s Pale Ale a try as a new keg of it had just been opened. The cider was as always a good drink to start the weekend and the pale ale was surprisingly not that bad of a drink.

Bulmer's apple cider.

Bulmer’s apple cider.

For lunch I opted for their classic beef burger with chips (classic 100% beef burger in a sour dough bun with lettuce, tomato, beetroot relish, swiss cheese, and aioli). The burger was  filling but a quite a messy eat, while the chips were alright but nothing to rave about. I would happily reorder this dish as I quite enjoyed the flavours of the burger, in particular the beetroot relish.

classic 100% beef burger in a sour dough bun with lettuce, tomato, beetroot relish, swiss cheese, aioli & chips

Classic beef burger ($20)

The wedding and reception was held at Ferguson Farmstay, and this location was just breath taking! There was a small selection of wines from the winery across the road from the venue as well as a sparkling from a winery down the road and a selection of bottled beers and ciders available for consumption at the reception, which was held at the restaurant on site.

Table setting at the reception.

Table setting at the reception.

The highlight wine for me at the wedding was the 2011 Panis sparkling wine that they were serving from Angelicus Winery which is located nearby to the farmstay. This sparkling had a gorgeous salmon colouring in the glass and was a delightful drink, one that I got the rest of the table onto with very little encouragement. This sparkling is made in the Traditional Method with an emphasis on the Pinot Noir grape. I noted plenty of berries on the nose and palate, strawberry in particular. The sparkling also had a crisp pleasing finish.

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The still wines we not bad, especially considering they were from the winery across the road however they were also not the kind to ‘blow my socks’ off. Over the course of the reception I had the chance to try their 2011 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc as well as their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cab Sav had an enticing aroma however my first sip was watery and smooth and overly disappointing. After letting the wine breathe in the glass for a little while I tried the Cab Sav again and was much more impressed by the body that had developed. The SSB was again a nice wine but not something that really caught my attention.

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I ended the night discovering their selection of teas and opted for the Twining Darjeeling and it was a nice way to end the evening. The milk that was provided at the restaurant was also delicious, and well presented. Dad commented on how the milk brought him back to his years of the milk arriving fresh and with a layer of cream on top.

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I didn’t get the chance to take pictures of the food that was brought around on platters over the course of the reception but it was well timed, well presented and surprisingly filled us up quite quickly. The view from the restaurants down through the valley to Bunbury is also one which I do hope to see again over lunch or dinner at the restaurant in the near future! The staff were fantastic and there was nothing to fault over the entire night.

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(s) of the Week: Summer Break (week 3)

Hi everyone,

The review of my last Wine Essential Class and reviews of the wine’s I tried there can be found at this blog post for those of you who missed it. This class was spent comparing two different wines with each course of the meal and comparing and contrasting how different wines paired differently with the meals. This is something that I would love to continue at home to see how my palate deals with and prefers food and wine combinations.

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Crush Rose.

Mum was given a bottle of Barwick Estate’s Crush Rose which we opened with dinner one night this past week. The wine had berries and cream on the nose and a slight sweetness on the palate. It was a delicious wine! Tasting notes for the wine can be found here. This is a wine I would happily drink again and a big thanks to the family friends who gave it to mum!

Sitella Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay.

Sittella’s Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay.

To welcome the overseas family to Perth we began the night with Sittella’s Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay. This was not a bad drop, definitely one to make me curious to try the rest of their range.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon decanting.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon decanting.

Along with the bubbly I also dove into my small collection of Margaret River red wines, the family was given the choice of a 2007 Leeuwin Estate Arts Series Cabernet Sauvignon or a 2008 Kerrigan and Berry Cabernet Sauvignon. The Kerrigan and Berry was selected and was then decanted into my recently acquired decanter which BF spoilt me with for my birthday. The Cabernet Sauvignon spent roughly 2 hours in the decanter and what came out was a smooth and fruity but still young wine. Tasting note for the 2009 vintage can be found here, while it is the wrong vintage you can get an idea of what the winemakers were looking for.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon.

Kerrigan & Berry Cabernet Sauvignon.

Last new wine try of the week was Leaping Lizard‘s Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. This wine surprised me as I was expecting quite a mellow SSB but instead this wine packed a punch on the palate as if you had just bitten into a ripe lychee. Not a bad wine, and I personally think this one would go perfectly with seafood over the summer months! Tasting notes for the 2009 vintage (I tried a much more recent vintage) can be found here.

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Leaping Lizard Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

I will be in the Swan Valley today with the family so expect to see a review of my wine and food discoveries next week! Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and enjoy what is left of your weekend!

Until next time!

Margaret River 2012 Gourmet Escape

Margaret River 2012 Gourmet Escape

The Gourmet Escape was held one the lawn surrounding the Winery at Leeuwin Estate, which was reviewed by me in this post. There were a variety of Food, Distillery, Brewery and Winery stalls along with food and wine theatres for shows and classes.

Hay Bales outside the Rekorderlig Tent.

The Alchemists:

I recognised the name and am still yet to remember where but the lady running the stall was also the owner of the Winery, which she has owned for the last 6 years and was a delight to talk to! Their wines are mainly sold to restaurants in Perth or can be found at their cellar door on the Winery’s Estate.

Ashbrook Estate:

I had met the wine Maker (Tony Devitt) previously at the Blackwood Valley Wine Show last month and Tony recognised me at the Gourmet Escape so it was nice to catch up and continue our discussion about the South West wine region as well as to ask him many new questions that I had accrued along the way as I have continued to write and research for this blog. I also tried their range, while I spoke to Tony and I was quite impressed! Their red wines were made in French styling while the white wines were pleasant and many had seen a little oak, which made the red wine lover that I am quite happy.

Bahen & Co Chocolate:

This chocolate company had 4 chocolate on display, all with 70% cocoa which was too much personally for me and BF so we headed back to the wines after sampling them quickly.

Blue Cow Cheese Company:

This company is one which my grandparents adore and have gotten me hooked on their goats cheese which I get to have whenever I make it down south and have a meal with them. The cheeses for sampling and sale at the Gourmet Escape however was their Camembert, Brie, Cheddar and Shadforth. We had some left over tokens at the end of the day so I picked up a block of the Shadforth to take back to Perth and will let you know how it pairs up with wines!

Cape Mentelle:

This winery is one I have eyed off for a while now and have been meaning to head out to their cellar door but have not succeeded yet. I had hoped their Zinfandel would be out for tasting at the show but unfortunately they did not have it. Instead they had their basic range consisting of a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and a Cabernet Merlot, which Liquorland stocks and personally these wine are well worth the ~$25 a bottle they are in Perth stores. They also had a few of their more premium range for sampling and I was impressed with the range, many of which have in the past year done very well with regards to gold medal award and trophies, this winery has a good solid repletion in the Western Australian wine industry.

Deep Wood Estate:

I popped over quickly to their stall to ask where I could find their Harmony Rose, which I had enjoyed at Rose Revolution. Those running the stall were not sure where in Perth it was stocked but did give me an ordering form the price was listed as being $13.50, a bottle with a minimum purchase of a dozen wines and a $5 freight charge.

Devil’s Lair:

This winery has impressed me in all their ranges. From their basic 5th Leg range, their middle range titled Hidden Cave, their premium self titled range Devil’s Lair and their side line Dance With the Devil, which, allows their wine makers to have a little fun. Their Dance With the Devil line was a fun and delicious discovery to make as one of the wine’s produced in this range was a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc with 40% Chenin Blanc. BF and I were big fans of this unusual blend and even took a bottle home with us at the end of the night with the last of our leftover tokens. This winery is one that I highly recommend and it is unfortunate that they currently do not have a cellar door so tasting opportunities besides buying a bottle is restricted to events such as Gourmet Escape.

Devil’s Lair Stall.

Knee Deep Winery:

I tasted my way through their range, which they had on display at Gourmet Escape. Their SBS was a stand out for me with lychee notes on the nose as well as being pronounced on the palate. Different but a winner for the summer months! Would be interesting to pair this with cheeses for a lazy afternoon drink or two with some friends. Will have to find where this wine is stocked in Perth!

Rosabrook Margaret River Winery:

I had the chance to sample their Chardonnay at the wine class that week and it had been the standout for the session as the best value for money for what it offered. The rest of their range was not bad, but I personally preferred their white wines to their red wines.

Stella Bella Wines:

This winery does some amazing wines! The whites were fresh, crisp and zesty while their reds had a nice balance between the oak, tannins and fruit. They also had some of their premium ‘Suckfizzle’ range which was delightful!

Swings and Roundabouts:

I had been eyeing off Swing and Roundabout wines in stores over the last month but had not yet tried any of their range. I however enjoyed trying their SBS with lychee on the palate, this is a winery that I will be looking out for in Perth! Staff at the event were also a pleasure to chat with!

Swings and Roundabouts Stall.

Xanadu Wines:

This was another winery that I had been wanting to try having heard many good things about their wines. Their range of wines on display were well made and the staff running the stall were a pleasure to chat with.

I am sorry to say that the food I sampled at the show did not last long enough to take a picture! The ‘char sui braised lamb shoulder with sour cream labna and wattle seed roll’ that Capel Vale was making at the show was to die for and was highly recommended by everyone that we ran into at the show! I also had many people tell me that the ’12 hour braised Margaret River ‘big red pig’ port, house made tortillas with condiments’ by Leeuwin Estate was also a standout dish.

Until next time!

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Wine(s) of the Week: Summer Break (week 1)

Hi everyone,

Hope you all had a good weekend and sorry that this post is up so late but I was down south all weekend and without internet so I had to delay posting this until I could get back to Perth to edit and upload this post.

For a review of the wines I tried as part of the Wine Essentials Class this week then head over to this post. This weeks wine class focused on white wines and the class was encouraged to bring in a white wine that we had tried over the past week, preferably one that was not a common white varietal. For the class I brought in a bottle of Vermentino. I went into the Wine Store bottle shop in Fremantle and spoke to the guy who was running the store at the time, he was so friendly and helped me out as I explained I was more a fan of Rieslings than Sauvignon Blancs but was looking to try a new varietal so he recommended the Vermentino to me. This varietal was a pale wine with a slight green tinge. Passionfruit and citrus notes on the nose that increases as the wine warmed in the glass. Crisp and creamy texture on the palate with just the right amount of acidity for me.

Vermentino.

I also had the chance to add two new grape varietals to my collection from people bringing in bottles of wine for the class to try in the Wine Education Course. For a review of these two varietals check out the blog post for the Wine Course linked here.

Verdecchio.

Albariño.

I spent this weekend down south at the Gourmet Escape in Margaret River. I had such a great time at the event and got to talk to lots of people involved with the different wineries from owners and wine makers to people who worked for the wineries or did sales in the city. This event is one to keep an eye out for next year!

Gourmet Escape Tickets.

I will have a blog posts up for the Gourmet Escape this Friday and the Blend your own Grand Cuvée Class at Howard Park Winery the following Friday as well as a review on the lunch I had at Capel Vale with BF before we headed back to Perth today tomorrow.

Quick Highlights of my weekend at Gourmet Escape:

Devil’s Lair – I adore this winery and cannot praise them enough! Fantastic value for money on their higher ranges but even their entry level 5th Leg range is a decent drink if you’re looking for something to go with a meal.

SBS with lychee notes – I am being slowly but steadily converted to SBS/SSB as I try this wine more and more thanks to this blog and BF loving white wine more than red but the lychee on the nose and palate as I can across first at Gourmet Escape at Knee Deep Winery, the wine was refreshing and definitely got me in the mood for summer!

Blend your own Grand Cuvée – I got to ‘disgorge’ a bottle of bubbly which involved me removing the crown cap off a bottle after the neck had been frozen so that the lees would be trapped in the ice and expelled by the pressure of the wine. And then after doing so I had the chance to select my choice of ‘dosage’ which is the final step of the traditional champagne method which sees the addition of sugar of brandy to bubbly to determine the bubbly’s final sweetness. A full review including tasting notes and photos will be up friday week.

Have a great week everyone!

Until next time!

Pizza from Blend Cafe, Melville

BF and I returned to Blend Cafe, which was reviewed in the first posting on this blog. We opted for a takeaway pizza each (so we both would have leftovers for lunch the following day) and shared a bottle of Amerley’s Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.

Dinner

I had a Pizza called ‘Little India’ which consisted of tomato base, mozzarella, tandoori chicken, red onion and chilli finished with a cucumber and mint raita. It was zingy from the fresh chilli on it and I enjoyed it immensley!

Little India.

BF had the ‘Copacobana’ which consisted of tomato base, mozzarella, italian sausage, blend’s baked honey glazed ham, pancetta and pepperoni. I tried it after getting halfway through my pizza so for me there was not enough zing, but if you’re in the mood for a meaty pizza this one has a good array of different meats, all of which do not remind you of a domino’s pizza and it’s fatty meats.

Copacabana.

The wine was from Amberley, located in Margaret River. A label which has been made famous by it’s Chenin Blanc, and one which I had wanted to try more of their wines from. The wine was spritzy and refreshing, a good accompaniment to my zingy pizza. BF and I were both content with the spur of the moment wine choice.

Overall from Blend I would say I was more impressed with their pizzas (roughly $20 each) than their pasta from last time we went.

Until next time!

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