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!

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April Monthly Review

Hi everyone,

1. Favourite wine of the month?

Dandelions Vineyard, Legacy of the Barossa, 30 year old Pedro Ximenez. Barossa, Australia.

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I tried this wine at the last Wine Century Challenge Meet and it was the perfect wine to end the night on. I have also tried and loved the Rose fro Dandelions Vineyard (review can be found here)

2. What has been the best value wine of the month?

I haven’t had a stand out value for money wine this month unfortunately.

3. What has been added to my to-try wine list?

Plantagenet, Galafrey and Orangje Tractor – these three wineries are ones which I did not managed to visit when I was down south due to falling sick. I do hope to be back down in that region in the near future!

4. What restaurants do I want to return to?

BF and I went to the Merrywell at Crown Casino for his birthday (another restaurant review in the que to get up on this blog!) we decided to order individual meals rather than from the share menu. I would love to and need to return and try their share food as well as to have another cocktail (pictured below) which was delicious!

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5. What was my favourite meal this month?

The waffles at Little Creatures was a great way to celebrate BF’s birthday with friends.

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6. Upcoming events for next month?

Good Food and Wine show – tickets went on sale May 1st, the show will be in town July 19-21. (entry costs $36, extra for wine and cheese classes and lunches)

Vintage Cellar’s International Wine Festival – May 6th & 7th in Perth, 5:30-9pm (tickets cost $25)

7. Favourite wine packaging?

Express Winemakers have some fantastic artwork on their wines. Below is their Rosado which I have tried twice now and it is growing on me. I am curious as well to try the rest of their range!

2012 Express Winemakers ‘Rosado’. Tempranillo (Great Southern) and Grenache (Swan Valley), Australia.

Wine Express Makers, Rosaldo.

Wine Express Makers, Rosaldo.

8. Best service?

Harewood Estate Winery – I had a fantastic time with the lady running the cellar door! She was informative and happy to discuss both their wines and recommend other wines to me to pursue my wine century challenge. I highly recommend visiting as the cellar door’s location has a fantastic view and a packed picnic would be a nice way to spend the afternoon.

9. Restaurant I am most keen to try next month?

Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant in town called Jamie’s. I’ve been eyeing off all the blog reviews of this place and am yet to see anyone not leave satisfied overall. I just need to get around to gathering some people and making a booking as I am not patient enough to wait in line!

10. Wine Century Challenge.

Total: 46 varietals.

Until next time!