Halliday Day: Week 2 – Singlefile Wines

Singlefile Wines is a Denmark winery which was introduced to me at the Blackwood Valley Wine Show award ceremony this past weekend, when the received the 2012 Bridgetown Hotel Most Successful Exhibitor of Show, from receiving 4 bronze medals, 4 silver medals and a gold medal from the 11 wines that was entered into the show.

Halliday rates the winery as being 4 1/2 stars out of 5, and notes that the wine makers are very adventurous in their buying of wines off other vineyards to supplement their small 5 hectare property. Unfortunetly the wines that were available at the show were not the same as those which Halliday reviews in the 2012 Australian Wine Companion. The other well known wine critic, Ray Jordan reviewed in his Saturday West Magazine column, Singlefile Winery and some of its wines earlier this year very positively and the review can be found here.

Singlefile Wines is owned by two ex-South African geologists, Phil and Viv Snowden, and is headed by winemakers Larry Cherubino, Mike Garland, and Coby Ladwig. The South African heritage of the owners can be seen in the use of Springboks in their logo (image at the top of this blog post). The three wine makers over see the Chardonnay and Shiraz which is produced on the property from vines planted in 1989, as well as grapes sourced from other regions including Reisling (from Porongurup), Cabernet Sauvignon and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (from Margaret River), and Shiraz (from Frankland River and the Barossa Valley). The sourcing of grapes from different regions is done so due to these regions being better suited to the grape varietals, as well as for variation in the case of Shiraz.

The single gold medal which Singlefile Wines received at the Blackwood Valley wine show was for their 2012 Pemberton Fume Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc 60% and Semillon 40%) pictured above, retails for $30 a bottle. Tasting notes for the Fume Blanc can be found here. I found the wine to be dry on the palate and had a bouquet that was not as over powering as some of the other gold medal Sauvignon Blanc’s at the Blackwood Valley Wine Show.

A Cellar Door and restaurant (light lunches) is on site at the winery outside of Denmark, having been established in the last few years. Overall this winery seems to be progressing in its quality with each vintage and will be an interesting winery to watch.

Until next time!

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Wine(s) of the Week: Blackwood Valley Wine Show

So as you all know I spent Saturday evening at the Blackwood Valley Wine Show awards ceremony and tasting function. There was quite the selection of wines involved in this year’s show, which was also their 10th year of running the wine show. Judged this year by Tony Devitt from Ashbrook Winery as chief judge, along with Di Miller and Peter Stanlake as the other judges, and David Johnson and Nigel Ludlow as assistant judges. There were 255 different wines entered into this show from 55 different producers, with over 55% of the wines at the show receiving a medal.

Due to having to drive back to Busselton that same night I stuck to sampling only those which won a gold medal along with a few others that caught my eye. From those I tasted the standout wines for me were:

Rockcliffe’s “Third Reef” 2011 Chardonnay (gold)

It was a smooth and pleasant chardonnay which took home the Best Boutique Wine and Best WA White Wine trophies at the show.

Mandoon’s 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (gold)

Had an interesting bouquet which I could not place at the night – I guess I will just have to try and get my hands on a bottle of it in the near future to have another taste!

Harewood Estate’s 2012 Mount Barker Reisling (gold)

It was a dry Reisling which wasn’t too dry for my personal taste and had a lovely refreshing apple bouquet! Will happily try this one again!

Bulter Crest’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (gold)

Had elements of limes and passionfruit in both the bouquet and on the palate and was smooth overall!

Firetail’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (gold)

The Cab Sav was oaky and smooth. However there was a slight roughness on the palate which a little maturing/ageing of the wine should do away with hopefully!

Mandoon’s Research Station Reserve 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (gold)

Again another oaky Cab Sav, which was well balanced and lacking the roughness that the 2011 Cab Sav’s seemed to have. Still was however lacking, a little breathing would have definitely helped this wine along.

Overall the Harewood Reisling and the Mandoon Cab Sav were my favourites of the night, but there was plenty of excellent wines there that I didn’t have the chance to try! The night also gave me the chance to get to know the community and people behind some of these wineries and it was truly an eye opening experience! To realise that the region is still suffering from the GFC and they are predicting to suffer for many more years to come with some wineries not having produced any wine in the last three years due to the lack of exportation opportunities. It was also interesting to discover that many of these wines survive from private sales and the exportation of their products into countries such as Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UK were the more commonly mentioned. This was a point raised by Tony Devitt when he spoke to those attending the event and the uncertainty that the 2013 vintage faces.

Tony Devitt spoke briefly about the wine region of South Western Australia, he spoke of the quality of the grapes being exceptional and that the winemaking techniques needed to be on par with the grapes’ quality to extract the true potential of the region. He also touched upon the need for the boutique wineries in the region to collectively communicate between each other and to the national and global community the high quality and regional variance that Western Australian and in particular South Western Australian wines have to offer, for recognition and success to be achieved.

Overall the night was an interesting introduction into the South Western wine industry and to many new wineries which I hope to get more intimately acquainted with over the summer months! For those who want to see the full list of wines and those who won awards it is published on the Blackwood Valley’s website or can be found by following the links.

Until next time!

Subiaco Lunchings and Family Dinners

Yesterday I finally caught up with a friend for our ‘Subiaco lunchings’. We began with japanese for lunch at Edo, which has been our regular lunch destination for over a year and a half. We’ve always had friendly and quick service at Edo and for the price you pay ($6.90 for a bowl of rice and katsu chicken aka ‘a katsu chicken donburi’) you leave happy and stuffed! The interior of Edo is nothing special, numerous small tables crowded together, while the counter space (pictured below) tends to remind me a little of a deli with bits and pieces every where. But I feel that this lack of emphasis on the interior adds to the charm of the place as a little hidden gem, from the lunchtime rush that this place receives you know it is well patronised but its still remains a gem for me on for a lazy lunch before or after the lunch rush.

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This trip to Edo was quite out of the ordinary however as there was some confusion and out order was lost, we didn’t mind greatly as we had plenty of stories to share and things to catch up on. Unfortunately due to our meals taking quite a bit longer than usual (normally our meals are out to us in minutes) we were halfway through devouring them before I remembered that I would try to take pictures first for you guys… Sorry! The meals lived up to their usual scrumptiousness – the extra mayo in the bowls was also an added plus!

The second phase to our Subiaco lunches involves desert for which we have a few options deepening on whether we want cake, ice-cream or churros. Yesterday we decided to grab ice-cream as we had to walk and pick up a few items also as parking is not the cheapest in Subiaco. I did remember to take photos of the ice-creams for you guys so savour away!

Ice-creams!

The strawberry waffle cone was my friends and she let me know that the ice-cream’s flavour was quite mild but that there were real chunks of strawberries in it. Mine on the other hand had no nutritional redeeming qualities about it with caramel chocolate fudge on the top and chocolate chip cookie dough hidden below – I was told by a colleague at work that it was insane that I had not tried cookie dough ice-cream before so with this in mind I decided to try it yesterday. The cookie dough ice-cream was pretty stock standard – the little balls of cookie dough in it however were little pockets of joy that I discovered towards the end and it definitely redeemed the ice-cream in my eyes! The caramel chocolate fudge however was the standout winner for me. I must admit that I was polarised when reviewing the ice-creams as caramel is a slight weakness for me (Fantails anyone?!).

After my little eating and retail therapy (shoes as 25% of their original cost- win!) adventure in Subiaco I then  went to BF’s house for a family dinner. To begin to whittle away my little wine stash at home I took over one of the wines I had picked up at the start of the year form Hay Shed Hill Winery in the Margaret River region.

Wine.

The Tempranillo had a spicy aroma however it was quite a light drink. Would have been nice to have had my nice aerator on me to give it some body, but unfortunately that was at home. It is definitely a good wine for me as a lover of red wine to rediscover with the coming summer months. Will let you know how it goes once I get to try it with an aerator.

Until next time!

Edo Japanese BBQ on Urbanspoon

Halliday Day: Week 1 – Leeuwin Estate

I have decided that Monday will be ‘Halliday Day of the Week’. The purpose of this weekly blog post will be for me to choose a winery or wine style/region by personal choice or request and to review it from James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion (I have the 2012 edition – well thought out birthday gift from BF last year!) as well as to share my own personal opinions and knowledge. First up, for this week, is a winery that is dear to my little wine loving heart!

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Leeuwin Estate is found roughly a 15 minute drive to the south of Margaret River on Stevens Road. Rated a solid 5 stars by Halliday with a track record of excellent wines. The winery produces 3 levels of wines from their basic Siblings line to their intermediate Prelude line and their premium Art Series line, all which are overseen my winemaker Paul Atwood. I had the chance to sample the wines when I visited the winery at the start of the year. While the quality was evident in many of their wines the standout wine for me was their Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon (little surprise there!). The wine was so good that I ended up staying and having lunch so I could have a glass to savor and quell my love of it and to resist buying it due to its quite pricy cost (at the time I was used to spending at most $20 for a bottle). The glass with lunch only made me want to take a bottle home with me more and so in the end, I ended up walking out of the winery at the end of my meal with two bottles ($63 each for the 2007 vintage) in tow.

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Since returning to Perth I have been casually looking in different bottle shops to find the Cab Sav at a reasonable price – Liquorland had it at $80 which was quite steep in comparison to $63 at cellar door, especially when I finally found it at Woolworths Liquor for $65 and while they were having a 30% off wines sale (which brought it down to $45.50 a bottle). To add even more to my exciting little find was that they had 3 bottles of the 2005 vintage (shown in the top right picture below) on the shelf and then the rest were the 2007 vintage, which was the one that they had to try at the cellar door and to drink by the glass in the restaurant. The 2005 was an amazing drink after about 2 hours in the decanter, it was perfectly smooth and was nicely balanced between the berry and oak notes within the wine.

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Halliday reviewed the wines from Leeuwin Estate in the 2012 guide on pages 381-382 and he referred to the Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon a ‘high-quality’ wine. The 2007 vintage was rated with a score of 93 (4 ½ glasses), with a recommended cellaring life to 2027; and the 2006 vintage scored 94 (5 glasses) with cellaring recommended until 2021.

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Halliday gave the Art Series Chardonnay produced by Leeuwin Estate the titled of ‘Australia’s finest example’ for Chardonnay’s in his opinion across the quality seen in the last 28 vintages, which is quite the honor to receive. While I do agree with Halliday that it was a quality wine, it was lost on me at the time when I tried it, due to my limited knowledge and appreciation of white wines at the time. I think I will have to revisit Leeuwin in the future to retry the Chardonnay and see how my taste for Margaret River Chardonnays has developed.

The restaurant at the winery has nice views of the vineyard due to its elevated location and the menu (at the time when I went) was small and had a strong emphasis on freshly caught produce from the region.  For not being a big lover of a giant piece of steak theirs was well cooked and the accompanying sides of roasted peppers and corn and a bean salad were to die for! Also while in the Margaret River region do try and get your hands on some fresh bread – it is delicious and the perfect start to your meal as you begin to enjoy your wine.

Leeuwin Estate also is host to numerous events and shows throughout the year on their large estate, including its famous annual concert (if you wish to find out more or get tickets they have a mailing list application on their website).

For those looking to try possibly the best that the Margaret River region has to offer must check out Leeuwin Estate at some point. While Voyager Estate next door has a more colonial feel to its architecture and landscaping, unlike Leeuwin’s more natural approach. The biggest ‘pro’ as to why to visit Leeuwin over Voyager is the significantly larger range of wines that are available to sample at the cellar door. Personally however, Voyager’s restaurant had a much wider array of options on the menu to my liking.

Until next time!

Preece Range

So I thought I would share this little gem that has been hiding at work over the last few weeks. Liquorland is clearing out certain products to make room for newer ones which has led to this range from Preece Winery being reduced from $14 to $4 a bottle! I’ve seen this range and contemplated trying it in the past but it never seemed to move so I always held back, but hey at $4 a bottle (for 2007 and 2009 vintages in my store) it’s worth the gamble!

Last night I opened the 2009 Cab Sav (picture below). The aroma was spicy and rich, the first sip was a little lacking in body for my liking but that soon went away after the wine had breathed in my glass for a little bit. For $14 this would have been an ‘not too bad’ bottle but at $4 it is ‘a bargain’. The Cab Sav was balanced, with a strong emphasis on berries and a hint of spice and oak to give it some depth. Personally it would be a pleasant drink for anyone who enjoys a glass or two of red wine. At $4 I would highly recommend this to anyone!

Preece Cabernet Sauvignon

While at work I decided to grab a few others in the range to try them out also (picture below). Below is my little stash of the Chardonnay (2007), Shiraz (2009) and Dolce Bianco (2010). Also included in this range, which I did not purchase is a Merlot, SSB (low alcohol) and a Dolce Rosso. While I cannot comment on these three wines yet I am definitely excited to try them after having enjoyed the Cab Sav. For anyone looking for some cheap but nice wines I recommend you head to your nearest Liquorland to see what stock they have left (I’m not sure if these wines are still able to be ordered from our warehouse). Best of luck if you decided to try and find some!

Until next time!

Preece Chardonnay, Shiraz and Dolce Bianco.

Welcome

Hello and Welcome!

I have been wanting to dabble into the online medium of blogging and have been wondering what would inspire me to finally jump in and commit to writing on a some-what regular basis. Well inspiration finally arrived over the last week two different people told me that I should share with the world all the thing I eat and drink as I seem to spend half of my meal with someone telling them all about my meal and then proceeding to try/eat half of their meal if they’re foolish enough to allow me the first taste of their meal.

The first entry in this little food adventure will begin at Blend Cafe in Melville on a night out with my boyfriend (BF). A quite busy little restaurant (for a mid-week night) which has an eclectic and alternative decor going on with friendly staff and numerous regular patrons being greeted warmly by the staff and owner throughout our dining experience.

The night began with me running next door to pick out a nice bottle of wine for us to share and as BF only drinks whites (excluding chardonnay) I was restricted to that section of the store. A few minutes later I exited with a nice Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (SBS) ($16.99) from the ‘Jamie & Charlie’ line from the Willoughby Park Winery located in Southwestern Western Australia. I must confess that I picked due to the label design seen in the picture below.

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Wine Bottle’s Label.

Second confession for this post, Sauvinon Blancs (Sav Blanc) and SBS’s are not my favourite. When it comes to wine for me a good Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab Sav) with body, berries and a hint of oak is what I tend to gravitate towards. So due to white wines being a bit of a weakness please forgive me for any faux pas I may make to those who know their whites a little better than I do.

The SBS was a 2011 vintage, as described by me on the night as making me feel that I was “standing between a freshly mowed paddock and an orchard” due to the fresh grassy, citrus and a hint of stone fruit scent that was perfectly complemented by its refreshing taste. I was impressed! My label section had done me well! I will also note the BF was also impressed with my wine selection that suited our pasta’s that we chose off the menu for dinner.

Dinner at Blend consisted of garlic bread for a starter – fresh toasted bread with a nice amount of garlic, enough to taste and savour but not too much to leave you with horrid garlic breath. Our mains for the night was the Pasta Special for BF (homemade pasta with prawns, chorizo, and a chilli tomato sauce), while I had the Triangoli (pumpkin and ricotta triangular pasta parcels in a chilli Neapolitan sauce with spinach and walnuts). BF’s pasta was zingy, delicious and a good serving, while mine was nicely balanced between the flavours but felt that the chilli was non-existent and the servings a little on the small side for being $20+ mains. Due to not feeling full from the mains I then ordered a slice of Apple Pie, which came with a serving of ice-cream to finish my appetite off. The apple pie was a bit disappointing like my meal had been, too much dough and not enough apple flavouring coming through for my liking, however the presentation was cute.

Overall The stars of the night were BFs pasta, the wine and the service at Blend. Also we have decided to return to try the pizza’s on the menu which look and sound to die for! So I will inform you of those when we do. I will try and remember to take a quick snapshot of my meals from now on before I devour them so that I can share those with you also. Let me know you’re experiences if you have tried this wine before or dined at Blend Cafe. Until next time!

Blend Cafe on Urbanspoon