Wine(s) Of the Week: Yet Another Collective Blog Post (during prac)

Woody Nook 2011, Late Harvest Semillon, Margaret River, Western Australia.

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I raided my wine collection while on prac and discovered this bottle towards the back of my collection. I figured it needed to be opened sooner than later from the date and it was a wine, which was getting old and dull. It’s a shame as when I purchased this wine at the cellar door a summer ago it was a really nice wine from memory. Hints of the usual late harvest semillon flavours but it was really past it’s drinking age.

Chandon 2008, Barrel Selection Shiraz, Yarra Valley, Victoria.

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This was a bottle that was brought back from my trip in the Yarra Valley as a gift. While I was down south it was opened and this wine was as good as I remembered it being when I sampled it back in January in the Yarra Valley. Lots of blackcurrant, plums and toasty spicy oak flavours. A beautiful wine!

Clairault, 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia

While I was down south for a weekend I went to Clairault winery to have lunch at their café. To go with lunch we opted to share a bottle of the 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had lots of luscious berries, with a hint of oak and chocolate on the palate and was a balanced and very easy to drink wine.

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Lunch at the Clairault Café.

We shared the Gourmet Platter and a serving of bread between the three of us and two of us also opting to have the soup as well (pumpkin with a sliver of brie), see the picture above. The food was all well presented, delicious and made for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon of catching up. I will be back for sure in the summer when I can borrow a picnic blanket from them and buy a hamper to eat out in their garden.

Clairault Estate on Urbanspoon

Plantagenet 2010 Hazard Hill Shiraz, Mount Barker, Western Australia.

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I had to make a rushed decision on a bottle of wine for the group while dining at Junction Grill at Crown Casino. I noticed Plantagenet’s Hazard Hill 2010 Shiraz on the wine list and decided to play it safe with a winery I trusted. The wine has luscious fleshy fruit and a hint of cherries on the palate and had a very soft, warm finish. I was very impressed and look forward to trying more wines from Plantagenet.

Dinner at Junction Grill

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We ended up dining at Junction Grill for dinner over the weekend to celebrate a friends birthday as the Merrywell had a 3 hour waitlist and we were not prepared to wait around for dinner for that long. We ended up wandering past Junction Grill and saw a short and quickly moving line and decided to have dinner there.

For dinner I had the gnocchi from their menu. It was alright, nothing spectacular with regards to the gnocchi and the spinach had a funky taste, which resulted in most of it ended up on the side of my plate. Those also dining with me mainly ordered the pizzas or the steak sandwiches and those were all raved about so I would recommend sticking to those if you choose to dine here.

Junction Grill on Urbanspoon

Cherry Bomb cocktail at South Street Ale House.

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Above is the Cherry Bomb cocktail I had at the South Street Ale House. The cocktail included VOK Parfait Amour Liquer, VOK Cherry Brandy Liquer and Lemonade. It was quite a nice cocktail but a little on the sweeter side of things.

Cocktails at Midnight Fox  

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At the end of prac I went out with BF to celebrate. I decided to finally check out the new small bar in Melville called Midnight Fox which is run by the owners of Blend Cafe which is located next door.

Lady Peaches ($12)

Bottom Cocktail in the image above. The cocktail contained peach liqueur, bubbles and a sugar cube. This was a great cocktail to start the celebration with, not overly sweet and a easy cocktail to sit back, relax and sip on.

Apple and Eve Cocktail ($17)

Top cocktail in the image above. The cocktail contained absolut vodka, cointreau, fresh apple and lime, finished with cinnamon sugar and baron von moustache spiced apple bitters.​ I went to the bar and asked to be surprised, however I’m not a big fan of gin based cocktails and this is what they chose for me. I really enjoyed this cocktail also.

Dinner at Midnight Fox/Blend Cafe

Pumpkachicken pizza ($20) consists of tomato base, mozzarella, free range chicken, pumpkin, pepperoni and onion.​​ I decided to give this pizza a try as I love having pumpkin on a pizza. BF got our traditional Little India pizza ($19.5) consisting of tomato base, mozzarella, tandoori chicken, red onion, and chilli, finished with a cucumber and mint raita. I did like the pumpkin on the pizza however it was significantly bland in comparison to the Little India and could not really compete with it.

Overall BF and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Midnight Fox and we will be back for sure to enjoy the pizzas from Blend along with some well made cocktails in a intimate and cosy location.

Blend Cafe on Urbanspoon
Midnight Fox on Urbanspoon

Curious Peach Cocktail Jug ($35 for a 1/2L jug)

The cocktail contained appleton Rum, peach liqueur, earl grey tea and lemon juice. It was a really nice refreshing cocktail to have on a warm Sunday afternoon when BF and I caught up with some good friends. The flavours in the cocktail were well balanced and nicely done. Overall I’m still loving the cocktails at the Merrywell!

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Lunch at the Merrywell

For my main I had the Grilled Tuna Salad ($24), consisting of garden vegetables, roasted capsicum aioli and devil egg from the share plate menu. I really enjoyed this dish as a non-shared plate as it was a good sized meal for lunch to allow me room for desert also. The flavours of the aioli and vegetables was well done also and the tuna was nicely cooked. For desert we ordered the Key Lime Cheesecake and the Chocolate brownie (both $9). both were very nice however the brownie is a very rich dish and I ordered and finished this one off, feeling very full by the end of it.

Overall it was a very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon and the crowds were not as bad as I have seen at dinner time. We managed to grab a table outside to enjoy the nice weather and it was very pleasant.

The Merrywell on Urbanspoon

Hazlenut Milkshake at San Churro

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I went out for a churro and milkshake fix at the end of my prac. I had my usual white chocolate dipping sauce with my churros and as we were having a warm summers day I chose to try their hazelnut milkshake which was delicious! This is a the perfect place to visit in Perth if you are in need of a chocolate fix!

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Chocolateria San Churro Fremantle on Urbanspoon

Cocktail at the Lounge Bar at Crown Casino

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Lastly is a cocktail (~$19) that I had at the Lobby Lounge at the Crown Casino when I went there to celebrate a friends birthday. I cannot remember what was in it exactly but it was a similar cocktail to the Lady Peach from Midnight fox with a sparkling wine base, sugar and then a liqueur (from memory this cocktail used chambord). I quite enjoyed the cocktail as well as the lobby lounge.

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Halliday Day: Week 13 – De Bortoli

Hi everyone,

This week’s Halliday Day post will be on the third winery I visited in the Yarra Valley while on holiday over there a few weeks ago. De Bortoli has vineyards across eastern Australia including the Yarra Valley (solid 5 star winery for James Halliday in his 2012 Australian Wine Companion) and the Hunter Valley (4 star winery) , both of which I have visited, as well as in the King Valley (reviewed by James Halliday with the Yarra Valley winery) and Riverina (another 5 star solid winery), which I have not yet had the chance to visit.

While in the Yarra Valley earlier this year I had the chance to visit the cellar door at De Bortoli and sample some of their wines. My notes on the winery and what I sampled while I was there can be found in this blog post.

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Many people know the Name De Bortoli due to it’s infamous Nobel One desert wine, which is a delicious wine that needs to be tried at least once in everyone’s lives. I had the chance to sample this wine while attending the Wine Essentals Course run by the Wine Association of Western Australia last year and my notes on it can be found in this blog post.

De Bortoli is noted by Halliday to give good value for money wines with consistent quality levels across it’s lines from the cheaper lower quality wine label under it’s brand to it’s higher quality labels. The Yarra Valley Winery focuses on producing sustainable wines which reflect the characteristics of the region. Below is a short video on the Winery’s sustainability views and changes it has made.

De Bortolli has a variety of brands that it produces wine under. Including Windy Peak, La Boheme, Gulf Station, Sacred Hill to name a few common ones along with estate listed wines. I have across the ranges not yet found a wine of theirs which I am disappointed with.

Feel free to leave a common below on your favourite De Bortoli wines/labels that I need to try or any  wines of their that you have tried and remembered (for good or bad reasons).

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 12 – Yering Station

Hi everyone,

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

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

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

Cellar Door.

Cellar Door.

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

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

Until next time!

Wine(s) of the Week: University (week 1)

Hi everyone,

Sorry this post is a day late, I was in need of some well deserved sleep over the weekend and forgot to upload this post. I’ve been hitting the books all week having been accepted into my graduate degree and had not had the chance to drink anything besides a celebratory bottle of bubbly with BF on Friday night. I grabbed a bottle of wine which I first sampled over at Chandon in the Yarra Valley last week to show to BF as I felt it was right up his alley as a sweeter styled traditional methode sparkling wine.

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Survival Wine.

This bottle of Chandon Curve Riche was a little disappointing in comparison to what I had while in Melbourne. The wine improved as I let it chill longer, perhaps my impatience got the better of the wine.

Chandon Curvee Riche

Chandon Curvee Riche

My main drinks over the past week and likely this week as well will be lots of cups of tea. I have been enjoying Aroma Cafe at ECU’s campus – the selection of breakfast sandwiches, muffins and snacks are so tantalising that I plan to try one of almost everything over he course of my graduate degree.

One of many cups of tea to be consumed over the course of this year.

One of many cups of tea to be consumed over the course of this year.

Lastly there will be changes occuring with the postings on this blog. I will be writing as much as I can and I endeavour to get out my Melbourne posts in the next few weeks but I have to put my studies first so there will be a decline for a little while in consumption of wine as well as posts.

Have a good week everyone!

Until next time!

Yarra Valley, 2013

Hi everyone,

While I was in Melbourne last week I was granted half a day in the Yarra Valley to unleash the wine lover in me. Unfortunately this half-day was the same day that I had hopped off the plane after only 2 hours sleep so in the end I was quite exhausted after the few wineries I got to. I ended up sticking to the three major wineries in the region that were wanted to be seen by myself and my travelling companions as well as a cidery and chocolate/ice-creamery which caught our attention as we drove throughout the region.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

Yarra Glen Bakery.

We began our day with breakfast at a bakery in Yarra Glen. I had a definitely homemade Chicken Pastie, which while being stuffed full or chicken, feta, spinach and nuts was too rich for my stomach to handle so early in the morning.

Chicken Pastie.

Chicken Pastie.

De Bortoli

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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!

Halliday Day: Week 11 – Domaine Chandon.

Hi everyone,

By the time this post goes up on Gourmet Vicariously I will be in Melbourne for a week of wining, dining, retail therapy and some well needed quality time with my mum and cousin. While we’re in Melbourne I have been promised a day in the Yarra Valley and have spent time ever since them researching which wineries in the region to devote my limited time to. One of the wineries that was on the list from the start was Domaine Chandon, which was established by Moët & Chandon from France.

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In the 2012 Australian Wine Companion James Halliday rated Domaine Chandon a solid 5-star winery. Established in 1986 Halliday claims that Domaine Chandon is one of the two most important wine facilities in the Yarra Valley region. The cooler climate that the Yarra Valley makes it the perfect climatic region for wines such as Pinot Noir and Traditional Methode sparkling wines, Moët & Chandon and then went a step further and chose a location for their vineyard that had a history very fertile soil. Their location decision was well picked and has enabled Domaine Chandon to be one of the top wineries in the region.

Domaine Chandon is located on land which was formerly a dairy fan called ‘Green Point’ consisting of a spur of land running from Yeringberg Hill to the Yarra river. The reason for this is that the ancient alluvial soils at Green Point are deep and therefore retain moisture well into the summer. These soils combined with the Yarra Valley’s cool climate, define a site with ideal ‘terroir’ for growing wine grapes. Domaine Chandon having French origins focuses on the wine produced at this winery reflecting the characteristics of the region, which in turn has led to the varietals produced at the Yarra Valley location for Domaine Chandon including; Méthode Traditionelle Sparkling Wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Cabernet.

Domaine Chandon run free 30 minute guided tours of the winery three times a day and I hope to be able to attend one of these tours when I visit the winery. (at 11am, 1pm and 3pm). So look out for an quick write up of that when I put my Yarra Valley post up in the coming weeks.

Until next time!

Halliday Day: Week 11- Soumah.

Hi everyone,

I was introduced to Soumah’s wines when I met up with a group of Perth food and wine bloggers for the inaugural meet for our attempt of the Wine Century Challenge, you can read my review of that night here. James Halliday rates Soumah as a 4-star winery in the Australian Wine Companion, and also notes that it is a recent addition to the 2012 edition of the book.

Soumah's Logo.

Soumah’s Logo.

Located in the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Soumah was established in 1997 as a collaboration in the Butcher family. Those involved in the winery are clearly lovers of wine and are quite partial to the idea or “terroir” which is a French term that is quite hard to describe as it has no English term. Terroir basically it refers to the effect of the region in which the grapes are grown in particular the climate and soil upon the final taste and texture of the wine. It is a very ‘Old World’ term as it implies that the grape growing rather than the wine making is what is most important for the wine.

Location within the Yarra Valley.

Location within the Yarra Valley.

Soumah has made the decision to limit it’s varietals grown on site to ones that have been specifically selected by them for the Yarra Valley region when comparing its climatic and geographical features to that of Europe. The winery lives by it’s mottos of:

 “We concentrate on single Vineyard Wines | We are in a cool climate location | We target quality over quantity | We research, we plant, we nurture | We narrow our varietal focus to: Burgundy and Northern Rhone, and Northern Italy | We strive for savoury, elegant wines | We are partial to blue”

This motto of theirs is clearly seen in their decisions over what is important enough to be included on the wine’s label. Let me say as a person who is beginning to learn the nitty gritty of wines and their making these labels are quite an exciting sight for me and working in retail in the Liquor Industry something that I would love to see become more common as it would really allow people to become more educated about the wines they are drinking. Below are some pictures I took at Steve’s of the label information for the three wines I tried in their range.

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Chardonnay Label.

Pinot Noir Label.

Pinot Noir Label.

Savarro Label.

Savarro Label.

I am definitely getting excited for my trip to Melbourne in a few weeks time! I do hope to make it to Soumah while I am in the Yarra Valley so that I can try the few wines that  I missed out on trying at Steve’s.

Hope you all are having a wonderful end of the year! Best wishes for your Christmas and New Year festivities!

Until next time!