Posts Tagged ‘australia’

Vinography in Australia

One of my favourite wine bloggers, Alder Yarrow, is currently in Australia checking out a few of our wine regions (the trip is sponsored by Wine Australia and Tourism Australia). I’ve long been a fan of his writing, the focus on people and place is something I believe is sorely missing in the traditional wine media and I’m really excited that it is Australia’s turn. From his Twitter account and inital post, it seems he started in the Yarra Valley, has been to Heathcote, Beechworth, King Valley, Mclaren Vale and is now in the Barossa Valley.

If you are interested in his adventures in Australian wine, I will keep the following list up to date.

Confused Governor General doesn’t know what to do with Wine

Update: I have just published the full list of wine in the Governor General’s wine cellar.

An article in The Age today discusses the problem that Governor General Quentin Bryce (who doesn’t drink often) and her teetotalling husband have with their inheritance of a pretty amazing wine cellar. The article suggests that they are thinking about selling it, donating some of it to charity or something else. They also don’t want to serve it to guests because they don’t want to be seen to be extravagant.

Personally, I don’t see the problem here. Let me put it this way. Wine is meant to be drunk. If you don’t want to serve a nice bottle of wine to your guests then don’t. You are only going to come across looking cheap and promoting the idea to your international guests that Australian wine is cheap and shit. Doesn’t sound like something most people would do, given the choice.

This wine isn’t going to go bad, in fact it’s only going to get better. It’s not yours to sell, but it is yours to drink. Stop whinging like a kid that can’t spend your inheritance fast enough. Either enjoy it, or leave it for the next person.

Steinlager Pure in Melbourne, Australia

A frequent search query that people arrive here is for “Steinlager Pure in Australia.” Rather than arriving to anything useful they have reached my Steinlager Pure review. Until now I was under the impression that this beer was simply not available over the ditch but I was wrong. Today I spotted a shelf full of it in the All Nations Backpacker Bar near the corner of Flinders St and Swanston St in the Melbourne CBD. I believe it was brought in for Waitangi Day, but it seems like they have a fair bit in stock.

Another Cheese Cocktail

I was reading the December Edition of the Australian Bartender Magazine and stumbled upon an article written by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Gary Regan wherein he writes about a cocktail made with not only cheese, but ham and tomato to create the Ham, Cheese and Tomato Toasted Sandwich Martini. It sounds amazing, and I would love to get in contact with David Stanton and learn where he got his inspiration.

For some history, I attempted to make a cheese cocktail quite some time ago. It tasted alright but was really fatty and not that pleasant to look at.

Australia Day Survival Guide

The 26th of January, Australia Day is probably the second booziest day on the international calendar (after St Patricks Day) but it isn’t only about the booze. Australia Day is a celebration of beer, food, sport and the process of talking a lot of shit. This is a quick guide to make sure your Australia Day is a good one.

  1. Something to do. Whether you are holding your own barbecue, heading down to the bowlsy for a few ciders or going to the cricket, the important things is having a plan (something I don’t have this year.) This is no fly by the seat of your pants day, and things to do a usually in abundance. Just remember, what ever you decide to do you should be near a wireless and a TV so you can monitor the Triple J Hottest 100, the cricket and the tennis.
  2. Booze. Not having enough booze is one of the easiest mistakes to make. You are going to be spending the better part of 18 hours in the sun drinking so at the very minimum a carton of beer is a good start. If you are going to a BBQ, you should think about the bloke who nobody likes stealing your beers, and your mate under-catering and needing a couple of yours, so purchase accordingly. If you are a sheila, a bottle or 2 of some Rose, Sauvignon Blanc and bubbly are good options and having a backup bottle of lemonade for a couple of chandies is a good idea.
  3. Food. Pretty much any meat product would be considered Australian. The Australian Lamb Board would have us eat lamb, but personally I prefer steak and sausages. Homer Simpson said, “You don’t make friends with salad” but nobody will sleight you if you show up with a meat tray under 1 arm and a bowl of salad on top of you carton.
  4. Sport. Most of the Australian summer revolves around sport and Australia Day is no different. There is always cricket and tennis on and regardless of whether you follow them, it’s worth reading the sport section of the paper the day before so you at least know what is going on in those arenas and you can sound knowledgeable when you are standing around the barby.
  5. Mates. Probably the most important thing, is to have a couple of good mates around. If it’s having a hit of backyard cricket, on the boat fishing or just hanging around, it is all going to be better with a couple of your best mates.

What are your Australia Day tips?

Gourmet Burger Joints, Australia and New Zealand

If you have never partaken in a gourmet burger then you are in for a delight. Popping up all over Australia and New Zealand are small hamburger shops that really know how to make hamburgers. They usually have your regular style burger – meat-pattie, lettuce, tomato and cheese on a hamburger roll but the menu generally consists of a number of delights you had never dreamt of. Well maybe you have dreamt it, but this is your dreams coming true.

Now, I’m not going to rant about the history of this phenomenom but there is a few of this style of shop opening, Velvet Burger in Dunedin, ChimiChanga in Brisbane (now closed I’m told), Wunder Burger in Tauranga, I’m told there are a few stores in Melbourne and last but certainly not least, Fergburger in Queenstown. I’m sure they are popping up everywhere, probably in my own kitchen, but the point is there are lots around the traps and the numbers are growing.

Now, the first gourmet burger joint I ever visited was Queenstown’s own Ferg a few years ago and since then I’ve had more than I could ever count. This includes every burger on the menu, in every state of drunk, sober and hungover possible. Needless to say, I love the place and it’s going to be very difficult for me to be impartial in any reviews I write. I’d also love to hear about any other gourmet burger shops around the traps.

Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

I’m a huge fan of cheap good wine, happy to drink good quality boxed wine and certainly not turned off by a $4 bottle – so long as it tastes good. But currently I have a glass of Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 in front of me, and let me tell you I’m not that impressed. It’s one of the “premium cask wines” just like the Banrock Station wine I’ve written about before and it might be harsh on the Yalumba, but it just doesn’t match up against the Banrock.

Before I start talking about the wine itself I think it’s important to mention that by all reports the 2007 vintage in the Barossa valley was extremely hard for the growers, with a late frost and some heavy rainfall damaging a great amount of the harvest. This may well explain the low quality – especially because this box is of the 2007 vintage, as compared to most cask wine which is blended.

On the nose there is a definite smell of blackcurrant, and a slightly unwelcome hint of menthol. The taste is not what I have become used to from cheap Australian wines, which normally provide a somewhat balanced taste. It lacks body, tastes young (yes, I realise it is young) and has a touch of alcohol aftertaste. It’s not all bad though, it is quite easy drinking which isn’t always the case for cheap cabernet sauvignon’s and definitely is very good value drinking.