Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

My Picks of Pinot Palooza

The weekend before last marked the first Pinot Palooza. One of the best ways to spend an afternoon that I could think of: tasting a great cross section of Pinot from across Australia and New Zealand. The guys at The Wine Guide did a brilliant job of bringing it all together, complete with ridiculously loud playing of Gangnam Style and #realperoni in the hands of all of the producers.

We took a bit of a scatter gun approach to the tasting, tasting a few producers whom I’ve not previously tasted (had been looking forward to tasting Bannockburn’s wine for a while), a few randoms and a few old favourites.

Overall I would say that the standing of Australasian Pinot is top notch. Young Pinot vines can sometimes produce a thin, slightly insipid wine which struggles for depth and balance. This is often the kind of Pinot that’s cheaper, but not worth the price of the glass.  I can safely say, I didn’t taste a single wine like this. In fact, some of the cheaper wines really held their own.

The following are the photos I snapped of my standout wines. I seemed to have missed taking a photo of what was my favourite wine of the day, the Valli Gibbston Valley 2010.

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Suffield Wines – Eden Valley

On our recent trip to McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, Barossa Valley and Clare Valley we had the pleasure of stumbling across the cellar door of Suffield Wines. Getting there wasn’t by design, it was a matter of taking a wrong turn down a road and pulling into the first winery we saw.

The story of Suffield Wines is much the same story as how we stumbled upon it. With no experience of winemaking or vineyards, Nick and Lyne bought the vineyard in 1998. At the time they were living in the US managing their businesses and bought the cute little farmhouse and vineyard with the goal of taking things easy. That never happened, but spending a short amount of time with Nick, that’s no surprise – he has an insatiable passion for everything and anything he mentions.

The house was run down, with dirt floors, no bathroom and in desparate need of attention. The vines too were in a similar state, left to their own devices for god knows how long. The house was run-down and the state of the vineyards were no better. The exact years of planting aren’t really available, but they estimate that the Shiraz and Riesling are around 80 years old. Neither of these have ever seen much irrigation, so they have deep root structures and a consistent harvest. Turns out the age and establishment of the vines were their saving grace, and with a bit of well placed pruning, some active maintenance and a lot of hard work they are seeing better days.

At the time the Suffield’s bought the vineyard, most of the fruit was sold by contract to Henschke. Since then, the have continued the contract selling but have started making an increasing amount of their own wines. Using a combination of minimal intervention in the wine making, the help of a contract wine maker, and great fruit the wines Suffield is producing are not only sensational but also great value.

The earlier vintages of Shiraz were heavy-handed and off balance, but age has treated them well and they are well priced. The newer vintages have been made with a far subtler hand and will mature into some crackers. The older Rieslings have the roundness which I love in older Riesling and the later vintages have fantastic acidity, almost to a fault. The 2010 vintage was bone dry, all citrus and acid and lacking in complexity – this Jim told us is the style that all Eden Valley Riesling are moving towards. Personally, I like a touch of residual sugar, it plays well with the acidity and lifts it.

The Death of a Local Hero – Randall’s Albert Park

It’s a sad day when a local small retailer closes and even sadder when it’s rolled by one of the big guys – that’s the story of Randall’s wine store in Albert Park. I’ve known for a month or so that the shop had been done, but it was only the other day when the realisation actually happened. It now doesn’t exist, it’s just another Vintage Cellars. A quick peek in looks like they’ve held much of the same stock (which is a relief cause the selection rocks) but it’s got some new shelving and a new sign and lot less clutter.

I’ve heard rumours that they soldout because it wasn’t making enough money but who knows. One thing is for certain, Coles offered enough money that they sold and now the shop is a Vintage Cellars.

Adam FosterI suppose what makes me the saddest is how great a member of the wine loving community of Albert Park Randall’s was. The master classes they hosted were not only awesome but affordable. I’ve learnt a lot and experienced some awesome wines that I probably would never have even considered through them. All Saints, By Farr, Teusner and Adam Foster to name the more memorable. They were hosted in the little Japanese restaurant next door by the friendly and knowledgeable staff and always had ample cheese and generous pours.

To make matters worse another locally owned wine shop has recently closed down, though I don’t believe it was sold – just the lease was not continued. That was the Prince Wine Store in the Clarendon Centre and it was replaced by the soulless institution that is Liquorland, complete with it’s shitty selection of wine and cheap beer. Thankfully, there still remains a Prince Wine Store around the corner in Bank St, but it closes far too early for my liking and isn’t open on Sundays.

To get my local wine retail fix, I’m going to have to start shopping at the Richardson St Cellars again. I feel bad, since moving closer to Randalls I haven’t been to Richardsons and I’m going to feel like a traitor. Better to support them with than the behemoth that is Coles I suppose.

Central Otago Photos

The thing I love about Queenstown is it’s diversity. There is a heap of crazy things to do, like bungy jumping, snowboarding and skydiving but aside from all that there are some of the most amazing eating and drinking experiences. My favourite of these is jumping in the car and driving out along the Gibston Valley, Bannockburn and Cromwell and tasting wine at some amazing producers. I’ve been to many of these cellar doors over the years but have compiled my favourites into this tour. They all have great stories to tell and amazing wine to try and buy. I’ve got a few more in depth blog posts about these on their way, in the meantime, here’s a couple of sets of photos I shot on one trip. As impressive as the scenery looks in the photos, sadly they don’t really do it justice.

Gibston Valley

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Cromwell & Bannockburn

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To eat: Baked Beans courtesy of Tresna.
Now, Two Metre Tall cider (more on this later).
Next. Some Young Punks “The Squids Fist” Sangiovese/Shiraz.
Later. Running with Bulls Tempranillo.

(this order may vary)

Governor-General’s Wine Cellar

A few weeks ago I posted about the Governor-General’s wine cellar. At the time there was very little information at hand other than the article in The Age so I contacted Senator Scott Ryan’s office who has provided the entire list. Here for your viewing the entire list of wine at Government and Admirality House. This cellar is pretty impressive and I would personally be very disappointed if it was sold and not appreciated by the guests of our “head of state”.

The purchase price of the current cellar is $88,067 but I would suggest that the real value is more than twice that. Needless to say, whoever has put this collection together (the previous Governor-Generals) has pretty good taste, or at least pretty expensive taste.

The wines marked with ** have been purchased by the current Governor-General

of wine
Number on hand
Baileys Bundarra Cl Herm 1989 12
Bannockburn Shiraz 1996 48
Bleasdale Shiraz Cab/Sav 2003 6
Bleasdale The Wise One Verdelh 12
Blue Cutting Rd Cab/Merlot 03 9
Brands Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 12
Brands Shiraz 1997 12
**Brindabella Ries 08** 7
Brown Bros Banks. Shiraz 1997 24
Brown Bros Fam Res Chard 1995 3
Brown Bros Graciano 1997 9
Brown Bros LH Nob Ries Dess 96 6
Brown Bros LH Noble Ries 1998 1
Brown Bros Orange Muscat/Flora 6
Brown Bros Pat Pinot Chard 97 12
Brown Bros Pat Shiraz 2000 24
Brown Bros Verdelho 1999 9
**Chalkers Cross CabSav 06** 24
Chalkers Crossing Merlot 04 4
Charles Cimilky CabSav 1992 23
**Clare Vall St John Blanc de B** 58
Clare Vall Stephen John Blanc 28
Coldstreams Hills R Chard 1996 6
Dalwhinne Shiraz 05 12
Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chard 00 3
Dalwhinnie P/Noir 2001 3
D’Arenb GrenShirMourvedre 1993 12
D’Arenberg CabMerl Franc 2002 12
**D’Arenberg Ceno CAT 07** 18
D’Arenberg D’arrys Orig SG05 34
D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz ’00 18
D’Arenberg Fort Shiraz 2000 12
D’Arenberg Noble Reisling 95 10
D’Arenberg Noble Ries 1998 12
D’Arenberg Pepperrm. Pdk Champ 10
D’Arenberg Shiraz 2000 4
D’Arenberg The Stump Jump GSM 25
**D’Berg Fish Sav Blanc 09** 24
**D’berg Money Spider Rouss 06** 24
**D’berg Money Spider Rouss 07** 12
**D’Berg Noble Riesling 08** 6
**D’Berg Stump Jump Sticky 08** 48
Devils Lair Chardonnay 1998 36
Elderton Botrytis Semil 2004 12
Elderton Botrytis Semillion 02 4
Elderton Botrytis Semillion 05 3
Elderton Command Shiraz 2001 6
Elderton CSM 2001 24
Elderton Friends Riesling 05 13
Elderton Merlot 2001 7
Elderton SB Verdelho 04 1
**Fire Block Grenache 03** 12
**G/Burge Hillcot Merlot 07** 1
**Geoff Merrill Shiraz Gren Mouv** 35
Grant Burge H.T GrenShirM 1997 23
Grant Burge Mashach Herm 1991 12
Grant Burge Meshach Herm 00 6
Grant Burge Meshach Herm 1996 24
Grant Burge Meshach Herm 1998 36
Grant Burge Shad. CabSav 1996 24
H/ford Hill Btryt Sem 2004 9
Hav Alkoomi Blackbutt Blend 98 24
Hav Alkoomi CabSav 2001 24
Hav Alkoomi LH Chard 2004 12
Hav Alkoomi Shir Viognier 2002 12
Hav Edlerton Est Shiraz 2002 12
Hav Wil Br Rs CabSav Rose 2003 12
Hav Willow Br CabSav 2001 24
Hav Willow Br Est Merlot 2001 2
Hav Willow Br Res Shiraz 2001 10
Henscke Hill of Gr. Shiraz ’94 19
Henscke Hill of Gr. Shiraz ’96 6
Henscke Hill of Grace Shir 1993 2
Henscke Mt Edelstone Shir 1996 8
Hungerford Botrytis Sem 2000 1
Hungerford Hill Botrytis Sem05 26
Ingoldby Cabernet Sauvignon 89 12
Jasper Hill G. Padd. Shiraz 93 36
Jim Barry The Armagh Shir 1998 4
Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 96 2
Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 99 36
Kilikanoon Conv Shiraz 2002 12
Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2002 8
Lindemans H.R Burg. Shiraz ’91 24
Lindemans L.R Shiraz Cab 1992 24
Longview My Fat Goose SSB 06 38
**Longview Red Bucket Shir Ca 07** 21
**Longview Red Bucket SSB 07** 8
**Longview Whippet SBlanc 08** 48
**Majella Musician 07** 67
Majella Musician 2004 26
Majella Musician 2006 12
McWilliams Mt Pleas. Shiraz 96 24
Miceli Michael Meth/Champ 2001 12
Moorilla B/L UnW Chard 03 6
Moorilla Botrytis SB 05 6
Moorilla Res Pinot Noir 1999 6
Moorilla Vintage Brut 2000 12
Mount Langi Ghir Shiraz 1990 3
Mount Langi Ghiran Ries 1999 16
Mount Mary Lilyd Cab 1990 4
MSV The Barossa 2005 12
Oakridge Res Cab Sauvignon 91 5
Old Station Gren/Shiraz 1999 8
Parker Estate TRFG Shiraz ’98 24
Penfolds Bin 407 CabSav 1990 30
Penfolds Bin 707 CabSav 1997 24
Penfolds Bin 707 CabSav 1998 22
Penfolds Gr Herm 1985 17
Penfolds Gr Herm 1986 32
Penfolds Gr Herm 1987 12
Penfolds Gr Herm 1988 8
Penfolds Gr Herm 1989 12
Penfolds Gr Herm 1990 2
Penfolds Gr Herm 1991 6
Penfolds Gr Herm 1992 3
Penfolds Gr Herm 1993 36
Penfolds Gr Herm 1995 30
Penfolds Gr Herm 1996 48
Penfolds Gr Herm 1997 42
Penfolds Mag.Est Shiraz 1992 24
Penfolds Mag.Est Shiraz 1997 12
Penfolds Mag.Est Shiraz 1998 24
Pepp Tr GR C’Warra CabSav 2000 12
Pepper Tree R C’Warra Mer 1998 12
Petaluma (Hanlin Hill) Ries 02 26
Peter Lehm Ment CabMerSM 1996 12
Peter Lehm Ment CabMerSM 1997 12
Peter Lehm Stone. Shiraz 1991 12
Peter Lehm Stone. Shiraz 1996 24
Peter Lehmann Shiraz 1998 24
Pirramimma R Petit Verdot 2001 24
Pitchfork Cab Shz Mer 2005 12
**Pitchfork Sem SB 08** 36
Polkolbin Lks Foll Cab 1996 2
Polkolbin Lks Foll Cab 1998 3
Polkolbin Lks Foll Cab 2000 12
Redbank Emily NV 48
Rosemount B.S Shiraz 1995 6
Rutherglen Botrytis  Musca 05 24
Rutherglen Ratafia 2003 6
Rutherglen Ratafia Viognier 03 1
Rutherglen Shiraz Durif 2006 24
Rymeill Merlot Cabernet 2001 6
Rymill June Traminer 1
Rymill Merlot Cabernet 2001 15
Sandalford Sandalera 7
Seagrams Sambucca Liqueur 2
Shottersbrooke Merlot 2003 12
Tatachilla Cab Sauvignon 1999 24
Tatachilla F.L Shiraz 1998 24
Thomas Hardy C’Warra CabSav 90 11
Tyrrells McLaren Merlot 99 16
Tyrrells McLaren Shiraz 00 24
Tyrrells RH Shiraz 00 15
Tyrrells RH Shiraz 98 6
Tyrrells Rufus S Merlot 00 12
Tyrrells Show Res Cab Sav 1990 4
Tyrrells T Block G’traminer 05 7
Tyrrells Vat 1 Sem 96 3
Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon 1996 24
Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon 1997 1
Tyrrells Vat 47 Chard 00 10
Tyrrells Vat 47 Pinot Chard 00 1
Tyrrells Vat 47 Pinot Chard 99 36
Tyrrells Vat 55 Shiraz Mer 98 24
Tyrrells Vat 6 Pinot Noir 1996 9
Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 1991 23
Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 1995 36
Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 1998 12
Vasse Felix noble Riesling 00 2
Virgin Hills Blends CabShir 88 12
Water Wheel Memise Red 06 69
**Water Wheel Memsie White 07** 6
Water Wheel’Memsie’ 2003 7
Watermark Cabernet Sauv 2002 12
Wellington Iced Reisling 2001 6
Wellington Iced Riesling Des. 1
**West Cape Howe Riesling 08** 37
**West Cape Howe Rose 08** 1
**West Cape Howe Sau Blanc 08** 24
**West Cape Howe SS Blanc 08** 31
**West Cape Howe Tempranillo 07** 7
West Cape Howe Viognier 07 6
Wilson Leucothea Liq Gew 1
375 Wirra PinotGris 2003 1
Wirra Wirra Late Picked Pinot 8
Witchmount Estate Cab. Merl 04 12
Wynns Cent. Cab Shiraz 1991 24
Wynns C’Warr Ridd Cab Sav 1992 3
Wynns C’Warr Ridd Cab Sav 1993 13
Wynns C’Warra Cab Sav 1986 5
Wynns C’Warra JR CabSav 92 6
Wynns C’Warra ridd Cab/Sauv 90 7
Yalumba Menzies Cab Sav 1988 36
Yalumba Menzies Cab Sav 1992 11
Yalumba Menzies Cab Sav 97 12
Yalumba Octavius Shiraz 1992 11
Yalumba Signat Cab Shiraz 92 12
Yalumba Signat Cab Shiraz 97 18
Yalumba Signat Cab Shiraz 98 24
Yalumba Virgilius Viog 2000 10
Yarra Yering D.R Cab Shiraz 88 12
Yering Station R Pinot G Botry 3

A Dinner Party Menu

Tomato panna cotta with basil syrup
with Turkey Flat 2008 Barossa Valley Marsanne Vigonier Roussanne and Rolf Binder ‘Christa Rolf’ 2008 Barossa Valley Semillon

Prawns and Pipis in a light paella style sauce and sourdough bread
with Kooyong Estate ‘Massale’ 2008 Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir, Te Kairanga 2008 Martinborough Pinot Noir and Innocent Bystander 2008 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir.

Olive and rosemary encrusted lamb rack served wtih kipfler potatoes, peas, asparagus and broccoli greens
with Allies 2009 Heathcote Shiraz and Negoce 2007 Heathcote Shiraz.

Warm rhubarb and strawberry pie