(First off, apologies to all the haters for the Steve Jobs/Apple references littering this blog post. But he was an inspiration to me, anyone with that much passion has to be respected for relentlessly pursuing his dreams.)
Now, I’ll admit it. I’ve been terrible at blogging for way too long. I love blogging, love writing about wine, food, restaurants, wineries, cellar doors and living the good life. I love working in the wine industry and working with some of the most brilliant, passionate and talented people I’ve met anywhere. But since November last year, I’ve been focused on pursuing my dreams. Now, I’ve got my dream job (stage one), I’ve helped launch some amazing websites, I’m moving into Potts Point in Sydney (something I’ve wanted to do since age 12) and I’m full of energy to give back the love to the people, places, food, wines and ideas that I respect and have to share with the world.
Thanks to my friends, family, workmates and all those on Twitter and Facebook whose support, friendship and inspiration has given me strength in pursuing my dreams. And I’d especially like to thank those who’ve shown me how not to live my life. Pettiness, negativity and holding grudges won’t get you anywhere. Defining what you are really passionate about and relentlessly pursuing it no matter what others say will always bring positive and lasting change. I look forward to sharing the journey with you all.
Well it’s been a while. Why so long between posts? Life, work, family, friends… All these things had to take prominence over writing. But now I’ve secured a great job (Online Communications Advisor for Wine Australia) and I’m moving to Sydney for work… Plenty happening that I can mine for rich veins of inspiration. But seriously, it’s been too long between drinks, I’ve missed writing here so can’t wait to get stuck in!
The Pot Food & Wine
‘Last Friday of the Month’ Luncheon
Celebrating International Grenache Day
with fellow grenachistes S.C. Pannell & Torbreck Wines
24th September 12.30
Birds of a Feather… ‘Drink Grenache’
Smoked ‘Sticky Quail’ ::
Sesame, Coriander, Twice Cooked Egg & Fried Shallots
2010 Torbreck ‘Natural’ Grenache, Barossa Valley, SA.
Duck Liver & Foie Gras Parfait ::
Saffron & Pear Chutney, House Made Lavosh
2009 Torbreck ‘Juveniles’ GSM, Barossa Valley, SA.
2008 S.C. Pannell ‘Pronto’ GTSM, McLaren Vale, SA.
Ravioli of Pigeon & Porcini ::
Confit Cabbage, Lardons, Truffle Infused Pigeon Consomme
2007 Torbreck ‘Steading’ GSM, Barossa Valley, SA.
2007 S.C Pannell SG, McLaren Vale, SA.
Rotisserie Spatchcock ::
Roasted Grains, Salted Cashews, Chimichurri & Fried Chilli
2006 S.C. Pannell Grenache, McLaren Vale, SA.
4 courses with matching wine $85 per person
For Reservations call
Just a little page to gather all the tastings that happen in and around Adelaide…. I know it’s a small start but plenty to follow. Please email me at email@example.com or send me a message on twitter @intwines
ATLAS WINES TASTING
DATE :: Thursday, 15th of July
VENUE :: Wine Underground, Pirie Street Adelaide
TIME :: 5-7PM
ADELAIDE HILLS EVENTS
Winter Reds Weekend :: Warm to the Red Wines of the Adelaide Hills
Now this is what the Adelaide Hills should really be known for. Red Wine. Sure they grow Sauvignon Blanc that is pleasing to fans of that varietal. That stuff sells itself these days. And they make some of the best Chardonnay in Australia. I’ll let Penfolds/Fosters (and their marketing dollars) push that one along.
So what red grapes do they grow well in the Adelaide Hills? It is a cool climate region after all, isn’t it? Well, technically yes. Ask anyone who has fallen asleep outside in the middle of winter after overindulging in Adelaide Hills Wines whether or not it’s a cool climate region! So being a cool slimate region, they should grow decent Pinot Noir? Right? Damn right. But do they get the credit, dollars and prestige of the superstar wineries of Mornington Peninsula/Yarra Valley/Geelong/Tasmania? Nope. Should they? Hell yes. Ashton Hills, Whisson Lakes and Barratt are three of the finest producers of Pinot in this country.
What about other grape varieties? Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon normally thrive in warm climate regions you may say. But this is where the Adelaide Hills landscape comes into it’s own. A scenic drive through the Hills shows a myriad of altitudes, valleys, peaks, aspects, soil types and prevailing weather conditions. This variety means that with careful site selection almost any red variety can be grown in the Adelaide Hills. Shiraz? Shaw + Smith, Petaluma, Setanta, Kersbrook Hill, Ngeringa and more all produce stunning examples of Shiraz that are regularly rated amongst the best in the country by esteemed critics. They may not be the ball tearing blockbusters of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale but they match brilliantly with food and have more elegance and complexity than you can shake a stick at. Cabernet is an exciting variety, especially when blended. Tilbrook make a cracking Sangiovese Cabernet, K1 by Geoff Hardy’s Tzimmukin is delicious and Chain Of Ponds The Cachet has been rated as one of the top Cabernet blends in the country by James Halliday.
So do yourself a favour, expand your palette and spend a day or two in the Adelaide Hills when she is at her finest.
Check out all the details at http://www.adelaidehillswine.com.au/downloads/winter_reds.pdf
Just a few low-fi pics from my bike ride and day of wine tasting in the Clare Valley. Thanks to all the wonderful winemakers and cellar door staff that were so friendly. And to my Craftworks bike for being the best bikey friend a fella could have…
Well, i’ll be doing a load more of these style of posts as I tour SA’s wine regions intensively over the next six months. Send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THERE’S MORE TO GUMERCHA THAN A BIG WOODEN HORSE
Big things, I love them. Big wines. Big meals. Big occasions. And I especially love a Big Monument. Been to all of them in Australia. The Big Banana. The Big Pineapple. The Big Orange. The Big Sheep. The Big Koala. The Big Lobster. The Big Ned Kelly. But one of them holds a special place in my heart. It was the first Big Monument I ever saw as a kid. It was The Big Rocking Horse in the sleepy little Adelaide Hills town of Gumeracha. This Big Monument that showed me that dreams were possible. That even the pointless actually had a point (and a bloody big one at that)! Gumeracha has always had a special place in my heart. And that special place in my heart has grown a little bit bigger after getting to know the wines of Gumeracha’s own Protero.
VEEE-ON-YAY… IS A-OK (as are Goats and all that they produce)
So, we’ve done the Rose, loaded up on good Chardonnay and had some wonderful Cheese and Oysters. But before we hit the Protero stand i’m distracted by a delicious looking platter of Goats Cheese and Quince Paste tarts. I think that Goats are probably the most underrated food producing animal in Australia. They produce delicious milk, cheese and meat. Curry Goat is bloody delicious. But anyways, I was peckish again so I *Bad joke alert* grabbed one of those tarts faster than a footy player would on his end of season footy trip. Were they good? Delicious. Who made them? Couldn’t tell you. Sorry. It was a catering company in the Adelaide Hills that do weddings, parties, anything… If anyone who was at the tasting knows please leave a comment below because I would like some more Goat’s Cheese and Quince Paste tarts. Please.
On to the Protero stand. There were more people ready to serve wine than being served wine at the stand. Which isn’t hard when there is no-one being served wine. But do you really need four people to man one stand? Maybe not but the first thing that struck me about the folk at the Protero stand (a bunch of owners/assistant winemakers) was there enthusiasm and love of what they do. Always a good thing, especially when you’ve passed a couple of soulless Foster’s/Constellation/Pernod stands. These are the three companies that produce the vast amount of wine in Australia. They dominate the wine industry in a similar fashion to the way Coles, Woolworths and IGA dominate the Supermarkets. Which brings me to another point. While I love wines from wineries and companies of all sizes, why is it so easy to pick the big brands at wine tastings??
INTWINES GUIDE TO PICKING (and avoiding) THE BIG THREE AT REGIONAL (or other) WINE TASTINGS
- Excessive Promotional Material
- Excessive highlighting of awards no matter how minor
- Tight ass pouring of wine
- Rude, holier than thou and uninterested staff manning the stand
- No wine above $20 RRP available for tasting
- Start Packing up 3 hours before the end of the Tasting
Rant over. Back to Protero. Enthusiastic people. Excited for me to try their wines. Excited for me to spread the word about their wonderful wines. You don’t need me, I say, you have some fancy Winestate Wine Of The Year award for your Merlot. No, they say, we want real people to spread the word. It works best they say. Agree I do. And then they give me a taste of the most delicious Viognier I have had for a while.
2007 Protero Wines Viognier
Price :: $29 from http://www.proterowines.com.au
Cellar Potential :: Delicious now and will stay that way up to 3 years
Score :: 94
Music Match :: Delicate, sensual and refined… The music to match this wine could only come from Minnie Ripperton, of Lovin’ You fame. Why? Minnie and Viognier are both underrated. In the wrong hands they can become a caricature. Yes, i’m looking at you South Park and various nameless winemakers. But when they are treated right they are both capable of soaring to undreamt of heights. Forget Lovin’ You and head straight to Inside My Love, in my humble opinion her finest moment. Grab a bottle of this sexy, slinky wine. Grab your partner. Put on Minnie Riperton. And let the magic begin…
The Summary :: This wine is delicious. In the wrong hands Viognier can be oily, horrible stuff that tastes like the juice in a tin of sliced Apricots or Peaches. But not this stuff. Sure the signature Viognier apricot is there. But the aroma is more apricot kernel than pure apricot. And it’s supported by lifted citrus, quince and pear notes. Delicate. These intriguing notes continue onto the palate where they dominate the apricot to the point of almost making it disappear. But it’s really all about the mouthfeel. Buttery, slinky and balanced with the right amount of acidity. Not in the least bit oily. Refined. And for my money one of the best value Viogniers in Australia.
* This post is dedicated to the memory of Keith Floyd, a true legend who bought class, humor and irreverence to the world of food and wine. I heard the sad news of his passing as I was writing this post. He will always be a great inspiration to me and many others. RIP Keith Floyd*
(LET ME TAKE YOU DOWN, ‘CAUSE I’M GOING TO) LOBETHAL ROAD where the Chardy’s unreal.
So what do you do after you’ve tried some great Chardonnay? Well, at the Hills tasting you eat some delicious cheese and then drink some more great Chardonnay! The cheese in question was from a company that i’ve loved and supported for a very long time. B.d. Farm Paris Creek. I’ll try not to waffle on but these guys have been making a great range of organic and biodynamic milk and yogurt products for almost 20 years. Recently they have also started making a equally good range of hard and soft cheeses. If you want more information on them and their products, check out http://www.bdfarmpariscreek.com.au/.
So, with a belly full of cheese it was onto the Lobethal Road stand. Call me ignorant but i’d never heard of Lobethal Road wines before attending the tasting. Especially ignorant as one of my favourite Hill wineries, Tilbrook (more on them in another post but just quickly their new Sangiovese Cabernet blend is brilliant), is also from Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills. But I digress… Great Chardonnay is what we are looking for so we ask for a taste of their top of the line model, the Bacchant.
2008 Lobethal Road Wines Bacchant Chardonnay
Price :: $40 – 45
Cellar Potential :: Up to 6+ years
Score :: 96 Points
Music Match :: Sublime, uplifting wine deserves sublime and uplifting music.. Drink this wine while listening to Camille by Georges Delerue… If you don’t know Georges, he was a brilliant French Film composer that wrote over 350 scores for film and television. Make sure your seated when drinking the wine and listening to Camille, it is a heady and truly intoxicating experience.
The Summary :: Sometimes a wine you expect to be great turns out to be great. Sometimes a wine you expect to be great turns out to be disappointing. And sometimes along comes a wine of which you expect very little but delivers in spades. This is one of those wines. Uplifting aromas of honey, white peach, mandarins and a hint of oak. Near perfect balance and integrity on the palate with white peaches, citrus, oak and honey softly dancing on the palate. But that’s not the best bit. The texture. Oh, a joy to behold. Soft and silky it caresses the mouth in all the right places, making it almost a shame to swallow this wine. Is it a little pricey at $42? Not at all, at that price it’s damn good value. Do I still hate Chardonnay like I did six months ago? Not a chance. If we all tried Chardonnay this good the Anything But Chardonnay Club would be a lonely place.
YOU MUST BE OFF YOUR TROLLI!
…And now for something completely different. After more food treats (possibly the best smoked salmon, kingfish and prawns i’ve ever tasted from Harris Smokehouse in Hahndorf) it was off to sample the wines from Hahndorf Hill Winery. Tasted the whites, and sure they were agreeable and nice but the wine that really took me by surprise was their Rose. Deliciously fresh, dry as a dead dingo’s donger (like all good Rose) and totally unique. Unique because it is the only Rose in Australia made from the obscure grape varieties of Trollinger and Lemburger. Apparently these grapes are a little bit like David Hasselhoff’s singing… Big in Germany and Austria but pretty unpopular everywhere else! Anyways, the Rose is delicious and great value too. So put away your Rockford’s Alicante Bouchet and grab a bottle of this when it gets warm.
Price :: Around $19
Cellar Potential :: Don’t even think about it, drink it young and fresh!
Score :: 91 Points
Music Match :: This Rose is a deliciously dry delight, so it needs some deliciously dry music to match. With the wines German heritage you need some German music to really match this well. Dry German music doesn’t sound very appealing but one brilliant pop song fits the bill. It’s got to be the most popular Cold War-era protest song ever, 99 Luftballons by Nena.
The Summary :: Australia has been plagued for years by overly sweet Rose wines. But the tide is finally turning with drops like Hahndorf Hill Trollinger/Lemburger Rose. On the nose I got a blast of raspberries, strawberries, apples and marmalade. Many of these notes continued onto the palate with the berries dominating. Texturally this wine is silky smooth with great mouthfeel. It finishes bone dry, inviting another sip… Then another.. Then another… Dangerous but delicious summer barbie wine, ditch the Banrock Station White Shiraz or Rockford’s Alicante Bouchet and grab a bottle of this.
STAY TUNED FOR PART FOUR or GUMERACHA (IT’S GOT MORE THAN A BIG WOODEN HORSE)
Another thing I love is taking photographs, so occasionally i’ll be a little self indulgent and put up some of my favourite photos from my travels around Australia.
The images in this selection are:
- The York-Beverly Turf Club in Western Australia :: I stumbled across this while driving to York in WA. I loved the backdrop and the feel of a traditional, no-frills country racecourse.
- Open Air Chapel, Northern New South Wales :: Not trying to get all religious, but thought this was a striking image in a beautiful part of the world. Well and truly ‘God’s country!’
- Lake’s Folly Cabernet Vines, Hunter Valley :: Lake’s Folly is one of my favourite wineries and I love this image of the vines which, literally, revolutionised the Australian wine industry by being the first new vines planted in the Hunter in the 20th century. Cheers Max.
- View of Bowral from a lookout.
- The Pinnacles, WA :: Stunning rock formation in WA that seems to come out of nowhere. Easily the most spiritually powerful place I have been in Australia.
- Sunset on Daringa Street :: Amazing sunset on a summer’s night in Mile End, Adelaide.
- Inner City Lights :: Love the curves and lines, view from a Sydney hotel.
- The Beach at Burleigh Head :: Morning shot of the Gold Coast skyline
- Hindmarsh Island Road Rules :: Great spot for a 100km/h sign, at an intersection.