South Australia Showdown

Clare Valley, Barossa Valley and McLarenvale.


Orlando Trilogy NV. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Heunier.


Clare Valley: Skillogalee 2006

Barossa: St Hallet 2005

Adelaide Hills (standing in for McLarenvale as they do not produce riesling) Wirra Wirra The Lost Watch 2006


Clare Valley: Leasingham Wines Bin 61 2001

Barossa: St Hallet 2001

McLarenvale: Scarpantoni Block 3 2001

Cabernet Sauvignon

Clare Valley: Seven Hill Inigo 2008

Barossa: Mamre Brook Saltram 2008

McLarenvale: Chapel Hill 2008


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Benjamin Franklin said…

“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”

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New South Wales

New South Wales is an extremely diverse wine area. The 14 wine regions of the state represents a diversity of climate and terroir unequaled in any other Australian state. From Australia’s oldest continuous wine region – the famous Hunter Valley – to exciting new cool climate regions such as Orange, the Southern Highlands and Tumbarumba, the regions of New South Wales produce wines to appeal to every palate. At first we were concerned that Pete had got a wine from every region, but thankfully NSW wines are not that freely available here in Victoria.

For a bit of trivia, the 14 regions and the cultivar they’re renowned for are as follows:

1. Canberra District ~ Shiraz

2. Cowra ~ Chardonnay

3. Gundagai ~ Shiraz

4. Hastings River ~ Verdelho

5. Hilltops ~ Cabernet Sauvignon

6. Hunter Valley ~ Semillon

7. Mudgee ~ Cabernet Sauvignon

8. New England ~ Riesling

9. Orange ~ Sauvignon Blanc

10. Perricoota ~ Shiraz

11. Riverina ~ Botrytis Semillon

12. Shoalhaven Coast ~ Chambourcin

13. Southern Highlands ~ Pinot Noir

14. Tumbarumba ~ Chardonnay

While we didn’t taste 14 wines, we came pretty close… The 12 wines we tasted were:

Philip Shaw #19: Sauvignon Blanc: 2008: Orange

Lake George: Pinot Gris: 2008: Tablelands

Gallagher Wines: Riesling: 2008: Canberra District

Thistle Hill: Riesling: 2008: Mudgee

Tyrrell’s: Semillon: 2006: Hunter Valley

Hungersford Hill: Chardonnay: 2008: Tumbarumba

eden Road: Pinot Noir: 2002: Tumbarumba

Dal Broi Family Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon/Lagrein: 2005: Riverina

A. Retief: Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec/Petit verdot: 2008: Hilltops

Mount Pleasant: OP&OH Shiraz: 2006: Hunter Valley

Colnakilla: Hilltops Shiraz: 2008: Hilltops

Mc Williams: Morning Light Botrytis Semillon: 2007: Riverina

Some of

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Best excuses for a drink

1. The day has a ‘y’ in it

2. Your head has a tongue in it

3. Your glass has fresh air in it

4. The sky has a sun it

5. Your account has some cash in it

6. Your eye has a glint in it

7. Your home has your love in it

8. Someone else’s home has your love in it

9. Your heart has a song in it

10. Your head has a fantastic list of exciting wine to try swimming around in it

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The Mega What What

The weather looked nothing like what I’ve portrayed it in the illustration. It was rainy, wintry and conducive to eating copious amounts of comfort food, which we did. The weekend was about good food as much as it was about drinking good wine. Wij kicked off our weekend of indulgence with a Port tasting accompanied by desserts ala Joanie. Scrumptious and delicious! The main What What tasting followed from this quite naturally. I set up an experiment: a dish paired with two unidentified wines, so it was a blind tasting and food and wine pairing rolled into one. This was the line up:

Chevre topped with Walnuts paired with Solear Manzanilla, Spain
or Tamar Ridge 2008 Pinot Gris.

Spinach, Zucchini and Broccoli Soup paired with Te Mata 2008 Chardonnay or Ten Minutes by Tractor 2008 Chardonnay.

Oxtail Ragu with Gnocchi paired with Tar & Roses 2006 Nebbiolo or Dalz Otto 2006 Barbera.

Dark Chocolate Fondant paired with Landhaus 2006 Reserve Shiraz or Rutherglen Estates Muscat.

The Ragu and Barbera combination was a winner.

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Sipping Western Australia

Who better to host the WA What What than someone whose lived there? Tammy and Lando got our minds right off the ensuing Melbourne winter and right into the heart of WA. The perpetual setting sun (compliments of Eagle Lighting) was a nice touch guys 😉 What fun!

McHenry Hohnen Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009

A wine which has derived its primary characters from the grape and truly reflects its Margaret River origins. Aromas jump from the glass – pineapple, passionfruit, gooseberry and fresh apricot. Piquant and juicy, the flavour matches the aroma, all framed with gentle phenolics and fresh acidity.
Lando says: Semillon Sauvignon sits alongside Cab Sav as the quintessential Margaret River experience.

Redgate Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2008

Fruit from low yielding vines provide the backbone to this complex wine. A fresh array of green apples, gooseberry and zesty lime are evident on the bouquet and follow through on the palate. The mid palate has a subtle creaminess from the delicate integration of French oak (20%) with a fresh clean finish.

Moss Wood Semillon 2008

Colour and Condition: Medium to deep straw hue, in bright condition.
Nose: A complex and intense nose with a broad array of fruit aromas including apricot, fresh lemon, lime, preserved lemon, cumquat, fig, jasmine, leaf and malt.
Palate: A full bodied white wine with very fresh acid combined with intense lemon zest, cumquat and loquat flavours. It is also complex with herbal and malt biscuit notes and has a clean finish with balanced phenolics.
Landon says: Margaret River Semillon has its own unique character and when it’s lightly oaked like this one it’s just a fantastic food wine- get on it!

Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2007

Displays ripe stone fruits, dried pear, tropical fruits and noticeable creamy nuttiness from the lees contact. The early picking, wild fermentation, use of grape solids, and ongoing batonage
gives the wine complexity and balance. These winemaking techniques combined with high quality French oak produce a wine with ample flavour and texture, yet still refined and structured.
Landon Says: Margaret River produced Australia’s first “premium” Chardonnay, the Leeuwin Estate Art Series, still one of Australia’s iconic wines.

Mc Henry Hohnen 3 Amigo’s 2007 Bottom of Form

A combination of Shiraz, Grenache and Mataro from where the wine derives its name. Plum and briar berry with whiffs of mettwurst and gun smoke. On the palate the wine is bright and juicy with underlying sweetness balanced by ripe tannins. A drink now style made with minimal intervention.

Redgate Bin 588, 2008

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (65/ 35%). A medium bodied wine with a delicious burst of ripe dark fruits, plum and blackberry aromas on the nose. Plenty of action on the palate with juicy upfront fruit, a subtle oak aromatic lift and soft velvety tannins.

Moss Wood Amy’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Colour and condition: Youthful and deep brick red. Condition is bright.

Nose: the initial impact is one of vibrant red and dark fruits, with ripe red currants and mulberries. The nose is then completed by an oak combination of toast, vanillin, cedar and lead pencil shavings.
Palate: this impact of fresh fruit characters continues on the plate, where the ripe red currant and mulberry provide a sweet mid-palate in particular. The tannins are ripe and provide a long platform for these fruit flavours, with a firm but smooth texture. Complex flavours of chocolate, coffee and cedar fill out across the back palate and then the finish is a combination of oak characters, including toast, cedar and malt.
Lando says: now we are getting into what Margaret River is all about!

Montgomery Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

A blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon, 10% petit verdot and 5% malbec. A family estate producing only cabernet this wine was aged in 25% new French oak for 16months. A classic mix, though the exact make up of the three grapes is varied each year dependant on the condition of the cabernet.

Cape Mentelle Zinfandel 2005

Lovely inviting fragrant nose with white pepper notes and acidity nicely balanced with oak. Slightly atypical and fascinating.  James Haliday said “A complex wine in both flavour and structure terms, yet not heavy or extractive, and carrying its alcohol with ridiculous ease.” 94 points!

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The Italian Job

Once again Phil and Joanie outdid themselves! The Italian themed evening had an interactive do-it-yourself pizza-making component which yielded some fantastic results. Here’s what we drank while nibbling on each others’ creations:

1.Canella Prosecco NV Piedmont

Prosecco from northeast Italy with the combination of green apples, lemon rind and a hint of nectarine and crisp, refreshing dryness

2.Umani Ronchi Villa Bianchi Verdicchio 2008 Marches

Light citrus and apple aromatics alongside some nuts. The palate is lively and fresh and without food is a nice vibrant summer drink. Throw in some seafood and this wine really comes alive with more fruit and a good phenolic cleansing quality to finish.

3.Bollini Pinot Grigio 2008 Trentino

Intense varietal aromas, with an especially fragrant, perfumed bouquet, elegant, delicately focused white fruit flavors and a slightly flinty quality on the palate. The texture is crisp and clean in the mouth, with superb acid balance and a subtle nuttiness on the finish. The fresh, refined style is ideal for frequent, casual consumption.

4.Corte Giara Pinot Grigio 2008 Veneto

Bright straw yellow in colour. The bouquet expresses green notes of the vine, sweetened by acacia flowers. The taste is dry and fresh, franc and decisive, harmonious. Elegant and persistent, it leaves the palate with a wide, full taste.

5.Pieropan Soave 2008 Veneto

Delicate aromas of pear and apple are matched on the palate along with typical mid-palate texture and weight before the wine finishes with a nice almond bitter twist. It’s the perfect accompaniment to seafood.

6.Braccesca Rosso De Montipulciano Sabazio 2008 Toscana

Made from 85% Prugnolo Gentile and 15% Merlot with other varietals, and given 4 months in oak. Lightish ruby-garnet red in colour, this had a light bouquet of soft red fruits with hints of tobacco and earth. The palate was modest in expression, possessing some cherryish flavours, with a slight drying austerity on fine firm tannins.

7.Poggerino Chianti Classico 2007 Toscana

100% Sangiovese. Focused yet so pure and balanced with its dark, black, fruits alongside earthy touches of spice and cedary oak. Gorgeous, round yet fine tannins drive this medium-bodied wine before a long finish with refreshing acidity

8.Monte Antico Toscana IGT 2006 Toscana

The blend is 85% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Merlot. Aged for 1 year in oak Bright plum, dried cherry and flowers on the nose. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and refined berry and cherry flavors.

9.Cantina Santadi ‘Grotta Rossa’ Carignano 2007 Sardinia

The name means ‘red grotto’. The wine is a marvellous entry-level Carignano varietal. The nose is intense and fruity, with a licorice note on the finish. Elegant, silky-textured, round, with good body and earthy, peppery notes.

10.A.Mano Puglia Primitivo 2007

The flavour of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and plums are al carried by a subtle, sweet, toasted oak flavour. The finish is soft and long with graceful tannins.

11.Poderi Colla Barbera d’Alba Costa Brune 2006 Piedmont

This Barbera sees a good lashing of new French oak maturation. In saying that, it doesn’t overwhelm the fruit but rather buttressed the dark plum and cherry flavours with good cedar nuance while tannins add structure.

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