Everyone needs a go to cheap bottle of wine as it just doesn't make sense to drink high priced stuff all the time. Well, I would like to but my bank balance just doesn't allow it. With this wine I get good quality and a stupid price.
Full on Chardonnay in an old school style that works so well as the creaminess holds so much personality. Imagine eating French cream topped with warms figs and Peach Melba on a warm summer’s day by a lake in a remote area as your girlfriend skips the light fantastic in front of you.Mmm I can just feel it now and I want this moment to say with me forever. The use of 30% New oak has imparted some wonderful full on characters but the fruit is strong enough to have absorbed it even at this early stage. Add to this a massive amount of whipped cream in texture and flavour and I get the feeling of Chardonnay about 15 years ago which is a complement as I think there should be a blend of new thought processes mixed with the traditions of old. Now the wine doesn’t go through malolactic fermentation so there is zestiness on the back palate which holds all the flavours together. Even though this is drinking so nicely now, it will fly higher with a few years under its belt.
Over the years of working in the wine industry I have noticed a shift in the consumer patterns for red wine drinkers in Australia. The shift has been from larger more full bodied wines to a lighter medium bodied style that are more savoury and food friendly. If I was to serve 10 customers in one night 10 years ago, 8 out of 10 would have chosen a big bold Barossa Shiraz to go with their meal but now the pendulum has turned the other way as wine like this elegant Beaujolais are rocking peoples world. I guess it is easier to have a glass or two over lunch of these styles and still be able to drive or get back to work for a few hours rather than having to take the rest of the day off.
This wine is imported by Neville Yates of Eurocentric and this producer is fast becoming my favourite for Beaujolais as they seem to offer tremendous amount of savoury flavour in a light to medium frame that possesses structure and finesse.
The wine starts off savoury and earthen with specks of plum and tart cranberries before the gravy train of cracked pepper kicks in. During the three days that I looked at this wine it stayed elegant and balanced the whole way through but it was the mild chalky tannins that built over that time. They were only a supporting act but the dryness inched up a notch over that time period. The initial flavours came across rather well and it was the mid-palate that plumped up a bit before a nice bitterness on the back-palate presented itself. All in all I could suck down buckets of this stuff without much problem. If I was to compare it with the 09 or 10 vinetage I would say it is more savoury and elegant than the 09 but more fruit than the 10.
The South Island label is a Woolworths home brand wine.
South Island Sauvignon Blanc 2012
The wine comes across as rather simple and short and doesn't really go much further than that. The flavour of passionfruit concentrate sorbet is nice but a little too sweet for my liking as it is not balanced out by acidity. I guess this is the sort of wine that could be consumed easily if I didn't think about it at all.
The Adelaide Hills prides itself on producing quality Pinot Grigio but i'm still hesitant to put my name to that premise as so many fall short. This wine has lovely lemon and pear skin flavours on an ultra light and tart palate. While this wine does not offer the most flavoursome wine it does off good length with a huge acid back bone that would work with a lot of Asian style dishes.
Drink: Now - 2014
The Fleurie is a district of Beaujolais and normally produces wines which are lighter in weight and in structure yet the wines possess a lovely floral aromatic which is uplifting. The Fleurie district boarders Moulin-a-vent and Chiroubles which are considered two highly acclaimed areas with total the vine acreage standing at around the 2,000 mark.
Domaine Coudert previously to the 1920s was considered a part of the Moulin-a-vent district but when the new Fleurie district was zoned the estate fell outside of the area to the dismay of the owner. The estate eventually fell into disrepair and a new set of owners acquired the property in the late 1960s and set about resurrecting the label.
This wine tasted nothing like the normal Fleurie wines as the structure of the wine is fearsome yet the flavours of gravel riddled plums, tart cherries, dried earth and spice manage to fight their way through. The restrained and elegant nature of the wine is beautiful and is in contrast to the massive depth of flavours that came out in the wines from the 2009 vintage. At the moment the wine is pretty tight and unyielding but over the course of the 5 days that I tried it the true charm and great length of the wine came to the fore. Once again the wines from Beaujolias are just ridiculous for the quality that they provide and the price tag that they command.
While this is an easy drink to glug the sweetness is a little too much. I thought I would get those insane levels of acidity that is normally associated with this region but it just wasn't there. What I got was nuts rolled in lemon rind and lime lollies on a medium length palate. At this price it is not bad value and offers some easy drinking.
The majority of Vermentino is planted in Sardinia but a little finds its way into Piedmont which is almost the other side of the country than Pinot Grigio. The two varieties come together in the De Bortoli BellaRiva wine in an easy drinking style.
The wine starts off a bit shy but soon some crushed rocks and orange rind emerge. The flavours are light and inviting with a little complexity of summer flowers and bright crunchy acidity of the back palate adding interest. The wine really needs 6 months more in bottle to show its true colour but it already is nice to drink right now.
The wines of Tasmania more resemble the high quality and raciness of New Zealand when you compare them to the rest of Australia. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of average wines coming from the area but the wineries are moving in the right direction. This area is cool climate winemaking at the extreme end of the spectrum.
European feel with an Australian attitude! The wine has a lovely perfumed of passionfruit, melon, crushed spring blossom and a hint of pear before a load of spice and baked apples kicks in. This is really a flavour highway that needs just a lick more acidity to hold everything together. While I think this will go 10 years and develop a bit more texture, the wine already possess a huge glyserol component. The palate feels like running silk along your tongue which is rather enchanting.
Drink: Now - 2022
The diversity of Australia wine culture is going through a
bit of a revival at the moment. Well by that I mean it started about 15 years
ago and only now ist the wine consumer seeing them on the market. Part of the
lag is due to the vines. Take Sagrantino which is one of the hottest wines in
Australia at the moment. Once the vines are planted, they take 10 to 15 years
to produce a crop which is around 6 to 11 years later than a Shiraz vine. All of the below wines take grape varieties
that were linked to the success in Italy but then they add in the climate and
innovation of the Australian wine-maker to produce something unique.
This little known variety heralds from Avellino in Campania
which is a region in the south of Italy. The town is about 50 kilometers in
land with the temperature creeping up during the summer. There is not much of
this variety in the world so it is interesting that Sam Scott has really
focused his attention on producing a wonder wine with texture and food friendly
flavours. While the grapes for this wine are grown in the Adelaide Hills they
are grown in Kersbrook which is more similar to the Barossa than it is other
areas in the Hills such as Piccadilly Valley. On the nose the wine smells like
fresh pears, honeysuckle and cinnamon infused melon but it is the palate that
really sets this apart. The power of the flavours mixed with the amazing acid
level means that everything is vibrant and fresh. Hand over some fried sardines
and pour a glass of this and I’m in heaven.
On a hot day a Moscato d’asti is a perfect foil to keep away
the beads of sweat from forming. I guess it is also funny that the Piedmont
region produces some of the longest living wines and also concentrations on
wine that is supposed to be drunk soon after release. The Wirra Wirra version
is a fun filled wine with sweetness in the form of musk sticks and grapey
goodness thrown in. This type of wine is
meant to be glugged more than though about so crack one open at the start of
the meal to get people in the mood for pleasurable entertainment.
The Aglianico variety originates from Basilicata which is a
mountainous area in the south of Italy. During the summer growing period the
days are characterised by warm to hot stages with colder nights refreshing the
vines. The wines are generally medium bodied with plenty of tannic presence.
The Amadio version is wild and savoury with flavours of wild boar, wild herbs,
plum skin, raspberry jubes and dried earth.
The savoury goodness of the wine is beautifully balanced by the
structure and texture of this affordable high quality wine. At 35 bucks this is
hard to beat as it offers interesting flavours and a stylish food friendly
The town of Nelson is a buzz with people and things to do. The 42,000 residents deriving most of their income from tourism, fisheries, forestry and viticulture. Nelson as a region is relatively small when comapred to Marlborough 22,587 hectares, Hawkes Bay 4,841 hectares, Otago 1787 hectares, Gisborne 1617 hectares and Nelson 813 hectares. The main focus for the region is aromatic white wines with a little Syrah and Pinot Noir taking up the rear.
On the nose this was ultra ripe and smelled like a full on Pinot Gris which is definitely a good thing. Once I put the wine on my palate those ultra ripe flavours of slightly squishy pear, apple sauce and Asian spices comes marching in. The flavours are a little too broad but the texture is beautiful at this price. When I tasted this I didn't know the price so I was pleasantly surprised when I found it out.
Drink: Its ready now
The back label says "Powerful dry Riesling grown at our Polish Hill Vineyard" and that is exactly what this wine is. The nose was a bit muted to begin with but that soon faded as the wine sat in the glass. Magical aromas appear in front on my nostril but it is the palate that is most amazing. There is a sublime transition from each flavour to the next with mesmerising notes of lemon rind, cumquat, crushed wild flowers and sugar coated orange blossom. The balance is something to behold yet it is the structure that is most prominent At this stage it comes in the form of a sledge hammer of acidity yet it only enhances the drinking experience. For 50 bucks this puts so many wines at 200 bucks to shame but hay that is how Jeffrey Grosset roles. This is a must try for everyone that is into quality Australian wine.
Drink: I could drink this now or leave it for 15 years.
Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meal Golden Chicken Braised Greens and Potato Gratin
There is a theme running through the 15 minute meals and that is one of fresh flavours. The Golden Chicken dish that we cooked was good with the two elements of chicken and potato gratin but the braised greens really took it to a new level.
The chicken was easy as it is just bashing chicken thighs and rosemary together before you cook them on a hot pan with a little bacon added. The Gratin was a little sneaky as I had to finely slice the potato and onion before boiling the potato for around 15 to 20 minutes before taking them out. The onions were browned with a bit of chicken stock and sage added just before they were taken off the heat. Once this is all done add together and pour over cream and parmesan cheese and then brown under a grill. Two dishes down and one to go. The braised green took no time at all as the chopped leeks, baby spinach and peas are just allowed to warm in the pan and them served under the chicken. So far this has been the easiest of the dishes with the boiling time for the potatoes being the only thing that pushed the stop watch. Just delicious!
This is a little lower in alcohol than last year but it doesn't show on the intensity of the flavours. The floral bouquet is enhanced by the combination of lemon rind, river pebbles and pink grapefruit before a little spice kicks in. The palate is highly structures with a laser beam of acid controlling the movement of flavour all the way. This acidity of the wine matches well with the cream nature of the potato and the flavour kick of the bacon. It is a vibrant wine that pairs well with a fresh dish.
Drink: Start drinking in 10 years
The weather is about to heat up so it is time to turn for a glass of lightly coloured rose. This little La Boheme is light on its feet and a huge pleasure to drink with the quality of the wine placing it in my top 2 roses in Australia.
The wine is so light but that shouldn't be too much of a surprise as it is made from 100% Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley. The aromas start to waft out of the glass the moment the fluid hits the side with the main component being cherries and Turkish delight mixed with a little stalk action. These notes transfer over to the palate and they are joined by sour under growth and a vibrant texture. The wine is beautifully savoury which means I didn't get sick of it after one glass. What I did do was kept on going back time and time again until it was all gone.
Drink: Now or over the next few years
With the dominance of the Roman Empire taking over Europe in early times, the thirst for all things luxurious comes with it.As the Roman times were characterised by stability and wealth, it allowed many farmers and religious organisation to focus on areas such as the production of wine and exotic types of meals. During this time period the most famous area that was remotely close to Champagne was Burgundy so the people from Champagne planted the same grapes as they thought that they would do equally as well as the depth and length of the flavour that was coming out of Burgundy. The geography of the area doesn’t really resemble the mountainous area of Burgundy as Champagne is rather flat with beautiful open tracks farm land running as far as the eye can see. Add to that the rather lower temperatures during the ripening period and the fact that the wines wouldn’t start their secondary fermentation until the following spring and it is easy to understand how the bubbles emerged. Now Bubbles are so popular that the larger Champagne houses have searched for quality areas in a diverse range of countries.
The winemaking is imbedding within this wine but it is the baked apple pie and roasted raspberries that move towards the front of the tasting descriptors. The wine flows well with a creamy base of goodness and for a high quality wine of this price, it is easy to see why this would please so many people. It did need an extra degree of acidic backbone and depth of flavour for massive points but at this price I am being picky.
In the beginning there was sweet plum and blueberry ice cream but it was the time for mint and spice to come through. It was a simple time but it was written in stone that it would be easy to sip from the cup of life and enjoy yourself. As the wine was good, it made people feel good but there was a hint of astringency through the heart of this lovely quaffer.
The little Savagnin grape is creating an experience in Australia. The winemakers of Australia are in full swing of understanding which variety works in which area. This wine in't made in the Jura, heaviliy oxidised, style but it has the acidity that would see that sort of style work well. On the vines the grapes are a majestic green colour and there is not much more than 500 hectares of this variety in the world. The variety naturally crops at lower levels and is one of the later varieties to be picked.
The wine starts out ultra light and stays in that framework for the whole period that I stayed with it. On entry the flavours of smoked lemon, orange rind, wild green herds and spice flow up my tongue without any sort of weight but from the mid-palate on there is a textural component that kicks in. The acid line of the wine is rather sharp as it cuts down my tongue like a knives edge and that works brilliantly with any spicy Asian sort of cuisine.
Drink: Now - 2017