Vancouver International Wine Fest Announces Theme Country for 2015

Vancvouer International Wine Festival 2015

Vancvouer International Wine Festival 2015

With the wrap up of the Vancouver International Wine Festival 2014, with the Theme Country of France and the Global Focus of “bubbles“, we now cast our eyes forward to 2015.  Which will be the Theme Country and what will be the Global Focus?  Read on and find out!

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Vancouver, BC, March 7, 2014 — The Vancouver International Wine Festival, presented by The Vancouver Sun, wrapped up its 36th extravaganza of wine and food on Sunday and bid a fond au revoir to France and Bubbly, its 2014 theme country and global focus respectively. Although statistics are yet to be compiled, it appears that 2014 was a banner year. The festival is a fundraiser for Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival.

Wine AustraliaIt was announced at the Saturday evening International Festival Tasting on March 1 that Australia will be the theme country in 2015 and the global focus will be Syrah. To underscore the announcement, an “Australia Theme County 2015” banner with flag was hoisted to the ceiling, and a didgeridoo player led Australian winemakers on a parade of the tasting room, ending with an impromptu chorus of the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair.”

“Like crafting an iconic fine wine, we continue to tweak all aspects of Canada’s premier wine show, as we have since 1979.” says Harry Hertscheg, VIWF Executive Director. “We’re particularly glad to finally host the wine world at the same time each year, now the last week of February. This year’s festival, featuring France and Bubbly, was magnifique; VIWF 2015 will be Oz-some!”

Ranging from maritime to Mediterranean to continental climates, Australia boasts over 64 designated wine regions including Coonawarra, Yarra Valley, Barossa Valley and Hunter Valley, Margaret River, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale and many others.

“There’s been an exciting evolution over the past decade in Australian wine; diverse wine styles, emerging regions and sub-regions, next generation winemakers and a re-energized approach to market. We look forward to showing this to festivalgoers at VIWF in 2015,” says Angela Slade, Wine Australia Regional Director – North America.

In 2015, the global focus is on Syrah. One of the top 10 most grown grapes, Syrah can be found throughout the wine world, from the Rhône Valley to the Barossa Valley to the Okanagan Valley. Syrah rose to prominence through the classic northern Rhône Valley wines, Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. In Australia, where the grape was introduced in 1832 and is commonly called Shiraz, Syrah is popular as a varietal, a sparkling wine, in a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon, or even co-fermented with some Viognier. The southern Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (GSM) is widely produced in South Australia and California’s Central Coast, as well as in Rosé production.

The 2015 Vancouver International Wine Festival takes place February 23 to March 1 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and other venues throughout the city. Advance tickets and passes go on sale on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. All public events go on sale Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. Tickets to Trade Days events go on sale Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

ABOUT VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WINE FESTIVAL, PRESENTED BY THE VANCOUVER SUN
Canada’s premier wine show will mark its 37th anniversary of pairing wine, food and the performing arts from February 23 to March 1, 2015. Next year the festival will feature Australia as the theme country and Syrah as the global focus. In 2014, it featured 177 wineries from 14 countries pouring 1,750 wines at 54 events to a projected 23,000 admissions. The Vancouver International Wine Festival is produced by the Vancouver International Wine Festival Society, which has three mandates: provide an informative, educational and entertaining wine experience for public and trade; be a premier marketing opportunity for the wine industry and festival partners; and raise funds for the Bard on the Beach Theatre Society. Since inception in 1979, the festival has raised $8.1 million for the performing arts. The presenting sponsor is The Vancouver Sun.

For more information visit VanWineFest.ca, like us on Facebook, follow us at @VanWineFest, or join the conversation at #VIWF.

ABOUT BARD ON THE BEACH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Celebrating its 25th season in 2014, Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare Festivals. It is presented on the waterfront in Kitsilano’s Vanier Park, adjacent to Vancouver’s downtown core. The Festival offers Shakespeare plays, related dramas and several special events in two performance tents every June through September. In 2013, festival attendance was 89,000 and over 1.3 million patrons have experienced Bard since its inception. The Festival’s 2014 dates are June 11 to September 20. The 2014 line-up features A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Cymbeline and Bill Cain’s Equivocation.

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French vs Australian Wine – Which Do You Prefer?

France vs Australia

France vs Australia

The Seasons in the Park Restaurant would like to know too, so they are hosting a tasting featuring wines from both countries on July 2, 6:00pm – 7:30pm.  Here is their tasting announcement.

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A stylistic comparison between wines from the “Old World’ (France) and the “New World” (Australia). Don’t miss this chance to taste the very best of the old master of wine, France, up against the new world upstart, Australia. Wines presented by Jonathan Mergui of Liberty Specialty Wine Imports.  All wines beautifully paired with canapes thoughtfully prepared by Sous Chef Christopher Tse!

  •  2011 Remoissenet, Macon Villages, Bourgogne Blanc
  • 2010 Elderton, Eden Valley Chardonnay
  • 2011 Chusclan, Les Costes, Cotes du Rhone
  • 2011 Stump Jump Red (Southern Rhone Blend)

Tickets are $30 per person (not including tax & gratuity)

Contact Details:

Seasons in the Park Restaurant Queen Elizabeth Park
W 33rd Avenue at Cambie St.
604.874.8008
@seasonsinqepark

My Quick Winery Picks for Vancouver International Wine Fest

Vancouver International Wine Festival 2013When you step foot inside the Festival Tasting room, time is ticking. There are 1850 wines to taste. Let me give you some suggestions for the theme region, California, and for the rest of the world.  No time in this article to give you any details, but these are wineries I have tried in the past, or I am interested in tasting.  I will visit each of these tables, among other tables.  To find these wineries, when you arrive, your Festival Tasting Room program, p.23, has a map showing the layout of the tables.

California Wineries to Visit

  • Blackbird Vineyards
  • Chateau St. Jean
  • Clos du Val
  • Duckhorn Wine Company
  • Gloria Ferrer
  • Girard Winery
  • Heitz Cellar
  • Joseph Phelps Winery
  • Louis M Martini
  • MacRostie Vineyards
  • Marimar Estate
  • Ridge Vineyards
  • Schug Carneros Estate Winery
  • Silver Oak Cellars
  • Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

The Rest of the World Wineries to Visit

  • Bodega Catena Zapata Winery, Argentina
  • Las Perdices, Argentina
  • Chapel Hill, Australia
  • Josef Chromy, Australia
  • Tyrrell’s Wines, Australia
  • Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars, BC
  • Fort Berens Estate Winery, BC
  • Meyer Family Vineyards, BC
  • Nk’Mip Cellars, BC
  • Painted Rock Estate Winery, BC
  • Poplar Grove Winery, BC
  • Sandhill, BC
  • Stoneboat Vineyards, BC
  • Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, BC
  • Wild Goose Vineyards & Winery, BC
  • Concha y Toro, Chile
  • Vina Koyle Family Vineyards, Chile
  • Vina Undurraga, Chile
  • Baron Philippe de Rotschild, France
  • Brumont Vineyards, France
  • Dourthe & Thienot, France
  • Chateau de la Gardine, France
  • Georges Duboeuf, France
  • Famille Perrin, France
  • Champagne Pol Roger, France
  • Estates of Antinori, Italy
  • Barone Ricasoli, Italy
  • Fontodi, Italy
  • Akarua, New Zealand
  • Giesen Wines, New Zealand
  • Whitehaven Winery, New Zealand
  • Jose Maria da Fonseca, Portugal
  • Ramos Pinto, Portugal
  • Taylor Fladgate/Fonseca/Croft Port, Portugal
  • Boekenhoustskloof Winery, South Africa
  • Glen Carlou, South Africa
  • IberWine, Spain
  • Miguel Torres, Spain
  • Nathalie Bonhomme, Spain
  • King Estate, Oregon
  • Long Shadows, Washington

I know, its a long list, but worthwhile if you have the time.  Enjoy the Festival!

Having Dinner with M Michael Chapoutier at Hawksworth Restaurant

M Michael Chapoutier

As I write this, I am less than 4 hours away from enjoying a dinner in the York Room at Hawksworth Restaurant in downtown Vancouver, with Mr. M. Michael Chapoutier!  I of course will be amongst others also enjoying listening to Mr. Chapoutier speaking about his wines that we will be drinking tonight and savouring with with wonderful food from Hawksworth Restaurant.  I am so looking forward to this evening as last summer I visited his winery in the Rhone Valley in France, and walked the Hermitage hill.

In case you are not attending, here is today’s menu!

Winemaker Dinner with M. Michel Chapoutier
Wednesday June 20th, 2012

MENU

Reception
Canapés
tuna ceviche avocado, amaranth
beef bourguignon pickled pearl onion, toast
truffled arancini mozzarella
Marius Blanc
Marius Rouge

1st Course
cured fluke
grapefruit, english pea, horseradish, nasturtium
2010 Schieferkopf Alsace Riesling

2nd Course
bacon wrapped squab bitter greens, saskatoon berry, licorice jus
2010 Mathilda Shiraz

3rd Course
heritage angus flatiron
tokyo turnip, baby leek, mie de pain, green peppercorn consommé
2009 Lady’s Lane Shiraz, 2008 Ergo Sum Shiraz

4th Course
pierre robert apricot in various textures, olive oil pound cake
2010 Schieferkopf Alsace Riesling Lieu dit Fels

5th Course
strawberry vanilla capsule summer red fruits, marcona almond soil
2010 Schieferkopf Alsace Riesling Lieu dit Buehl

The Magnum Party at Taste of Tulalip – Totally Awesome

I waited on pins and needles for the Magnum Party at the Taste of Tulalip. The line up of wines was outstanding. In case you didn’t see my earlier blog article, here is the lineup.

Wines at the Magnum Party

  • Opus One 1998 – Magnum
  • Penfolds Grange 2003 – Magnum
  • Shafer ‘Hillside Select’ Cabernet 3 liter
  • Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 2003 & 2008
  • ZD Abacus XII
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 2005
  • Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Magnum
  • Betz Family La Serenne Syrah,
  • Pere de Famille Cabernet – Magnum
  • Molly Dooker ‘Velvet Glove’ Shiraz
  • Gaja Barbaresco ‘Sori Tilden’
  • Louis Roederer Cristal- Magnum
  • Levy & Mcclellan Cabernet

The event was held in the mPulse Lounge.  Sheik furniture, amazing wines, and food to enjoy the wines with.  What else could you ask for?  I didn’t take any detailed notes; it was just not possible.  It was a time to just live in the moment and experience these wines.  So enjoy the following few pictures and the tidbits of notes by me.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 2005

Chateau Mouton Rothschild is an iconic wine maker from Bordeaux.  And 2005 was a great year for wine in Bordeaux (and Burgundy BTW).

Batard Montrachet Grand Cru 2008

If you are a Burgundy lover, here is one for you, Batard Montrachet Grand Cru.

Penfolds Grange 2003 Magnum

Penfolds Grange 2003; One of my favourite wines at the Magnum Party.  An iconic Shiraz from Australia.  Velvety smooth and full bodied. Did you notice it is in a numbered bottle?

Shafer Hillside Select 2007 Magnum

Shafer Hillside Select is a big Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the 25th vintage from the Stags Leap District. “… one of the New World’s most profound Cabernet Sauvignons …” – Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

Molly Dooker Velvet Glove Shiraz

The Molly Dooker “Velvet Glove” Shiraz was also exceptional.  Great ripe fruit flavours.  This is the wine you may have heard about having a palette accident in Australia, destroying many of the bottles that were on route around the world.

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Magnum

The Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is from Washington State.  This was another big Cab.  Napa doesn’t have big Cabs cornered in the USA.  Give this wine a try.  It’s very high quality.

Rochioli Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2009

If you like Pinot Noir, the Rochioli Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2009, is full bodied, silky with black cherry and spice.

I hope you enjoyed these wines vicariously and hope you have a chance to try them in person some day as I did. Enjoy!

Enjoy Some Stickies and Port for Christmas

Christmas gives you an excuse to indulge in dining, sparkling wine, desserts and more.  In the more category, I’d like to let you know about a few stickies (that’s the Australian term for a fortified wine they produce) and port wines that I tried at the last IVSA Trade tasting.

While these wines may appear expensive, compared to a bottle of wine, you just sip a small amount so these fortified wines will last much longer.  I’d be happy to drink these wines on my own, or share with friends and family, and hope you will too.

Croft 1991 Vintage Port

Croft 1991 Vintage Port, Portugal ($89.49).  Deep ruby in colour with no sign of aging.  Cedar, flowers and plum on the nose.  Very nice aromas. Medium body and medium sweetness with cherries, blackberries and spice.  Long length.  A very high quality wine.  Note that most ports are non-vintage.  A declared vintage happens in years when the grapes are of very high quality and the port produced as well from it.  Not every year is a declared vintage.

Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal ($63.99).  A tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, which exposes the wine to oxygen causing oxidation. As a result, these wines  gradually turn to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen also imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine. This wine had caramel and roses aromas in the glass.  Amazing flavour with sweet spices, nuttiness and butterscotch.  Sweet but dry with a long length.  I REALLY liked this wine.

Broadbent Madeira Rainwater

Broadbent Madeira Rainwater NV, Portugal ($26.99). Have you ever tried Madeira?  Madeira is a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands. From Wikipedia…Madeira is noted for its unique winemaking process which involves heating the wine up to temperatures as high as 60 °C (140 °F) for an extended period of time and deliberately exposing the wine to some levels of oxidation. Because of this unique process, Madeira is a very robust wine that can be quite long lived even after being opened..”  This Madeira is pale toasty orange in colour with a smoky caramel nose.  Sweet with medium body, spicy and nutty, including dark chocolate flavours.  A different wine to try.

Pertaringa Full Fronti

Pertaringa “Full Fronti” Fortified Muscat NV, Australia ($31.99). This wine is what Australians call a “stickie”.  These wines are produced from grapes that have begun to raisin on the vine. Alcohol is added before fermentation completes so that the wine still has some sugar.  This sweet wine is then aged in a solera type system.  Oxidation occurs during the aging process and evaporation in the hot Australian climate. The final result is a concentrated full bodied sticky sweet wine.  This particular wine was light amber in colour.  Big aromas in the glass of orange, caramel and spices.  Medium body, sweet with caramel, spices, nuttiness and orange.  Lots of flavour and lots of fun. I was told that this wine is available at Firefly on Cambie at 12th Ave. in Vancouver.

Enjoy Christmas, and enjoy these dessert style wines.

Are you interested in having a wine tasting of fortified wines?  Contact me at mywinepal.

Taste of Tulalip: What to Expect at the Magnum Party

Below is a sampling of the wines that will be poured on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Taste of Tulalip. During the Magnum Party you can nibble on some of Kathy Casey‘s dishes from her latest book Sips and Apps. From what I’ve seen, these wines, amongst others, will be poured.  Many iconic wines in this list.  It could be a chance of a lifetime to try these wines together in one place! Champagne, an Australian icon, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Napa, Italy; they are all here.  I am really excited about this lineup and can’t wait to taste them myself.

Wines at the Magnum Party

  • Opus One 1998 – Magnum
  • Penfolds Grange 2004 – Magnum
  • Shafer ‘Hillside Select’ Cabernet 3 liter
  • Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 2003 & 2008
  • ZD Abacus XII
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild, 2005
  • Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – Magnum
  • Betz Family La Serenne Syrah,
  • Pere de Famille Cabernet – Magnum
  • Molly Dooker ‘Velvet Glove’ Shiraz
  • Gaja Barbaresco ‘Sori Tilden’
  • Louis Roederer Cristal- Magnum
  • Levy & Mcclellan Cabernet

Who is Kathy Casey?

Kathy Casey

I mentioned that Kathy Casey will be serving food to accompany these wines.  In case you don’t know, Kathy Casey is a celebrity chef, mixologist and pioneer in the bar-chef movement.

She played a key role in bringing Northwest cuisine and women chefs to national prominence and, as one of the first female executive chefs in the United States, she was named one of Food & Wine’s “hot new American chefs.” She has also been touted as being the original Bar Chef.

Take the short drive to Tulalip in WA state and have a fun time trying wine and tasting food for a weekend. To buy tickets to a Taste of Tulalip, follow this link.

Planning Your Summer Wine Trip?

It’s almost mid-August… What do you mean planning your summer wine trip?  Well I didn’t mean a trip here.  How about the southern hemisphere?  January is prime summer time down under.

Vina Errazuriz, Chile winery

If you are in North America, a trip south to Argentina or Chile is not a far stretch.  Vancouver, BC to Santiago, Chile via Air Canada is $1555 round trip in January.  Toronto, Ontario to Buenos Aires, Argentina via Air Canada is $1503 round trip in January, per person.  Both countries speak Spanish, but you can also get along with English as there are English speaking people in hotels as well as at wineries (from personal experience).

Before you get to any of the countries I mention, I recommend researching out some wineries on the Internet, then contacting the wineries in advance to set up a private tasting. I’ve done this in the past and I had great private tastings, which usually includes a few wines that are not normally poured at public tastings.

Southern hemisphere wine selection

If you feel more comfortable being in an English-speaking environment, try Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.  If you like wines and the environment of British Columbia, then New Zealand may be the destination for you.  A round trip in January from Vancouver to Auckland, New Zealand $2460 via Air Canada per person. If you would like to see the terra rossa soil of the Coonawarra in Australia, and enjoy a big Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon, a Vancouver to Sydney, Australia round trip ticket costs around $2123 per person.

The longest flight for Canadians would be to South Africa, but you can experience the Old World wines of the New World.  If you like the structure or finesse of French wines, for example, but also the fruit forwardness of North American wines, South Africa is a good choice. South African wines are designed for food, so make sure you enjoy a braii (a South African bbq) with your South African wines.  A Toronto, Ontario to Capetown, South Africa in January is about $2061 via Air Canada per person.

Some questions you may have for your trip:

  • What wines to enjoy in these southern hemisphere countries?
  • What are the signature grapes of these countries?
  • What are some interesting regions to visit in these countries?

These are all questions that you probably have as you consider your southern hemisphere Summer wine trip.  In upcoming blog articles I will tackle these questions and hopefully help you have a great wine trip!

The flight prices I found on Travelocity.ca.  They can change quickly, so I recommend doing a check on your own. Enjoy your trip planning!

South World Wine Society’s Big and Bold Red Tasting

Last night we were treated to big red wines from the Southern Hemisphere. In particular, 2 wines from each of Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and Australia. These are all premium wines in the $30-$40 range per bottle. Our speaker for the evening was Mr. Lance Berelowitz, one of the South World Wine Society‘s co-founders, past President and past Cellar Master. Lance is originally from South Africa, but has travelled extensively and has visited Australia, Chile, and Argentina, and provided to us in depth descriptions about each of these wines and regions.

Our wines for this evening:

  • Alta Cima Premium Reserve 2002, Lontue Valley, Chile
  • Miguel Torres Cordillera 2001, Central Valley, Chile
  • De Toren Diversity 2003, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa
  • Norton Malbec Reserva 2005, Mendoza, Argentina
  • Alzamora Malbec Roble 2006, San Juan, Argentina
  • Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia
  • Peter Lehmann Mudflat Ebenezer Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley, Australia

To these wines we had 3 appetizers:

  • Poplar Grove Tiger Blue Cheese Buff with stone fruit compote
  • Smoked Peace Country Lamb Shoulder Arrancinni with tomato ragout
  • Braised Shortrib Cannelonni with carmelized onion jus

The Alta Cima Premium Reserve 2002, Lontue Valley, Chile is a Bordeaux blend with 85% being from Cabernet Sauvignon, and the remainder coming from Merlot, Syrah (not Bordeaux), and Petit Verdot.  Alta Cima is a family run winery in Chile in the Lontue Valley which is part of the Curico Valley. This wine was deep garnet from the core to the rim, not showing it’s 9 year of aging yet. Vanilla, oak, dark cherry sweet spice, meaty and pencil lead aromas filled the glass.  Quite complex.  Medium body on the palate, with cherries and blueberry flavours.  Medium acidity and tannins.  Round in the mouth but not quite full bodied.  A nice balanced wine.

Next was the Miguel Torres Cordillera 2001, Central Valley, Chile. Miguel Torres, originally from Spain, has a great reputation around the world for their wines, and for opening wineries in other parts of the world.  The Cordillera is a blend primarily with Carignan and lesser amounts of Merlot and Syrah. Deep garnet in colour. A light nose with whiffs of oak, black olives, and dark cherries. Medium body with dark sweet fruit, and some tar and pepperiness.  Quite soft and round in the mouth, with a puckering finish.

The De Toren Diversity 2003, Stellenbosch, South Africa followed.  This is another family run winery.  Their Fusion V is a cult wine amongst wine enthusiasts. This wine is a blend of 5 Bordeaux varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Medium garnet with slight bricking on the rim of the wine, indicating it’s age. Meaty, pencil leads, earthy and red fruits on the nose. Medium body with dried red and black fruits, low acidity and tannins.  We all agreed that this wine is past it’s prime and we were sampling it on it’s way down.

My favourite wine of the evening was the Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa. Paarl is more inland than Stellenbosch, affording a warmer climate, which the Syrah grape loves. Deep garnet to the rim in the glass. Smoky, raspberries and oak on the nose. On the palate an array of flavours including smokiness, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and spice.  Medium plus body with medium acid to keep the flavours bright. Long length. An excellent wine.

The first wine from Argentina was the Norton Malbec Reserva 2005. This is from the famous Mendoza region of Argentina, which is well-known for Malbec.  It is a high altitude desert that is fed with the precious water from the Andes Mountains. This wine had a light nose with some mint and plum. Medium body with dark fruit and oak. Soft tannins.  The group tasting the wine today also agreed that this wine was just OK.  Not very complex.

On the other hand the Alzamora Malbec Roble 2006, San Juan, Argentina was quite complex and interesting.  The San Juan region is to the north of Mendoza.  Not as well known, but produces very nice wine, if this wine is any indication of quality. Deep ruby in colour.  Light nose with oak, dark fruit, plum, coffee and a bit of eucalyptus aromas. Full body with firm tannins.  Dark fruit flavours with medium acidity and a dry finish. This wine paired nicely with the Poplar Grove Tiger Blue Cheese Puff with stone fruit compote.

On to Australia. Our first wine was the Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia. The two owners of Two Hands are similar to négociants from Burgundy.  They do not own vineyards, but work with vineyards to produce wines to their particular standards. This wine had some sediment in the glass, which we thought could be tartrate crystals. These crystals can form when the wine gets too cold.  It is a natural process, and should not be considered a fault in a wine. The wine was deep purple in the glass but was cloudy and not clear.  I am not sure if this wine was filtered, but if unfiltered, you could get this cloudiness. Nice nose with eucalyptus, vanilla, ripe dark fruit and chocolate. Medium plus body with soft, round mouthfeel.  Ripe cherries, chocolate and spiciness on the palate. This wine was the favorite of the room this evening.

The last wine was the Peter Lehmann Mudflat Ebenezer Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley, Australia. This is an interesting wine as the shiraz is blended with a few percent of the white muscadelle grape to add in some aromatics.  Medium garnet in colour.  Light nose of vanilla and dark fruit.  Round with soft tannins.  Blueberries, vanilla, cloves and some salty minerality on the palate.  A good balance of oak, fruit and acidity.

MyWinePal Wine Picks:

  1. Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa
  2. Alzamora Malbec Roble 2006, San Juan, Argentina

The Favorites from the Room:

  1. Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia
  2. Scali Syrah 2004, Paarl, South Africa

My Wine Picks from the Australian Regional Round-Up Tasting #apluswines

January 28, evening at the Bushlen Mowatt Gallery. It was raining outside, but warm and bright inside the Gallery. This evening’s tasting was a regional round-up of Australian wines. The regions, and subregions, covered in this tasting were:

  • South Australia
    • Eden Valley
    • Clare Valley
    • Barossa Valley
    • Padthaway
    • Langhorne Creek
    • Coonawarra
    • McLaren Vale
    • Adelaide Hills
  • New South Wales
    • Hunter Valley
    • Mudgee
    • Orange
    • Riverina
  • Western Australia
    • Margaret River
  • Victoria
    • Mornington Peninsula
    • Goulburn Valley / Nagambie Lakes
    • Heathcote
    • Yarra Valley

There was at least one wine from each sub-region that evening.  I tried to sample every wine but there were too many, so if a wine you liked did not make my list, it could be that I did not have a chance to try it that evening.

South Australia produces most of Australia’s wines, and have many of the best known regions such as the Barossa Valley and the Coonawarra region.  My picks from SOUTH AUSTRALIA are:

Jim Barry ‘The Cover Drive’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Clare Valley) $28.99 – This wine was deep purple in the glass.  Ripe cassis fruit aroma.  Round mouthfeel with medium acidity and raspberry flavour.  A full bodied Cabernet that is more well-known in my opinion for riesling.

Yalumba “Patchwork” Barossa Shiraz 2008 (Barossa Valley) $25.99 – Another deep purple wine.  Rich cassis aroma.  Full body with coffee, black fruit and spice. Medium tannins.

Peter Lehmann “The Futures” Barossa Shiraz 2007 (Barossa Valley) $29.99 – More deep purple shiraz in the glass.  Meaty and chocolate on the nose. Spicy, chocolate and very fruity with firm tannins.

Bleasdale “Potts’ Catch” Verdelho 2009 (Langhorne Creek) $15.99 – Verdelho is a white grape that is originally from Portugal and used in making Madeira wine.  Wine produced from the Verdelho grape can be lemony, crisp and refreshing. It’s character can vary from herbaceous, when grown in cooler vineyards or picked earlier, to tropical fruit, when coming from warmer vineyards or when picked at full maturity. This wine was watery in colour. Some light lime and lees on the nose. Good acidity with apple, lime and spice.  Think about this one for summer.

Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 2007 (Coonawarra) $40.99 -Vanilla and ripe plum aromas.  Soft and round in the mouth with sweet ripe cherry flavour and nice pepperiness. A highlight wine.

Chapel Hill Parsons Nose Shiraz 2008 (McLaren Vale) $19.99 – McLaren Vale is a bit cooler climate area in South Australia, but it seems to still be putting out quite full-bodied wines that also have good acidity to them too. This wine was deep purple in colour.  Lots of cassis fruit on the nose.  Good acidity with spiciness and cassis flavour.  Medium tannins.  The cassis just jumped out of the glass at you.  Quite nice and a great price.

Wirra Wirra “Dead Ringer” Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (McLaren Vale) $58.99 – This one might have been my overall favourite for the night. Capsicum upfront then some meatiness on the nose.  Tarry, espresso and capsicum and dark fruit on the palate.  Very full bodied.

d’Arenberg The Custodian Grenache 2008 (McLaren Vale) $21.99 – It was nice to have a lighter bodied grenache after so many big Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine was light garnet in colour.  Smoke and raspberry on the nose. Petrol, cassis, raspberry flavours.  Low tannins. Very refreshing.

Petaluma Chardonnay 2007 (Adelaide Hills) $35.97 – Light lemon in colour with a tinge of green. Light spice, citrus and oak on the nose.  Light body but full of flavour.  Spicy on the palate with long length.

My NEW SOUTH WALES wine picks:

Brokenwood Semillon 2008 (Hunter Valley) $23.99 – Semillon is a classic grape for the cooler climate Hunter Valley.  It can age for a long time and develop an oaked profile eventhough no oak has been applied.  I’ve become quite a fan of Brokenwood’s Semillon since I first tried it a few years ago.  Young, it is bright and refreshing.  Lovely to go with some shellfish.  The 2008 vintage was watery with a slight green hint in colour. Light citrus nose. Green pepper and jalapeno on the palate. Clean with great acidity.  Highly recommended.

Robert Oatley Chardonnay 2007 (Mudgee) $19.99 – Medium lemon in colour.  Vanilla and slight vegetal aromas. Round mouth feel with medium acidity.  Off dry with apple, oak and spice.

From the VICTORIA region, my wine picks:

De Bortoli Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2006 (Yarra Valley) $33.99 – Light red colour with slight bricking.  Burgundian nose with some cherry too. Earthy, meaty, and strawberry flavours.  Low tannins and a bit of spice.  I’d like to try this with some nice French cheese.

Upon reviewing my notes, it looks like Shiraz was the big winner for me at this tasting, and I hope it will be for you too. Enjoy!

has been cultivated in Portugal since at least the 1400s. It is one of the grapes long used in the making of Madeira.