BCLDB’s South African Feature Includes Consumer Tastings and More

Have you ever tried South African wine?  It is very food friendly.  A white wine you should not miss is made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Nice acidity and fuller mouthfeel.  On the red side, Syrah/Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are very good quality as well.  Below is a press release about upcoming consumer tastings in BC for South African wine at the BCLDB Park Royal store.  Enjoy.

~~~

May 28, 2018 (Vancouver, BC) – This summer is the perfect time to discover the great value of wines from South Africa. Throughout June, the BCLDB will focus on the country with in-store tastings and displays, as well as a FREE consumer tasting. The tasting will take place Friday, June 8th 2018 at the Park Royal BCLDB Signature Liquor Store, and will pair South African wine samples with cheese and charcuterie from Granville Island’s Oyama Sausage Co.
South African wines are particularly well suited to the summer activity circuit of barbecues, ball games, and weekends at the cottage. The BCLDB will highlight some great options with displays in 60 locations and free in-store tastings. On June 8th, consumers will also be treated to SouthAfrican wine samples and tasty bites from Oyama in the fresh new Park Royal store. Wines will include:
*             Anthonij Rupert Protea Chenin Blanc
*             Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc
*             Big Bill Cabernet Sauvignon
*             Boschendal Estate Winery 1685 Chardonnay
*             Fairview Cellars Goats do Roam Red
*             Grape Grinder Blue Moose Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz
*             KWV Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc
*             Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
*             Riebeek Cellars Shiraz
*             Spier Signature Chenin Blanc
*             The Vinecrafter Chardonnay
*             Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc
*             Wolftrap Red
Wines of South Africa Consumer Tasting
Friday, June 8 2018
3:00 – 7:00pm
BCLDB Park Royal Signature Liquor Store
Park Royal North, West Vancouver

#     #     #

About Wines of South Africa: Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major SouthAfrican wine exporters. South Africa‘s winemaking history stretches back to the 1600s.  In recent years, however, the country has combined longstanding traditions with cutting-edge technology and a commitment to environmental stewardship.
Advertisements

Inception A Red Blend from South Africa: My Review

I received a bottle of Inception 2012, a red blend of 81% Shiraz, 10% Petit Verdot, and 9% Mourvedre. This wine I was told is being released first in Canada before the rest of the world. It is produced in South Africa, a country that has its feet in both the Old World and the New World of wine making style. Wines that I have tasted in the past from South Africa, tended to be enjoyed with meals more than on their own.

From the information provided with this wine, it appears that quite a bit of care was taken to hand pick the grapes, then ferment each grape variety separately in stainless steel tanks. followed by a full malolactic fermentation (to make the wine smoother and rounder), followed by aging in oak barrels for 12-14 months and blending.

Inception 2012 bottle and glass of wine

Inception 2012 bottle and glass of wine

My Tasting Notes for Inception 2012

The wine is deep ruby in colour.  It has a pronounced nose, with primary aromas of red fruit, smoke and meatiness, followed secondarily with raspberry, vanilla, leather and chocolate.  It has a bit of sweetness to it, at 17.2 g/l of residual sugar.  Quite soft, round and smooth on the palate, but overall has a very light mouth feel.  Mainly red fruit and chocolate flavours, with lesser amouhts of red cherry and black currant.  The sweetness is the first sensation you get on the palate and continues to the finish.  On the finish you get mouth watering acidity and pepperiness.  The tannins are very light on this wine, and I think would help to bring a bit more structure to the wine.  This wine will be a hit for those of you who like Apothic Red or Yellowtail wines.  I think people who do not like tannic wines and just want something to sip at a party would enjoy this wine.  The price is nice.  In BC $14.99 a bottle.

Wines of South Africa Free Wine Tasting and Chance to Win A Resort Vacation

Do you know much about South African wine? If you are a lover of their wines, or just learning, the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) are being featured at BCLDB Stores in August, and is having a Free Wine Tasting and offering a chance to win a 2 night stay in Osoyoos’ Watermark Beach Resort!

I see some quality producers’ names in the list below, like Fairview, Graceland, Graham Beck, Saxenburg, Spier and Thelema. Also you will get to try South Africa’s signature white grape “Chenin Blanc” and red grape “Pinotage”. Here are the details of the event.  Enjoy!

~~~

Throughout the month of August, BC Liquor Stores will be highlighting the consistent quality and amazing value of wines from South Africa.  One of the highlights of the month will be a FREE consumer tasting at the 39th & Cambie Signature Store on Friday, August 10 2012.

A selection of top South African wines will be on display at 75 BCLDB stores throughout August.  Wine lovers can also explore the diversity of the following wines at the free tasting at 39th & Cambie:

Wine

CSPC

Retail

DGB Bellingham Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 897710 $24.99
Fairview Estates La Capra Shiraz 143537 $14.99
Flat Roof Manor Pinot Grigio 90936 $12.99
Graceland Cabernet Sauvignon 140970 $29.99
Graham Beck The Game Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 40428 $19.99
Grape Grinder The Grinder Pinotage 883991 $14.99
KWV Roodeberg Red 7187 $13.99
Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon 111526 $12.99
Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Red Blend 316992 $18.99
Six Hats Shiraz (Fair Trade Certified) 20255 $13.99
Spier Signature Chenin Blanc 659037 $14.25
Thelema Mountain Vineyard Shiraz 607549 $28.99
Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 340380 $10.49

In conjunction with the month-long promotion, Wines of South Africa is offering a weekend for two at the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, BC.  The prize includes accommodation and a gift card towards meals in their highly acclaimed wine bar.  For details, and to enter the draw, visit http://wosa.co.za/canada

Wines of South Africa Consumer Tasting
Friday, August 10 2012   3:00 – 7:00 pm

BCLDB 39th & Cambie Signature Liquor Store
5555 Cambie Street
, Vancouver

About Us

About Wines of South Africa: Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. South Africa’s winemaking history stretches back to the 1600s.  In recent years, however, the country has combined longstanding traditions with cutting-edge technology and a commitment to environmental stewardship.

About Watermark Beach Resort: Set in the heart of Canada’s premiere wine growing region along the quiet shores of Osoyoos Lake, the luxurious Watermark Beach Resort offers all the services and amenities needed for the perfect getaway, wedding, or meeting destination. The four-story, 153 suite Watermark Beach Resort’s complement of amenities includes a spa, fitness facility, steam room, hot tubs, seasonal pool with waterslide, wine bar and wine bar patio with an summer kitchen.

Sale on South African Wine at Liberty Wine Merchants

Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon and Glen Carlou Syrah

Did you know that South African wines are sometimes known as the Old World of the New World.  They have been making wine since 1685, yet are still viewed as New World!  Their wines do share characteristics of both worlds.  The wines are not as austere as Old World wines can be, nor are they as fruit forward as some New World wines.  But this balance, makes them very good food wines.  I have enjoyed many meals as part of the South World Wine Society sipping South African wines in the past.

Liberty Wine Merchants in Vancouver has a sale on some premium South African wines on till June 30/12.  All the wines listed below are from excellent producers, which I have sampled in the past.  Give these wines a try.  Enjoy!

~~~

10% DISCOUNT ON WINES OF SOUTH AFRICA
A SELECTION OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS PRODUCERS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Rust En Vrede

  • 2008 Shiraz – $37.99
    A big powerful, fruit-driven wine with smooth chocolate ¬flavours
  • 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon– $37.99
    A very elegant wine with lovely fruit and great mid-palate weight. 91 pts – WS.
  • 2008 Estate Blend – $54.99
    Cherry and raspberry supported by beautiful tannins. 93 pts – WS.

De Toren

  • 2007/8 Z – $37.99
    Cocoa and black cherry. Made in the Bordeaux ‘right-bank’ style. 92 Pts – WE.

Springfield Estate

  • 2005 Wild Yeast Chardonnay – $34.99
    This unwooded Chardonnay abounds with flavours of pineapple and pear.

Rustenberg

  • 2009 Five Soldiers Chardonnay – $59.99
    Apple, melon and peach with a touch of minerality. 91 pts – RP.

Scali

  • 2007 Blanc – $37.99
    Ripe summer fruits with spices. 94 pts – wineanorak.com
  • 2005 Syrah – $47.99
    Red fruits and pepper with sweet tannins. 89 pts – ST.

Mulderbosch

  • 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – $27.99
    One of the Cape’s most heralded and sought-after wines. 88 pts – ST.
  • 2008 Faithful Hound – $29.99
    Blueberry jam and plum fruit alongside tobacco and cedar. 90 pts – WS.
  • 2009 Chenin Blanc – $24.99
    Offers lush fruit but nishes with a surprisingly rm edge. 89 pts – ST.

* Offer valid until June 30th, 2012.
* Cannot be combined with any other offer.
* Contact Liberty Wine Merchants stores for availability.

www.LIBERTYWINEMERCHANTS.COM

Decanter World Wine Awards 2012 – Gold Winners: Canadian Winners

Decanter Gold Medal 2012

The current Decanter World Wine Awards 2012 were recently awarded.  We all want to know the Gold Medal wines so we can seek them out in our local bottle shop.  But what I want to know especially, is which Canadian wineries won a Gold Medal?  Here is the answer.

Canadian Wineries Winning Gold Medals

Congratulations to both Ontario and British Columbia wineries!  Here is the link to find out all the Gold Medal winners.  Enjoy!

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!

Artisan Chocolate and Wine Pairings at Festival of Chocolate

Dione and her chocolates

Lucky me.  This past week I was able to attend an Artisan Chocolate and wine pairing event at Ocean Park Village Pub in White Rock, BC. Dione’s Chocolates supplied the hand-made chocolates for this event.  This event was actually the coming out party for Dione’s company, and she made a great impression on everyone in attendance.

Before we tried the chocolates which were infused with various fruits and spices, we tried the basic chocolate types.  The white chocolate was buttery, creamy, and caramel flavoured.  I don’t normally like white chocolate as the ones I’ve tried are usually very sweet.  This one was not. Just right and melted on your tongue. The milk chocolate (34% cocoa) was smooth, with caramel, chocolate and a hint of bitterness. While the dark chocolate (60% cocoa) was much drier, with grittiness and earthy flavours.  To start we had something called a cocoa nib, which is the base from which chocolates are made.  They look like clumps of dark sugar crystals. Normally they would not have any sweetness but the ones we tried had a tiny bit added. Dark, smoky flavours and some fibre to them.

The Wine and Chocolate Pairings

  • Wine and chocolate pairings

    Jackson Triggs Merlot with a Crescent Park truffle

  • Inniskillin Pinot Noir with a spicy chipotle ganache in a dark chocolate shell
  • Lindeman’s Bin 50 Shiraz with a hand-rolled lemon coconut truffle
  • Beringer Founders Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 with a seasonal pumpkin spice ganache

We started the evening with the Jackson Triggs Merlot (BC) and Crescent Park truffle. The truffle has a creamy caramel center, wrapped in dark chocolate and sprinkled lightly with coarse sea salt.  A really tasty truffle and went nicely with the fruity merlot. Both were soft and creamy together.  The salt also added another level of complexity.  The Jackson Triggs Merlot had nice vanilla, ripe plums and cherry flavours, medium body and soft tannins. <I do think that merlot goes really well with dark chocolates overall.>

Inniskillin Pinot Noir (BC) with the spicy chipotle ganache was next. Typically you would not think a lighter bodied wine like pinot noir can stand up to the spicy heat of a chipotle smoked chile, but it worked in this pairing. The chocolate was sweet and dark with smoky spicy flavour. Dry with a bit of grittiness.  The Pinot Noir had sweet strawberries, raspberries and violet aromas.  Light body, high acid and violet flavour.  I think the spiciness of the chocolate was balanced nicely with the floweriness of the Pinot Noir.  Maybe the high acidity in the wine also helped?

Lindeman’s Bin 50 Shiraz (Australia) with a hand-rolled lemon coconut truffle was our 3rd pairing. The lemony flavour and toasty coconut were quite interesting with the shiraz. The Shiraz was full of blackberries and juicy black fruits, and had a whiff of milk chocolate on the nose.  Full body with more blackberry, plum and black cherry flavours.  Some spiciness and vanilla.  The lemon of the truffle cut through the lushness of the wine giving it an interesting complementary contrast. I also tried this wine with the chipotle ganache and it enhanced the heat of this chocolate.  I think the spiciness of both the wine and the chocolate were additive.

Pumpkin spice ganache chocolates

Our last wine and chocolate pairing was a Beringer Founders Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California) with a seasonal pumpkin spice ganache. This chocolate smelled very nice, with the nutmeg and pumpkin aromas.  It was nice and smooth as it melted in your mouth. The Beringer Cabernet was a big wine.  Ripe cassis, oak and vanilla aromas.  Minerality, high acidity and spicy notes on the palate.  Lots of fruit up front and medium tannins. I think you need a big wine to compete with the big flavours of the pumpkin and nutmeg.  I also tried this chocolate with the Shiraz and it was also a good pairing.

If you are in White Rock you may want to visit the Ocean Park Village Pub (weblink).  It was very busy when I was there.

If you want to buy some artisan hand-made chocolates, here is Dione’s Chocolates website. You can also taste her chocolates on Friday, Nov 4 at Wellbrook Winery in Delta, with another wine and chocolate pairing. Enjoy!

Bottles & Bangers Wine Tasting – Get Your Tickets

Liberty Bottles and Bangers wine tasting

I recently received an email from Liberty Wine Merchants about their upcoming Bottles and Bangers Southern Hemisphere wine tasting. You may not know, but I was the president, then co-chair, and the cellar master for the South World Wine Society here in Vancouver for many years.  I’ve turned over the reigns to other exec members, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for southern hemisphere wines. South Africa, the Old World of New World wines, has many food friendly wines.  Try a Syrah or Chenin Blanc.  For Chile, maybe try their signature red grape, Carmenere.  Argentina has Malbec, which has been very hot in BC for a while. New Zealand Pinot Noirs or Sauvignon Blanc wines are well-known around the world.  Central Otago in the South Island in particular has very interesting Pinot Noir. And don’t forget Australia.  The Coonawarra, Margaret River, Eden Valley, and the Barossa Valley, to name a few vineyard regions, produce exceptional wines. Jacob’s Creek, Yalumba, Penfolds, and Henschke are just a few names that you may recognize.  Australian shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, riesling and many more wonderful wines.  With that, check out the details for Bottles & Bangers, and buy your tickets before they sell out.

Bottles and Bangers Event Details

Thursday, August 18 | 7:30 – 9:30pm
Vancouver Rowing Club, 450 Stanley Park Drive, Vancouver

Taste the sensational wines of the Southern Hemisphere accompanied by an artisanal sausage. All proceeds to benefit amateur sports.

Tickets $29.99 Available at all Liberty Wine Merchants stores.

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.