Year: 2014

Behind…Sparkling Shiraz!!

It’s that time of year again, when there’s no longer an excuse needed for drinking Sparkling Shiraz. Not that I’ve ever spent too long justifying my indulgence! Seppelt Original Sparkling Shiraz 2012, about $20-25 pretty much everywhere. Sparkling red’s are a quintessential Australian wine style, frowned upon by the French and confusing most other wine producing countries. The sparkles come in all sorts of varieties from Cabernet, Malbec, Durif, and even that most dreaded grape….Merlot (urgh!). But the predominant style is based around Shiraz, mainly from warm(ish) climates. My favourite area is the Grampians region….Best’s, Grampians Estate & Seppelt leading the way. There’s good ones out of the Coonawarra…Majella is a beauty. The Clare Valleys contributes with Leasingham Classic Clare, amongst others. So many to choose from, so little time… You may have guessed it….But I LOVE Sparkling Shiraz! Seppelt Original is one of the pioneers of the style; consistent, reliable, refreshing and undervalued. A bargain at the price. Yes, there are plenty better (which will get a look in this festive season!) but none …

Behind….the best wine I’ve had this year!!!

Man, this wine is good! Sevenhill 2012 Inigo Shiraz, $17 from Dan Murphy’s. When you read the spiel about this wine in the latest Dan’s buying guide, and they claim 98/100, one needs to try it if for no other reason than to knock the score down a few pegs. I mean, 98 is a ridiculous score for any wine, and even more so for one that’s only $17! Scoring for wine has become ridiculous, with 90/100 becoming the benchmark score for any wine that is half decent. James Halliday has set a rod for his own back giving out higher and higher scores in his wine companion book and magazine, seemingly making perfectly good wines superfluous if they ‘fail’ to garnish a high enough score. If your wine scored a 90 a few years ago you’d shout it out loud for all to see, and hopefully buy, but now that is seen as only a fair pass mark. Even our own Dromana Estate 2012 Chardonnay got a 94/100 this year, and it barely caused …

Behind…..travel planning, with Vino!

One of the bests part about travel, for me anyway, is the planning. The searching out towns and villages, researching accommodation, planning routes with transport needs, finding interesting and varied things to do, places to visit, surprises found along the way…tripadvisor, booking.com, airbnb, google, etc, etc. I enjoy it so much I sometimes forget I’m not travelling alone! I probably need to keep Rachael in the loop! Hence the wine, the book, the map….time for a debrief! And what better way to do so than with a wine from the region? Except the wine we tried isn’t! It’s from Burgundy, which we visited last year. Never mind, it is French and anyway Bordeaux is expensive, and I don’t want to spoil the excitement before we get there! So…La Chablisienne 2011 Chablis 1er Cru, Cote De Lechet. $40 from 1st Choice. Quite the mouthful, lots of detail. La Chablisienne is a co-operative of growers that have bandied together since 1923 producing wines, coming from a mosaic of vineyard plots, providing a pallet of emotions marked with a …

Behind….dementia!

The featured photo is of Dad rubbing his hands in glee….”got her”! That’s Mum! About 1954. Before they were married, before 6 kids, before Mum was gone, before dementia! Here they are again in 1988, Dad doing what he does best…..hamming it up for the camera, or the crowd. With Tim on his wedding day, doing his usual. …and again resident DJ, Mozart style! The family at his 80th. Up till now he was still functioning quite well, and if you didn’t know him too well you wouldn’t suspect anything was amiss. But sadly, things were amiss, missing, forgotten… Early onset dementia was the diagnosis a couple of years earlier, whatever that meant? He looked fine, just a little vague. Nothing to be concerned with, nothing? He was a bit like a functioning alcoholic, all calm on the exterior, still playing it up for his audience, probably completely panicked inside. Knowing what lay ahead. Just not how horrible it would be, how hopeless he would become, how dependent on others for every moment of his …

Behind…d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original

Sometimes when you look at the vast array on offer on the wine list, you thank your small mercies for a trusted old friend that rears up at you, saying “pick me, pick me”. So, I did! d’Arenberg d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2010, about $16 pretty much everywhere. Unless its on a wine list, in which case it could, and will, be a whole lot more!! Confession first, I have a very soft spot for d’Arenberg, and more particularly the Original, which used to be called Burgundy. So, yep, I love this humble wine which has never failed to please and impress. What used to be predominately Grenache, now has plenty of Shiraz for the younger set, but this is still an old fashioned wine with plenty of tannin, grip, and old school ‘get down & dirty’ to it. Grenache is quite popular in the McLaren Vale, as in the Barossa, and is usually blended, most often with Shiraz and Mourvedre, becoming GSM. Sometimes its a straight varietal wine, which can be a bit course …

Behind…Voyager Estate Shiraz 2010

Most transplanted Vic’s living in West Aus reckon the only part of that state that reminds them of their former home is down south in the Margaret River. Sounds like a pretty good reason to grab a wine from down that way. Voyager Estate Shiraz 2010 $34 @ Templestowe Cellars. Whereas most of the west is bush scrub, the Margaret river region is the land of tall gums, Aussie bush, and some of the best tended vineyards in the country. Man, there must be money in digging up the state as the mulla spent on some of the estates is phenomenal, and Voyager estate is certainly no exception. No expense has been spared in turning what was once Freycinet Estate into Voyager. Beautifully manicured lawns, rows and rows of roses, white washed walls, cellar door, restaurant, functions, you name it…the lot! It also has the second largest flag pole and Aussie flag in the country, behind only Parliament house in Canberra. Why? ‘Cos they can! Wouldn’t surprise me if they had a team that went …

Behind…Saltram Mamre Brook Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Sometimes you need to pull out a wine that’s a little bit special to commemorate significant moments in time, something befitting the occasion. Saltram Mamre Brook Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 certainly fit the bill the other day, as Rachael held a glass up to her mum, Marie, who passed 12 years earlier….much too early! I never had the pleasure of meeting Mars, but from all account a wonderful wife, mother and friend to many. If her offspring are anything to go by, she was a beauty! …and so is Saltram Mamre Brook. The Cabernet was fabulous, fully matured at eight years but with a few more in the tank, I reckon. Full bodied, lush with layers of plumb, berries, and chocolate. The Barossa is more famous for Shiraz, which there is a Mamre Brook as well, but Cabernet done well is a pleasure no matter where it comes from. Saltram may be owned by the largest wine company going around, Treasury Wine Estates, but continues to be a hidden jewel in their vast cave of wine …