Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

FINALLY!  I have finally found an Australian vino that doesn’t have an extroverted sensation of dirt!  More clearly, the expressive quality of the Australian terroir [imho] reflected in the palate of the wine is very often a detraction from an otherwise delicious bit of vino.

As with my last entry on Australian wine, the Barossa Blonde, the Barossa Valley in South Australia is a rather prolific and fiercely protected viticultural area becoming more and more known for its rarer varieties of cultivated v. vinifera. Specifically Viognier.

Viognier was almost totally wiped out in France due to a combination of The Blight and WWI.  A terribly difficult grape to grow, conditions must be completely ideal for it to flourish.  And flourish it has.

I don’t normally go for Viognier as a wine of choice, it can be very often heavily floral and thick to the point of being waxy.  When blended, these qualities are muted and complimentary to its mated pair.

Yalumba’s Shiraz Viognier 2009 is a tasty blend. Complex and exotic, the peppery characteristic of the shiraz is balanced out by the floral notes of the viognier; cinnamon and black tea from the shiraz is softened  to violets with the viognier.

I sipped this vino all by itself to best appreciate the juiciness on the palate.  I’d suggest cedar-plank salmon, or pork tenderloins; steaks might be a little too heavy.

LCBO listed at ~$13/btl.  I like this a lot!




**image credit – The Winery. makes no claims whatsoever to ownership and republishes image under fair use provisions for review and critique.

In the countryside northeast of Adelaide South Australia lies the Barossa Valley and the Peter Lehmann winery. This Barossa Blonde is part of the Art Series whose labels are created by local artists to represent the character of the wine within.

This Australian regional blend is a mix of Riesling, Chemin Blanc, Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc – most of which are grown in the Barossa Valley; the Sauv Blanc is from the Adelaide Hills.

Floral on the nose, this pale gold wine seems a little too zippy at first glance. The palate is juicy and tart with lime and granny smith apple. The refreshing finish is pleasing and clean, the initial zippiness actually helps the vino along.

I chose this vino to accompany a dinner of olive oil&sun-dried tomato marinated chicken breast pan-roasted with aromatics served with scented Basmati rice. YUM!

May still be in the new release section of the LCBO ~$13-14/btl.




**images credit – The Winery. makes no claim to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

I adore New Zealand wine.  Australia, not so much. The selection of this Shiraz-Cabernet from Rosemount’s Diamond Cellars range was a peer-pressured purchase to pair with pasta.

Before my wine-appreciation days began, so I have researched, the family-owned Rosemount Estates winery began some 40 years ago in the Hunter Valley of the NewSouthWales province roughly 100kms inland from the Tasman Sea.  The amazing quality of their wines was an Australian treasure.  Until, that is, they sold out to several major conglomerates.  Not one to give in to preconceived notions, I handled this wine as though I’ve never seen or heard of it before.

Dark garnet in color, its higher 13.5% alc/vol legged rather quickly on the sides of the glass. The nose offered traces of raspberry and mulberry with a faint presence of oak (even though I can be pretty sure no oak touched this juice).

The fuller Shiraz-forward palate is decently spicy with essences of anise and black pepper, the Cabernet helping to balance this spice with a packed earth flavor.  What got me to NOT liking this wine was the lingering and very strong earthy finish – giving the impression that you’re sucking on rocks from the back yard that dogs have sniffed and worms have died under. Each subsequent mouthful of delicious home-made lasagna tasted like a mud pie.

Can’t really recommend this vino for food pairing but if you’re just sipping, go for it.  For its ~$14/blt price tag (double the ~$7/btl in the USA), I would have expected much better.




**image credit – Me.  I took the bottle shot myself with my wee HP digicam, removed background clutter and exported to transparent PNG.  Product likeness property of the winery, duh!!

Wow!  Long name, amazing vino: “Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir South Eastern Australia Brut Cuvée”. This third offering in my four-part holiday series is another non-vintage sparkler in the moderately priced range of ~$14/btl.

This lonely bottle was hiding behind other unrelated bottles of Brut far away from the main display of Champagnes and sparkling vinos.  I adopted it immediately and checked the proper section for pricing and found none.  Whatever!  I took it to the till expecting over $25, and was pleasantly surprised at its ~$14 tag. Cha-ching!

Such a heavy bottle with a very deep punt, I made sure to be in complete control when this baby was uncorked. De-foiling, and releasing the cage was done with extra care so not to jarre the bottle to spontaneously popping; the pressure inside the bottle was palpable as I CAREFULLY coaxed the cork into motion.  POW!  This is the first bottle that frothed over upon opening…

Into a chilled glass, the mousse was more reserved than others and subsided just as carefully to present a deeply golden wine crackling with life. The bubbles were modestly-sized and pulsed from many points around the glass. Baked apple flavors dominate the entire experience from start to finish with an attractive complexity that hits mid-palate. Finish flattens out a little but still urges the next sip.

Mature, creamy and fresh, this is definitely a pleasing sipper with food or toasting solo.




**image credit – The winery, festively adorned with holly. Used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

This is a wine I have liked a lot for a long time though very seldom buy due to the huge difference in pricing between Canada (~$11/btl) and the US (~$6/btl)… It typically doesn’t go on sale very often at the LCBO so I have to be in the paying-for-it mood.

“Do you ALWAYS plan meals with wines?” I’m often asked. “Seems like an awful lot of wine to go through!” Why, yes! Yes, I do.  I typically keep four distinctly different bottles: 2 red/2 white, in my storage crate over any 2-week period.

To me, wine is both extremely special and extremely every day. I budget my wine purchasing very carefully and allow for one bottle every three or four days; once opened, a bottle typically only lasts that long anyway… I’ll have a bottle opened on Friday after work to evaluate and blog and sip at it all evening.  Having guests over or going to a friend’s place for social and meals is another opportunity to examine and take notes on wines – sometimes two to three depending on the crowd.

This wine was taken to brunch for a simple meal at a neighbor’s as we celebrated the passing-by of an out-of-town friend.  Homey and basic fare consisting of chicken-salad on Flax-seed tortilla wraps; pasta salad with veggies and a creamy dressing; my favorite butternut squash & apple soup; and slices of honeydew melon, pineapple and cantaloupe.  Everyday stuff with a commensurate vino.

A deep lustrous yellow, this slightly off-dry Chard carries typical whiffs of  pineapple and mango to the nose; the 13.5% alcohol is marginally noticeable.  The body is just medium and the tropical flavors carry through to a finish that is complimented by a hint of butterscotch smoothness.

Strooth! A rippah standby.




**image credit – The Winery Used under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique.