Domaine Chandon, Yarra Valley (No picnics, but antique cars permitted on the grass)

Domaine Chandon 1 Yarra Valley Simple Palates Seriously
Respect the grass, unless you’re a beautiful antique motorcar in which case, trample all over my body!

The sun was out after a week of rain, and I had scored a free ride on the UoM wine society bus. Designated driver – check! All that I had to worry about was avoiding all that American broken glass. This is a timely recap of my last trip to Domaine Chandon in the Yarra Valley because the wine society’s next foray to the Yarra Valley is this Sunday 14th Sept. If you are interested, there might be a couple of spots left, please contact them here.

An Australian leaf from LVMH’s portfolio, the little brother of Moet & Chandon, Ruinart, Veuve Clicquot and the beautiful Krug. It’s almost like the outfit that the rest of the family kinda ignore. Not to be confused with Domaine Chandon in the Napa Valley, but they have the same parents anyway. Domaine Chandon does benefit from French winemakers coming over to be involved in vintage. The winery produces both still and sparkling wines, but it is for the latter that it is best known for.

Domaine Chandon 3 Yarra Valley UOMSWS Melbourne Student Wine Society Simple Palates Seriously
UOMSWS surveying the cellars of Domaine Chandon right before their bottles popped!

Domaine Chandon NV Brut
AUD$27.50 winery online store ($22 in a 6-pack). The sparkling you are most likely to see on most Christmas tables, this is an appreciably complex wine to put together pooled from 45 different base wines. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the reserve wines are stored in a combination of large oak barrels, barriques and stainless steel. Produced by méthode traditionelle, the secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle then transferred into a larger tank for additional ageing on yeast lees for 15 to 18 months. Pale straw colour with a tinge of green. A fresh, fruity nose with aromas of lime florals, nectarines, warmed pear slices and sweet spice. A broader initial mouthfeel than most other sparkling wines, crisp crunchy acidity with a rough mousse texture. Medium-bodied overall, nice citrus flavours with green apple and green pears. This is Melbourne Cup’s wine. Always buy a fresh bottle! 88/100.

Domaine Chandon Vintage 2009 Blanc de Blancs
AUD$37.50 winery online store ($30 in a 6-pack). A nice standard sparkling wine with pretty floral aromas, apple blossom, stone fruit and sweet baking spice. Slightly toasty, hint of beeswax. Lovely creamy texture, fine mousse. Ripe acidity with rich flavours of citrus fruit, lemon rind, green apple. The aftertaste is persistent. Drink now. 90/100.

Domaine Chandon2 Yarra Valley UOMSWS Melbourne Student Wine Society Simple Palates Seriously

Domaine Chandon Vintage Brut 2010 Chardonnay / Pinot Noir / Pinot Meunier
AUD$32. The flagship vintage brut offered by Domaine Chandon is a consistent offering, coming in at 5.5grs. A multi-regional blend made from fruit from the Yarra and King Valleys. Youthful notes of lightly toasted white bread, red currants and red apples. Dry, high acidity with smooth creamy textured mousse. A good weight of lemon fruit on the mid-palate, before the acidity kicks back to finish. This is a great sparkling for any occasion, a step up from the NV brut. Drink now. 89/100.

Domaine Chandon NV Red label Pinot Noir Shiraz 30grs
I really didn’t like this offering. 14.5% alc. Plum, herb, raspberry candy. slight pepper. Personally, I feel this lacks structure and definition. Way to candied to be a serious sparkling on my table.

Domaine Chandon NV Cuvee Riche 55grs
AUD$32. Even though this has more residual sugar than the Red Label, the Riche has the body and acidity to hold that sweetness in taut restraints. There is slight deepness of colour from the addition of base wine. A riper, fruit-forward and giving nose, with notes of red berries, guava?, tropical fruit with a soft delicate mousse. Richness of the fruit is also present on the warm mid-palate, also sense of that dry meringue sort of crust. Needs further acidity to trump the sweetness, but interesting to have with desserts. 87/100.

Domaine Chandon 2 Yarra Valley Simple Palates SeriouslyDomaine Chandon tasting bar, pinged by the tasting fee!


Posted in Australia, Daily happenings, Victoria, Yarra Valley | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mas Romani (Mas Alta) Els Pics 2009, Priorat, Spain

Els Pics 2009 Priorat Spain  Grenache Simple Palates Seriously

Bodegas Mas Alta, based in the Priorat village of Vilella Alta, is a partnership of five Belgian families. The wine is made under consultation of two lords of the CdP scene – Michel Tardieu (of Tardieu-Laurent fame) and Philippe Cambie (geez, where do I even start? Clos St Jean, Senechaux, Vieux Donjon, Domaine de Villeneuve.. Have a look at his awesome CdP influence here). Els Pics is made from younger vines with 45% of the fruit coming from valley floors. The 2009 vintage is a blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon with 12 months in seasoned French oak.

$20 from Nick’s Doncaster. Current vintage 2010 but sold out. Wait in anticipation for the next release! The 2009 Els Pics has med+ – intensely coloured ruby-purple colour. Lifted, rounded aromatic profile with floral notes of raspberry, red berries, ripe cherry, sweet spice and cedar. An easy-drinking, med+bodied dry red wine, high acidity with a smooth texture. The tannins are soft but ripe. Rich flavours of dark red berry fruit with perfumed spice. Pleasant aftertaste, a great BBQ wine with roasted rosemary and lamb. Drink over next 3-5 years. 89/100.

Posted in Chateauneuf de Pape, Daily happenings, France, Rhone Valley, Spain, Wines from other countries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UOMSWS Wine Camp Mornington Peninsula Wines tasting (aka The Morning After)

We survived the first night of wine camp. Despite polishing off half the Kraken and chasing a dragon, the attempt for peaceful uninterrupted sleep was not futile. I imagined being close enough to the beach that to hearing the lapping morning waves, mingling with the fresh clean morning mist. Then somewhere in the darkness, the faint sound of kids laughing, and the screams of someone scrubbing out a Vegemite finger painting off the skin off their backs. Yup, it was that kind of fun wine camp.

But there was a serious day of tasting ahead of us. A furious serving of pancakes managed to prep our tastebuds but International Roast coffee was voted down, with the crowd boisterously voicing clear preference for a morning palate refresher of Kym Teusner’s sparkling wine.

Teusner NV Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay Adelaide Hills SA South Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Teusner Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV, Adelaide Hills, SA
This is a straight-forward, easy-drinking wine that is characteristically fresh and crisp. A 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay with coarse beads churning up the mousse-like mouthfeel, it exudes aromas of red berry fruit, red apples, white peach and lemon zest. Clean acidity keeps alive the vibrant flavours of redcurrants, peach, ripe strawberries, then on the finish there is some blackcurrant kicking in. A good drink to wash-down some pancakes lathered up with butter and fresh cream, drizzled with diced strawberries and mint. A cheap ($15 from DM) drink now type of wine. 87/100

Perhaps with minds laden from the night just passed, several reminders that white wine can be made from black grapes were necessary. As was an unanticipated chemistry lesson in yeast metabolism and carbon dioxide production, definitely a topic too heavy for my liking this early in the day. I would have preferred serving a more local sparkling wine like the solid Stonier Estate Sparkling 2009 ($30 at cellardoor) but a group of fortunate ones had this excellent winery on their visitation list. One of the more precise sparkling wines to be produced in the region, fruit-driven from the Pinot Noir-derived strawberry notes, but with the robust acidity and mouthfeel from Chardonnay. Great length and aftertaste with lingering flavour of citrus fruit.

Stonier Sparkling 2009 Chardonnay Pinot Noir Mornington Peninsula Simple Palates Seriously

Moving on past a further explanation that smelling strawberries in your wine does not mean they fermented strawberries with grapes, we came to the second wine of the morning. The prototypical white wine produced in the Mornington Peninsula, Chardonnay. On the table was a wine which comfortably resides within the top 20% of Chardonnays is Sandro Mosele’s Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay 2013. Of course, I couldn’t not mention his brilliant single vineyard wines, but the Clonale label offers a premium quality wine that is accessible to all.

Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay 2013 Mornington Peninsula VIC Simple Palates Seriously

Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay 2013, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
$26 from DM. A well-priced wine made from whole bunch-pressed fruit, fermented in 12% new French oak, and aged on lees for 10 months before bottling. So there is a decent level of complexity and texture to this wine. Fresh, lifted ripe aromas of pink grapefruit, peaches, slight spice and savoury oak. At 13.5% alc, it certainly feels a lot riper on the palate. A full-bodied white wine by most measures, high acidity, it has rich flavours of ripe peach and citrus, the lemony aftertaste is persistent. It has its rough edges, but an enjoyable wine nonetheless. Drink now. 89/100.

Moorooduc Estate Devil Bend Creek Pinot Noir 2012 Mornington Peninsula VIC Simple Palates Seriously

Richard McIntyre’s Estate ($38) and single vineyard ($55) PNs are lovely drinking wines, expressive and are a good showcase of this region’s classic take on PN. At a lower price point is the Devil Bend Creek label which is made from a blend of fruit sourced from the Northern areas of the region.

Moorooduc Estate Devil Bend Creek Pinot Noir 2012, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
$25 from Prince Wine Store. The wine is made from destemmed fruit and fermented on skins in open stainless steel vats. The cap is hand-plunged throughout the fermentation process before being pressed into and matured in old French oak barrels for 10 months prior to bottling. A clear, deep ruby colour with lifted youthful aromas of black cherry, raspberry, slight hints of rose petals and star anise. A tasty, flavoursome PN with slightly rough silky tannins, high acidity. Rich flavours of chrunchy chewy cherry flesh and raspberries, fruity acidity to round off the finish. Have this with soy-sauce braised pigeon and shiitake mushrooms. Drink now. 90/100.

So these were the 3 wines to get us going on a day of winery tours. (Although one bus did get sidetracked by getting stuck in soft ground whilst attempting a U-turn). Solid representatives of Mornington Peninsula chardonny and pinot noir to set a benchmark for the subsequent tastings.

If you are a student at Melbourne University and would like to attend these events or participate in regular tastings, please contact the club through Facebook (

Posted in Adelaide Hills, Australia, Daily happenings, Mornington Peninsula, South Australia, Victoria | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UOMSWS Wine Camp Intro to Australian Wines tasting

A cosy bunch of budding wine connoisseurs assembled over the weekend at BayPlay on Portsea for the inaugural University of Melbourne Student Wine Society wine camp. I was excited to be able to put together two short tasting sessions to kick-off the camp, and as a prelude to a Saturday of touring the Mornington Peninsula. Since there were quite a number of international exchange students, I went with an after-dinner 4-some to showcase the typical wine styles of some distinct wine producing regions. Here are my tasting notes, and I did pose the challenge for winecampers to sign up to this blog and post their most imaginative impressions of these wines. The best descriptive, most hilarious comment which channels Cards Against Humanity will get a $40-50 bottle of wine from my cellar.

Picaroon Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Margaret River Pemberton Great Southern WA Western Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Picaroon Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012, WA
$15 from Prince Wine Store. Produced by Domaines & Vineyards (est 2009) with fruit from Margaret River, Pemberton and Great Southern. Clear, pale straw colour. On the nose, the gooseberry aroma is striking, indicating a dominance of Sauvignon Blanc in this blend. Tacked on are herbaceous notes, blackcurrants and lemon. Good clean acidity that doesn’t tire out the mouth, clean flavours of lemon citrus and blackcurrants. The mouthfeel is quite broad contributed from the Semillon. There is also a Shiraz and a Cabernet Sauvignon in this range. Drink now. 87/100.

Rieslingfreak No.4 Eden Valley 2013 SA South Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Rieslingfreak No.4 Eden Valley 2013, SA
$22 from Prince Wine Store. Made by John Hughes with fruit from a unique vineyard located between Flaxman and Eden Valleys. The vineyard has vines facing both east-west and north-south aspects, with the E-W providing the fruit flavour and the N-S providing the acid balance. Pale, clear lemon yellow colour. Youthful aromas, but there appears to be a strong nose of kerosene suggesting an almost over-ripeness. There is dense lemon essence and orange melon aromas but I’m quite distracted by the kero notes. High fruity acidity, the fresh palate contains flavours of lemon, lime, pink grapefruit and ripe melon. Drink now, or stash for 8+ years – could be interesting… 90/100.

Wistmosa McLaren Vale Grenache 2012 SA South Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Wistmosa McLaren Vale Grenache 2012, SA
$30 from Prince Wine Store. This is a relatively new label to hit the market, with the 2010s being the first small batch to be put out for retail. There are 700 bottles of the 2012 Grenache. Wild yeast fermentation, twice daily plunging of the cap, transferred and aged in seasoned oak barrels for 12 months. Clear, medium ruby-crimson colour. Youthful aromas of fig, plum, dark berries and anise. A medium-bodied dry wine, acidity balanced nicely with the ripe flavours of sweet red plums and raspberry. Hint of plum skin bitterness combined with soft tannins. A subtle lingering finish. Drink now – 2017. 89-90/100.

Landhaus Estate The Saint Shiraz 2012 Barossa Valley SA South Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Landhaus Estate The Saint Shiraz 2012, Barossa Valley, SA
$20 from Prince Wine Store. One of the best-valued Shiraz on the market today. Fruit off low yielding, 65-75 year old vines were sourced from Ebenezer, Greenock, Stockwell, Koonunga Hill, Kalimna and Bethany. Matured for 14 months in 2-4 year old French oak barrels. Intense ruby-purple colour. Youthful lifted aromas of black cherry, black plums, chocolate, sweet spice. In the mouth, it is a med+ to full-bodied wine, dry, with high acidity and moderate dark chocolate-like tannins. Rich flavours of cherry, plum and spice, the solid aftertaste lingers for a reasonable time. Drink now – 2019. 90/100. Remember, after you’ve had the Saint, you’ve simply got to have the Sinner.

Posted in Australia, Barossa Valley, Daily happenings, Eden Valley, Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Mornington Peninsula, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hophaus, German safehole on Southbank

The weather in Melbourne as been absolutely dismal of late. Cold fronts, cold winds, and from personal experience, painful rain bullets. If there is anything colder, it’s the success of the restaurants on Southbank. Their popular ratings are as cold as steel in a bucket of Yarra River water. However, if there’s one place to warm up and grab a nice drink, or kick-start your gut with hearty food, it’s got to be Hophaus.

Hophaus Southbank German pub Simple Palates Seriously

Let’s be frank. Southbank isn’t the first place you’d think of for chillin’ on a Friday evening. Heck, it shouldn’t even be the 10th place in your mind! But if you ever find yourself south of the CBD, headed towards the ex-Belgian Beer cafe (whatever it’s called now) perhaps, consider a stopover at Hophaus. The spacious layout offers little pockets of space suitable for small duos, friendly parties of 4s, or bigger groups for after-work drinks. The section to the left of the restaurant entrance is largely reserved for sit-down boisterous dinner. If you don’t have to strain to hear your conversation, you’re probably there at 11am.

Hophaus German pub bretzel pork knuckle bratwurst dunkel stein Southbank Simple Palates Seriously

The food is generally well-prepared, and the portion sizes are generous. The pork knuckle ($36) is slow cooked in apple cider with a small side of Bavarian red cabbage, sufficient to feed 3-4 diners. The bretzel is a perfect accompaniment which you can use to mop up the sticky juices from the pork knuckle. Washing that down with a Konig Ludwig Dunkel (560ml for $15) or a stein of Bitburger Pils ($16), carbo-load  for the weekend with the Knödel, soft potato dumplings which are pan fried in bier butter, served with bits of smoked hock, celery leaves and watercress ($14). I do find the Bratwurst rather pricey ($16.5), the sausage was grilled nicely, the sauerkraut and smoked cheese topping was nice, but as an overall package it’s too expensive.

Overall, Hophaus is probably the best joint on Southbank to gather for a casual sizeable drink, and which offers good dinner options should you so desire. The staff are friendly, the bar service turns over pretty quick so there aren’t annoyingly long waiting times. Remember to make a table reservation if you’re thinking of turning up on Friday, especially for bigger groups. A duo can hanging around with a drink waiting for a couple of seats to free up in the rear bar area (right next to the mulled wine).

Hophaus on Urbanspoon

Posted in Australia, Daily happenings, Melbourne restaurants, Victoria | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lunch at The Grain Store

I’ve been to The Grain Store several times now, mostly on a weekend when there is always a waiting crowd. Weekday early lunches are the best thing to grab; along with a single origin long black. $18 for a sizeable roll with fresh salad might be a small purple note more expensive than most, but it does the trick and fills the tum!

The Grain Store Beef Pastrami sesame roll

The Grain Store Sweet capsicum pumpkin tart

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon

Posted in Australia, Daily happenings, Melbourne cafes, Victoria | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UOMSWS Introduction to Wine Tasting Semester 1 2014

This is the slightly overdue write-up for the University of Melbourne Student Wine Society’s Introduction to Wine Tasting session held back in April. We ran two concurrent sessions with the same line-up of wines. One group was led stumbling down the path by yours truly, and we convened in the quiet confines of University House. This is where academics gather, and one is occasionally graced by the spirits of Nobel prize winners. I got word of wanton cross blendings of unfinished wine in the other session; there was to be none of that in my presence!

UoMSWS Introduction to Tasting lineup Simple Palates Seriously

I had selected a simple, straight-forward line-up with the intention of showcasing Australian interpretations of common international varietals. And it was only fitting that we included a Hunter Valley Semillon, it is truly an under-appreciated Australian wine. These wines are easily accessible and all purchased from DM. I think the wines were of sufficient quality to speak for themselves, within an affordable price range. They highlighted the more obvious wine-producing regions of Australia, and only TAS was left out (price was part of that decision). A couple of the wines had a story or two behind them; but I wasn’t revealing all my private gossip on the night. So without further ado, here are the wines.

Knappstein Riesling 2013 Clare Valley South Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Knappstein Riesling 2013, Clare Valley, SA
$17 from DM. This is Riesling, clear and simple. There is no subtlety to Australian Riesling. It is the thorny dragon in the Australian Outback. The weather does not permit small white flowers; for that head to Germany.

Closed initially, but opens into an intense lemon concentrate, spritzy, roughly grated lime fruit, notes of chalky talc and citrus florals. 12.5% alc. The acidity is bold, it hits you then gives way to the sweet citrus fruit, lemon candy, lime powder.  Nice clean finish. Drink now, or 2022-2025. 89-90/100. I’d have this with a cucumber/lettuce/poached chicken breast salad, or a melon-centric fruit salad.

Forester Estate 2011 Chardonnay Margaret River Western Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Forester Estate Chardonnay 2011, Margaret River, WA
$25 from DM. Not from the best of vintages for Margaret River, but representative nonetheless. This might change your mind of oaked Chardonnays if that is your massive turn-off. Oak can work, as long as it is reined in by the fruit. This 2011 vintage is a fruit-driven wine that actually does well sitting on some oaky notes. A youthful nose of peach, lime, cand that touch of slightly toasted oak staves. A medium+ bodied wine, good acidity but it falls over slightly on the broader mouthfeel. Clean stone fruit flavours with that generous squeeze of lemon/lime. Probably better priced <$20. Drink now. 87/100. Would be nice with a prawn/capsicum/chorizo salad.

Tyrrell's Wines Stevens Vineyard Semilion 2009 Hunter Valley New South Wales Simple Palates Seriously

Tyrrell’s Single Vineyard Stevens Semillon 2009, Hunter Valley, NSW
$34 from DM. If you want to try Semillon in Australia, there is only one winery to go for: Tyrrell’s. 11.5% alc. Pale lemon colour with a green tinge. A developing nose, notes of lemon, mandarin rind, apple sprtiz and slight jasmine florals.  A medium-full bodied dry white wine, the sheer acidity is impressive, although a sense that it is softening slightly with age. Lovely rich citrus fruit flavours form an impenetrable core but should mellow out over the next 10 years. Drink now – 2025. 92/100.

One of the pioneer producers that put Hunter Valley on the map, Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillons are showcase material in the right vintages. The Hunter has suffered from poor vintage conditions which has decimated the bank accounts of many producers, but hopefully that is behind them, and a return to form is soon to follow. I would highly recommend checking out Tyrrell’s Vat 47 Chardonnay and Shiraz too. For another fine Semillon producer, check out McWilliam’s Mt Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon.

Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir 2011 Mornington Peninsula Victoria Simple Palates Seriously

Kooyong Massale Pinot Noir 2011, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
$28 from DM. The Massale is the 2nd tier Pinot Noir produced by Sandro Mosele under the Kooyong label. It is accompanied by the Clonale Chardonnay and Buerrot Pinot Gris. They also produce 2 single vineyard Chardonnays and 3 single vineyard Pinot Noirs. Lots of rain in the 2011 vintage, making it difficult to obtain good fruit ripeness and concentration. The 2011 Massale is a pale-medium ruby colour, with notes of red cherry, red currants and earthy undertones. It manages good acidity, with a low level of fine grained tannins. 13% alc, it has a lighter than usual body, with flavours of red berry tart and cherry fruit. Drink now. 87/100.

NB. Do not be put off by Victorian wines from the 2011 vintage. The 2012 are a huge step up in quality and fruit weight; and if still available, try the 2010 wines.

Chris Ringland Shiraz 2012 Barossa Valley South Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Chris Ringland CR shiraz 2012, Barossa Valley, SA
$25 from DM. Part of the Parkerisation movement of the late 90s – early naughties, Chris Ringland’s shiraz make for legendary stuff. I had the privilege of meeting this gentle giant of a Kiwi years ago, and the richness of his wines embody the his great passion for winemaking. The $25 CR shiraz is one of the most accessible, easy drinking wines you can find on the market. Fresh blackberry, red plum, purple fruit notes with oak vanillin and slight pepper hints. It’s medium+ to full-bodied, and despite the 15% alc, doesn’t burn out your throat if you have this with a slow-cooked lamb shank or a minced beef pie. Rather weighty on its own, rich dense dark berry fruit with plums, hint of dark chocolate. The fine dusty tannins work well, and persist into the finish. Drink now. 92/100.

Parker Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 South Australia Simple Palates Seriously

Parker Coonawarra Estate Coonawarra Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Coonawarra, SA
$23 from DM. This is the inaugural vintage of the Coonawarra Series Cabernet Sauvignon. Fruit comes off vines planted in the earlier ripening northern part of Coonawarra, fermented in static fermenters before maturation in French oak followed by final blending and bottling. Dark ruby-purple colour. Youthful aromas of blackcurrant liquor, dark chocolate, liquorice with flashes of cigar tobacco and violets. Dry, full-bodied wine, high acidity with dry grainy tannins. 14.6% alc. The fruit profile is typical, displaying varietal characteristics of blackcurrants, dark chocolate and spice. Good finish, although lacking that depth to sustain the initial power. Drink now – 2017. 89/100.

Seldom is Cabernet Sauvignon served with dessert, but it does work nicely with dark chocolate. Try this with the Madecasse Toasted Coconut 70% dark chocolate.
Madecasse Toasted coconut 70% dark chocolate Madagascar Simple Palates Seriously

Posted in Australia, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Daily happenings, Hunter Valley, Margaret River, Mornington Peninsula, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rochelle Adonis rose petal barberry pistachio nougat

Rochelle Adonis rose petal barberry pistochio nougat WA Simple Palates Seriously Rochelle Adonis specialises in cakes, dessert and high tea based in Western Australia. They’ve got a good writeup here; this post is not about tea but their retail products, namely the nougat bars. They make a range of 6 flavours, and I purchased the rose petal, barberry and pistochio nougat. This single nougat bar retails for $16, but it bought it on a markdown at King & Godfrey’s store on Lygon St. I was looking for something to match the Telmo Rodriguez Moscatel, and this worked perfectly!

A single 100g bar comes in a simple, attractive slide-out box, and the bar is wrapped in plastic. I’ve sliced the bar in the picture above to show the 3 aspects of the bar. Sliding out the bar, the side presented is the visually pretty layer of organic rose petals. There is a generous use of pistachio nuts and barberry fruit in the nougat layer. The underside is layered with a film of rice paper. The nougat has a sweet floral aromas, is of a semi-soft firmess and is only slightly chewy through the white chocolate-based nougat. I found it placed on the sweeter side, with the sugars from the barberry fruit accentuated by lots of honey. Even the rose petals on their own have a sweet caramelised flavour. The petals do provide a nice touch of tannic dryness to the overall mouthfeel. The only distraction was the the layer of rice paper which I thought was much too thick.

Posted in Australia, Daily happenings, Western Australia | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Telmo Rodriguez MR Moscatel 2008, Malaga, Spain

Telmo Rodriguez MR Mountain Wine Moscatel 2008 Malaga Spain Simple Palates Seriously

The 2008 MR is 100% Moscatel from vineyards at 900m altitude cut into very steep, schist rock slopes. The fruit is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. Clear, lemon and sunflower gold colour, it has a fabulous feminine bouquet of stewed apricots, marmalade, sweet baking spice, nutmeg, tinned pineapple and a touch of botrytis. This sweet wine has medium acidity, and retains a softer fruit core albeit concentrated and rich with apricot, honey and kumquat flavours. Slightly dry, touch of bitterness on the finish. Drink now. 90/100.

This Spanish alternative to Sauternes would be comfortable with foie gras, but the penultimate bottle of Telmo Rodriguez MR moscatel in my cellar made for a wondering dessert course with some Rochelle Adonis nougat. This is the 2008 vintage; Dan Murphy’s has the 2009 vintage for $45, and the importer Spanish Acquisition has the 2010 marked as $49.

Posted in Daily happenings, Spain, Wines from other countries | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s the Story, Rory Morning Glory? The Story Wines

I was intending to hang on to these other bottles of Story shiraz for longer, but there is a tasting coming up soon at B’Stilla with Rory Lane where there will be the opportunity to taste through 10 vintages. So it was only fair that I first got an impression of these wines while they are in their youthful state in order to better gauge how they tend to age. I have also included the summary links of the three wines I had previously posted below.

The Story Wines Westgate Blanc 2013, Grampians, VIC
$28 direct from winery. This is the other white in the portfolio. A Rhon-esque blend of Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier grown at the Westgate Vineyard, site of their best Shiraz grapes. The 3 rows of Marsanne and 1 each of … Continue reading

The Story Wines Riesling 2013, Henty, VIC
I just took delivery of these wines from The Story last week and will be posting my reviews over the next few days. This is a small operation established in 2004 by Rory Lane and his partner. They purchase parcels of … Continue reading

The Story Wines Henty Pinot Noir 2013, VIC
$28 direct from winery. This is a very tasty Pinot Noir, fruit forward, sweet, one that you can easily enjoy with your meal. Fruit from 2 vineyards in Warrnambool and Drumborg, fermented by wild yeasts in small, open fermenters, 10 months … Continue reading

The Story Wines Tinker Grampians Shiraz 2012 VIC Simple Palates Seriously
The Story Wines Tinkers Shiraz 2012, Grampians, VIC
$25 direct from winery. A multi-vineyard blend, combining fruit from the warmer  Jallukar Ridge Vineyard (38%), the cooler Westgate Vineyard (32%) and the remaining from Rice’s Vineyard (27%). There is also a very small amount of Grenache for extra lift. Like the other wines in the collection, wild yeast fermented, bottled unfined and unfiltered. Clear, dark ruby colour with shade of purple. Fresh youthful fragrance, very floral summer blooms, blackberry, red plums, raspberry cordial, faint hint of fine black pepper. A dry, medium-bodied wine, high acidity with soft chewy tannins. Ripe, juicy red berry fruit flavours with a thin overcoat of black pepper. 13.5% alc. Moderately long, even toned finish. Drink now – 2016. 89/100.

The Story Wines Henty Estate Vineyard Shiraz 2012 VIC Simple Palates Seriously
The Story Wines Henty Estate Vineyard Shiraz 2012, Henty, VIC
$45 direct from winery. Black ruby core with a slight purple rim. A fresh, youthful floral fragrance of blackberries, black cherry jam and oily antipasto. A dry, medium-bodied wine, it has a smooth velvet texture with high acidity. You can certainly feel the tannins left from the whole bunch ferment. The fruit is laden as a rich mix of blackberry, black cherry, with brown olives and a dash of fine pepper. However, the dry powdery/chewy tannins kick back in, and there is a residual bitterness on the finish. I’m sure that with sufficient time, the tannins will settle down but I do wonder how much fruit will be retained. Drink now, or 2020-2025. 91?/100.

The Story Wines Westgate Vineyard Shiraz 2012 Grampians VIC Simple Palates Seriously
The Story Wines Wetgate Vineyard Shiraz 2012, Grampians, VIC
$45 direct from winery. Dark black-ruby colour with a thin purple rim. This Westgate shiraz is so much more pretty than the Henty Shiraz. Fresh, youthful aromas of blackberries, blueberries, black cherry jam, hints of rose and lavender. A dry, medium-bodied wine, silky texture, high acidity, with a medium load of young, grippy tannins. The use of whole bunch ferment feels much toned down compared to the Henty shiraz, and that’s a good thing. I get a much more forward and better appreciation of the rich, pure fruit flavours. Blackberries, peppercorns, cherry, dark plums, hint of bay leaf. 14% alc. A well-framed wine that will drink well for quite awhile. Drink now – 2024+. 92/100.

Posted in Australia, Daily happenings, Victoria | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment