Unico Zelo Berry Blosom Rosato Nebbiolo 2015, Clare Valley

Unico Zelo was established by Brendan and Laura Carter in 2012 but despite being a fledgling in this ultra competitive industry, it has an impressive portfolio of wines and even a perfume business wafting through the cool Adelaide Hills. They are a nominee in the 2015 Young Guns of Wine competition. Their fianos are interesting and worth locating, especially if you’re thinking of making dinner out of sushi or grilled fish.

Unico Zelo Berry Blossom Nebbiolo Rosato 2015 Clare Valley Simple Palates Seriously

$25 from Black Hearts & Sparrows (or order direct). This 2015 Rosato is a delicious wine with an orange-red blush colour. It is made from 25 year old Nebbiolo vines at Polish Hill River, an area more renown for Rieslings. The colour is rather eye-catching because you don’t see many Australian rosés of this colour, let alone ones made from Nebbiolo (SC Pannell Arido Rosé is the other that springs to mind). It has a fragrance of strawberries, cherries and sweet rose essence. On the palate, there is plenty of fleshy berry flavours, summer ripe cherries, and touch of savouriness from the smooth velvet tannins. Good structure, nothing too out of step. Slight blackcurrant/ribena on the lingering finish. Certainly a warmer styled rosé, for one of those cooler summer evenings over the bbq. Drink now. 91+


Posted in Adelaide Hills, Australia, Clare Valley, Daily happenings, South Australia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pastuso, the little Peruvian restaurant that could + Alta Alella Tallarol

Pastuso ACDC Flinder Lane Simple Palates Seriously

Pastuso is a Peruvian cevicheria, pisco-bar and grill sitting at the end of ACDC Lane. It shares the bustling Flinders Lane block with Yu-U, Eau de Vie, Chin Chin and Lee Ho Fook. It is not the most noticeable establishment, with its rather miss-able plain frontage and I think the graffiti on the laneway’s brick walls could probably garner more patronage during a day. Operating for just over a year now, this establishment chef’d by Peruvian Alejandro Saravia has earned modest ratings and reviews online (Zomato, Tripadvisor, GoodFood).

I recently tried their express lunch menu which offered a 2-course meal at two different prices – $25/$35. I thought this was unusually structured and I was slightly disappointed with the absence of a dessert option, suggesting the intention to steering the customer towards ordering additional desserts to add to the final bill. Also, just eye-balling the $35 menu, it is difficult to convince me that a beef stir-fry could be worth paying $10 more for. That $35 option should really have a seafood dish as well.

Pastuso express lunch menu Simple Palates Seriously

Having ceviche is an absolute must-have when partaking in Peruvian cuisine. Fresh fish naturally cooked by the sheer acidity of citrus, flavoured with some hot chillis for that extra zing. Pastuso has a ceviche bar which offers a fun view of the kitchen on-goings. While the NZ snapper used was firm and sweet, I did feel that the citrus marinade was disproportionately on the sweet side. Lots of sweet tang which overwhelmed the natural flavours of the fish. It also lacked a contrasting flavour like chilli, so I thought this was rather one-dimensional dish. The beef stir-fry wasn’t what I was expecting as it was a medium-cooked fillet propped with cassava spears and cherry tomatoes. I would have appreciated it if I had been asked how my meat was to be cooked, but I do not doubt the quality of the beef here. The side serves of salads to share were of well generous proportions and nicely prepared. My table ordered Picarones all-round, yummy sweet potato and pumpkin doughnuts glazed with cinnamon-infused sugar syrup and white chocolate mousse ($12 for 3). I’m tempted to return for the Suspiro a la Limena – a cream caramel PX meringue.

Pastuso NZ Snapper Ceviche Simple Palates Seriously

Lomo Saltado Grass-fed Gippsland Beef with cassava chips Pastuso Simple Palates Seriously

Picarones Sweet potato pumpkin doughnuts Pastuso Simple Palates Seriously

One plus point for Pastuso is its wine list which does offer some interesting wines at reasonable prices. I ordered the Alta Alella Tallarol 2014 ($63) which comes from Alella in Spain and is made through natural fermentation of Pansa Blanco, the local variant of the Xarel.lo grape. It is also fermented in clay amphoraes and bottled without additions of sulfur. This return to ‘old-school’ methods predictably yields an earthy, spiced, almost dry-cider style of wine with a cloudy yellow colour. (Note the colour difference between the 2014 bottling and the previous 2013) Yet, on the palate it is moderately weighted with savoury saltish flavours which pair nicely with fish (ceviche or swordfish skewers). An easy-drinking wine with a clean finish. Small production of only 1000 bottles. Drink now. 92.

Alta Allela Tallarol Pansa Blanca Xarello 2014 Pastuso Simple Palates Seriously

Alta Allela Tallarol Pansa Blanca 2013 Pastuso Simple Palates Seriously

Posted in Australia, Daily happenings, Melbourne restaurants, Spain, Wines from other countries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

10x Tractor Pinot Noir 2013 & Araldica Barolo Flori 2009

10x Tractor 2013 Araldica Barolo Flori 2009 Simple Palates Seriously

I’ve had several 2013 Mornington Peninsula pinots now, and they’ve all been impressive open wines. The Ten Minutes by Tractor 2013 continues the hits. A deep ruby coloured core accompanied by sweet spiced nose, bright cherry fruit, strawberry leaf and cloves. Firm grippy tannins, a moderate level which props up the intense fruit flavours, freshened by high acidity. An enjoyable warm drink evoking velvet cushions. 91/100.

By contrast, the 2009 Barolo vintage was difficult, regardless of the spoken optimism of the majority of the producers. The weather conditions are revealed in the wine. Attractive ruby red colour, nice rhubarb tart and cranberry fruit, slightly spiced. Taut powdery tannins, good structure with lingering acidity. This needed strong meaty flavours to really come through, but the finish suggests this needs to be drunk up sooner than later. 88/100.


Posted in Australia, Italy, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Wines from other countries | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yabby Lake Block 2 Pinot Noir 2013, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

Tolpuddle Yabby Lake Pinot Noir 2013 Coal River Valley Tasmania Simple Palates Seriously

The selected tasting partner of the Tolpuddle 2013 Pinot Noir was the Yabby Lake Block 2 pinot noir 2013. Obviously quite a different wine from the Tasmanian wine, although one could see similarities in the cool climate Mornington Peninsula offering. Yabby Lake and winemaker Tom Carson are enjoying a great run with the 2012 Block 1 pinot noir taking out the Jimmy Watson trophy at the 2013 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards. At the start of 2015, this 2013 Block 2 pinot noir was recognised at the National Wine Show in Canberra with the RSN Riedel Trophy for Best Pinot Noir, the Treasury Wine Estates Single Vineyard Dry Red Trophy, the Minter Ellison Trophy for Best Dry Red Table Wine and the Len Evans Memorial Trophy for Champion Wine of the Show. That’s too much of a mouthful of awards to read out, so let’s get into this wine.

$95, though now sold out at winery. 300 dozen made from low-yielding MV6 clones hand-picked off a subsection of Block 2. Crushed destemmed fruit soaked 3-4 days in small open fermenters then pressed after 14 days into 500L French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and maturation. Med+ to intense dark ruby colour. A complex aromatic profile with warm spiced notes, summer strawberries, unripe cherries, tea, light Asian dried plums, white florals. Smooth silky texture, palate-awakening acidity, 14% alc. The tannins are grippy, suggesting to me some amount of whole bunch press?  Good intensity of red berry fruit and strawberry essence, the flavours are rich and persistent. Long finish, dry but I’m looking for that touch of something oily to fill out the fruit. Drink now – 2025. 95+/100.

Posted in Australia, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tolpuddle Pinot Noir 2013, Coal River Valley, Tasmania

Tolpuddle Yabby Lake Pinot Noir 2013 Coal River Valley Tasmania Simple Palates Seriously

Tolpuddle made the headlines back in May when it took out the Best Australian red wine, Best Australian pinot noir and Best Tasmanian pinot noir awards at the International Wine Challenge in London. Quite quickly, this wine flew off the shelves to the delight of Tolpuddle’s owners, the dynamic Adelaide Hills winery Smith + Shaw duo. While I’m not one to follow shows and the multitude of awards handed out, I’m still curious as to know what level this Tasmanian pinor noir punches at, given that its stable-mates of award winners include wines made for Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

$75. The 20ha vineyard was planted in 1988, and purchased when Tolpuddle was setup in 2011. Only the second vintage produced, which says a lot about the winemaker Adam Wadewitz’s ability and the good 2013 vintage. Med+ intensity with a black ruby core and watery rim. Youthful aromas of blueberries and preserved cherries, with prominent notes of 5 spice and cloves, hint of cured meat. Smooth silky texture, rich acidity, fine soft tannins. The bright fruity core is interwoven by savoury notes, reflecting a more complex wine that you’d associate with most Tasmanian pinot noirs. This is very good for only the second vintage, and I’ll be curious to see how Tolpuddle continue to maintain this high standard of winemaking. There is a certain element of ripeness at this early stage, drink now – 2020. 94-95/100.


Posted in Australia, Tasmania | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment