Sine Qua Non Kolibri white blend 2008, CA

Sine Qua Non. The Californian cult winery with a waiting list for the waiting list to be ON the mailing list. I was finally offered wine after receiving postcards for the past dozen years. Manfred and Elaine Krankl craft wines of such extraordinary characterics, these are ethereal creations of man and nature.

The Kolibri is a white blend of Roussanne and Viognier (69/31). It is a head-spinning 14.9% alc, but it is not so apparent with age. With is retained is that mouth-filling tastiness. Round and robust. I can imagine this paired with a steaming baked lobster drizzled with white creamy cheese sauce and just unashamedly blanketed with black truffle shavings. Alas, I just so happen to be out of truffles in my kitchen.


Rich golden sunflower oil in colour, fresh aromas of crushed orange, marmalade and white florals. A full-bodied white, balanced acidity, flavours of honey, orange, citrus peel. Intense in that initial instance, then peeling retreat that leaves you to astound at the brilliance of winemaking and the superbness of this wine. Shit. I wish I’d bought more previously. Full marks, 100.

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Feudi del Pisciotto Frappato 2010, Sicily

imageFrappato di Vittoria is a Sicilian grape variety that makes light and fragrant red wines. However all Frappatos tend to be IGT and there is only one DOCG wine from Sicily. The attractive label on the Feudi del Pisciotto is designed by Carolina Marengo-Kisa and these labels are sold to benefit the restoration efforts on the island.

The winery enjoys the key elements of the Sicilian coast. 6km inland from the sea, and slight 250m elevation.Deep permeable ruby colour with a thick lightened rim. It has a smoky floral fragrance, black pepper and concentrated dark berries. Full-bodied wine with high acidity, given the age the tannins are resolving nicely. Intense flavours of black dark berries, slightly citrus, swirly tasty textures. Great with grilled lamb sausages and roasted tomatoes. Drink now. 89.

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Campo Viejo Gran Reserva 2009, Rioja

Campo Viejo isnt the first Rioja name to be thrown into a discussion circle. The famed CVNE, Marques de Murrieta or La Rioja Alta are the foremost producers. But Campo Viejo Tempranillo blends have had a long history est. 1959, and are much more competitively priced than her rivals. Currently headed by Elena Adell, the winery a single 100% Tempranillo and three Tempranillo blends which incorporate the indigenous varieties Graciano and Mazuelo. Controlled fermentation temperatures and mixed use of oak sees different styled wines being crafted.


The Gran Reserva is a 85/10/5 blend of stainless steel ferment with 20 days on skins. It is aged for 24 months in 80% French oak barrels, the remainder in American. As per law, the wine is aged for a further 36 months in bottle. Dark ruby colour, with a youthful smokey nose of dark plums, blueberries and blackcurrants. Initial dark chocolate but opens up with more tobacco leaf. Smooth silky texture, high acidity, with ripe sleek soft tannin profile. Rich ripe berry flavours with plum skins. A very satisfying long finish. For this price of AUD$18, hard to find any fault. A great introductory aged wine for those seeking newer drinking experiences. Great with lamb curry and roasted pumpkin. Drink now – 2020. 92.

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Mount Pleasant Cellar Aged Elizabeth Semillon 2007, Hunter Valley

It’s warmed up quite nicely for this F1 Sunday in Melbourne. The rains on Friday washed away Melbourne’s dusty stink and I’m savouring every bit of sunshine possible. As much as I go for Mercedes-Benz and Hamilton, I wasn’t big on forking out $150 to watch the race. So I’m relegated to having the telly on whilst catching up on 3 weeks of ironing.


Still, some weekend indulgence is a necessity. Earlier, to accompany my lunch of baked clams and grilled lobster, a white wine with cutting flavours and added complexity was required. Alongside Tahbilk’s 1927 Marsanne, the aged release Elizabeth Semillon from Mount Pleasant remains the best valued white wine of Australia. Very affordable by the average punter with change from a $20, but there is the fresher unaged releases too. image

The 2007 release has a bright yellow gold colour with a greenish hue. Typical for this wine. On the nose, buttery, toast, slight ginger spice, very faint lemon grass perhaps. It’s simply screaming to be matched with fish and seafood. At 11% alc, you can easily knock back a few glasses. Feels very dry in the mouth, lean and requiring the oils from my cheesey buttery lobster tail. Low acidity, if you want to get technical, it stands at pH 3.06. No salads thanks. Honeyed mandarin and lemon citrus flavours. On its own, you get that pithy citrus for the aftertaste. Dry, but don’t take it as a negative. Aged wines do need to be view with a different pair of glasses. Great way to chill on a warm day. Drink now -2020. 92.

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Hot Ribs & Frosty wine

It’s been a relaxing Labor Day long weekend in Melbourne which seems to have quickly overcome the CBD fights on Saturday night. I’ve always known the Swanston/Flinders st corner to be a puddle of scummy bogans but this was the first time I’ve experienced a kid who had to be 14-16 jumping in my path up into my face screaming ‘boo!’. Yup bright future, kid.

For a Monday of non-achievement when golf looked like a 1 hour wait to tee off, the next best thing was to grab some ribs and wine. Off to Ribs & Burgers on Glenferrie Rd for a whole rack of hot chilli lamb ribs ($27.50), a beef short-rib naked burger ($16.50) aka the gaijin version of san choi bao, and a wee tub of fine onion shreds. The hot chilli marinade does pack some punch but fades out quickly. The rack is cut into thirds and would be suitable for 3 people. The meat is nicely cooked, could be slow cooked further for a softer texture, but is nice nonetheless. The 8 hour slow-cooked beef short rib is lathered in a sweet tangy bbq sauce. I found this on the sweeter side, and the chimmichurri didnt quite break that up. The texture of the short rib was very good.



When you got all that rich meat flavours, you need something just as robust to end the night. I’m having the Torzi Matthews 2013 Frost Dodger shiraz. The 11th vintage of this 18 year old single vineyard Eden Valley shiraz is a stellar wine considering the poor winter rains and low cropping levels. Made with the appassimento menthod to really intensify the fruit sugars, 35% whole bunch ferment by natural yeasts, hand plunged and basket pressed. 30% of the wine sees new French and Hungarian 500litre oak barrels for 20 months, the rest age in seasoned French 225litre oak barrels. Deep purple colour with a dark ruby edge. Lifted youthful nose, dense with notes of blackcurrant liquor, black olive, savoury minerality, anise, aged peppercorns. Rich fruit forward wine, well balanced by the softer tannins and the 14.5% alc hiding somewhere in the folds. Dark plums, blackcurrants, ripe berry fruit flavours. This will be an interesting wine to follow over the next 7+ years. <5000 bottles produced. $40.

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