Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Season of Stout - Monteiths Black Beer, NZ

So, we find ourselves yet again in the middle of a long cold winter. And in this winter I have had two constents; Masterchef on Network 10 and Monteiths Black Beer; my daughter calls it the Masterchef beer - bless!

Now this is my first 'Season of Stout' post this winter, and I don't quite think it is a stout, but it's black. So the reason for it taking this long is simply I have not been drinking anything else; quite easy the pick of winter.

It reads on the back label that the good boys from the West Coast (NZ, not the Perth boys) use five premium malts. I'm not all over brewing, but that sounds like a lot to me. What would I know it turns out a friend recently told me; what would I know indeed. What i do n]know however, is that this beer is jam packed with gorgeous chocolate and coffee aroma's with more of this in the palte along with burnt toffee and licorice make this beer a fair dinkum cracker! Too easy!

Drink now
Drink with roast beef leftovers or freshly shucked oysters - now thats a Susan if there ever was one!
About $18 a six-pack 5.2%v/v

Friday, July 16, 2010

Belated Bastille Day 2010 - Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002

Yes, I know I am a couple of days late for my Bastille Day entry, but I gotta’ tell you, I have been flat chat busy with work, family and yes, a Bastille Day celebration on Tuesday night at the NGV.

So without further ado, here is my 2010 Bastille Day post; Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002. I picked this up a few years ago on for a miserly $210 a bottle – just the one bottle I’m afraid – and sensibly put it aside in a dark place. And like so many things in life these days, I completely forgot I had it until about two months ago when I was searching for a bottle of Barolo and shabam, right before my eyes was this beauty (as to was the Barolo I was looking for).

To tell you the truth, I didn’t grab my note book and enter in my thoughts; instead I just savoured what an amazing wine this truly was. And that’s just it. I don’t remember it for being savoury or sappy or tart; I remember it just tasting absolutely gorgeous. That’s why this wine is the perfect example why people like you and me fork out handfuls of cash for single bottle treats. People find it hard to believe I would spend this much on a bottle of wine, but it was a bottle of wine like this that revealed its true power to a friend of mine about eight years ago.

The story was that this friend really did not like drinking sparkling wine – ergo champagne. He thought it was basically just soda water mixed with dry white wine. But it was the day he had a glass of Krug 1990, a truly magnificent wine that changed him forever. I still recall the look on his face when he sipped his first sip; his eyes widened, his jaw tensed and he was simply a changed man. Not 10 minutes after this experience, he turned to me and said, ‘You bastard. How can I go back and drink a beer or a shiraz now that I have had this’. And it’s true. Ever since then when I have gone over to his house, there in the fridge I will find a bottle of champagne; every time!

I do love my wine, and I do enjoy the good things in life, and the Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot is one of those good things. So, a salute to you France for making such beautiful, beautiful wine. Bravo!


Oui, je sais que je suis à quelques jours de retard pour mon entrée de la fête nationale, mais je gotta ' vous dire, j'ai été occupé par le travail, la famille et Oui, une célébration de la fête nationale mardi soir à la GMV plat chat.

Sans plus attendre, voici mon 2010 post fête nationale ; Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2002. J'ai ce capté quelques années sur pour un avare de 210 $ par bouteille – juste une bouteille je crains – et judicieusement mettre de côté dans un endroit sombre. Et comme pour beaucoup de choses dans la vie de ces jours, j'ai complètement oublié je s'il avait jusqu'à environ deux mois lorsque j'étais recherche pour une bouteille de Barolo et shabam, droit devant mes yeux était cette beauté (qui était le Barolo je cherchais).

Pour vous dire la vérité, je n'a pas récupérer mon livre de note et entrez dans mes pensées ; je déguster plutôt juste quel un vin incroyable c'était vraiment. Et c'est juste. Je ne me souviens d'être savoureux ou sappy tart ; je me souviens il vient dégustation absolument magnifiques. C'est pourquoi ce vin est le parfait exemple, pourquoi les gens comme vous et moi, fourche hors handfuls de trésorerie pour seule bouteille traite. Gens du mal à croire je serait passer ce bien sur une bouteille de vin, mais il s'agissait d'une bouteille de vin comme cela qui a révélé son pouvoir de véritable à un ami à moi il y a environ huit ans.

L'histoire était que cet ami ne pas aime boire de vin mousseux – érgothérapie champagne. Il pensait que c'était fondamentalement juste soude eau mélangée avec un vin blanc sec. Mais c'était la journée qu'il avait un verre de 1990 Krug, un vin vraiment magnifique qui lui a changé pour toujours. Je me rappelle encore l'aspect sur son visage lorsqu'il sipped son premier sip ; ses yeux s'élargi, sa mâchoire tensed et c'était simplement un homme modifié. Pas de 10 minutes après cette expérience, il s'est tourné vers moi et dit, ' vous bâtard. Comment puis-je revenir en arrière et boire une bière ou un shiraz maintenant que j'ai eu cette '. Et c'est vrai. Depuis puis quand j'ai passée à sa maison, il dans le réfrigérateur va trouver une bouteille de champagne ; chaque fois !

J'aime la mon vin, je jouissent-ils les bonnes choses de la vie et le Jean Grivot Clos de Vougeot est l'un de ces bonnes choses. Donc, un hommage à France vous permettant de ces vins belle et magnifique. Bravo !

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Terradavino Piedmont La Casa In Collina Barbaresco DOCG 2005

If you are living in Melbourne right now and not in a coma, you will have noticed how bloody cold it has been this month. Before I rant anymore I must add that I am a winter person with no real affection for anything north of about 28°C, but this current cold spell has me longing for Calypso cricket and my boardshorts. But this cold spell has had me in the kitchen cooking my world famous ‘Old Lady Stew’s’ (Thanks Pam). And when you have an ‘OLS’, you need a hearty wine; by gollies’ you do! The Terradavino Piedmont La Casa In Collina Barbaresco DOCG 2005 is just that wine.

First the stew. Now stew’s can pretty much take any veg and meat that you have hiding in the fridge and pantry. What makes the stew though, for me anyway, are the stock and the one or two additions that are not so garden variety. for this stew I used mushroom stock and some saffron.
1 tsp saffron threads
2 cloves
10 black peppercorns
5 cloves garlic
½ cup of chopped parsley
Sea salt
Olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
1½ kgs chuck steak
2 red capsicums, deseeded
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
5 potatoes, cut into chunks
440gms of tinned tomatoes
½ bottle of red cooking wine

In a pestle, pound saffron, peppercorns, cloves, garlic, cinnamon stick and sea salt into a paste and transfer to a bowl with warm water. Heat oil in a large oven proof pot and fry off meat until browned then set aside. In same pot fry off cap, onions and carrots until soft. Return the meat to pot and add spice mix, wine and tomatoes and bring to boil them simmer for two and half hours. Sweet as a nut!

Now the wine. The Terradavino Piedmont La Casa In Collina Barbaresco DOCG 2005 is a 100% Nebbiolo from Piedmont and is quite often confused as a hoity-toity Barbera; not so. The Barbaresco area is strikingly similar to that of Barolo with soil, altitude, weather and grape all pretty much the same. It is in fact a very small zone, the production of which is about one third of its more famous neighbour on the other side of Alba.

In the glass this wine has a very deep garnet colour with an aroma packed with spice, red cherries and bacon. It is balanced beautifully in the mouth with elegant firm tannins, lively acidity and bright fruits ranging from currants to tart cranberry the longer in the glass. An absolute cracking wine and a fair dinkum Susan for this stew.

Drink with my saffron stew
Drink till 2017
Quality cork 13.5%v/v $28 from Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blue Poles Margaret River Viognier 2009

"Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but until they speak to the imagination, not yet beautiful" Ralph Walso Emmerson.

Viognier. It was a contender not that long ago until Marlborough Savvy B entered the fray. Yes, Viognier five odd years ago had such a bright future. Thing is though, no-one really harnessed Viogniers true potential; enter stage right Blue Poles Margaret River Viognier 2009.

The first thing that I noticed from tasting this wine is that there wasn't that great big smack in the face of apricot that you generally associate with this variety, instead you get lovely honeysuckle and floral notes on the nose with a more subtle burst of apricot in the form of those little apricot and coconut slices you find at school fetes; I did anyway. Another plus for this wine is that it does not come with a massive whack of alcohol with 13.7%v/v for less than the norm of about 14.5%v/v you may find from producers in SA.

Overall, a lovely pretty thing that definately deserves your attention.

Drink with chilli prawns
Drink till 2012
Screwcap 13.7%v/v $20 at Decanters by the bay, Port Melbourne

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Splitting the difference - Bindi Block 5 2005 and 2006

Over the past few weeks, Cameron (my boss) and I have been trying to put together a ‘Block 5’ lunch somewhere in town to celebrate the release of Yabby Lake’s new Block 5 Pinot Noir. You see Cameron’s dad Keith Harris is the vineyard manager down at Yabby Lake, and together with Bindi and Felton Road we thought we could scrounge up some wine and have a Block 5-off; just for fun of course, no medals or trophies, just the undivided love of all those who attend.

I couldn’t wait though. The Bindi was there, but Yabby Lake and Felton Road were missing. So to keep up with the idea of seeing which was best I needed two bottles; 2005 and 2006 (still have 3 of each left thank God). So here are the findings:

Bindi Block 5 2005 – an instant hit of minerality, spice and a mixture of raspberry and blackberries and earth in the glass that make a path through my olfactory and palate; such a magic wine with notes from the Michael about the vintage being rather cool all the way with a whack of heat just before the fruit came off. This is probably the fourth or fifth 05 I have had, with each one being better than the last. Simply stunning 100/100

Bindi Block 5 2006 – darker in the glass with heavier layers of dark fruit than the 2005. Prickly acid, firm chewy tannins combined with spicy plums and raspberries with the tartness of cranberry holding it all together. A little warmer than the previous vintage which shows with a little more ripeness. Still a great wine though! 98/100

So there you have it. A somewhat expensive task, but geez, the Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir’s have easily got to be Australia’s finest – no argument!